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Michelle Alexander explodes an open secret in the ‘NYT’: progressives keep quiet about Palestine out of fear for their careers

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Everyone is talking about one thing this morning, the outstanding piece by Michelle Alexander in the New York Times, yes, the New York Times, titled, “Time to Break the Silence about Palestine,” in which she says she can’t be quiet about Palestine any longer.  The author of “The New Jim Crow” is a regular columnist now, and she has changed the discourse about Palestine in one explosive swoop, stating that progressives have been silent about Palestine partly because of fear for their careers, but the time has come to end that silence.

King

The 51-year-old legal scholar and civil rights advocate begins by quoting Martin Luther King’s courageous coming out against the Vietnam War in 1967, when it could do him no good. Just as speaking up for Palestinians can only hurt our careers today thanks to the “well-documented power” of the Israel lobby.

[King’s] was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.

I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.

Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.

Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.

Alexander all but outs herself as a PEP, Progressive Except Palestine.  Here is a principled person who has done groundbreaking work on human rights and anti-racism, and she is revealing that one of the reasons she keeps quiet is because she wants to protect her ability to participate in the mainstream discussion, to write about racism in the U.S. without being smeared and attacked.

This is an open secret that everyone knows: if you speak up for Palestinian human rights, your character will be assassinated. That is a very fair description of the mainstream landscape, surveilled by the likes of Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss of the New York Times, and Abe Foxman and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL (Just ask Paul Krugman, who has rationalized his own silence on this issue on that basis).

Alexander also describes the very-productive struggle of the left here. She makes clear that she has broken her own silence thanks to Jewish Voice for Peace and Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in the Congress. And no matter what you think about identity politics, it must be emphasized that just as queer rights organizing fostered the growth of Jewish Voice for Peace as one-time outliers in the Jewish community, the ascendancy of women of color into positions of real power at last has helped break the ice on Palestine.

Alexander summarizes the growth of the boycott movement in the US:

Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court.

That paragraph puts TREMENDOUS pressure on liberal Zionists (including well-meaning people like another New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, and J Street), to come out for McCollum’s important legislation. If you can’t support removing US aid for the detention of children, what do you stand for?  Alexander’s long, persuasive article will put pressure on all progressives to end their silence about human rights abuses in Palestine backed by the United States.

Rep. Betty McCollum

The piece is getting a huge online response, to judge by Twitter, where Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald among others are saluting it. Alexander is telling the truth about the mainstream world. And Hasbara Central is already on top of the article, to judge from some of the readers’ comments at the Times.

Kudos to the New York Times for hiring Alexander as a columnist and letting her say this.

This is a huge step forward. And the most important thing about it is that Alexander uses Martin Luther King as an example of someone who took an unpopular issue that wasn’t his main cause and risked support for his other cause. She’s entirely right about King’s choice. That is why good people have been quiet until now about Israel Palestine. The effect will be . . . continued movement. And pressure on other supporters of human rights to come forward.

Thanks to Dan Walsh and Donald Johnson.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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86 Responses

  1. DrJaye on January 20, 2019, 12:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this excellent commentary on Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking oped. Between Alexander, Angela Davis, and Briahna Gray who just wrote an outstanding article criticizing Kamala Harris, African American women are at the forefront of courage and leadership as we begin 2019. As a Jewish woman, I feel embarrassed that African Americans are putting themselves on the line while so many Jews stand by in silence. We need more prominent Jewish voices speaking out. Thank you for providing this important forum.

    • annie on January 20, 2019, 1:00 pm

      As a Jewish woman, I feel embarrassed that African Americans are putting themselves on the line while so many Jews stand by in silence. We need more prominent Jewish voices speaking out.

      there are so many more white non jews than jews who have been silent on this issue, enabling this national catastrophe. by far, the overwhelming support and empowerment (by head count) of this wound on humanity have come from non jewish white americans, both inside congress and out. we need more voices speaking out, not just jewish voices.

      i don’t feel embarrassed by African Americans leading on this issue, i feel overwhelming gratefulness. The most powerful brave trend setters on the landscape of American culture come from our Black community. bless them.

      • DrJaye on January 20, 2019, 1:34 pm

        Well yes of course we need more voices in general but since APIC is one of the biggest lobbying groups in Washington, Jews who do not feel APIC is representing their views need to take more responsibility to come to the forefront to let Washington and the general public know that this group does not speak for them. Prominent Jews in positions of power are less likely to be taken down in the same way when speaking out opposed to non-Jews – like when Bernie Sanders spoke out in defense of Palestinians during the debates and was actually praised by certain prominent people in the mainstream media for having the courage to do so.

        So yes, we need everyone speaking out but Jews should be rising to the forefront to make it known that APIC does not represent them and to demand change.

      • annie on January 20, 2019, 3:29 pm

        hi dr jaye, do you mean aipac or are you referencing another lobbying group (there are so many!). just curious.

        Prominent Jews in positions of power are less likely to be taken down in the same way when speaking out opposed to non-Jews

        i know. still, it’s going to take a national movement (meaning our whole nation) to change these dynamics. but the phenomena of white people, for whatever reason, feeling silenced or being silent is a huge barrier to advancing a resolution. there’s a prioritization in the media to advance jewish voices on this issue whether for or against and that should stop. it lends to the idea that this is primarily a jewish issue, and it’s not.
        primarily, it is a palestinian issue and look what happens to palestinians who speak out (linda sansour and rashida Tlaib come to mind) — all hell breaks loose.

        we need MORE voices from the masses, when the biggest mass is silent (or repressed) white voices (although as alexander noted, we’ve got big church groups divesting) it’s a hinderance. i’m encouraged by the recent polls. i’m also really encouraged by jvp, ifnotnow, and other jewish voices speaking out and being on the front lines. but if we’re going to normalize palestinian human rights for the masses, it’s going to take every segment of society working in tandem.

        it’s not ok for white people to sit on the sidelines eating popcorn watching the jews duke it out, cheering for rashida and Ilham during commercial breaks. look at the impact of Betty McCollum. Jimmy Carter is arguably the most high profile american white non jew who’s spoken out. there are others, we’re here. but there needs to be more. imagine if katie hill stepped up to the plate right out of the gate. they can’t pull an alison weir on all of us. we can’t just sit back and watch the jews. and sit back and watch black leaders getting screwed over. it’s just frustrating. we have to get it together and act in unity. it can’t be a poc up against the mob situation.

        just take a look at how the uber zionist operate. they push their lindsey graham and mark kirk or scoop jackson right out front in every generation. and the list goes on and on.

        weaponized accusations of anti semitism can’t hurt us if we stick together, loudly and in unity. cowardly white people sitting at a distance in cheap seats in the bleachers taking no risk will not end this.

      • Danaa on January 20, 2019, 3:44 pm

        there are so many more white non jews than jews who have been silent on this issue

        That bears to reason – after all, there are many more non jews than jews in the US, numerically speaking, so naturally there’ll be more of them on the sidelines.

        I would actually put this in reverse – there would be many more non jews (white or otherwise) who would NOT remain silent, had they not been terrorized into silence by accusations of anti-semitism which can be a career disabler.

        That is exactly why everyone defers to JVP – it’s the “J” in the title.

        So, while JVP and other jewish organizations in the forefront of the battle for palestinian human rights are to be commended, the real issue is the SCARCITY of people WITH POWER who’d take on this issue. Both Jewish and not.

        Michele Alexander’s column is a ground breaker because of the perch she now has in the NYT and because she was willing to break the taboo on speaking out against one of the greatest moral scandals in the world today.

        I’d actually say that just like Angela Davis, it bears to reason that this be a black woman who’s showing willingness to stand in the line of fire, knowing full well what retribution she risks. These days, when IDpol has taken over everywhere, one almost has to ride that train if one is to have a chance of surviving the fight against the hasbara wind mills.

        The timing couldn’t be any better either, as we have just been treated to the spectacle of that anti-BDS legislation in the senate, which garnered almost enough votes to pass. That threat is still there because AIPAC is not one known to leave the battlefield without a few scalps to display. For the next round.

      • annie on January 20, 2019, 5:05 pm

        I would actually put this in reverse – there would be many more non jews (white or otherwise) who would NOT remain silent, had they not been terrorized into silence by accusations of anti-semitism which can be a career disabler.

        yes, of course. i mentioned the phenomena of white people, for whatever reason, feeling silenced or being silent is a huge barrier to advancing a resolution, however the primary focus on my point didn’t rest on your point. we have to just get over it, like alexander did. people have to step up to the plate and quit playing it safe from the bleachers.

      • Misterioso on January 21, 2019, 10:44 am

        @Annie

        “The most powerful brave trend setters on the landscape of American culture come from our Black community. bless them.”

        Well said Annie. I agree completely.

        BTW, As you and Mondoweiss are probably well aware, the January 20 print issue of the NYT containing Michelle Alexander’s superb article also has a large advertisement on page 9 sponsored by the Zionist lobby organization, FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East [sic]), which calls for the U.S. to “Recognize Israel’s Rule Over the Golan Heights.” The arguments for recognition are blatantly contrary to international law and pure hogwash, e.g., “Recognizing Israel’s Golan Heights sovereignty would be a powerful form of justice.”

      • annie on January 22, 2019, 11:10 am

        misterioso, i had no idea about that advertisement until just now.

      • CigarGod on January 23, 2019, 11:08 am

        Yes Annie,
        “Masses.”
        But, I always worry about those masses of people lying just under the surface.
        Trump knew where to drill into those immense reservoirs of deplorable crude.
        Do these masses we wish for know the difference between a Jew and a Zionist?
        I don’t think so.
        Trumps masses can’t tell the difference between Muslims and Muslim terrorists or the ratio.
        Trumps masses can’t tell the difference between hispanic migrants and hispanic terrorists, drug mules or hispanic perverts…nor do they want to.
        Masses of any stripe like a simple message and a well-defined enemy on which to focus their righteous revolutionary rage.
        I like the idea of a finely tuned/directed revolution, but I’m not sure if the laws of physics allow for them.

      • eljay on January 23, 2019, 11:41 am

        || CigarGod: … I always worry about those masses of people lying just under the surface. … Do these masses we wish for know the difference between a Jew and a Zionist?
        I don’t think so. … ||

        And Zionists do their best to reinforce that ignorance by constantly and anti-Semitically conflating all Jews with Zionism and the “Jewish State” project.

      • annie on January 23, 2019, 5:35 pm

        Masses of any stripe like a simple message and a well-defined enemy on which to focus their righteous revolutionary rage.
        I like the idea of a finely tuned/directed revolution, but I’m not sure if the laws of physics allow for them.

        you’d have to talk to our state department about finely tuned/directed revolutions. sometimes they don’t work out as planned. look what happened will their revolution in syria, the messaging didn’t stick. i think there just becomes a tipping point, 38 billion isn’t something you can keep under wraps for very long. things were going swimmingly for israel pre internet days. since then, not so much.

    • Misterioso on January 20, 2019, 7:39 pm

      And from north of the border:

      https://ricochet.media/en/2479/why-i-no-longer-donate-to-the-jewish-national-fund

      “Why I no longer donate to the Jewish National Fund” by Matthew Gindin, Jan. 17/19, the richochet.

      “My pushke is still somewhere in my house, but I will no longer be putting coins in it.”

      “Until a few years ago I had a pushke (Yiddish for “little charity box”) for the Jewish National Fund in every house I lived in, as did most of my relatives. The little blue and white box, which usually features imagery of tree planting or the map of the modern state of Israel, is for most Jews a ubiquitous, heartwarming symbol and an iconic feature of modern Jewish life.

      “‘What is the meaning of the blue box?’ one version of the pushke has written on its side. ‘It is not just a simple container with an unusual message. Small as it is, it stands for a big idea—for one of the greatest partnerships the world has ever known—that of the Jewish people everywhere with the land of Israel.’

      “For the average Jew, the JNF is most strongly associated with planting trees. When I was a child going to a Jewish day school, I was told that where Israel is now there had before been desert, and the JNF had been instrumental in filling it with trees. Then, as now, Jewish children had trees in Israel dedicated in their name, and schools connected donating towards tree-planting in Israel with both Zionism and messages of ecological stewardship.

      “There is no question that the JNF has been a force for the greening of Israel, yet for years it has been dogged by accusations of enacting discriminatory policies that aid in the dispossession and disempowerment of Palestinians. More recently it has been accused of directly funding the Israeli army, an activity that is illegal for a Canadian charity. The JNF has also been criticized for its funding of settlements in the occupied territories. Although the organization still enjoys broad support in the Canadian Jewish community, the wind may be changing.

      “Financial support for Israeli military
      “In 2017 a complaint was filed with the Canada Revenue Agency, supported by Independent Jewish Voices Canada, a human rights group focused on advocacy for Palestinians.

      “’JNF Canada works in violation of the Income Tax Act and in contravention of Canadian foreign policy in various ways,’ says the complaint.

      “It alleges that JNF Canada supports initiatives that are intended to benefit the Israeli military. In addition to its philanthropic and land development plans in Israel, JNF Canada has funded infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air, and naval bases.

      “According to the CRA [Canada Revenue Agency], funding intended to increase the ‘effectiveness and efficiency’ of a foreign military cannot be tax-deductible.

      “The CRA also indicates that an organization cannot have charitable status if its actions go against public policy. The 2017 complaint raises the issue of JNF Canada’s involvement in building in the West Bank, which seems to contradict official Canadian foreign policy goals.

      “According to the website of Global Affairs Canada, ‘Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.’

      “After months of trying to bring the media’s attention to the complaint, Independent Jewish Voices Canada finally got a CBC segment on Jan. 4, bringing the controversy into the mainstream. JNF CEO Lance Davis responded to CBC News with a statement that the organization had stopped funding projects for the Israeli military in 2016 after being informed of the CRA guidance.

      “But JNF’s history and current activities point to trouble that goes beyond funding infrastructure on army bases, and even beyond funding illegal Jewish settlements.

      “A troubled history
      “The JNF was founded at the fifth Zionist Congress in 1901, in Basel, Switzerland. Based on the proposal of a German Jewish mathematician, Zvi Hermann Schapira, its purpose was to buy and cultivate land for Jewish settlement, in what was then Ottoman Palestine, on behalf of the Zionist dream, little more than a fantasy at the time.

      “By World War II, one million JNF pushkes could be found in Jewish homes around the world. The JNF was instrumental in the founding of the modern city of Tel Aviv and soon became famous for its afforestation efforts. JNF policy is to lease land long-term as opposed to selling it, allowing the organization to retain ultimate control of the land it owns and to position itself as the ‘trustee’ of the land for the Jewish people. It only leases land to Jews, which allows it to maintain exclusive Jewish control of the land.

      “Created in 1948, the Israeli state began to sell ‘absentee’ land to the JNF for development. This land had belonged to Palestinians who fled or were expelled by Israeli soldiers during the War of Independence. In the 1950s the administration of large portions of JNF land was transferred to the state, thus creating a situation where a private entity (the JNF) executed discriminatory leases (only for Jews) on lands that were administered by the Israeli state, allowing the state to escape claims of direct civil rights violations.

      “Although the seized lands had previously belonged to or long been used by Palestinians, they were effectively made property of the Israeli state in the 1950s. In many cases the land had technically belonged to the Ottoman state or to Britain and been lived on by Palestinians, but ‘state ownership’ was now transferred to the Israeli state and the land was used for Jewish settlement. Often this occurred with the help of the JNF.

      “After the 1967 war, in which Israel seized control of what are now the occupied territories of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank, the JNF began funding projects in the controversial settlements there as well.

      “Greenwashing
      “The main projects of the JNF in Israel today are philanthropic and centered on afforestation, the creation of parks and playgrounds for children, and projects that benefit vulnerable members of society. Today the JNF owns 13 per cent of all the land in Israel and brings in some $3 billion a year, most of it from land sales. The Israeli public associates the JNF mostly with forests and parks.

      “’In many of their parks, they are establishing trails for bicycles. It’s all about leisure, sport, and the healthy life,’ says Eitan Bronstein, founder of the Israeli NGO Zochrot, which is dedicated to remembering and documenting the realities of Palestinian life before what Palestinians call the nakba (‘destruction’), which occurred during the founding of the Israeli state.

      “’Yet since the beginning of Israel, the JNF has been involved both in the destruction of Palestinian villages and the building of new Jewish settlements.’

      “According to Bronstein, the activities of the JNF in Israel constitute a form of ‘greenwashing.’ Areas that were formally Palestinian villages and lands are reallocated to the JNF and then covered in forests or new Jewish settlements, erasing their former identity.

      “A signature case of Canadian involvement in this aspect of the JNF’s activities is Canada Park, which was funded by JNF Canada and was built on top of what had previously been Palestinian villages.

      “David Halton, formerly a foreign correspondent for the CBC, has added his voice to the call to take away JNF Canada’s charitable status. Halton says that Canada Park is built over three Palestinian villages, which he saw in 1967 while covering the Six Day War.

      “’As a matter of decency and legality,’ Halton says on the website stopthejnf.ca, ‘the name ‘Canada Park’’ should be removed and any further tax deductible donations to it disallowed.”

      “A country of refuge for all
      “The JNF has historically enjoyed good relations with the Canadian government, however, and continues to do so. Its 2013 Negev Dinner (named after its efforts to terraform the southern Israeli desert, where there is an ongoing conflict between the Israeli state and indigenous Bedouins) honoured Stephen Harper for his support for Israel.

      “The JNF 2018 fundraising gala in Vancouver, which I attended as a journalist, also honoured ex-general Doron Almog, who narrowly escaped an arrest on charges of crimes against humanity during a stopover in Britain in 2005, and featured B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin as a speaker. How likely the audit of the JNF is to reform the organization’s activities in Israel or change its profile in Canada is anybody’s guess.

      “The truth is that my JNF pushke is still somewhere in my house, a few coins uselessly trapped in it while it sits in a box or drawer. It’s true that the JNF funds some good philanthropic work in Israel, but I would no longer put coins in it, not as long as the organization is in any significant way associated with an unjust version of Zionism or discriminatory policies towards non-Jewish Israelis and Palestinians.

      “Like a growing number of Jews (most of them, I note with hope, younger than me), I am more likely to give my money to IfNotNow, an anti-occupation organization, or to Rabbis for Human Rights, which works in Israel to bring justice and equal rights for all. If there is a future for Israel that I want to invest in, it’s one that allows the country to be a refuge for Jews as intended, but not for Jews alone.

  2. marc b. on January 20, 2019, 12:30 pm

    Another “huge step forward” would be to stop insisting that Roger ‘they wanna drive the Jews into the sea’ Cohen is “well meaning”. His only interest is to maintain Jewish supremacy in the state of Israel, and any difference between him and the limited color palette rainbow of other Zionists is essentially tactical.

    • DrJaye on January 20, 2019, 4:50 pm

      There isn’t a reply link under Annie so I’m replying here. Yes, of course I meant AIPAC – I’m not sure if that was a dyslexic thing or or some kind of autocorrect that I missed. I don’t think we disagree that we need people of all stripes joining in on this issue but I just feel that more Jews in positions or power and on a grassroots level need to make it known to the general public that AIPAC does not represent the majority of us. And we need to send a clear message to Israel. Most movements of this kind have been spearheaded by those within the groups who are being oppressed and by those within the oppressor group who are opposed to those doing the oppressing. It is an embarrassment to me that non-Jews like Roger Waters, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, and now MIchelle Alexander have been shouldering the brunt of the attacks for so long opposed to Jews in position of power. It goes without saying that we’re all appreciative that they have taken a stand but it only highlights to me the cowardice of the average Jewish person and those in positions of power for letting this go on so long in complete silence.

      • annie on January 20, 2019, 5:21 pm

        thanks DrJaye, i don’t think we disagree, i hope you didn’t get that impression. i think we sharea lot in common. and while i totally get and agree “Most movements of this kind have been spearheaded by those within the groups who are being oppressed “ it’s been decades now. it requires more! while you’re sensitive to the cowardice of jewish people (or people in your own ‘group’ so to speak) i see too many in the whole of society being cowards here. they all need to be called out, not just jewish enablers, that’s all i’m saying. plus, it perpetuates this myth jews control everything. like we can’t get anything done unless we get the ok from jews or get pressured by jews or whatever. it’s like stop already and take a look how we got into this mess. we totally enabled this nightmare every single step of the way. and as a country we should be held accountable too. it’s so frustrating…

        fyi, for the future, if the comment you’re responding to doesn’t have a reply feature, scroll up to the nearest one. in your case for your last comment, it would have been the reply feature on my comment ending in “bless them”, but now, scroll up to your own comment ending in “complete silence” and hit reply.

      • Mooser on January 20, 2019, 5:30 pm

        “And we need to send a clear message to Israel.”

        And then Israel will tell Washington to stop sending it money, and supplying political and legal cover for Israel’s actions?

        Seems rather the long way ’round. Why not a lot of people, Jewish and not, sending a clear message to Washington, and the US Gov. can pass on the message to Israel.

      • Danaa on January 20, 2019, 6:29 pm

        Annie, I think one key point in DrJaye’s remark was this the average Jewish person. WE all know them – they are our neighbors, colleagues, family members and friends. They know “something bad” is happening in Israel and to Israel, but they don’t want to even raise the issue.

        I speak of well over 80% of the people who are and/or who identify as having jewish heritage in the US (and needless to say, much the same is true of perhaps a similar 80% of the general non-Jewish population).

        People have lives. They have worries. They have challenges. Most say they have little time for what is euphemistically labeled “politics”. Which is a [mis]nomer for anything people may potentially disagree about and/or is bound to raise “controversy”. Naturally the israel/palestine thingy falls under the rubric of “politics”.

        While it is perfectly understandable that most people have no time for – mental or physical (or, rather, they don’t put time aside) for “politics”, I’d say that there are situations where some engagement in part of this “politics” is, in fact, essential. As in essential to individual well-being as well as the collective one.

        Jews are brought up for a very simple reason – they have an [obvious] dog in this fight. As in a big, bad, menacing dog. They cannot and should not turn away from it, because it is a threat to all the values they hold dear. The evil that israel has and is becoming is a boomerang bound to reflect on all who share any kinship with people who live in that part of the world. It may be far, but it is also near. In this case, for all too many the “personal is political” line is all too true. Just as much as the reverse “the political is personal”.

        By the same token, I’d level the same “J’accuse” at the Christians and especially christian zionists. They are very much part of the battle that’s being wage for their own souls – which, being fundamentalists, is presumably important to them. IT will not do to let them off the hook. IT will not do to let the likes Of Cruz to keep bablling incoherently about “our ally, who shares our values”.

        And frankly it won’t do for the many non-Jews who “acquired” a “dog in the fight’ by virtue of marrying into a jewish family. They too are now part of the campaign to save this country’s values, or what’s left of them.

        The real ally of the killers of Palestinians is silence. Silence because to speak up is to go to an uncomfortable place. I also happen to believe that it is our duty – all of ours – Jewish and not – to not just comfort the afflicted but to ‘afflict the comfortable” (somebody said that once, supposedly, no?). Silence of many “average” people, who nonetheless know “something’. Enough to turn away from the subject.

        I know how much criticism was directed at the Germans of the 30’s for “being silent” while bad things were raging all around them. For letting fascism take hold in their country. For ignoring what was said about “inferior races” and untermenschen. That much maligned “ordinary German” – that’s what our friends, families, colleagues and neighbors risk becoming, once history’s verdict is in.

        To counter that risk we all have to do things that are not comfortable and even risk relationships, possibly work promotions.

        I think it is especially time for the closet anti-zionists to come out into the light. Perhaps this article will help, but it should be one of many, not just a once in while occurrence.

      • annie on January 20, 2019, 7:43 pm

        not just comfort the afflicted but to ‘afflict the comfortable’

        everything, exactly! thank you danaa, you know how to say everything so well.

  3. Henry Norr on January 20, 2019, 2:23 pm

    I certainly agree that Michelle Alexander’s column is a very big deal – it’s clear, comprehensive, and above all courageous. Let’s hope it proves to be a turning point.

    That said, I do have one beef with it: her observation that Israel has “adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States” grievously downplays the problem. It’s not a question of this or that “practice” – the issue is that Israel’s whole existence – its laws, its economy, and its culture – are built on a foundation of dispossession and racism, and its “practices” are simply a reflection of that history. The “practices” framing makes it sound like a few legal or procedural reforms could cure the problem. I’m pretty sure Ms. Alexander actually knows that’s not the case.

    Again, I have tremendous admiration for what she did with this column. I just wish she hadn’t phrased that sentence that way.

    • Danaa on January 20, 2019, 3:51 pm

      the issue is that Israel’s whole existence – its laws, its economy, and its culture – are built on a foundation of dispossession and racism, and its “practices” are simply a reflection of that history.

      Well, she had to put in “some practices” caveat, didn’t she? this being a NYT column she already bit a big piece, so the “reminiscent of” is just enough of a hedge to provide some room to maneuver in the face of the sure to come onslaught.

      The day when a journalist, columnist or elected representative can come out with the full statement as you have put it here, is not yet here. But it is on the horizon, which is more than we could have said a few years back.

      Of course, for most of us here, the waiting has been and is tortuous.

  4. JWalters on January 20, 2019, 4:52 pm

    When I happened to read Michelle Alexander’s column last night I thought, “Zionism is finished.” It reminded me of Walter Cronkite’s pronouncement about the Vietnam war. The blanket of lies could no longer be sustained.

    Alexander’s presentation is brilliant in its simple clarity and thoroughness. I felt like I was reviewing the best of Mondoweiss. And I wondered what battles have been going on behind the scenes at the NYT. Surely there must have been accumulating shame from the relentless reporting on the NYT’s dishonesty.

  5. Keith on January 20, 2019, 4:52 pm

    PHIL- “The 51-year-old legal scholar and civil rights advocate begins by quoting Martin Luther King’s courageous coming out against the Vietnam War in 1967, when it could do him no good.”

    Michelle Alexander narrowly focuses on King’s opposition to the Vietnam war to support her narrow focus on Israel/Palestine. King’s opposition to Vietnam was part of an evolving awakening in regards to US militarism and empire of which Vietnam was but a part. If Alexander was honest to the King legacy, she would discuss Israel/Palestine within the current context of empire and neoliberal globalization. Israel/Palestine cannot be understood, nor the situation resolved, without reference to empire. Israel/Palestine is but one aspect of a larger problem.

    “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” (Martin Luther King) https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/martin-luther-king-jr-s-searing-antiwar-speech-fifty-years-later

    • Danaa on January 20, 2019, 7:35 pm

      Israel/Palestine is but one aspect of a larger problem.

      Keith, baby steps are perhaps better than no steps?

      The Empire – which is, as we know, has entered its declining years is a huge subject. Something you swould know better than many. It’s like an onion – the more layers you peel, the more is left to peel. Plus it’s a moving target, so naturally it’s difficult for some who don’t feel versed in foreign policy to offer serious take on the issues. The current kerfuffle with Russia is just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, looking into the Empire’s shenanigans, will almost immediately bring up the Deep State, which will in turn start an excursion into global economics.

      So the lady is a civil rights advocate who comes from the legal direction. Lets give her a little break? just for a while?

      An aside: where I/P as an aspect of the Empire is all the more complicated because in this case Israel is not even behaving as a “proper” vassal. Sometimes they seem to lead the Empire by the nose. Other times they get swatted down some, only to re-emerge all the more ascerbic and arrogant. I am not sure there has ever been – historically – a similar situation, where it is hard to draw the line between master and minion. the fact that so many neocons are of jewish background, even as neocons in general are the ones advocating brow beating the rest of the world, makes things still more complicated.

      No wonder only some dare wade into this torrid little pool of intrigue stacked upon and within intrigue, like nested Russian dolls.

      • Keith on January 21, 2019, 1:20 am

        DANAA- “Keith, baby steps are perhaps better than no steps?”

        Nonsense! Pretending that Israel is some sort of exception to American idealism and good intentions is a gross distortion of reality. Phil’s description of Alexandra as “PEP” implies that her de facto support of empire is “progressive,” Israel being the exception. Wrongo! Imperial progressivism ain’t progressive! Israel isn’t the exception, it is the rule. If one could somehow solve the Israel/Palestine question, things wouldn’t be hunky dory. King, in his final years, recognized that.

        Baby steps? We are long past the point where baby steps are even remotely appropriate. And no, the empire isn’t in decline. The empire has transmogrified into a corporate/financial empire stronger than ever. The “decline” is the decline of the nation states that once provided countervailing force to the corporations and the financial system. The harsh reality is that we are at the end of the hydrocarbon era, the driving force behind dynamic growth capitalism. We are headed towards a form of neofeudalism, assuming we avoid a terminal nuclear war and some survive the incipient environmental collapse.

        At this stage of the game, little can be done to stave off disaster. However, wallowing in pablum serves no useful purpose and is an insult to the intelligence. Alexander invokes King while ignoring the essence of his evolved critique.

      • annie on January 21, 2019, 2:20 am

        keith, this “wallowing in pablum”, “ignoring the essence” and allusion to dishonesty (“If Alexander was honest”) all make the assumption alexander sees what you see and chooses not to. what’s your evidence of that?

      • Keith on January 21, 2019, 2:59 pm

        ANNIE- “keith, this “wallowing in pablum”, “ignoring the essence” and allusion to dishonesty (“If Alexander was honest”) all make the assumption alexander sees what you see and chooses not to.”

        The image of Martin Luther King presented to us on MLK day is a sanitized version of the radicalized person he became. Endless reiterations of “I had a dream,” virtually no reference to his later view that the US was the “greatest purveyor of violence” in the world. Nor of his linking the Vietnam war with our militarized state and the inevitable negative impact this has on the fight for justice, a nation “approaching spiritual death.” This sanitized depiction of King and what he stood for is inherently dishonest even though those presenting this fraudulent version of events are not consciously lying. After all, it is easy to believe what is convenient to believe, and self-deception is the rule not the exception. Michelle Alexander invokes the image of King’s “unpopular” opposition to the Vietnam war while studiously ignoring his radical critique of the inevitable linkages between an immoral empire and an immoral society at home. Trying to “reform” empire to act more morally is a dead end.

        And I obviously disagree with Phil that this is some sort breakthrough. I view it as little more than a sop thrown to Black supporters of BDS to get them back into the Democratic tent for the 2020 election. The Dems have come to realize that they need the Black vote to win and are willing to do limited outreach to get it.

      • annie on January 22, 2019, 11:48 am

        Michelle Alexander invokes the image of King’s “unpopular” opposition to the Vietnam war while studiously ignoring his radical critique of the inevitable linkages between an immoral empire and an immoral society at home. Trying to “reform” empire to act more morally is a dead end.

        we’re talking about an article in the new york times advocating palestinian rights, not a dissertation or the history of kings life.

        And I obviously disagree with Phil that this is some sort breakthrough. I view it as little more than a sop thrown to Black supporters of BDS to get them back into the Democratic tent for the 2020 election. The Dems have come to realize that they need the Black vote to win and are willing to do limited outreach to get it.

        advocacy of palestinian rights very much threatens leaders in the dem party. but i think you may be dotting the t’s and crossing the i’s. the dnc big D “Democratic tent” doesn’t like supporters of BDS (of any color). clinton’s public anti bds stance, part of her pandering to israel, may have been one of many features that lost her the election. . the dem party is split, black people don’t vote uniformly (within the dem party or otherwise) and i am sure they are very aware they are used and abused by the party. i don’t think alexander’s article has anything to do with “sop thrown to Black supporters of BDS to get them back into the Democratic tent “. i don’t think it’s part of any election gambit.

        i posted a part of a beinart article downthread., references Tlaib “embodies a generational shift that is occurring across her party.” i suggest reading it.

      • echinococcus on January 22, 2019, 12:30 pm

        “i don’t think it’s part of any election gambit. i posted a part of a beinart article downthread., references Tlaib “embodies a generational shift that is occurring across her party.” i suggest reading it.”
        § / Isn’t that impressive! A goddam Democrat and a card-carrying Zionist recommending belief in a “generational shift” within the party of US imperialism incorporating Zionism, owned and operated by the iron hand of the ruling class, no exceptions. How believable.
        § / So you guys want us to fall for the X00th avatar of that same ridiculous hope comedy? If this is not conscious propaganda on behalf of imperialist murderers (incorporating Zionists) then it must necessarily be lamentable gullibility.
        § / Note:
        § is the carriage return sign, made necessary by the new and improved version of your web site.

      • annie on January 22, 2019, 8:49 pm

        keith, listening to king’s beyond vietnam speech now. intense. not sure i recall hearing it before. so thanks for that..

        https://soundcloud.com/thirteen-ny/martin-luther-king-jr-beyond-vietnam-speech-original-recording

        ocasio cortez referenced kings speech during her interview yesterday. around 26 minutes in.

    • RoHa on January 20, 2019, 8:29 pm

      “Israel/Palestine cannot be understood, nor the situation resolved, without reference to empire.”

      Perhaps she does not agree with that assessment, but, even if she does, she has only a column to make her most important points. She also has to take into account the possibility that her readers might not agree with your assessment, while still being open to persuasion on the issue of Palestinian rights.

      A narrow focus is the right thing to do here. She can write essays about Israel/Palestine in the context of empire and neoliberal globalization later.

      • Keith on January 21, 2019, 1:34 am

        ROHA- “A narrow focus is the right thing to do here.”

        Not when salient points are omitted. Not when the the result is a de facto distortion of reality.

        ROHA- “She can write essays about Israel/Palestine in the context of empire and neoliberal globalization later.”

        How long does one defer discussing reality? We are at the end of an era. Reality is what it is. There is no valid reason to pretend otherwise. The empire is the overarching problem. Militarism and environmental destruction are the two primary existential threats to the survival of the species. “Later” is too late.

      • marc b. on January 21, 2019, 9:49 am

        Keith
        You seem to assume that she is not subject to a multi-layered editorial process. This is positive, in my opinion, because of what it says about the NYT, not her personally. Whatever she originally wrote was not the final published product, and I assume that she wrestled with her inner editor, before she even put pen to paper, knowing who she is writing for. As for her admission of PEPiness, I don’t know what evidence there is to support that, not at least given my understanding of the term, I.e. progressive on other issues but ultimately supportive of Israel.

      • David Green on January 21, 2019, 1:01 pm

        The NYT is doing a “limited, modified hangout” re I/P. Their editorial board has no intention of supporting a just solution or challenging empire, and Alexander conforms to those guidelines. There is literally nothing to see here.

      • Keith on January 21, 2019, 3:30 pm

        MARC B- “You seem to assume that she is not subject to a multi-layered editorial process.”

        I have no idea what the editorial process was, nor do I care. I am responding to Phil’s article concerning an op-ed in the NYT which is credited to Michelle Alexander, a “…51-year-old legal scholar and civil rights advocate….” Since I am not a mind reader, I have to assume that she more-or-less agrees with what she signed her name to. I am not going to engage in fantasies about what she wanted to say but couldn’t. And PEP is Phil’s depiction, not mine.

      • marc b. on January 21, 2019, 5:29 pm

        You’re assigning personal culpability for what was omitted from a newspaper article because it doesn’t do justice to King’s legacy or put Vietnam and Palestine in historical context? I don’t know because I wouldn’t pay for it, but how long is this article? And no one has to read minds or sit on the editorial board to know that Alexander would have nothing like the final say about her work product in this context.

      • RoHa on January 21, 2019, 6:57 pm

        Keith, not everyone agrees with your Empire and Apocalypse analysis*.

        If Alexander can persuade those deniers to open up to the prospect of Palestinian rights by using a simplified or incomplete version of MLK’s position, then that is, as far as I am concerned, a Good Thing.

        If your analysis is correct, a column or two in the NYT is not likely to prevent the disaster.

        But a column or two in the NYT could help the Palestinians.

      • Bumblebye on January 21, 2019, 8:57 pm
      • Keith on January 22, 2019, 12:35 am

        MARC B- “You’re assigning personal culpability….”

        I am critiquing an op-ed which appears under Michelle Alexander’s name. Shall I be silent because I am unaware of the editorial ins and outs? You are misinterpreting a comment concerning the CONTENTS of the op-ed for a personal vilification of Michelle Alexander. I am mystified by why you are doing this. The contents are what they are. You choose to believe that Michelle Alexander is some sort of victim of NYT editorial constraints? Be my guest. The notion that I cannot critique the contents of the op-ed which appears under Michelle Alexander’s name because I am somehow unfairly critiquing the person who authored the op-ed is preposterous. This isn’t the Marc B I remember from times past.

      • Keith on January 22, 2019, 12:56 am

        ROHA- “Keith, not everyone agrees with your Empire and Apocalypse analysis*.”

        No kidding.

        ROHA- “But a column or two in the NYT could help the Palestinians.”

        Dream on. The purpose of JVP et al is to distance neo-Zionist Jews from the implications of Israel and Palestine. Not in my name, etc. There is no way that BDS, etc, is going to resolve this issue. The purpose is to distance neo-Zionist Jews from Israel and its actions, NOT to deal with the fundamental problems of empire and neo-liberal globalization. MLK preached about this 50 years ago, yet Michelle Alexander is being PRAISED for neutering his critique. For moving us back in time, not forward. This is bullshit and I am calling it out for what it is.

      • marc b. on January 22, 2019, 2:21 pm

        thanks, bumblebye. will now read what i am arguing about.

      • Mooser on January 22, 2019, 4:29 pm

        ” The purpose of JVP et al is to distance neo-Zionist Jews from the implications of Israel and Palestine”

        I’m not sure, but I think “neo-Zionism” is “Keith’s” name for intermarriage.

        Doesn’t make much sense any other way. But that’s my best guess. Let’s try Google!

        “Neo-Zionism is a right-wing, nationalistic and religious ideology that appeared in Israel following the Six-Day War in 1967 and the capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Neo-Zionists consider these lands part of Israel and advocate their settlement by Israeli Jews.”

      • Keith on January 22, 2019, 5:42 pm

        MOOSER- “I’m not sure, but I think “neo-Zionism” is “Keith’s” name for intermarriage.”

        Change neo-Zionism to American neo-Zionism to differentiate from the Israeli use of the term. The term has nothing to do with intermarriage. It refers to Zionism adapted to US multiculturism and free from reliance upon Israel as a unifying symbol. It maintains Zionism’s focus on anti-Semitism as irrational and never ending, and of non-Jews (lumped together as undifferentiated Gentiles) as the “other.”

      • Mooser on January 22, 2019, 6:42 pm

        “It refers to Zionism adapted to US multiculturism and free from reliance upon Israel as a unifying symbol…”

        Ah, I see. And towards what end? What is the neo-Zion in “neo-Zionism”?

      • Keith on January 22, 2019, 9:52 pm

        MOOSER- “And towards what end?”

        Jewish peoplehood. Zionism without Zion. I discuss this at length on my blogspot.

      • Mooser on January 23, 2019, 12:04 pm

        “Jewish peoplehood. Zionism without Zion.”

        Gonna be one heck of a struggle. “Neo-Zionism” vs. intermarriage, and a plummeting Jewish birth-rate.

        “I discuss this at length on my blogspot.”

  6. JWalters on January 20, 2019, 5:18 pm

    Breaking the Silence about Palestine is necessarily also Breaking the Silence about Israel. It invites the common sense question of how this blanket of silence, covering both the press and the Congress as this article acknowledges, was enforced. How was it coordinated, and by whom? Surely new legal protections need to be put in place to prevent this from happening again. That will require a thorough understanding of how this happened.

    • Henry Norr on January 20, 2019, 7:30 pm

      JWalters , why do you use the past tense when asking about how the “blanket of silence” (actually of lies, IMO – we hear all too much about Israel) “was enforced”? Michelle Alexander just punched a big hole in it, and many others – including Mondoweiss – have done the same over recent years, but that hardly means, unfortunately, that the “blanket” is a thing of the past!

      As to how it _is_ coordinated, and by whom, I’d suggested that there’s no mystery: the answer is Jewish American wealth and power, especially in the media, with some guidance directly from Israel and some assistance, in terms of popular support, from the Christian evangelists. I’ll just cite one example I know well: my own firing from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003, after I wrote just one column about Israel. I had turned it in a early, with a warning to my editors that it was controversial, but this was in the business section of the paper, and the editors there were naive about what we were going to face. They loved the column – didn’t at all try to water it down, in fact gave me extra space for it, got the art department to make some color art (a big deal in those days) to attract eyeballs, and so on. But the morning it appeared in print, the head of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israeli consul were in the publisher’s office screaming about it, and I’ve been told they enlisted some major advertisers to back up their threats. After two weeks of deliberation the bosses decided they couldn’t punish me, because the critics couldn’t find a single syllable that was inaccurate and because I’d been such a good boy in warning them in advance – they just directed me never to write about the issue ever again.

      But instantly it was clear that after years as a golden boy at the paper, I was suddenly on the sh*t list, and a few months later they fired me. My participation in protests against the attack on Iraq was the ostensible justification, but it was perfectly clear that it was really a result of that one column about Israel. You can bet the other columnists and reporters at the Chron and probably elsewhere absorbed the lesson my firing was intended to teach.

      • JWalters on January 20, 2019, 10:10 pm

        Henry Norr, thanks for your vivid testimony on your personal experience. I hope you get to testify to a Senate committee investigating this matter.

        I agree the blanket of silence has not yet ended, and my referring to it as being in the past was inaccurate. And I agree completely with your characterization of the silence as “lies”.

        I also agree with your assessment of who has been behind this blanket of silence and lies. On that point I would go deeper though, reflecting a lot of information that is now available online e.g. http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

        I was trying to be cautious in raising these questions because in the past MW moderators have been reluctant to allow comments that go into that area. They probably saw them as diversions from the strategic topic of the moment. I’m very glad you took my question and gave a solid whack at the topic. And glad the moderators allowed it. Thank you.

  7. gamal on January 20, 2019, 8:24 pm

    Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ms. Mallory, you have to salute the courage of these women, especially given how hysterical the backlash is always going to be, when do you think some guys are going to step up…but

    Take Robert Cohen in comparison to Farrakhan, Cohen is well meaning and can pressured one imagines by a principled argument and Farrakhan must anathematised… why is that?

    • RoHa on January 20, 2019, 8:49 pm

      “Cohen is well meaning and can pressured one imagines by a principled argument and Farrakhan must anathematised… why is that?”

      You know why.

  8. John Douglas on January 20, 2019, 8:25 pm

    Re: The Power of the Lobby. Ayanna Pressley, the new Congresswoman from Massachusetts was forced to humble herself after she quoted a line of poetry, having nothing to do with Palestine/Israel, from Alice Walker. She apologized for associating herself with Walker, and claimed ignorance of Alice Walker’s purported anti-Semitism. https://www.jcrcboston.org/news/jcrc-in-the-news/

  9. David Green on January 20, 2019, 11:47 pm

    Alexander waited until it was good and safe on the liberal-left to say the sorts of things she says in this column, which is really boilerplate. It augurs very little in terms of organized support for Palestinian rights.

  10. henspert on January 21, 2019, 8:39 am

    Profusely, I am in debt to author. The world has awaited this moment. Silence = Death I know well an HIV living person still alive. End the silence and awaken much. The world cries for it. Robert

  11. lembert on January 21, 2019, 10:26 am

    it’s kind of amazing because from where I sit, which is close to the realm of the influence of Edward Said & others, I know people who feel we have to keep quiet to maintain our careers because we do NOT support BDS. and before you ask “who?” I can tell you that I am one, and I know quite a few others, and I will not name names. From where I sit, it is far easier and more acceptable in the fields I know to speak in favor of BDS/Palestine than to criticize them (which is all I feel–I do not support Israel’s right-wing govt at all)

    • Mooser on January 21, 2019, 1:42 pm

      “I can tell you that I am one, and I know quite a few others, and I will not name names.”

      And yet, those who feel oppressed in expression by Zionism are willing to be named.

      I guess that just shows how powerful the Palestinian movement really is compared to Zionism, huh?

    • MHughes976 on January 21, 2019, 4:48 pm

      Have there been any publicised instances in which someone’s career has been damaged by opposition to BDS?

      • oldgeezer on January 21, 2019, 5:32 pm

        @MHughes

        I was wondering the same. I would like to see a couple of examples where an individual was attacked by extremely well oiled special interest groups and high profile racists with the support of the MSM

  12. Vera Gottlieb on January 21, 2019, 11:53 am

    Guilty by association…covering up crimes for the sake of financial support. Shameless. No integrity. No self-respect. No morals. No ethics.

  13. CHUCKMAN on January 21, 2019, 3:42 pm

    Of course I support this woman’s effort.

    But I can’t quite understand the New York Times here.

    When it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, it has always been a biassed newspaper.

    More than biassed, actually.

    It is the practice at the New York Times, for all stories concerning Israel, to pass them by the official Israeli censor before they are published.

    It is a shameful practice from a journalistic point of view, but it reflects what all readers of The Times know, that Israel is a topic that is not treated fairly.

    Even the typical choice of words for stories about Israel involves euphemisms and what I consider propagandistic language.

    And of course The Times is always a thumping supporter of American imperial efforts abroad, and Israel is in effect a part of those efforts.

    So, I don’t see how there can possibly be a real change here.

    I suggest this is a one-off for public relations.

  14. MHughes976 on January 21, 2019, 4:51 pm

    Ms. Alexander’s remarks are true as far as they go and I very much welcome the fact that they are becoming more acceptable. They still seem to be Liberal Zionist, concentrating on the Occupation rather than on the basic injustice of these things. But better than complete complacency.

  15. Boris on January 21, 2019, 9:51 pm

    If a Martian suddenly landed on this planet it would question borders, walls, security, and such because it would lack knowledge about history of conflicts. Alexander’s article is exactly this type of a Martian report – and numerous comments in NYT show that people recognized this.

    So, she can sing Kumbaya all she wants – people who know anything about Israeli-Arab conflict will see through her.

    As far her timing in relation to Tlaib and Omar – this should remind people of Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission” and serve as a wake-up call.

    • annie on January 21, 2019, 10:17 pm

      As far her timing in relation to Tlaib and Omar – this should remind people of Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission”

      from what i’ve read about this french novel, it implies Alexander’s op ed is in relation to islam sweeping america:

      it’s election season, and in an alliance with the Socialists, France’s new Islamic party sweeps to power―and Islamic law is instituted. Women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged, and François is offered an irresistible academic advancement―on the condition that he converts to Islam. A darkly comic masterpiece

      hyperbole much boris?

      • Boris on January 21, 2019, 10:30 pm

        it starts slowly…

      • annie on January 21, 2019, 11:22 pm

        ah yeah, slowly indeed. i can’t stop laughing… it’s just that i don’t really see this as a islamic movement. i think most likely it’s based more on democratic, demographic and generational changes:

        Rashida Tlaib And Her ‘Squad’ Of Israel Critics Own The Future
        Peter Beinart December 5, 2018

        If you want to understand the divide inside the congressional Democratic Party on Israel, consider two events from earlier this week. On Sunday night, Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, sat on stage at the Israeli-American Council, an organization funded, in part, by Sheldon Adelson.
        Alongside Schumer and Pelosi sat another IAC benefactor, Haim Saban. Saban’s name graces an AIPAC program for college students. He’s said that rather than negotiate with Iran, he “would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.”

        Pelosi reassured the IAC crowd that legislators who shared their views on Israel would head the powerful Appropriations and Foreign Affairs Committees when Democrats take control of the House next year. “You couldn’t have two stronger supporters of Israel” than Nita Lowey (the incoming Appropriations Chair) and Eliot Engel (the incoming Foreign Affairs Committee Chair), Pelosi declared. Lowey is 81 years old. Engel is 71. Pelosi herself is 78. Schumer is 68. Saban is 74.

        A day later, on Monday, newly elected Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, a 42-year old Palestinian-American from Michigan, announced that rather than join AIPAC on the Israel trip it organizes every two years for newly elected members of Congress, she would organize her own. According to The Intercept, which broke the story, the trip “will focus on issues like Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, education, access to clean water, and poverty.”

        At first glance, it seems an almost comical mismatch: the most powerful Democratic leaders in Congress versus one, newly elected, member. But appearances can be deceiving. Every year, Democrats in Washington move closer to Tlaib’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further from Engel, Lowey, Pelosi, Schumer and Saban’s.
        The primary reason is generational.
        A few years ago, the Columbia University historian Rashid Khalidi told me the American debate over Israel would shift when Palestinian-Americans “produce our lawyers.” What he meant was that Palestinian-Americans only entered the United States in significant numbers after the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act opened America’s doors to non-Europeans and the 1967 war produced a new wave of Palestinian displacement.

        Like many other immigrants, Khalidi was suggesting, first generation Palestinian-Americans often did not feel comfortable enough in the United States to participate politically. Their children, however — “our lawyers” — would.

        On college campuses, Khalidi’s prediction has been coming true for a while now. On many campuses, second generation Palestinian-Americans, eager to avenge their parents’ suffering, have led the movement to Boycott, Divest from and Sanction Israel. What makes the members of this second generation effective is their Americanism — their ability to speak fluently the language of the American left.

        They are also Americans of color, which makes them effective ambassadors to the African American, Latino, LGBT and Asian-American activists they recruit to the Palestinian cause.

        Tlaib is replicating that dynamic in Washington. She was born in 1976, around the time most Palestinian-Americans were coming to the United States. She is entering a Democratic House Caucus in which, for the first time, white men will comprise less than 40%. And she is already proving influential with other left-leaning people of color.
        On Instagram, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently posted a photo of herself, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib under the caption: “squad.”

        Were young white Democrats as supportive of the Israeli government as Lowey, Engel and Schumer, they might blunt Tlaib’s influence. But even young Jews are increasingly critical. A 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that American Jews under the age of 30 were almost as likely to say the United States was “too supportive” of Israel as “not supportive enough.” American Jews over 65, by contrast, answered “not supportive enough” by a margin of more than six to one.

        Tlaib, in other words, embodies a generational shift that is occurring across her party. In January of this year, the Pew Research Center asked Democrats whom they sympathized with more: Israel or the Palestinians. When I asked Pew’s researchers to break down the numbers by generation, the contrast was stark. Democrats over the age of 65 favor Israel by 12 points. Democrats under 34 favor the Palestinians by 11 points.
        This generational shift won’t transform the congressional Democratic Party overnight.

        and make no mistake, we’re not just starting off. the wave is upon us!

        more at the link
        > https://forward.com/opinion/415482/rashida-tlaib-and-her-squad-of-israel-critics-have-the-future-on-their/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%201207&utm_term=The%20Forward%20Today%20Monday-Friday

      • eljay on January 22, 2019, 7:50 am

        || Boris: it starts slowly… ||

        No kidding. One moment you’re minding your own business in Palestine and the next thing you know you’re either a refugee, a prisoner, a torture victim, dead or – if you’re lucky – a second-class citizen in a colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Mooser on January 22, 2019, 3:40 pm

        “it starts slowly…”

        And the next thing you know, out-marriage is at 80%.

      • annie on January 22, 2019, 7:42 pm

        omg, i can’t stop laughing.

    • Talkback on January 22, 2019, 8:36 am

      Boris: “If a Martian suddenly landed on this planet …”

      Imagine a Martian would suddenly land on this planet, claim that planeth earth was his natural homeland and every non-Martian has no right to it. Absolutely nuts, right?

    • Mooser on January 22, 2019, 6:48 pm

      Shorter “Boris”: ‘If a Martian landed on this planet, it would be good for Zionism!’

  16. Qualtrough on January 22, 2019, 12:10 am

    The bulk of the discussion here is a perfect illustration of “Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good.”

    • Mooser on January 23, 2019, 11:22 am

      ” “Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good.”

      That will be the title of my book on the Cathars.

      • oldgeezer on January 23, 2019, 11:40 am

        I was thinking on writing my book on catheters but it would seem derivative now.

  17. wondering jew on January 22, 2019, 1:18 am

    Since the Israeli election of May 96, approximately 23 years, there have been 4 prime ministers of israel: barak, sharon, olmert and netanyahu. barak and olmert engaged in extensive negotiations with the Palestinians and sharon “instead” chose a withdrawal from Gaza as his bold move, but netanyahu has turned his back on negotiations and has no bold move to present. This stubbornness or adhering to the status quo as the best of all worlds or the least bad of all worlds is not a theory that can bear the scrutiny of those who have any empathy for the Palestinians. It is feasible that the Palestinians are too stubborn on the issue of the refugees to the point that the Israeli body politick will reject any proposal that would be acceptable to the Palestinians. But even if this is so, the upshot of Israeli policy is keeping the Palestinians of the West bank without a vote without rights at the same time that there is a population next door (the settlers) with full rights. This is not the only problem of Israeli policy and the history since 47, but it is the most glaring. As such a mind or heart that allows empathy to play a role cannot turn a blind eye to the Palestinians forever, no matter Fatah’s corruption, no matter Hamas’s rhetoric (and no matter the threat of Hezbollah and Iran and Syria and no matter the general history of the region). It is natural to feel for the Palestinians and thus to come out against the ongoing policy of settlement occupation.

    In general Americans are not revolutionary in nature: I do not think that Americans would be persuaded by the refugees of the nakba themselves to try to turn back the hands of time before the expulsion of the 47 war (the flight and the closed doors after the flight). There would be a type of american pragmatism that would come into play: “hey, you’re trying to turn back history 70 years, it’s not going to happen. you have to be realistic.” but the settler occupation of the west bank (added on to the never ending siege of Gaza) turns a history lesson into a current events lesson and quite simply: if the west bankers do not get a vote, americans will see this as anti freedom. and Michelle Alexander merely is reflecting this reality and Israel needs to wake up, because US support will not last forever if the west bank and gaza are not resolved or turned into something a little less glaringly unfair.

    • Mooser on January 22, 2019, 3:42 pm

      “Yonah”, the US doesn’t have to make war on Israel. All the US has to do is support Israel less, or demand compromises for support, and the place is done. Or is Israel considering turning to the Russians, again?

    • Tonja on January 23, 2019, 4:33 am

      Nice example of hasbara in the medias Wondering Jew :
      “Barak and Olmert engaged in extensive negotiations with the Palestinians and Sharon “instead” chose a withdrawal from Gaza as his bold move” :
      Boosting Barak & Olmert as real negociators for peace (thus implying Palestinians are the ones rejecting peace” and softening Sharon move on Gaza as merely a bold move.

      You can’t tell it for what is was Wondering Jew ? it doesn’t fit the narrative ?
      “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.
      “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/1.4710372

      • wondering jew on January 23, 2019, 8:43 am

        Tonja,
        The root cause of the failure of the Olmert and Barak negotiations was (probably) the sporadic nature of the Israeli leadership and thus the offers resembled more of a “take it or leave it” attitude rather than real negotiations. Since 77 Likud has controlled the agenda and Barak and Olmert were exceptions to the Likud rule and their offers were inhibited by the fact that they did not represent the body politick of (Jewish) Israel and were soon after their offers voted out of office. I am not sure if the Palestinians could at the time of Barak and Olmert signed onto an agreement that included very meager concessions on the topic of the refugees and that is why I say “probably”. But it never reached a point of testing Palestinian negotiation positions because the Israelis involved in making offers were swiftly voted out of office.

        I respect Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal on some levels and accept its limitations on another level. The fact that he left office as a result of a coma rather than voted out (or assassinated) puts him on a different level from all the post Shamir prime ministers. In Israeli politics it was a bold move at the time. Since Sharon’s heirs are not willing to deal with the Hamas-stan that he created in anything more constructive than the siege and “mowing the lawn” reactions that have been the rule, the bold move has not created any positive momentum in any direction and is seen as purely cynical and I do not think that Sharon was interested in negotiations with Abu Mazen. But I think the move in Gaza presents him as different than the status quo reality of Netanyahu.

    • amigo on January 23, 2019, 9:44 am

      “Since the Israeli election of May 96, approximately 23 years, there have been 4 prime ministers of israel: barak, sharon, olmert and netanyahu.”. Wondering Jew aka Yonah Fredman.

      Correction Yonah.

      Since the Israeli election of may 96, approximately 23 years , there have been 4 Terrorist War Criminals elected as Prime ministers of the rogue state of Israel.

      Barak , Sharon,Olmert and Netanyahu.

      Nothing unusual about this.They are simply following in a long line of terrorist leaders of the rogue state.It is a necessary part of the job.

      • wondering jew on January 23, 2019, 10:32 am

        amigo, when you go by a pseudonym your frequent use of my name is suspect. it’s certainly extraneous.

      • amigo on January 23, 2019, 10:59 am

        “amigo, when you go by a pseudonym your frequent use of my name is suspect. it’s certainly extraneous.” Yonah Fredman aka Wondering Jew.

        Why don,t you address the subject matter I posted .Do I take it that your extraneous response means you agree with my post.

        Note!!
        irrelevant or unrelated to the subject being dealt with.

        “one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material”
        synonyms: irrelevant, immaterial, beside the point, not to the point, neither here nor there, nothing to do with it, not pertinent, not germane, not to the purpose, off the subject, unrelated, unconnected, inapposite, inappropriate, inapplicable, inconsequential, incidental, pointless, out of place, wide of the mark, peripheral, tangential

        YF aka WJ ,do not allow extraneous considerations to influence your response.

        BTW , isn,t , “Wondering Jew” a pseudonym .On second thoughts , perhaps not ,knowing you

      • oldgeezer on January 23, 2019, 11:00 am

        @wondering Jew
        “amigo, when you go by a pseudonym your frequent use of my name is suspect. it’s certainly extraneous.”

        Deflection.

        Yonah was the name you went by for years on this site and it’s how you’re known by many of us as a result

      • Mooser on January 23, 2019, 11:35 am

        “your frequent use of my name is suspect”

        But it’s such a mellifluous, melodious name. It rolls off the tongue like an old coat. Lends itself to lyrics, too, as in the traditional song:

        “Little Yonah Fredman, don’t type!
        Please don’t type little Yonah Fredman, shut up!
        First you think…then you type.
        First you think…then you type”

    • Tonja on January 24, 2019, 4:33 am

      Still trying to drown the fish.
      You try to portray Israel as a democracy where elections can have some significance (on relations with palestinians).
      But it comes a time where propaganda is not sustainable anymore. because you have to adress one particular point after another. And after a while you can’t assemble the puzzle anymore.
      Thus you contradict yourself many times in your post :

      “The root cause of the failure of the Olmert and Barak negotiations…thus the offers resembled more of a “take it or leave it” attitude rather than real negotiations”
      Please make up your mind : negociations or not negociations ?

      Here some help for you to answer :
      To quote Ben Ami, who was a leading member of the Israeli negotiation team, in 2001 : says he would have rejected Camp David if he were a Palestinian”
      https://www.democracynow.org/2006/2/14/fmr_israeli_foreign_minister_if_i

      —————————————
      “But I think the move in Gaza presents him (Sharon) as different than the status quo reality of Netanyahu” versus
      “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.
      Please tell me how Netanyahu status quo is any different than Sharon’s status quo ?

      To quote Moshe Dayan in 1976:
      “I can tell you with absolute confidence, the delegation that came to persuade Eshkol to take the heights was not thinking of these things. They were thinking about the heights’ land. Listen, I’m a farmer, too. After all, I’m from Nahalal, not from Tel Aviv, and I know about it. I saw them, and I spoke to them. They didn’t even try to hide their greed for that land.”
      https://mondoweiss.net/2018/11/occupied-expansionist-wishlist/

      And relying on Shamir in 1991.. Shamir you remember ? One who was there from the very beginning (before the creation of the state) and who started his political career in 1969 in Begin’s Herut
      When Israel and the Palestinians embarked upon the famous ‘peace process’ in Madrid in 1991, Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir coined the ‘teaspoon policy’: endless negotiating sessions…but no agreement would ever be reached.
      https://mondoweiss.net/2017/03/palestinian-fiction-zionists/

      Facts are, and you know it, the politic of the israeli governments have been consistent from the very begining; starting with Ben Gurion’s Mapai (evolving into Labor) to Begin’s Herut (evolving in Likud/Kadima..); both zionist ideology bent on total dispossession of palestinian wealth using endless “negociations, peace process, call it the way you want,” masquerade in order to gain time to achieve their goal while portraying as bent on peace.

      Sharon’s Status quo and Netanyahu’s status quo are the same, just have the very same goal, only pretending to be different political moves.

      To quote Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina in The Leopard (Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa) :
      “everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”)

  18. Ossinev on January 22, 2019, 6:04 pm

    Speaking about “progressives” fearing for their careers. It appears to be a Zionist disease spread well beyond the USA. This most recent blog by Norman Finklestein suggests that it has reached Erin`s Green Isle:
    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2019/01/22/hello-darkness-my-old-friend-how-the-president-of-trinity-university-philosophical-society-rectified-an-error/

    Interesting comment on her candidature manifesto:
    “- To secure guests that may be beyond our budget, I will utilise our relations with institutions such as Oxford,
    Cambridge and UCD, and RTE and the Ray Darcy Show to explore the possibility of co-hosting guests”

    Perhaps Amigo can shed some further light on the evasive Sorcha Ryder ?

    • amigo on January 22, 2019, 8:19 pm

      0ssinev , I did a little digging around but cannot come up with much at this point.She is both evasive and elusive. Couldn,t find any overt anti Palestinian or pro Israel comments on the record and the Philosophical society she heads up is not too easy to get info on outside of it being the oldest debating society in Ireland.

      This Ryder person would appear to have been behind a successful effort by zionists to put down a motion by Palestinian activists at Trinity to BDS Israel , mid last year.

      No doubt , Ireland,s top Zionist ,Alan Shatter , also Ireland,s ex Minister of Defence and Justice –yup , in the antisemitic capital of the world , aided by his co conspirator –Professor Tom Cooney , with back up from the folks at the Israeli embassy in Dublin, were the main movers .

      I will search some more later and get back to you.

    • amigo on January 22, 2019, 8:53 pm

      0ssinev, This is her.

      https://ie.linkedin.com/in/sorcha-ryder-a4311a136

      Customer care at Mac Donalds .If you are on linkedin you can find out more.

  19. Ossinev on January 23, 2019, 7:31 am

    Amigo
    Many thanks for your research and comments. On the face of it a sign perhaps of Zionist infestation in TCD Academia ! Would love to know the background to this curious little saga.Doesn`t appear to have surfaced in Irish MSM (as yet ?).

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