I was disgusted to see that a high-profile Zionist like Michael Lerner would be on the list of people to speak at Muhammed Ali’s funeral, given that Ali himself had expressed strong support for freedom and justice for Palestine. I understand that it was Lerner’s good anti-Vietnam War work that caused Ali to think well of him, but Lerner has spent his life working for racism, to keep “the Jewish state” Jewish, to ensure that Jewish supremacy would always exist there.
If David Duke suddenly said “we must respect Black people”, would the progressive world fall at his feet, shower him with great praise and call him a lovely man? Especially if he only said it because he realized that his and his followers’ own racism had backed them into a corner that meant they could no longer continue their racism?
Lerner was front and center in the opposition to the work for Palestinian freedom in the Bay Area '84 to 2000 and for long after I left - to the present day. You will always find him when they need someone from the Jewish community to take a "moral" stand against the occupation, or even to "be kind to Palestinians". You will never find him where the same community is being asked to take a stand against all racism - he stands only against the kind that doesn't affect Jewish supremacy in Israel.
The new approach by Israel supporters, of whom Lerner is typical, is to take what sounds like a “principled stand” to “end the occupation” meaning West Bank and Gaza, as if that occupation were the problem rather than just a symptom. You see this approach everywhere now, and the kudos that approach is getting is very disturbing, for that occupation is only a symptom.
My god, he gets praise for calling for respect for Palestinian people? As though that were such a brave thing to call for? Are you kidding me?
Surely everyone knows that “ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza” leaves apartheid alive and well inside ’48 Israel. There is no support amongst Lerner and his ilk for Right of Return - a primary tenet of BDS - and certainly NO talk about equal rights throughout the land!
Apologies if this is a double-post. had a glitch just as I Posted, so here it is, just in case:
Such a disappointment that this very valuable roundtable discussion is now devolving into naval gazing, hair-splitting examination of "anti-semitism" vs "racism".
This is such a common pattern - in almost 35 years of doing Palestine solidarity work, I can't tell you how many times the focus has slipped off of Palestine and what we can do about it, to "we have to spend more time talking about sensitivities, definitions, hurt feelings, you-must-understand", "Jews and Arabs/Muslims must dialogue", "just what IS anti-semitism?" and on and on. ANYTHING to stop working to end the suffering in Palestine and help bring justice there.
I don't care what you call it: "anti-semitism" or "racism". Can we stop this absurd diddling and get back to work!!!!!!! There's so much to do. We have to build or re-build bridges within our own movement, we have to keep the communication lines open to Palestinians working in Palestine, get back to educating our own communities about the issue and so much more.
But enough already, PLEASE, with definitions of words.
Can we PLEASE listen to what Danaa said? (Danaa August 17, 2015, 5:11 pm
"...having looked through some of the more recent comments, as well as some older ones ... it became very noticeable that the conversation came to revolve around the usual canard of ‘anti-semitism”)
Why are we so easily distracted when it comes to Palestine? Repeating from my first post here at the beginning: there is a reason they focused on "anti-semitism". It's the one thing guaranteed to stop us all in our tracks and spend endless hours navel-gazing and beating our breasts.
Another such attempt was the call for "dialogue" in the early 90's, when it was becoming clear the movement for Palestinian freedom and equal rights was growing. All of a sudden, the disruption and re-direction was "dialogue", which stopped most of the work for a couple of years and marginalized all of us who were not Jewish or Muslim or Arab, before folks began to understand that stopping the work was the reason for the disruption, not dialogue.
Again, I say, this is NOT about racism, and it never was. It's what she exposed in her book. Shouldn't we all be talking about that, about its implications, what it means to all of us and particularly to Palestine, how to acknowledge it, how share the information, how to get around it, how to stop it?
Also, again (since my first post is lost in the dusty archives here), it’s a slippery slope. No sane person wants to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, so we avoid talking about things that might generate a similar anger again. And yet the things being done by Israel in the name of Jews everywhere are exactly the things that generate deep anger and contempt against nations that do such things and against people who are perceived to support them. It is those actions, that state in its current configuration, that must end, not the work of people exposing them.
As to the two organizations at the bottom of this, I'm beginning to suspect that each has been damaged badly by their own actions. Isn't it indicative of their arrogance and blind focus on "anti-semitism" that no one in those two groups even considered that their refusal to deal with their own racism could come back to devastate them? But my fear is, they will be like the Phoenix and rise from the ashes. They still have a lot of money and a lot of people who believe their hypocritical rants, and they have phony self-righteousness working for them.
Joan Hitchcock - your comment with questions is an odd one. You base your questions to me on positions I never took and never addressed, and then, by tone and inflection, paste me for them. Are you familiar with straw men arguments? Let's not do that here.
Atzmon? We're talking here about the JVP/USC attack on Alison Weir and IAK, not Atzmon. My only reference to him was to say that he was far from the first to expose the lethal level of power Israel/American Jewish community holds over American policy, academia, and more. There is simply too much documented research out there to deny that, so let's move on.
That pretty much takes care of all your questions, though I would like to speak for a moment about "disavowel".
- The attack began with an accusation that Weir was supporting racism by appearing on un-pc shows and before we knew it, it turned into a condemnation of her for not speaking out against racism.
- the very first organizational piece she wrote was a condemnation of anti-semitism!
- Neither JVP not USC will condemn the very racism that is the source of the suffering: Zionism. They name two others, slam her for one, and completely overlook the fact that they are apparently fine with Zionism. THIS is the elephant in the living room and one neither organization has chosen to explain. It is one of the most critical aspects of this unconscionable and deliberately destructive attack. The other is the deliberate ignoring of the real reason for the attack: her book and the information she exposed to the general public.
- Both organizations regularly appear on right wing shows, thereby "giving legitimacy to those views", as Weir has been accused of doing. Is it even possible that you and they don't see the contradiction and the hypocrisy here?
- Our work is SUPPOSED to be Palestine solidarity work, but here we are, spending weeks and hours and unimaginable energy talking about not Palestine, but Israel, Jews, Zionism, in a disgusting eternal navel gazing exercise that functions to achieve EXACTLY what the old call for "dialogue" once did - stop the work, marginalize people, and talk about everything but Palestine.
I repeat: the attack was not about racism. It is about the exposure of a level of power the American people have every right to know about, in spite of the fact that it is forbidden in public conversation. That's the old slippery slope.
I also repeat from my earlier comment: No sane person wants to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, so we avoid talking about things that might generate a similar anger again. And yet the things being done by Israel in the name of Jews everywhere are exactly the things that generate deep anger and contempt against nations that do such things and against people who are perceived to support them. It is those actions, that state in its current configuration, that must end, not the work of people exposing them.
I've been doing this work far too long not to recognize the attack on Weir for what it is - to telegraph a message of absolute censorship and destruction should others want to expose what she has exposed to the general public eye and a way to split, decimate, and neutralize the solidarity movement at a point it is finally gaining ground .
This attack is not about racism and never was. If racism were the concern of JVP and US Campaign, they would have condemned ALL racism. Instead they make self-righteous statements of opposition to racism and then name TWO only: anti-semitism and Islamophobia, while the racism that is at the core of this struggle, Zionism, is not even hinted at. What hypocrisy, and it is this that gives the lie to their purported reasons for their attack on Weir.
One of the most puzzling aspects of JVP's and Campaign's justification of this attack on Alison is their statement that she has "legitimized" racism by appearing on certain shows (Joseph Munyer of USC said exactly that on FB posts), yet the organizations refuse to see the contradiction and hypocrisy when they work with Zionist groups, thereby giving "legitimacy" to the racism of Zionism - remembering that across the globe, Zionism is recognized as racism. It IS, on its face, racism.
The reason for the attack against Alison is that she exposed Jewish power in the US, the rather stunning power that resulted in the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state. She was certainly not the first to do that - it's been written about for years (long before Atzmon), including extensively in the Daily Forward for decades - but she put it into easily readable form available to the public and substantiated and confirmed it with solid research and references. This is not allowed. It is "beyond thinkable thought", as Chomsky says.
The Jewish community speaks with pride about it's presence and influence in many areas, as would any oppressed or formerly oppressed group. That in itself is not a bad thing, but to destroy a movement because someone outside that community said the very same thing, is evil. The hypocrisy and contradictions in this attack are almost beyond comprehension.
I also believe concern about that revelation is why Chomsky and Bennis, so good on nearly everything else, refuse to recognize the power of the Lobby in the face of all evidence to the contrary. They, and certainly we, are all concerned about a real rise in anti-Jewish racism.
It's a very slippery slope, isn't it? No sane person wants to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, so we avoid talking about things that might generate a similar anger again. And yet the things being done by Israel in the name of Jews everywhere are exactly the things that generate deep anger and contempt against nations that do such things and against people who are perceived to support them. It is those actions, that state in its current configuration, that must end, not the work of people exposing them.
As long as that state insists that it is the state for all Jews, and that it speaks for all Jews, all Jews get tarred with the ugliness, even my Jewish husband who has been in the struggle for Palestinian freedom longer than I have - almost 35 years.
For Jewish groups, or Jewish-led groups, to split the movement (one simply cannot deny that is what has happened, and what was surely expected to happen) is so transparent and completely unacceptable that there is almost nothing more to say on it.
I have been saying for years that there would come a time when our erstwhile allies split away from us, for many are not in the struggle for Palestine - they are in it for Israel. They want to end the occupation because it is clearly harmful to Israel. They believe that once the occupation and siege are ended, Israel can continue to live as an apartheid state and the world will leave them alone.
After we lose those folks, I thought, the next to go will be those who are afraid of the exposures needed to finally get to justice. Perhaps I had the timing backward, for this is where we are now. It will take great courage on all our parts to lay out the reality and to demand a change, to demand that power be used for justice, not for continuing apartheid and a false sense of security.
Just for the record, I'm thoroughly familiar with the arguments against racism, about ends and means, about the need to fight racism wherever we find it and have been a significant part of that struggle all my life. That is NOT what this is about, and the very people saying it is are themselves working with racists.