A unique but critical conversation on Israel and Palestine is taking place outside the traditional discourse of Israeli colonialism and the Palestinian quest for liberation. It is an awkward and difficult – but overdue – discussion concerning American Jews’ relation to Israel and their commitment to its Zionist ideology.
For many years, Israel has conveniently dubbed Jews who do not support Israel, or worse, advocate Palestinian freedom, as ‘self-hating Jews’. This term, designated to describe dissident anti-Zionist Jews, is similar to the accusation of ‘antisemitism’ made against non-Jews, which includes Semitic Arabs, for daring to criticize Israel. This approach, however, is no longer as effective as it once was.
Recent years have unequivocally demonstrated that there is a quiet anti-Israel rebellion within the American Jewish community. This rebellion has been brewing for long, but only fairly recently did numbers begin reflecting the rise of a new phenomenon where US Jews, especially younger generations, are openly dissenting from the typical Jewish conformity on Israel and supposedly undying love for Zionism.
In the last decade or so, this new reality has sounded the alarm within various Zionist institutions, whether in the US or in Israel itself.
Several opinion polls and surveys are all pointing to an inescapable conclusion that the emotional and political rapport between Israel and US Jews is rapidly weakening. A poll published by the Laszlo Strategies for Jerusalem U in August 2013, for example, concluded that 87 percent of American Jews over the age of 50 strongly agreed that “caring about Israel is a very important part of my being Jewish,” while only 66 percent of young Jews between the ages of 18 to 29 felt the same.
Other polls reached similar conclusions, where the number of young Jews strongly supportive of Israel continues to decline. A particularly telling and important survey was that of the American Jewish Committee in June 2018. That was the time when the US-Israeli alliance reached its zenith under the administrations of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. Though 77 percent of all Israelis approved of the US government’s handling of US-Israeli relations, only 34 percent of American Jews did. In fact, 57 percent of US Jews outright disapproved of Trump’s policies, which practically granted Israel all of its demands and wishes.
The downward trajectory continued unabated. A May 2021 Pew research indicated that one in five US Jews believes that the US is “too supportive of Israel”. Those who hold such a belief, 22 percent of the US Jewish population, have doubled in number since an earlier poll released in 2013.
Data gathering for the above poll, though released during the deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza (May 10-21), was, in fact, conducted in 2019 and 2020. The numbers of unsupportive US Jews must have risen since then, as if there is a clear correlation between Israeli wars resulting in massive civilian casualties, and the ongoing split between US Jews and Israel.
Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for public engagement at the New Israel Fund, told Rolling Stone magazine that she sees a “noticeable shift in American perception” on Palestine and Israel since the deadly Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, a war that killed over 2,200 Palestinians. For Lenkinski, US Jewish perception should follow an ethical paradigm. “It’s a moral issue. It’s right or wrong,” she said.
Similar sentiments emerged after the May 2021 war, where over 260 Palestinians were killed. In a recent article, American Jewish writer, Marisa Kabas, explains the dilemma felt by many in the US Jewish community regarding Israel. “Because the conflict has so often been boiled down to a binary – you either support Israel or you support its destruction – for many of us it felt like a betrayal to even consider the other side.” Because of the likes of Kabas and Lenkinski and numerous others, the ‘other side’ is finally visible, resulting in the obvious shift in American Jewish perception of and relations to Israel.
While more space for dissenting US Jews is opening up, the discussion in Israel remains confined and is hardly concerned with ethics and morality.
Recently, the understanding that Israel is losing the support of US Jews has been accepted by the country’s main political parties, with disagreement largely focused on who is to blame for this seismic shift. Netanyahu was often held responsible for making Israel a partisan American political issue through his alliance with Trump and the Republican Party, at the expense of Israel’s relation with the Democrats.
However, the Netanyahu-Trump love affair was not as uncomplicated as Netanyahu’s critics would like to believe. Indeed, the idea of Israel has changed in American society. The notion that Israel is a supposedly vulnerable little state, facing existential threats by Arab enemies, which flourished in the past, has become almost entirely irrelevant. The new concept of Israel, which is Tel Aviv’s main selling point in America, is that of a biblical Israel, a place of prophecies and spiritual salvation, which appeals mostly to right-wing Evangelical Christian groups. Young US Jews, many of whom support the Black Lives Matter and even the Palestinian boycott movements, have little in common with Israel’s zealot American backers.
Israel is now at a crossroads. It can only win back the support of US Jews if it behaves in such a way that is consistent with their moral frame of reference. Hence, it would have to end its military occupation, dismantle its apartheid regime and reverse its racist laws. Specifically, abandon Zionism altogether, or abandon US Jews in favor of complete reliance on the Evangelicals. In fact, some top Israeli officials are already advocating the latter.
On May 9, former Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, argued that, since Evangelical Christians are the “backbone of Israel’s support in the United States”, Israel should prioritize their “passionate and unequivocal” backing of Israel over American Jews who are “disproportionately among our critics.”
If Israel officially opts for this choice, perhaps with no other viable option, then a breakdown between Israel and US Jews becomes inevitable. As far as justice and freedom for the Palestinian people are concerned, that would be a good thing.
Ben & Jerry’s decision to suspend its operations in the occupied Palestinian West Bank is an event that is proving critical to Palestinian efforts, which ultimately aim at holding Israel accountable for its military occupation, apartheid and war crimes.
By responding to the Palestinian call for boycotting apartheid Israel, the ice cream giant has delivered a blow to Israel’s attempts at criminalizing and, ultimately, ending the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
What differentiates Ben & Jerry’s decision to abandon the ever-growing market of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank from previous decisions by other international corporations is the fact that the ice cream company has made it clear that its move was morally motivated. Indeed, Ben & Jerry’s did not attempt to mask or delude their decision in any way. “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” a statement by the Vermont, US-based company read on July 19.
Expectedly, the Israeli government was infuriated by the decision, especially as it comes after years of a well-funded, state-sponsored, global campaign to discredit, demonize and altogether outlaw the BDS movement and any similar initiatives that aimed at boycotting Israel.
For years, the Israeli government has viewed the boycott movement as a real, tangible threat. Some Israeli officials went as far as perceiving the ‘delegitimization’ resulting from the boycott campaign as the primary threat faced by Israel at the present time. Well attended conferences were held in Las Vegas, Brussels, Jerusalem and elsewhere, hundreds of millions of dollars raised, fiery speeches delivered, while politicians and ‘philanthropists’ lined up at many occasions, vowing their undying allegiance to Israel and accusing anyone who dare criticize the ‘Jewish State’ as ‘antisemitic’.
However, Israel’s biggest challenge was, and remains, its near complete reliance on the support of self-serving politicians. True, those ‘friends of Israel’ can be quite helpful in formulating laws that, for example, falsely equate between criticizing Israel and antisemitism, or render the act of boycott illegal, and so on. In fact, many US states and European parliaments have bowed down to Israeli pressure to criminalize the BDS movement and its supporters, whether in the realm of business or even at the level of civil society and individuals. All of this is amounting to very little.
Additionally, Israel doubled down on its attempts to control the narrative in mainstream media, in academia and wherever the anti-Israeli occupation debate proved to be consequential. Through a Kafkaesque, and often bizarre logic, Israel and its supporters deliberately misinterpreted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, applying it at every platform where criticism of Israel or its Zionist ideology is found. The reckless Israeli dialectics was, sadly – albeit predictably – embraced by many of Israel’s Western benefactors, including US, Canada and Italy, among others.
Yet, none of this has ended or even slowed down the momentum of the Palestinian boycott movement. This fact should hardly come as a surprise, for boycott movements are fundamentally designed to circumvent governmental control and to place pressure on politicians, state and corporate apparatuses, so that they may heed the calls of civil society. Thus, the more Israel attempts to use its allies to illegalize, delegitimize and suppress dissent, the more it actually fuels it.
The above is the secret of the BDS success and Israel’s very Achilles’ heel. By ignoring the boycott campaign, the movement grows exponentially; and by fighting it, using traditional means and predictable language, it grows even faster.
In order to appreciate Tel Aviv’s unsolvable quandary, just marvel at this odd response, which was offered by top Israeli officials in response to Ben & Jerry’s decision. Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, warned the British company that acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, of “severe consequences”, threatening that Israel will take “strong action”, most likely referring to legal action.
But what was truly strange was the language used by Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, who accused Ben & Jerry’s of participating in “a new form of terrorism”, namely, “economic terrorism”. On July 21, Herzog vowed to fight “this boycott and terrorism in any form”.
Note how the Israeli response to the continued success of the Palestinian boycott movement remains confined in terms of options and language. Yet on the legal front, most attempts at indicting BDS activists have repeatedly failed, as the recent court rulings in Washington demonstrate. On the other hand, the act of accusing an ice cream company of ‘terrorism’ deserves some serious examination.
Historically, Israel has situated its anti-Palestinian propaganda war within a handful of redundant terminology, predicated on the claim that Israel is a Jewish and democratic State, the security and very existence of which is constantly being threatened by terrorists and undermined by anti-Semites.
The above mantra may have succeeded in shielding Israel from criticism and tarnishing Israel’s victims, the Palestinians. However, it is no longer a guarantor of international sympathy and solidarity. Not only is the Palestinian struggle for freedom gaining global traction, but the pro-Israeli discourse is finally discovering its limitations. By calling an ice cream company ‘terrorist’ for simply adhering to international law, Herzog has revealed the growing lack of credibility and absurdity of the official Israeli language.
But this is not the end of Israel’s problems. Regardless of whether they are branded successful or unsuccessful, all BDS campaigns are equally beneficial in the sense that each campaign kickstarts a conversation that often goes global, as we have seen repeatedly in the past. Airbnb, G4S, and SodaStream, are but a few of many such examples. Any global debate on Israel’s military occupation and apartheid is a BDS success story.
That said, there is one strategy that will surely end the BDS campaign, and that is ending the Israeli occupation, dismantling the racial system of apartheid and giving Palestinians their freedom as enshrined and protected by international law. Alas, this is the only strategy that Israeli officials are yet to consider.
The Omar al-Mukhtar neighborhood of Gaza City after it was pounded by Israeli airstrikes, 12 May. Mohammed ZaanounActiveStills
The world needs to know the horrendous dimensions of the ongoing Palestinian Genocide, and of the gross Apartheid Israeli maltreatment of 5.2 million Occupied Palestinians and in particular of the 2 million inmates of the blockaded and bombed Gaza Concentration Camp. A numbers-based summary of these ongoing atrocities will strengthen global Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the intolerable obscenity of Apartheid Israel and its racist supporters.
(A). Background of the ongoing Palestinian Genocide.
Gaza per se dates back over 3,000 years and “Palestine” and related terms (e.g. “Falastina”) come from the Philistine inhabitants of circa 1,200 BCE.
In 1880 90% of the Palestinian population were Muslims and about 10% were Christians, and there were about 25,000 Jews (about 50% immigrants).
The ongoing Palestinian Genocide has been associated with 2.2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, and from imposed deprivation, 2.1 million, since the British invasion of the Middle East in 1914 for oil and imperial hegemony – in contrast, 4,000 Zionists killed by Palestinians since 1920. Christians are only 1% of the Palestine population today.
The 1916 Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement divided the formerly Ottoman-ruled Middle East between the UK and France. WW1-related Palestinian Famine (0.1 million deaths).
The Australian Light Horse Charge at Beersheba (31 October 1917) was pivotal to the defeat of the Turks. The UK Balfour Declaration giving Semitic Palestine to the non-Semitic and genocidally racist Zionists was issued 2 days later (2 November 1917) in a quid pro quo connected with getting Zionist Jewish Communists to try to keep Russia in the war against Germany.
On 10 December 1918, the Surafend Massacre of about 100 Palestinian men and boys was carried out by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers.
Overt Jewish immigration was stopped by the British 1939 White Paper designed to pacify British Muslim subjects during WW2. Circa 1944 the British War Cabinet secretly decided to Partition both Palestine and India, supporting European Zionists and Indian Muslims, respectively. Racist mass murderer and pro-Zionist Winston Churchill hated Indians (“They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”), hated Indigenous Palestinians, Indigenous people of North America, and Indigenous Australians (“I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia [i.e. Australian aborigines]. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” Source.), and hid the WW2 Bengali Holocaust for which he was responsible (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death for strategic reasons by the British with Australian complicity).
1948, Deir Yassin Massacre (107 killed, village razed); the Nakba or Catastrophe (800,000 Palestinians expelled, 500 villages emptied); Zionists seized 78% of Palestine for their settler colonial state.
1966, Palestinians in Israel given Israeli citizenship, albeit qualified under race-based laws (presently over 60 such laws).
1967, a now nuclear-armed Apartheid Israel attacked all its neighbours and seized territory from all of them, including the Sinai (Egypt), Shebaa Farms (Lebanon), the Golan Heights (Syria) and 100% of Palestine; 400,000 Arabs expelled in the Naksa (Setback). US Alliance-backed Apartheid Israel presently has 90-400 nuclear weapons as well as biological weapons, chemical weapons and delivery systems.
30 March 1976, First Land Day protesting Israeli land theft (6 Palestinians killed, 100 wounded and hundreds arrested).
1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre (3,500 Palestinians killed by Lebanese Phalangists in Israeli-occupied West Beirut.
2002, West Bank Massacres, notably in Jenin, with 497 Palestinians killed, 1,447 wounded, and 7,000 imprisoned (30 Israelis killed, 127 wounded).
2018 Apartheid Israeli nation state law passed that officially makes Palestinian Israelis Third Class citizens (presently subject to over 60 race-based laws).
2020 Apartheid Israeli parliament rejects equality for all Israeli citizens.
2021, over 90% of Palestine ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinians; Tom Pickering, former US Ambassador to Israel and the UN, says Israel would concede only 4.4% of Palestine for a Palestinians State in a “2-state solution”, and predicts future complete Palestinian removal from the West Bank and Gaza to elsewhere in the world (a “no state solution”).
Apartheid Israel rules all of a 90% ethnically cleansed Palestine (plus ethnically cleansed parts of Syria and Lebanon) and of its 14.4 million Subjects, 6.8 million (47.2%) are Jewish Israelis, 0.4 million (2.8%) are non-Jews and non-Arabs, 2.0 million (13.9%) are Palestinian Israelis, and 5.2 million (36.1%) are Occupied Palestinians with zero human rights. Despite a century of a Palestinian Genocide involving killing, deprivation and repeated mass expulsions, 7.2 million Indigenous Palestinians still represent 50% of the Subjects of Apartheid Israel in Palestine, but over 72% of the Indigenous Palestinian Subjects of Apartheid Israel are excluded from voting for the government ruling them i.e. are subject to egregious Apartheid.
(B). Geography and Demographics of Gaza.
Area 360 square kilometres.
Population 2.0 million (5.2 million Occupied Palestinians in Gaza plus the West Bank).
Population density 5,556 people per square kilometre.
Gaza is the 3rd most densely populated entity in the world.
65 years and over: 2.68% (male 27,248/female 24,191) (2020 estimates).
About 50% are children and about 75% women and children.
(C). Administration of Gaza.
In 2006 the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) won a majority in the democratic Palestinian Legislative Council elections held under Israeli guns – Hamas won a plurality of 42.9% of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%). The Hamas representatives were variously killed, imprisoned or exiled to the Gaza Concentration Camp or elsewhere by the genocidally racist, nuclear terrorist, state terrorist and neo-Nazi Israelis who, together with their pro-Apartheid US Alliance backers, declared Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
Land borders are hermetically sealed by Apartheid Israel and Israeli-beholden Egypt; air, sea and land are violently controlled by Israeli drones, warplanes, navy and army.
Maritime rights are illegally appropriated by serial war criminal Apartheid Israel.
A wide range of decent people from scholars and human rights activists to religious and political leaders have referred to Gaza as ”an open air prison” ,“the Gaza Concentration Camp”, and indeed as the world’s biggest open air prison and concentration camp.
5.2 million Occupied Palestinians, 50% children and 75% women and children, are highly abusively and indefinitely confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million) or to West Bank ghettoes (3.2 million) without charge or trial but for the asserted “crime” of being Indigenous Palestinians living on part of the land continuously inhabited by their forebears for thousands of years.
“Coronavirus closure” is applied by Apartheid Israel on top of other draconian restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza.
(D). Employment in Gaza.
Unemployment rate 43.1% .
Total employed people 280,000 (end 2019) , 222,000 (end 2020).
Average monthly wage $207 versus $323 (West Bank).
In the last 2 decades Gaza rockets have killed about 40 Israelis but Israeli reprisals have killed over 4,600 Gazans, an over 100-fold disproportionality.
In the last 2 decades Israelis have murdered about 2,600 Israelis but Apartheid Israel has not killed 100 x 2,600 = 260,000 Israelis in response.
On average in the last 20 years, Apartheid Israel has violently killed about 500 Occupied Palestinians each year (10,000 in total) and killed a further 4,000 Occupied Palestinians annually through imposed deprivation (80,000 in total)
“Coronavirus closure” is presently applied to Gaza by Apartheid Israel on top of other draconian restrictions by way of collective punishment.
(F). Fourth Geneva Convention, GDP, infant mortality, avoidable mortality, health, trauma, food, water, electricity, and homelessness in Gaza.
Apartheid Israel grossly violates Articles 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War) that unequivocally demand that an Occupier must supply life-sustaining food and medical services to its Conquered Subjects “to the fullest extent of the means available to it”.
Apartheid Israel violates 15 International Law Conventions, most notably the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Genocide Convention.
GDP per capita $1,500 for Gaza ($3,240 for Occupied Palestine and $46,400 for Apartheid Israel).
Poverty kills: annual under-5 infant deaths 1,100 in Gaza (2,800 for Occupied Palestinians, 500 for Apartheid Israel).
Poverty kills: annual avoidable deaths from deprivation 1,500 in Gaza (3,900 for Occupied Palestinians and essentially zero for Apartheid Israel).
Apartheid Israel deliberately restricts Gaza imports to carefully estimated bare survivability needs.
Apartheid Israel stops many asserted “dual function” goods including critical medical supplies from getting into Gaza.
Economic growth has declined and gone negative in the last 25 years and unemployment has increased.
Occupied Palestinians in Gaza live in dire poverty.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): “At least 90 percent of Gaza residents are in need of mental health support and treatment because of the repeated military attacks and devastating humanitarian conditions in the Strip”.
Tens of thousands with life-changing permanent disabilities from Israel violence.
Hospitals, schools, power and water infrastructure bombed and barely functioning.
Electricity supplies intermittent and Gaza’s electricity is normally supplied by its sole diesel power plant (nominal rating 60-140 MW) plus 125 MW (from Israel) and 27 MW (from Egypt) for about 300 MW total (Apartheid Israel has 16,250 MW power capacity or 54 times more than Gaza).
Apartheid Israel controls water supply, notably that from the largely West Bank-based Mountain Aquifer with 9.1 million Israelis getting 87% of Mountain Aquifer water whereas 5.2 million Occupied Palestinians get a mere 13%. WHO minimum daily per capita water allocation is 100 litres, Israelis get 240-300 litres and West Bank Palestinians get 73 litres; Israelis have deliberately demolished 50 water extraction facilities in the West Bank. Israeli bombing has destroyed water and sewerage infrastructure in the Gaza Concentration Camp to the point that it is approaching unliveable conditions.
Homelessness – Israeli bombing in 1 week alone in 2021 made 58,000 Gazans homeless.
(G). Covid-19, Occupied Palestinians and Gaza.
Apartheid Israel leads the world in Covid-19 vaccination for its Israeli Subjects but refuses to vaccinate its 5.2 million Occupied Palestinian Subjects except for 5,000 front-line medical workers and 120,000 Occupied Palestinians who work in Israel or in illegal West Bank settlement as cheap “captive labour”.
Ventilators per million (/M) people are 504/M (Occupier US), 173/M (Occupier Australia) and 407/M (Occupier Apartheid Israel) versus 8/M (Occupied Afghanistan), 38/M (Occupied Palestine) and 13/M (Gaza Concentration Camp).
Gaza’s sole Covid-19 testing laboratory was damaged by Israeli bombing; Apartheid Israel blocked Russian Sputnik V vaccine entry to Gaza but 20,000 doses entered via Egypt; fewer than 2% of Gazans have been fully vaccinated; with an Apartheid Israeli-crippled hospital system, densely populated Gaza faces an Apartheid Israeli-imposed Covid-19 catastrophe.
As of early July 2021 many Occupied Palestinians had died (686 Covid-19 deaths per million of population; 3,565 deaths or about 1% of 314,000 cases) but notional extrapolation to a maximum of 5.2 million cases would indicate that Apartheid Israel has deliberate intent to kill about 50,000 Occupied Palestinians.
(H). Apartheid Israeli “intent to destroy” and ongoing Palestinian Genocide.
Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention defines “genocide “ as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.
Genocide experts describe an ongoing Palestinian Genocide. Thus Professor Francis Boyle (University of Illinois) re the Palestinian Genocide (2013): “The Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, under which a government can be guilty of genocide even if it intends to destroy a mere “part” of the group”.
90% of Palestine has been ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinians with Zionists adumbrating 95% and even ultimately 100% ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza.
Zionist leaders from Theodor Herzl to Benjamin Netanyahu have explicitly advocated removal of the Palestinians from Palestine.
Of 15 million Palestinians today, 8 million are forcibly Exiled from their homeland and 7 million Indigenous Palestinian Subjects of Apartheid Israel live under threat of killing and expulsion.
Deaths in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide (2.2 million Palestinians killed by violence or imposed deprivation) are similar to deaths in the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million deaths from violence or imposed deprivation) or the “forgotten”, British-imposed and Australia-complicit WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million deaths from violence or imposed deprivation) (see “Palestinian Genocide”).
I have a large, 2-sided and big- black-capital-letters-on-white placard that I take to public rallies in support of Palestinian Humans Rights. One side says WORLD: STOP PALESTINIAN GENOCIDE and the other says BOYCOTT APARTHEID ISRAEL. The Gaza Concentration Camp and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide shame Humanity and the pro-Apartheid US Alliance in particular. Decent Humanity must (a) inform everyone they can, and (b) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel and all its supporters.
These are early days for the self-styled ‘coalition of change’ in Israel, but it has already been presented with significant challenges in the form of the Jerusalem Flag March, the Evyatar outpost, and the Citizenship and Entry law. There is another one just around the corner.
This week, the High Court of Justice informed the new Minister of Education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, that she has three weeks to decide her position regarding one of the last acts of her predecessor, Yoav Gallant of Netanyahu’s government. Before leaving his post, Gallant made a final decision as Education Minister not to award the high-profile Israel Prize in computer science to a professor at the Weizmann Institute, Oded Goldreich.
Initially, Gallant vetoed the award of the prize back in April in the wake of a right-wing group ‘uncovering’ the academic’s alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In a follow-up to the veto, Gallant cast himself in the role of chief prosecutor in an investigation into the granting of the prize and Goldreich was summoned to a hearing whose function was to determine the answers to questions regarding petitions and open letters signed by him, his position regarding BDS and his activities in a group called Academia for Equality.
Professor Goldreich has been clear about his nuanced position regarding sanctions against Israel but former Minister Gallant did not do nuance. For him, the hearing had a straightforward purpose: to examine ‘whether the professor’s current renunciation of the boycott movement is sincere and whether the information he provided to the court and the state in this matter is correct.’ Goldreich’s legal representative confirmed his refusal to cooperate with a process that was ‘blatantly McCarthyist.’
Former Minister Gallant has history. He made headlines earlier this year for ordering the cancellation of a discussion in a school involving Hagai El-Ad, the director of human rights organization B’Tselem which had declared that Israel must now be considered an apartheid state. Gallant’s wider intention was to prohibit schools from inviting representatives of groups that discourage ‘meaningful service in the Israel Defence Forces’ and call Israel ‘false derogatory names.’
As an Israeli politician, Gallant is one of the more enthusiastic when it comes to attempting to shut down voices which are critical of Israeli policy. But with Gallant now sent into opposition, a declaration of a full-blown form of McCarthyism in Israel would be arguably premature. Gallant’s hearing was only a tribute act to the House Un-American Activities Committee and the new Education Minister has a real opportunity to signal a change of culture.
Shasha-Biton is well regarded but it won’t be easy. As a result of the Netanyahu years, there has been a substantial shift to the right in terms of what is acceptable to discuss in the public sphere. Direct censorship is uncommon in Israel but editorial selection, self-censorship and the mediation of Palestinian voices through Israeli journalistic ‘analysis’ result in compliant media organizations that readily provide platforms for far-right settlers, whilst moving down the news agenda anything relating to the daily reality of occupation.
Gallant’s activities were part of a trend that exists beyond the farce of the Israel Prize controversy and his own Orwellian interpretation of the job of Education Minister. Benjamin Netanyahu can be proud that, although dethroned, he bestowed upon the nation a significant legacy in the form of the delegitimization of liberal opinion. He achieved a toxification of the adjective ‘left-wing’ and his constant rhetoric referring to the dangers of the left was designed to stoke fear. His language trickled down to the street, tacitly encouraging the harassment of those who don’t conform, those considered traitors – even on the right. These are, of course, the problems of the privileged. In this land, it is still much harder to be a Palestinian than a progressive Israeli.
That said, beyond the influence of those in government, there is a layer of extra-parliamentary activity contributing to a climate of fear and intimidation and, yes, a nascent form of McCarthyism. It is worth taking stock here of some of the right-wing non-governmental organizations – sometimes described as ‘watchdogs’ or ‘think-tanks’ – which are active in the business of monitoring the left.
One of these, ‘grassroots Zionist movement’ Im Tirzu, claims to have played a direct role in the lobbying of Gallant in the case of Professor Goldreich. Im Tirzu is present on the usual range of platforms, but the website is particularly informative. The organization is dedicated to defending Zionism and exposing ‘widespread efforts to delegitimize Israel from within, whether it is in the form of BDS or subverting sovereign policies.’ A key activity is the group’s ‘Know the Anti-Israeli Professor’ project which produces and publishes files on academics worldwide, including one dedicated to Goldreich. In my book, if it looks like a blacklist and reads like one, then it probably is one.
Im Tirzu is not the only organization involved in monitoring individuals and the left in a broader sense and with challenging anything perceived as critical. Israel Academia Monitor is concerned with the activities of academics who ‘propound…false arguments that defame Israel.’ NGO Monitor focuses on ‘the anti-Israeli propaganda machine’ and the activities of NGOs such as B’Tselem ‘that claim to promote human rights.’ Honest Reporting is a website which exists to ‘combat ideological prejudice: in journalism and the media, as it impacts Israel.’ Ad Kan is a group specializing in ‘undercover work’ and infiltration, investigating ‘domestic organizations that discredit’ the name of the State of Israel.
These NGOs, together with the current squatter of Balfour and his lapdogs like Gallant, are part of an ideological front which has an interest in engendering an atmosphere of national paranoia. This has not disappeared with the formation of a new government. Highly political NGOs could be argued to be part and parcel of debate in a democratic society, but Israel is not a normal country after 50 plus years of a corrupting occupation, as ‘anti-Zionist’ NGOs such as B’Tselem and Yesh Din have pointed out. The wider culture of intimidation and blacklisting spawned by Netanyahu and these NGOs and the increasingly narrow boundaries of public discourse, reflect this fact.
It is not unpatriotic to be concerned about issues such as the occupation, and Professor Oded Goldreich has resisted the calls for public ‘renunciation’ in a show trial. Shasha-Biton has a decision to make which goes beyond the difference between her and Gallant, the new government and the old. At stake is not the integrity of the Israel Prize but the ability to express, or even hold, an oppositional opinion in the public arena in Israel. The likes of Gallant (and indeed Netanyahu, as we have learned) are ultimately accountable at the ballot box, but increasingly influential self-appointed watchdogs like Im Tirzu and Ad Kan operate freely. Unless there is an effort to transform the culture, they will continue to set the agenda through activities which identify, intimidate, and render vulnerable, those who think differently.
African Americans must learn the truth about socialism that they may preserve their culture, get rid of poverty, ignorance and disease, and help America live up at least to a shadow of its vain boast as the land of the free and the home of the brave.
— W.E.B DuBois
The Message is the Truth!
He who controls the media, controls the world. And with media, that is everything — curriculum design, product manuals, white papers, legislative treatises, novels, history books, magazines, on-line, off-line, textbooks, music, film, TV, the entire ranch, including The Press.
It was early when I got into Gannett papers, Pulitzer owned papers, small town mom and pop “chains, LA Times Syndicate, and others. Chilling, really, the naivete I had as a J student in Tucson, working the Arizona Daily Wildcat and other lab papers. Seems like I thought I was a warrior for truth, and that was on occasion true, but in the end, the powers that be in big or small locales control the message because the newspaper owners and editors usually are embedded in the community: Chamber of Commerce, School Board, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, and more.
There is not much freedom, and you better get the quotes right, and you better not pry too much around the edges.
No more competing newspapers in small towns. No more weeklies. No more radical and hokum papers. There are no more papers. Well, a few, but in this Zoom scroll world, and this antisocial shit storm of the social networks (sic), we have pretty threadbare conversations. Digital stories are worthless for that, getting the juices flowing. It’s all curated and personalized, these digital platforms and news aggregators; and there is just so much shit out there on the Internet the quagmire is part of the lesson plan and lessons learned — no one is right. Bullshit. Some great sources, in the digital world, but they are read by a few hundred, maybe a thousand or so. Writing rants in the comments sections, well, not sure the impact that has on anything other than ego building and endless criticism. There are a million know-it-all’s out there for every decent piece of news or feature.
But reading ain’t enough, since we need robust parsing and discourse, and exactly what it is we are asked to read and comprehend and take hook, line and sinker, as the prevailing truths of our time, or the situational truths of our day.
It is A Sickness: Shifting Baseline Disorder/Disease?
So much shifting baseline disorder, and so many truths lifting and tossed and remixed. Without education, that is, table and coffee talk, what have, it is a one-way line of communication. Even these little rants need some feedback, or better yet, discourse. Ain’t gunna happen. Here, today, on Democracy Now:
And this is something that the AP and other news organizations really need to think about. Who are we going to let work in our newsrooms? How are we going to deal with — I mean, if you have, for example, a whole generation of students who went to Black Lives Matter protests last summer, and then they come and take my journalism class at Stanford or another university, and they say, “You know what? I want to be a journalist,” and their lives live on TikTok and Instagram and all that, are all these journalists not — are these students not going to be able to be journalists now? I mean, are there not top managers in news organizations who were in anti-Vietnam protests in the ’60s, and their lives live on in Instagram?
Or is this specific to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Which, as you noted, the coverage is shifted the very week that Emily got caught up in this. You had the bombing of the AP bureau in Gaza. You had a very visceral reaction by the American public to the Israeli attacks in Gaza, in a way that you did not have in 2014 when 2,200 Palestinians were killed. You didn’t see this kind of reaction. You had, on the A1 of The New York Times on Sunday, a story about the brutality of life under Israeli occupation. These are all very unusual. Look on The New York Times today in terms of a letter from Gaza that really calls into question a lot of the Israeli narrative about Hamas and what’s really happening in Gaza. I mean, there’s just — there’s a major shift going on.
— Stanford journalism professor Janine Zacharia, a former Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post
You Can’t Talk about this in Polite Company!
To distract from Gaza slaughter, Israel lobby manufactures antisemitism freakout. Grayzone.
Mark Ruffalo apologizes for posts on Israel: ‘It’s inflammatory, disrespectful and is being used to justify antisemitism’
Emily Wilder’s Firing Is No Surprise: AP Has Always Been Right-Wing — Source.
On February 10, Abby Martin filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a Georgia law requiring all independent contractors to sign a pro-Israel pledge, promising to not participate or advocate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli crimes.
The death knell is talking critically about “Israel,” man. Line up those rusty three-penny nails and hammer truth away in a pine coffin. Facts don’t matter. The up is down, war is peace, lies are truth mentality and propaganda, that is on overdrive with the Zionists especially, those here, there, and in other parts of the world, like UK and Australia. Forget Canada!
Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime. It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”
— Chris Hedges in his recent commentary, “Israel, the Big Lie” for ScheerPost
To Boycott or Not to Boycott?
Well, that is not the question. Really, when I was working for the University of Texas in El Paso, there was a loyalty oath to the Texas Constitution. Basically, you sign a state statute disqualifying for government employment persons who advocate the overthrow of government by force or violence or persons who were members of organizations that so advocated; the statute had been supplemented by a provision applicable to teachers calling for the drawing up of a list of organizations that advocated violent overthrow and making membership in any listed organization prima facie evidence of disqualification.
No Sign, No Job. Or, for a measly adjunct with no union (as if teacher’s unions do squat for the rank and file), you attempt to push the illogic of a loyalty oath to the state’s constitution, etc., when, in fact, much of what some teachers do IS tied to groups the prevailing neoliberal, neocon, conservative consider as dissident, adversarial, contrary to the American/Texan way, etc. That was me for much of my 18 years, on and off, in El Paso.
Of course, those corrupt and syphilitic judges pushing state loyalty oaths, and loyalty ones for apartheid and murderous Israel, they come back like this in their legal opinions: “If they do not choose to work on such terms, they are at liberty to retain their beliefs and associations and go elsewhere. Has the State thus deprived them of any right to free speech or assembly? We think not.”
A state could also deny employment based on a person’s “advocacy of overthrow” of the government by force or violence or based on unexplained membership in an organization so advocating with knowledge of the advocacy.
We already are behind the eight ball, as in these shit hole right to work (sic) states (read: anti union, anti worker rights, the right to get fired for no reason, thank you very much, mister, clean out your desk, and you have 10 minutes to leave the facility/office/warehouse/yard).
I’ve been escorted out of several workplaces with an hour’s notice, and these purveyors are wicked people, don’t let their PC and Cancel Culture and LGBTQAI+ spiels fool you.
Cancelling Your Subscription to Critical Thinking
Oh, so many ways that Tricky Shithead Force of Authority can wrangle “communist/radical/anarchist/Antifa/ ecoterrorist/antigovernment malcontent/fomenter of overthrow” out of this or that group or essay or membership into what would be now, terrorism. I was in Governor George W. Bush Country when it shifted — loyalty oath was required now of teachers, college adjuncts, what have you. “To honor, protect, defend and hold high the constitution of Texas . . . . ” El Paso may have voted straight democratic ticket, but many of the people in my circle who were artists, Chicanos, radicals outside that two-party system, but still voting for the lesser of two evils, always the democrat. Then, put in a large chunk of Latinx (mostly Mexicans and Mexican-Americans) who follow the Pope and indeed enlist in the military, well, we do have that conundrum of conservative “Hispanics.”
There really is no great place for a two-bit person — teaching hundreds of students at a time, in different schools or locations — to live. I was the Freeway Flyer, but in effect, now, before the lockdown and Zoom Rooms, 80 percent of all faculty are adjunct — just-in-time, precarious, at-will, 11th-hour, unprotected, un-benefited faculty.
That job is already fraught with landmines — bad department chairs, bad deans, asshole tenured faculty, bad unions, no unions, basic inhumane conditions in terms of teaching: no office, no health care, no nothing. That’s low wages, man — $6 an hour, $15, up to $18 (maybe).
Try being a creative teacher (I’ve written this a million times), and alas, scrutiny after scrutiny you find yourself in the public domain, even as a small fry. I was in the two newspapers all the time because I was working as a journalist, and I was not afraid of opinion pieces leveled against Empire, Powers, Administrators and the like.
Target after target are what I got plastered on my two-bit back. Hell, two-bit (no superstar teacher, shitty little articles, shitty little literary journals, shitty little everything in the eyes of the Capitalist Hierarchical Heathens) sometime feels like the world is against you, and other times, it seems as if the world could give squat what happens to you. That is the freedom, I guess — to never be noticed, read or consider an enemy of any “state.”
Above, that is, the story about Associated Press, it is no world of stopping the presses, so to speak. In terms of AP, well, a good piece over at the billionaire’s Intercept on that. Read:
“From its founding during the Mexican-American War to its reporting on Latin America today, AP’s always been quietly conservative” by Jon Schwartz.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS has received an enormous amount of criticism, including from its own staffers, for firing Emily Wilder, 22, after hiring her as a news associate just 17 days before. According to AP, Wilder was let go for “violations of AP’s social media policy.” AP’s action was clearly in response to a right-wing pressure campaign targeting Wilder for her activism in college supporting Palestinian rights.
AP’s conservatism continued for the rest of the century. Seymour Hersh, who worked for AP from 1962 to 1967, later said editors there were “timid on Vietnam” and that he could not have written his 1970 exposé of the My Lai Massacre for the wire service. In 1984, at a time of great fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan “joked” before a radio address that “I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” An AP reporter filed an article on this, but editors didn’t publish it — until other news outlets ran the story. That same year, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger asked AP not to run what it knew about the launch of a military satellite. AP happily obeyed.
I worked on stories for the AP a long time ago, and had friends who were employed by the AP. Absolutely, covering Southeast Arizona, the border, the militarized border, and such, I ran into editors on the newspapers that employed me who were scared shitless because their small town owners were also scared shitless capitalists. Amazing, any balance, really, to the other side of the border repression, or the outright thuggery of the officials, well, that was chopped out. My buddies with the AP, well, mostly culled stories, or at least parsed to nothing!
No Competing Narratives Allowed!
The price you pay for arguing is no job. Loyalty oath to the Constitution of Texas? There were some of us protesting, and I think I just signed on the dotted line, Paula Abdulla, quickly and sloppily, and while I didn’t put down my real John Hancock, it still felt like a cop-out. Paula Abdulla has been a signature I have used over the years. Each one is a bit different, and I have perfected the signature to not contain any resemblance to my real signature.
The outcry, and the protests, sure, maybe they did something, and my own pathetic personal deceptive signature may have felt good, but in the end, This is Not My/Our House.
So many of my African-American brothers and sisters have repeatedly stated, as we worked in these nonprofit (poverty pimps) jobs, that when the supervisors plied their unethical, ill-mannered, rotten tools to subjugate professional social services professionals, and I railed, always, and I always got sacked, the rejoinder was from my Black brothers and sisters, “This is not your house, Paul.” Not because of my skin color, because I am white, but because of my anti-Imperial, anti-authority, and oppositional defiance to the managers’ and overlords’ consistent and corrupting misjustice, and maladjusted injustice, all of what their hierarchies create in capitalism, I criticized/criticize.
Oh, then there are the multimillionaires, the Mark Ruffalo’s of the world. Imagine, the fear of losing films, man, for making a TRUE statement about Israel as an Apartheid State and a Genocidal Fanatical Religious State.
Any number of “projects” this Ruffalo multimillionaire hawks, well, this is the stuff of his backbone — fear of losing to the Israel Lobby.
The story dramatizes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals. It stars Mark Ruffalo as Bilott, along with Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman.
Now, well, many Jewish writers have stated, “Of course, Jews run Hollywood.” I’m thinking about the early 2000s. Now, Google states:
Mea Culpa, Holly-Dirt!
Of course, Oliver Stone also had to apologize —
During a Television Critic Association panel on his 10-hour television Showtime documentary A Secret History of America in January, Stone got started with this little ditty: “Hitler was an easy scapegoat.”
This weekend he amped it up a notch. The controversial director complained to the London Sunday Times of “Jewish domination of the media” and claimed that Hitler did more damage to Russia than he did to the Jews.
Stone, who is half-Jewish, told the Times: “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f—ed up United States foreign policy for years.”
While “Hitler was a Frankenstein [monster],” Stone said, “there was also a Dr. Frankenstein: German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”
Stone continued: “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 million [killed].”
It is the most bizarre and conspiratorial thing of our times, no, the fact that Jews were the heads of the major Hollywood studios, yet what Stone stated was, well, wrong! And he too grovels, and apologizes for stating his opinion, or deploying his First Amendment rights.
The complex web of interactions between Hollywood and the German government in the decade before the War reveals quite a different story – one not of antifascism but of “collaboration” [“Zusammenarbeit”]. The studios agreed not to attack the Nazis in any of their productions, and in return American movies were permitted in Germany, even potentially threatening ones like King Kong. At the same time – and this was a result less of the direct arrangement between the two groups than of a much deeper shared understanding – the American studios eliminated Jewish characters from the screen entirely. For seven years, the studios put out movies that were unobjectionable and sometimes even beneficial from the Nazi standpoint, and as a result they were able to continue doing business with Germany. (Source).
—Hitler and Hollywood: The Collaboration of American Movie Studios with Nazi Germany
By Benjamin Alexander Urwand
The names Harry Cohn, William Fox, Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, Jack and Harry Warner, and Adolph Zucker are giants in the history of contemporary Hollywood, outsiders who dared to invent their own vision of the American Dream. Even to this day, the American values defined largely by the movies of these émigrés endure in American cinema and culture. Who these men were, how they came to dominate Hollywood, and what they gained and lost in the process is the exhilarating story of An Empire of Their Own.
That is the gigantic sticky wicket, no, that we have Hollywood invented by Jews, but, well, Jews Don’t Run Hollywood. Then, there are those Jews who write about how Jews Run the Media, too — media being a plural, including books, music, film, TV, radio, marketing, what have you, including The Press.
Well, there could be some .001 percenters in the financial world, billionaire class, white men, mostly, and some are Goy and others Jewish. That’s just fact.
Jews are estimated to make up less than 1.4% of the world’s population, yet approximately 25% of the world’s billionaires. Even the Times of Israel states this:
Forbes published its 2018 roster of America’s wealthiest this week, and five members of the tribe made the top 10 list.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads the Jewish pack at number 4, with a net worth of $61 billion. He is followed by software giant Oracle’s Larry Ellison at #5 with $58.4b and Google co-founder Larry Page at #6 with $53.8b.
Fellow co-founder Sergey Brin falls a bit behind with $52.4b, leaving him at #9. Finally, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg closes out the top 10 with a respectable $51.8b.
We Can Always Rewrite a Murder Conviction into Self-Defense, those little Bastard Babies!
You can have your cake and eat it too! But no matter how you spin it, please find movies out of Hollywood or distributed or acted in by big names that might, oh, look at the rampant racism, indoctrination of, and apartheid loving Jewish man or woman, or child, in Israel. Think about that, uh, a movie script that shows one of the IDF pilots refusing to bomb Gaza. You think there might be a Netflix or Hulu series on that, how the family is not split in half, but just one son, a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, refuses to bomb Gaza. Imagine those dinner table conversations. Nah, not on Netflix.
Listen to Dan Cohen and Miko Peled talk about how indoctrinated Jews are in Israel. This is what you need to know about an entire people destroyed by agency, and free thought:
Or Norman Finkelstein —
And then the question is: Why? And I think the answer is: Because, whether one likes it or not, Benjamin Netanyahu is the true face of Israel. He’s an obnoxious, loudmouth, racist, Jewish supremacist. And that’s the whole population now. Now, I’m saying it’s in their DNA. I’m not saying it’s genetic. But it is a very sorry thing that the state of Israel has degenerated into. And that—
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it’s clearly not the entire population. You have so many critics. You have a peace movement there.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, no, I would say—you know, Amy, I would wish that were the case. I would wish that were the case. But if you ask the critics themselves, if you ask a Gideon Levy, you ask an Amira Hass, you ask a—
AMY GOODMAN: Who write for Haaretz.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Right—you ask B’Tselem, you ask—
AMY GOODMAN: The human rights group.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Right—Breaking the Silence, the soldiers’ group, they’ll tell you they represent nobody. They’ll tell you they don’t represent anymore. There was a period where they represented at least a factor in Israeli life. But it’s no longer true. And the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu endures, despite the succession of scandals, is a manifestation of how much that society has degenerated.
So, Gideon Levy, I think, the columnist, he made a comment the other day which I found very interesting. He said, the Israelis, they see a fellow in a wheelchair—he lost both his legs—in Gaza. He’s holding a flag. They shoot him right between the eyes, a sharpshooter. Everybody sees it on video. He says, no Israelis cared. Then another kid is killed. In this case, the second case, a kid is killed. A third is killed. Nobody cares. One thing they care about: The young girl, Ahed Tamimi, smacked an Israeli soldier. That causes hysteria. How dare a Palestinian smack an Israeli soldier? But the daily atrocities— Source.
Of course, by highlighting these statements, all of this, well, in the minds of racists, it’s antisemitism.
How much bearing witness do we go through?
Storytelling 101 — Only A Chosen Few Tell Our Stories
You think there are any dramatizations of that situation? Sure, come on, what about the Family known as, the Glosser Family:
Let me tell you a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration.
It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America.
He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweatshop toil, Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906. That group included young Sam Glosser, who with his family settled in the western Pennsylvania city of Johnstown, a booming coal and steel town that was a magnet for other hardworking immigrants. The Glosser family quickly progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown run by Nathan and Wolf-Leib to a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores run by my grandfather, Sam, and the next generation of Glossers, including my dad, Izzy. It was big enough to be listed on the AMEX stock exchange and employed thousands of people over time. In the span of some 80 years and five decades, this family emerged from poverty in a hostile country to become a prosperous, educated clan of merchants, scholars, professionals, and, most important, American citizens.
What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen’s mother, Miriam, is my sister.
Will there be a totally interesting Netflix Original or Amazon Studies flick on that Stephen Miller dynamic family life, and the variations on a theme of how many Jews are racists, not just some Miller-Trump aberration. We can have Norman Lear with Archie Bunker and all of that in that family, but, what about the Miller-Glosser All About Apartheid series?
Many of us wonder how it is the stories of the “other people” get told through the eyes of the White American or European scriptwriter or producer or director or novelist? Come on. Look at the films and documentaries, and look at the credits and follow the money, the Ivy League, the East Coast chosen ones.
That quote from above is from Miller’s uncle’s short piece, and you never-ever see any mention of the border wall, the economic strangulation, the eye, knee, torso shooting. No mention of the apartheid state and the daily international laws of humanity broken by Israel, and the chosen people: It would be a perfect piece to broach that topic, since Miller and Trump love what Israel does to Palestine. But He doesn’t do it, Mr. Glosser.
— “Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out” by David S. Glosser
Here, more of that chosen people, and their amazing PR bombs, הַסְבָּרָה
(Hasbara is a form of propaganda aimed at an international audience, primarily, but not exclusively, in western countries. It is meant to influence the conversation in a way that positively portrays Israeli political moves and policies, including actions undertaken by Israel in the past. Often, Hasbara efforts includes a negative portrayal of the Arabs and especially of Palestinians.)
The Israel lobby’s latest blitz of antisemitism allegations has successfully deflected US media’s attention away from Israel’s deliberate bombing of civilian towers and extermination of entire families in Gaza, the pogroms Jewish extremists waged against Palestinians just minutes from Tel Aviv, and the ongoing police round-up of Palestinian citizens of Israel. In turn, it has cast an American Jewish community basking in almost unimaginable affluence and privilege as the true victims of the Israel-Palestine crisis, while impugning a movement agitating for the rights of a dispossessed and colonized people as bigoted criminals.
Free beer and a hot dog: Across US, incentives push to get holdouts vaccinated against COVID-19
States are getting creative with vaccine incentives. In Kentucky, you can win up to $225K
$1m in Ohio. $100 savings bonds in West Virginia. How incentives could improve the vaccination rate
Want tickets to the Super Bowl or a seven-day cruise? Get vaccinated at CVS
Some of the recipients of a Michigan marijuana dispensary’s “Pot for Shots” scheme
Oh, those were the days, uh, lifting the Black power salute in Mexico City, and, well, banned for life. May Lee Evans R.I.P.
Lee Evans, an African American sprinter who helped found the Olympic Project for Human Rights after leading protests against racism in the United States, has died in Nigeria at the age of 74. Lee Evans won two gold medals while setting world records in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
His victories came just days after John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists in the Black Power salute as the U.S. national anthem played during an awards ceremony. Carlos and Smith were suspended from the U.S. team and would later be banned for life from the Olympics for their protest in support of Black lives. Just two days later, Lee Evans wore a black beret and raised his fist in a similar protest, after winning a gold medal in the 400-meter dash.
Harry Edwards, who co-founded the Olympic Project for Human Rights, said, “Lee Evans was one of the greatest athletes and social justice advocates in an era that produced a generation of such courageous, committed and contributing athlete-activists.” (Source)
Oh, that fucking Olympics — one continuing criminal enterprise. Maybe several thousand students and others murdered, beginning in July, 1968, with the October 2, 1968 massacre, 10 days before the Olympic games were to begin in Mexico City. Police and army thugs fired on thousands of demonstrators. Hundreds were killed, thousands were beaten and jailed, and the government did its best to sweep the incident under the rug. No boycott there, uh?
Memory of Tlatelolco
by Rosario Castellanos
And who saw that brief, vivid flash of light?
Who is the one who kills?
Who are the ones who breathe their last; who die?
Who are the ones fleeing without their shoes?
Who are the ones belonging to the deep well of jails?
Who are the ones rotting in hospital?
Who are the ones struck dumb, forever, with horror?
Who? Who are the ones? Nobody. The next morning, nobody.
They found the square was swept clean. The front pages of the newspapers were full of the state of the weather. And on the television, on the radio, in the cinema, there was no change of programming, no special announcement. Not any meaningful silence in the midst of the banquet, because the banquet went on.
Don’t look for what isn’t there: traces, bodies, it’s all been given as an offering to a goddess, the Great Devourer of Excrement…
There are no official records.
Yet the fact is I can touch a wound.
In my memory it hurts, therefore it’s true.
I remember. We remember.
That’s our way of helping the very brave on so many a stained mind…
Let’s all remember until justice becomes clear among us.
Now those Tokyo Olympics, to be cancelled or not to be cancelled, because of coronavirus SARS-CoV2? Contractual law, right, and the message is Covid-19, super spreader event, those 100 yard dashes?
JULES BOYKOFF: Each time an Olympic host city gets ready to start the games, they need to sign a host city contract with the International Olympic Committee. Those contracts are extremely lopsided in favor of the International Olympic Committee, and it gives them — and only them — the power to cancel the Olympics in a case like this. So, when the prime minister of Japan states in public, under pressure from people in Japan and around the world to cancel the Olympics — when the prime minister states in public that he actually doesn’t have the power to cancel the Olympics, he’s absolutely correct.
And that’s part of a larger state of exception that comes into the Olympic city when the Olympics arrive on your doorstep. There are all sorts of special laws that are put into place, all sorts of special rules that are put into place. New technologies are secured for the Olympics. So, for example, in Tokyo, you see facial recognition systems being put in place at all Olympic venues, even though they’re known for having a racial bias. Security forces use the Olympics to get all the special weapons and funding they’d normally never be able to get during normal political times.
And so, that’s exactly what we’re seeing transpire here. The all-powerful IOC, that is really a privileged sliver of the global 1%, is exerting itself and forcing the games ahead against the will of the population. More than 80% of the people in Japan oppose hosting the Olympics this summer, and yet the IOC insists on pressing ahead.
— Boykoff, scholar and former Olympic athlete who played for the U.S. Olympic soccer team from 1989 to 1991. He has published several pieces, his latest this morning in The Washington Post, “Tokyo is learning that the only force stronger than a pandemic is the Olympics.” His guest essay in The New York Times is headlined “A Sports Event Shouldn’t Be a Superspreader. Cancel the Olympics.” He’s written four books about the Olympics, his latest headlined NOlympians: Inside the Fight Against Capitalist Mega-Sports in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Beyond.
Donuts for that jab, and what about the booster, uh? Nah, do not expect free trips on a shit-hole cruise line. Expect a letter from Uncle Sam (Big Pharma induced) that states: “Thanks for participating in the Covid-19 vaccination last year, and we now have an easy-booster program. Kiosks, with your vaccine passport in hand on that app, you go to one of these, put that app on the scanner, along with your cornea scan, and put your left or right arm (doesn’t matter) into the high tech device, and there you go, instant booster. No line, nothing, since Big Tech will be hosting these kiosks by the millions in all those zip codes and all Census tracks. Isn’t Making America Vaccinated Great Again?”
I kid you not, so No Jab, No Life. Lockdown. Permanent. Expect those wearable ankle bracelets for all unvaccinated folk. Expect those by next Xmas.
That is the shifting baseline, no? Today, on Dissident Voice (May 27) hot off the digital press:
The ease with which the German authorities implemented the new official ideology, and how fanatically it has been embraced by the majority of Germans, came as something of a shock. I had naively believed that, in light of their history, the Germans would be among the first to recognize a nascent totalitarian movement predicated on textbook Goebbelsian Big Lies (i.e., manipulated Covid “case” and “death” statistics), and would resist it en masse, or at least take a moment to question the lies their leaders were hysterically barking at them.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Here we are, over a year later, and waiters and shop clerks are “checking papers” to enforce compliance with the new official ideology. (And, yes, the “New Normal” is an official ideology. When you strip away the illusion of an apocalyptic plague, there isn’t any other description for it). Perfectly healthy, medical-masked people are lining up in the streets to be experimentally “vaccinated.” Lockdown-bankrupted shops and restaurants have been converted into walk-in “PCR-test stations.” The government is debating mandatory “vaccination” of children in kindergarten. Goon squads are arresting octogenarians for picnicking on the sidewalk without permission. And so on. At this point, I’m just sitting here waiting for the news that mass “disinfection camps” are being set up to solve the “Unvaccinated Question.”
Oh, C.J. Hopkins, I wonder if you are getting the putridity of Capitalism, mixed with the strong arm and stiff arm salute of the Corporate elite, the Group of 30 and those 199 Companies controlling human and animal and flora kind! Make that an a great One-Seven, 17: Check out journalist Abby Martin interview Peter Phillips, former director of Project Censored and professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University. His new book “Giants: The Global Power Elite” details the 17 transnational investment firms which control over $50 trillion in wealth—and how they are kept in power by their activists, facilitators and protectors.
So, donuts, ballpark trips, Super Bowl, marijuana, and alas, free cruise trips, to get the jab. Oh, wehat about all those millions who lined up for the jab who got nothing but a masked technician moving them along. Look at Portland, OR, man, of course, St. Clair laughing at any other narrative around SARS-CoV2. This Counterpuncher is, well, so so confident in his so-so wrong view of how to debate an issue. Shit!
When I arrived at the Convention Center (which Portland old-timers (ie, people who have lived here longer than five years) have long referred to as the Palais de Gaultier, because the twin glass cones outside the hulking post-modernist structure resemble the spiky bra Jean-Paul designed for Madonna during the Blonde Ambition Tour), it was clear that the vibe of the place had changed. Three weeks earlier, the cavernous building had a community atmosphere. The way stations were helmed by welcoming volunteers, the jabbing was done by retired physicians, the recovery rooms monitored by local nurses.
Now the building resembled an armed camp. Those of us about to be shot were herded into serpentine lines by burly figures in uniform and combat boots, their severe eyes scanning our faces from behind camouflaged masks. The festive spirit of April had been replaced by May’s military gloom.
The National Guard had taken over the operation and few of them looked glad to be here, as if helping to save what’s left of the Republic from a killer pandemic was beneath their calling and that they’d rather be searching the border for migrant “caravans” or making some of the last raids on peasant villages in Kandahar before the big show leaves Afghanistan.
There was something deeply unsettling about the entire scene and it flashed into my head that the Guard had taken over not for reasons of efficiency, but to instill popular fear about what a national health care system might look like if it fell into the wrong hands. The vaccination program in the US has been one of the most successful government operations in decades and one that the moneyed interests are desperate not to see replicated.
Oh, the most successful government operation in decades! Whew, C.J. Hopkins! His last posting on Counterpunch is August 2018! He starts publishing over at Off-Guardian, June 2018!
Here you go with those cruise lines, man!
Last week, the Economist asked the question in the title of its article about excessive corporate compensation – Will Shareholders Halt the Inexorable Rise of CEO Pay? Today, a clear majority of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings shareholders in what is called a “say-on-pay” vote, gave a big “thumbs down” to the company’s plan to pay its CEO Frank Del Rio $36,400,000 million for 2020, according to a Miami Herald article published this afternoon.
Herald Reporter Taylor Dolven wrote “in a rare rebuke, 83% of shareholders did not approve the company’s executive compensation in a non-binding vote” today. The newspaper cited Luis Navas, an executive compensation adviser, describing the vote as “incredibly embarrassing.”
Yes, its should be embarrassing, but that assumes this cruise executive is capable of feeling shame. Even before the pandemic, CEO Del Rio was the poster child of a spoiled, overpaid cruise executive in an industry where companies incorporate in places like Liberia (Royal Caribbean) and register their cruise ships in places like (Panama) and the Bahamas (NCL) in order to avoid all U.S. income taxes and wage and labor laws.
That new new abnormal normal here ends with the dumb PR rag from one of the alma maters, Eastern Washington University. It’s called, Eastern. It is a deplorable PR rag, like all the others I have been associated with through three college degrees — University of Arizona, University of Texas and now EWU.
There is an interim president, some political science faculty named David May. He replaced some English faculty who was president for a few months, who is going back to teaching in that English Department.
Some of the stuff coming from May’s mouth is pure “I am your leader and I listen to you and I was ready to save the world, err, Cheney, WA, and even Spokane, from the deadly pandemic.”
The “article” is just out, titled, “Man of the Moment.” On page 28 of the piece, it is clear this May has the agenda in mind of the World Economic Forum and Davos and the Tech Wunderkinds. He doesn’t know it, though.
The article’s write states that May isn’t dwelling on all the storms swirling around him. He is focused on the best way to serve students of Eastern, even before Covid-19. They call it, “right-sizing,” par of an Academic Review Program coming to a college and community college and university near you. Double-speak, this “right-sizing.”
As in sizing out programs. This is about student demand and regional needs for graduates, as well as looking at program to program, department to department, budget shortfalls.
“We will continue to teach art, we will continue to teach music, we will continue to teach philosophy, we will continue to teach political science, but we have to rethink how those things fit into the overall education of the student.”
Case closed, folks. This short of shit came into play for me as a graduate student in 1983, and while the great days of undergraduate school, 1974-1979, at the University of Arizona may have put me into the mix as a report and assistent editor of the daily Wildcat, this is the way of budgets determined by the capitalists, the Military Industrial Complex’s demands. And we know the MIC is:
life sciences programs
criminal justice programs
et al (look up a typical four-year research institution’s departments and programs and show me the ones NOT making bank from that MIC?)
That is the shifting baseline for some of us who thought, naively, that there would still be scrappy and independent minded and against Empire faculty and students participating in those schools of higher education. The entire system is corrupted, and alas, now, as I receive instanteous (a day after applying) rejections from various agencies, nonprofits and government agencies, I get that middle man’s life is the destroyer of it all. They sign up for my name, Paul Haeder, Paul K. Haeder, PK Haeder, to see the dirt on me. I have some cousin I never met, who is an MD with my name, so he must get some odd out of the blue emails or such, but in the end, the schools I have envisioned are nothing in comparison to K12 or K20 or post doctoral.
The political science faculty interim president of a small college (oh, they will put money into new buildings, new stadium infrastructure, etc. — you know, priorities) may have had a great teaching career, and he can just cite how he took over the helm under those swirling storms, but alas, this is what those liberal class and dream hoarders ( Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It) and Professional Managerial Class (Source) have done.
At a time when corporate America is exploring and exploiting its new Supreme-Court-bestowed role in the management of American election results, an earlier transformation in the composition and political role of American business leadership should be recalled. This was the replacement of the Gilded Age capitalists and industrialists — audacious, rapacious and innovative, who created the post-Civil War American industrial economy — by the early 20th-century professional managers who took their place.
Liberals, largely comprised of the professional-managerial class that dutifully recycles and shops for organic produce and is concentrated on the two coasts, have profited from the ravages of neoliberalism. They seek to endow it with a patina of civility. But their routine and public humiliation has ominous consequences. It not only exposes the liberal class as hollow and empty, it discredits the liberal democratic values they claim to uphold. Liberals should have abandoned the Democratic Party when Bill Clinton and political hacks such as Biden transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party and launched a war on traditional liberal values and left-wing populism. They should have defected by the millions to support Ralph Nader and other Green Party candidates.
Here is something that can be said with great confidence. It is racist – antisemitic, if you prefer – to hold Jews, individually or collectively, accountable for Israel’s crimes. Jews are not responsible for Israel’s war crimes, even if the Israeli state presumes to implicate Jews in its crimes by falsely declaring it represents all Jews in the world.
Very obviously, it is not the fault of Jews that Israel commits war crimes, or that Israel uses Jews collectively as a political shield, exploiting sensitivities about the historical suffering of Jews at the hands of non-Jews to immunise itself from international opprobrium.
But here is something that can be said with equal certainty. Israel’s apologists – whether Jews or non-Jews – cannot deny all responsibility for Israel’s war crimes when they actively aid and abet Israel in committing those crimes, or when they seek to demonise and silence Israel’s critics so that those war crimes can be pursued in a more favourable political climate.
Such apologists – which sadly seems to include many of the community organisations in Britain claiming to represent Jews – want to have their cake and eat it.
They cannot defend Israel uncritically as it commits war crimes or seek legislative changes to assist Israel in committing those war crimes – whether it be Israel’s latest pummelling of civilians in Gaza, or its executions of unarmed Palestinians protesting 15 years of Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave – and accuse anyone who criticises them for doing so of being an antisemite.
But this is exactly what has been going on. And it is only getting worse.
Upsurge in antisemitism?
As a ceasefire was implemented yesterday, bringing a temporary let-up in the bombing of Gaza by Israel, pro-Israel Jewish groups in the UK were once again warning of an upsurge of antisemitism they related to a rapid growth in the number of protests against Israel.
Hmm. Pro-Israel groups say there's been a surge of antisemitism in the UK because of the large numbers attending protests against Israel killing Palestinians in Gaza: 'Demos are being held all over the country every day about this issue' https://t.co/oPxFs7GcOF
These groups have the usual powerful allies echoing their claims. British prime minister Boris Johnson met community leaders in Downing Street on Thursday pledging, as Jewish News reported, “to continue to support the community in the face of rising antisemitism attacks”.
Those Jewish leaders included Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, a supporter of Johnson who played a part in helping him win the 2019 election by renewing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against the Labour party days before voting. It also included the Campaign Against Antisemitism, which was founded specifically to whitewash Israel’s crimes during its 2014 bombardment of Gaza and has ever since been vilifying all Palestinian solidarity activism as antisemitism.
My latest: Anti-Palestinian bigotry from a self-styled antisemitism watchdog is the latest move to dress up bullying and threats as victimhood https://t.co/KRaPEuA1jy
In attendance too was the Jewish Leadership Council, an umbrella organisation for Britain’s main Jewish community groups. In an article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper on this supposed rise in antisemitism in the UK, the JLC’s vice-president, Daniel Korski, set out the ridiculous, self-serving narrative these community groups are trying to peddle, with seemingly ever greater success among the political and media elite.
Popular outrage over Gaza
Korski expressed grave concern about the proliferation of demonstrations in the UK designed to halt Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. During 11 days of attacks, more than 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children. Israel’s precision air strikes targeted more than a dozen hospitals, including the only Covid clinic in Gaza, dozens of schools, several media centres, and left tens of thousands of Palestinians homeless.
The sense of popular outrage at the Israeli onslaught was only heightened by the fact that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had clearly engineered a confrontation with Hamas at the outset to serve his immediate personal interests: preventing Israeli opposition parties from uniting to oust him from power.
In his naked personal calculations, Palestinian civilians were sacrificed to help Netanyahu hold on to power and improve his chances of evading jail as he stands trial on corruption charges.
Of the ceasefire, Israel says it has met its 'goals': over 230 killed in Gaza, including 65 children; hospitals wrecked; tens of thousands homeless; electricity and water in even shorter supply – and most importantly, Netanyahu has scuppered Israeli opposition efforts to oust him
But for Korski and the other community leaders attending the meeting with Johnson, the passionate demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians are their main evidence for a rise in antisemitism.
‘Free Palestine’ chants
These community organisations cite a few incidents that undoubtedly qualify as antisemitism – some serious, some less so. They include shouting “Free Palestine” at individuals because they are identifiable as Jews, something presumably happening mostly to the religious ultra-Orthodox.
But these Jewish leaders’ chief concern, they make clear, is the growing public support for Palestinians in the face of intensifying Israeli aggression.
Quoting David Rich, of the Community Security Trust, another Jewish organisation hosted by Johnson, the Haaretz newspaper reports that “what has really shaken the Jewish community … ‘is that demos are being held all over the country every day about this issue’ [Israel’s bombardment of Gaza].”
Revealingly, it seems that when Jewish community leaders watch TV screens showing demonstrators chant “Free Palestine”, they feel it as a personal attack – as though they themselves are being accosted in the street.
One doesn’t need to be a Freudian analyst to wonder whether this reveals something troubling about their inner emotional life: they identify so completely with Israel that even when someone calls for Palestinians to have equal rights with Israelis they perceive as a collective attack on Jews, as antisemitism.
Exception for Israel
Then Korski gets to the crux of the argument: “As Jews we are proud of our heritage and at the same time in no way responsible for the actions of a government thousands of miles away, no matter our feelings or connection to it.”
But the logic of that position is simply untenable. You cannot tie your identity intimately to a state that systematically commits war crimes, you cannot classify demonstrations against those war crimes as antisemitism, you cannot use your position as a “Jewish community leader” to make such allegations more credible, and you cannot exploit your influence with world leaders to try to silence protests against Israel and then say you are “in no way responsible” for the actions of that government.
If you use your position to prevent Israel from being subjected to scrutiny over allegations of war crimes, if you seek to manipulate the public discourse with claims of antisemitism to create a more favourable environment in which those war crimes can be committed, then some of the blame for those war crimes rubs off on you.
That is how responsibility works in every other sphere of life. What Israel’s apologists are demanding is an exception for Israel and for themselves.
Lobby with the UK’s ear
In another revealing observation seeking to justify claims of an upsurge in antisemitism, Korski adds: “We don’t see the same kind of outpouring of emotion when it comes to the Rohingya or the Uighurs or Syria, and it makes a lot of Jews feel this is about them [as Jews].”
But there are many reasons why there aren’t equally large demonstrations in the UK against the suffering of the Rohingya and the Uighurs – reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with antisemitism.
The oppressors of the Rohingya and the Uighurs, unlike Israel, are not being generously armed by the British government or given diplomatic cover by Britain or being given preferential trade agreements by Britain.
How can British "enhanced military collaboration" with the IDF now be deemed legal? They just bombed Al Jazeera and AP's offices using the £500bn worth of arms Britain has sold them – with no conditions on use! #FreePalestine
But equally importantly, the states oppressing the Rohingya and Uighurs – unlike Israel – don’t have active, well-funded lobbies in the UK, with the ear of the prime minister. China and Myanmar – unlike Israel – don’t have UK lobbies successfully labelling criticism of them as racism. Unlike Israel, they don’t have lobbies that openly seek to influence elections to protect them from criticism. Unlike Israel, they don’t have lobbies that work with Britain to introduce measures to assist them in carrying out their oppression.
The president of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, for example, pressed Johnson at the meeting this week to classify all branches of Hamas, not just its military wing, as a terrorist organisation. That is Israel’s wet dream. Such a decision would make it even less likely that Britain would be in a position to officially distance itself from Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, where Hamas runs the government, and even more likely it would join Israel in declaring Gaza’s schools, hospitals and government departments all legitimate targets for Israeli air strikes.
If you are lobbying to get special favours for Israel, particularly favours to help it commit war crimes, you don’t also get to wash your hands of those war crimes. You are directly implicated in them.
David Hirsch, an academic at the University of London who has been closely connected to efforts to weaponise antisemitism against critics of Israel, especially in the Labour party under its previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, also tries to play this trick.
He tells Haaretz that antisemitism is supposedly “getting worse” because Palestinian solidarity activists have been giving up on a two-state solution. “There used to be a struggle in Palestine solidarity between a politics of peace – two states living side by side – and a politics of denouncing one side as essentially evil and hoping for its total defeat.”
But what Hirsch is doing is pure projection: he is suggesting Palestinian solidarity activists are “antisemites” – his idea of evil – because they have been forced by Israel to abandon their long-favoured cause of a two-state solution. That is only because successive Israeli governments have refused to negotiate any kind of peace deal with the most moderate Palestinian leadership imaginable under Mahmoud Abbas – one that has eagerly telegraphed its desire to collaborate with Israel, even calling “security coordination” with the Israeli army “sacred”.
A two-state solution is dead because Israel made it dead not because Palestinian solidarity activists are more extreme or more antisemitic.
In calling to “Free Palestine”, activists are not demanding Israel’s “total defeat” – unless Hirsch and Jewish community organisations themselves believe that Palestinians can never be free from Israeli oppression and occupation until Israel suffers such a “total defeat”. Hirsch’s claim tells us nothing about Palestinian solidarity activists, but it does tell us a lot about what is really motivating these Jewish community organisations.
It is these pro-Israel lobbyists, it seems, more than Palestinian solidarity activists, who cannot imagine Palestinians living in dignity under Israeli rule. Is that because they understand only too well what Israel and its political ideology of Zionism truly represent, and that what is required of Palestinians for “peace” is absolute and permanent submission?
Similarly, Rich, of the Community Security Trust, says of Palestinian solidarity activists: “Even the moderates have become extremists.” What does this extremism – again presented by Jewish groups as antisemitism – consist of? “Now the movement [in solidarity with Palestinians] is dominated by the view that Israel is an apartheid, genocidal, settler-colonialist state.”
Or in other words, these pro-Israel Jewish groups claim there has been a surge in antisemitism because Palestinian solidarity activists are being influenced and educated by human rights organisations, like Human Rights Watch and Israel’s B’Tselem. Both recently wrote reports classifying Israel as an apartheid state, in the occupied territories and inside Israel’s recognised borders. Activists are not becoming more extreme, they are becoming better informed.
My latest: A new report by human rights group B'Tselem calling Israel an apartheid state will make it harder to smear Israel's critics as antisemites for arguing that the Jewish state is a racist endeavour https://t.co/ubVRYd3nhj
And in making the case for a supposed surge in antisemitism, Rich offers another inadvertently revealing insight. He says Jewish children are suffering from online “abuse” – antisemitism – because they find it increasingly hard to participate on social media.
“Teenagers are much quicker to join social movements; we’ve just had Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, #MeToo – now Jewish kids find all their friends are joining this [Palestinian solidarity] movement where they don’t feel welcome or they are singled out because they’re Jewish.”
Fancifully, Rich is arguing that Jewish children raised in Zionist families and communities that have taught them either explicitly or implicitly that Jews in Israel have superior rights to Palestinians are being discriminated against because their unexamined ideas of Jewish supremacy do not fit with a pro-Palestinian movement predicated on equality.
This is as preposterous as it would have been, during the Jim Crow era, for white supremacist Americans to have complained of racism because their children were being made to feel out of place in civil rights forums.
Such assertions would be laughable were they not so dangerous.
Demonised as antisemites
Zionist supporters of Israel are trying to turn logic and the world upside down. They are inverting reality. They are projecting their own racist, zero-sum assumptions about Israel on to Palestinian solidarity activists, those who support equal rights for Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East.
As they did with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition, these Jewish groups are twisting the meaning of antisemitism, skewing it from a fear or hatred of Jews to any criticism of Israel that makes pro-Israel Jews feel uncomfortable.
As we watch these arguments being amplified uncritically by leading politicians and journalists, remember too that it was the only major politician to demurred from this nonsensical narrative, Jeremy Corbyn, who became the main target – and victim – of these antisemitism smears.
Now these pro-Israel Jewish groups want to treat us all like Corbyn, demonising us as antisemites unless we fall silent even as Israel once again brutalises Palestinians.
A member of the South African Student Congress (SASCO) holds a poster reflecting the face of the late Palestinian political leader, Yasser Arafat, during their protest in solidarity with Palestine outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria on May 20, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
Dockworkers in the South African port city of Durban have refused to offload cargo from an Israeli ship in a show of solidarity with Palestinians, and in protest at Tel Aviv’s military aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip.
The South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Coalition announced on Friday that the dockworkers with the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will not discharge the cargo belonging to Israel’s Zim Integrated Shipping, following a call from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.
— South African BDS Coalition (@sabdscoalition) May 21, 2021
Also on Friday, the South African BDS Coalition and its partners, among them SATAWU, will stage a rally in Durban to celebrate the stalling of the Israeli vessel, the movement said.
They will also demand that the South African government-owned Transnet port company stop transportation of goods to or from the Israeli-occupied territories through South African ports.
“We do not want Israeli ships or goods in South African ports and shops,” Roshan Dadoo, a member of the South African BDS Coalition, told London-based Middle East Eye online news outlet.
She added, “We salute our dockworkers and will continue to work in struggle with them to ensure that South Africa becomes an ‘apartheid free zone’.”
Dadoo said the coalition hopes that the South African government “takes their lead from the dockworkers and immediately cuts all ties – trade, diplomatic, cultural, academic and sport – with the oppressive Israeli regime.”
The development comes just days after dockworkers in the Italian city of Livorno refused to load an arms shipment onto the Asiatic Island, another ship belonging to the Israeli company Zim.
The L’Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) trade union said in a statement that the port would not be an accomplice in the massacre of Palestinians as the cargo contained weapons and explosives that could be used to kill the Palestinian population.
A ceasefire came into force in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Friday morning after Egypt brokered an agreement between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups to halt 11 days of conflict.
At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the densely populated coastal enclave.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has come under pressure to cut all ties with Israel following the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza.
Ramaphosa said on Monday that “we stand with the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination, but also in their resistance against the deprivation of their human rights and the denial of their dignity,”
He noted that the sight of a group of Palestinian families forced out from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds to make way for Israeli settlements reminded him of what happened to millions of South Africans, including his own family, during the apartheid era.
“It was a pain and humiliation faced by my own family, and by many South African families. My family was forcibly moved to different parts of the country on two occasions,” Ramaphosa stated.
He said being forced from one’s home at gunpoint is a trauma not easily forgotten, which is carried across generations.
At a recent virtual J Street Conference, US Senators, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren broke yet another political taboo when they expressed willingness to leverage US military aid as a way to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian human rights.
Sanders believes that the US “must be willing to bring real pressure to bear, including restricting US aid, in response to moves by either side that undermine the chances for peace,” while Warren showed a willingness to restrict military aid as a “tool” to push Israel to “adjust course”.
Generally, Sanders’ increasingly Pro-Palestinian stances are more progressive than those of Warren, although both are still hovering within the mainstream Democratic discourse – willingness to criticize Israel as long as that criticism is coupled with equal – if not even more pointed – criticism of the Palestinians.
Seraj Assi explained this dichotomy in an article published in Jacobin Magazine: “Sanders’ stance on Israel-Palestine could undoubtedly be more progressive. He has consistently voted in favor of US military aid to Israel, which subsidizes occupation, settlement expansion, and systematic violence against Palestinians. He still opposes the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, signing onto an anti-BDS letter to the UN Secretary-General in 2017 and reiterating his opposition to BDS”, years later.
However, as Assi himself indicated, Sanders’ position on Palestine and Israel cannot be judged simply based on some imagined ideal, but within the context of the US’ own political culture, one in which any criticism of Israel is viewed as ‘heretical’, if not outright anti-Semitic.
Sanders’ influence on the overall Democratic political discourse is also palpable, as he has paved the way for more radical, younger voices in the US Congress who now openly criticize Israel, while remaining largely unscathed by the wrath of the pro-Israel lobby, mainly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Gone are the days when AIPAC and other pro-Israel pressure groups shaped domestic American political discourse on Israel and Palestine. Nothing indicates that the tide has completely turned against Israel, as this is nowhere close, yet. However, a decisive US public opinion shift must also not be ignored. It is this popular shift that is empowering voices within the Democratic Party to speak out more freely without jeopardizing their political careers, as was often the case in the past.
In order to decipher the roots of the anti-Israeli occupation, pro-Palestinian sentiments among Democrats, these numbers could be helpful. While Sanders, Warren and other Democratic officials who are willing to criticize Israel but vehemently reject BDS, the public within the Democratic Party does not hold the same view. An early 2020 Brookings Institute poll found that, among Democrats who had heard about BDS, “a plurality, 48%, said they supported the Movement, while only 15% said they opposed it.”
This indicates that grassroots activism, which directly engages with ordinary Americans, is largely shaping their views on the Movement to boycott Israel. Ordinary Democrats are leading the way, while their representatives are merely trying to catch up.
Other numbers are also indicative of the fact that the vast majority of Americans oppose pro-Israeli efforts to promote laws and legislations that criminalize boycotts as a political tool, as such laws, they rightly believe, infringe on the constitutional rights to free speech. Expectedly, 80% Democrats lead the way in opposing such measures, followed by 76% independents, then 62% among Republicans.
Such news must be disturbing for Tel Aviv as it has heavily invested, through AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups, in branding BDS or any other movement that criticizes Israel’s military occupation and systematic apartheid in Palestine, as anti-Semitic.
Israelis find this new phenomenon quite confounding. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been repeatedly criticized in the past, even by mainstream Israeli officials and media pundits, for turning Democrats against Israel by unabashedly siding with former President Donald Trump and his Republican Party against their domestic rivals. Hence, Netanyahu has turned the support of Israel from being a bipartisan issue into a Republican-only cause.
A February 2020 Gallup poll perfectly reflected that reality as it found that a majority of Democrats, 70%, support the establishment of a Palestinian State, in comparison with 44% Republicans.
The rooted support for Israel among establishment Democrats is too deep – and well-funded – to be erased in a few years, but the pro-Palestine, anti-Israeli-occupation trend continues unabated, even after the defeat of Trump at the hands of Democratic candidate, now President, Joe Biden.
The last year, in particular, was possibly difficult for the Israel lobby, which is unaccustomed to electoral disappointments. Last June, for example, the lobby painted itself into a corner when it rallied behind one of the most faithful Israel supporters, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, depicting his opponent, Jamaal Bowman, as ‘anti-Israel’.
Bowman was hardly anti-Israel, though his position is relatively more moderate than the extremist one-sided views of Engel. In fact, Bowman had made it clear that he continues to support US aid to Israel and openly opposed BDS. However, unlike Engel, Bowman was not the perfect candidate whose love for Israel is blind, unconditional and ever-lasting. To the embarrassment of the lobby, Engel lost his seat in the US Congress, one which he had held for more than 30 years.
Unlike Bowman, Cori Bush, a grassroots activist from Missouri who has ousted the pro-Israel candidate, Congressman William Lacy Clay, has defended the Palestine boycott Movement as being a matter of freedom of speech, despite a relentless smear campaign describing her as ‘anti-Semitic’ for merely appearing in photos with pro-Palestinian activists. Last August, Bush – a black woman from a humble background – became US Representative for Missouri’s 1st congressional district, despite all pro-Israeli efforts to deny her such a position.
Indeed, it is important to acknowledge the role played by individuals in the undeniable shift within the American political discourse on Palestine and Israel. However, it is ordinary people who are making the real difference. While the Israel lobby still wields the dual weapon of money and propaganda, politically engaged grassroots activism is proving decisive in garnering American solidarity with Palestine, while slowly translating this solidarity into actual political gains.
Claims made by Democratic New York City mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang, in a recent op-ed in the Jewish weekly, ‘The Forward’, point to the prevailing ignorance that continues to dominate the US discourse on Palestine and Israel.
Yang, a former Democratic Presidential candidate, is vying for the Jewish vote in New York City. According to the reductionist assumption that all Jews must naturally support Israel and Zionism, Yang constructed an argument that is entirely based on a tired and false mantra equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Yang’s pro-Israel logic is not only unfounded, but confused as well. “A Yang administration will push back against the BDS movement which singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment,” he wrote, referring to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Yang compared the BDS movement to the “fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses”, most likely a reference to the infamous Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany, starting in April 1933.
Not only does Yang fail to construct his argument in any historically defensible fashion, he claims that BDS is “rooted in anti-Semitic thought and history.”
BDS is, in fact, rooted in history, not that of Nazi Germany, but of the Palestinian General Strike of 1936, when the Palestinian Arab population took collective action to hold colonial Britain accountable for its unfair and violent treatment of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Instead of helping Palestine achieve full sovereignty, colonial Britain backed the political aspirations of White European Zionists who aimed to establish a ‘Jewish homeland’ in Palestine.
Sadly, the efforts of the Palestinian natives failed, and the new State of Israel became a reality in 1948, after nearly one million Palestinian refugees were uprooted and ethnically cleansed as a result of a decidedly violent campaign, the aftershocks of which continue to this day. Indeed, today’s ongoing military occupation and apartheid are all rooted in that tragic history.
This is the reality that the boycott movement is fighting to change. No anti-Semitic, Nazi – or, according to Yang’s ahistorical account, ‘fascist’ – love affair is at work here; just a beleaguered and oppressed nation fighting for its most basic human rights.
Yang’s ignorant and self-serving comments were duly answered most appropriately, including by many anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals and activists throughout the US and the world. Alex Kane, a writer in ‘Jewish Currents’ tweeted that Yang made “a messed up, wrong comparison”, and that the politician “comes across as deeply ignorant about Palestine, Palestinians and BDS”. US Muslim Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) added their voices to numerous others, all pointing to Yang’s opportunism, lack of understanding of history and distorted logic.
But this goes beyond Yang, as the debate over BDS in the US is almost entirely rooted in fallacious comparisons and ignorance of history.
Those who had hoped that the unceremonious end of the Donald Trump Administration would bring about a measure of justice for the Palestinian people will surely be disappointed, as the American discourse on Palestine and Israel rarely changes, regardless which President resides in the White House and what political party dominates the Congress.
So, reducing the boycott debate to Yang’s confused account of history and reality is, itself, a reductionist understanding of US politics. Indeed, similar language is regularly infused, like that used by President Joe Biden’s nominee for United Nations envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield while addressing her confirmation hearing at the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on January 27. Like Yang, Thomas-Greenfield also found boycotting Israel an “unacceptable” act that “verges on anti-Semitism.”
While the presumptive envoy supported the return of the US to the Human Rights Council, UNESCO and other UN-affiliated organizations, her reasoning for such a move is merely to ensure the US has a place “at the table” so that Washington may monitor and discourage any criticism of Israel.
Yang, Thomas-Greenfield and others perpetuate such inaccurate comparisons with full confidence that they have strong support among the country’s ruling elites from the two dominant political parties. Indeed, according to the latest count produced by the pro-Israel Jewish Virtual Library website, “32 states have adopted laws, executive orders or resolutions that are designed to discourage boycotts against Israel.”
In fact, the criminalization of the boycott movement has taken center stage of the federal government in Washington DC. Anti-boycott legislation was passed with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in recent years and more are expected to follow.
The popularity of such measures prompted former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to declare the Israel boycott movement to be anti-Semitic, describing it at as ‘a cancer’ at a press conference in November, alongside Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, while in the illegal settlement of Psagot.
While Pompeo’s position is unsurprising, it behooves Yang and Thomas-Greenfield, both members of minority groups that suffered immense historical racism and discrimination, to brush up on the history of popular boycott movements in their own country. The weapon of boycott was, indeed, a most effective platform to translate political dissent into tangible achievements for oppressed Black people in the US during the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century. Most memorable, and consequential of these boycotts was the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955.
Moreover, outside the US, numerous volumes have been written about how the boycott of the White supremacist apartheid government in South Africa ignited a global movement which, combined with the sacrifices of Black South Africans, brought apartheid to an end in the early 1990s.
The Palestinian people do not learn history from Yang and others, but from the collective experiences of oppressed peoples and nations throughout the world. They are guided by the wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr., who once said that “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
The boycott movement aims at holding the oppressor accountable as it places a price tag on military occupation and apartheid. Not only is the Palestinian boycott movement not racist, it is essentially a rallying cry against racism and oppression.
Recently Israel’s largest human rights organization concluded the country was run based on a regime of Jewish supremacy. B’Tselem wasn’t only referring to the occupied West Bank but an “apartheid” system in place from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
A week after B’Tselem’s report was released, one of Canada’s leading lobbyists for the “regime of Jewish supremacy” smeared maybe the country’s most effective activist in challenging Canadian complicity in that racism as, well surprise, surprise … racist. B’nai B’rith put out a press release attacking Karen Rodman for “promoting the sale of Israeli wine … only because the winemaker is an Arab, rather than an Israeli Jew.”
The release is cringe worthy. It’s hard to believe a more sober minded individual within the multimillion-dollar organization failed to intercede. But the truth is much of what B’nai B’rith produces reeks of an unsophisticated bully emboldened by a complicit political culture. A number of blogs promoting the “regime of Jewish supremacy” picked up B’nai B’rith’s release declaring: “Antisemitic BDSers support selling wine from Israel — as long as it isn’t from Jews”; “Anti-Semitism: BDS Activist Promotes Israeli Wine Produced by Arabs, Not Jews”; “A ‘wineing’ hypocrisy: The BDS movement in Canada”.
Rodman’s role in selling a few bottles from a Palestinian-owned winery is not, of course, why B’nai B’rith is targeting her. That self-declared human rights organization sees it as an opportunity to attack BDS and, more particularly, to undermine Rodman’s effective activism on a series of fronts.
A former United Church of Canada minister, Rodman has campaigned to expose a 1970s agreement the church made with B’nai B’rith to inform it about Israel-related affairs or possibly even to seek their consent before implementing policy approved by the grassroots. She was also the key player in last summer’s No Canada on United Nations Security Council campaign. Rodman compiled the research contrasting Canada’s viciously anti-Palestinian voting record at the General Assembly with its competitors for the seats Ireland and Norway. She also tracked down the contacts for all the UN ambassadors and coordinated an action alert that saw over 1,300 individuals deliver letters urging them to vote against Canada’s bid due to its anti-Palestinian record. Flustered by the campaign, Canada’s representative at the international organization wrote a last-minute response to all UN ambassadors. (Another 1,000 letters were sent to UN ambassadors about other elements of Canadian foreign policy.) The security council loss was embarrassing to the Trudeau Liberals and was also a blow to the “regime of Jewish supremacy” and its Canadian lobby.
More recently, Rodman has spearheaded the campaign to challenge illegal Israeli military recruitment in Canada. Canadians have been recruited to fight in Israel’s military for three quarters of a century and only recently has there been an organized effort to stop the practice. The campaign launched with an open letter signed by numerous prominent individuals demanding the Trudeau government take action on recruitment for the Israeli military and over 2,000 emails have been sent to Justice Minister David Lametti and RCMP Commissioner Rob O’Reilly calling on them to investigate the matter. Adding further pressure, Member of Parliament Mario Beaulieu is participating in an upcoming webinar on the subject.
While one may be tempted to call B’nai B’rith’s attack on Rodman a new low, it is not. The group’s fanaticism in promoting hate is long-standing. In October 2018 B’nai Brith sponsored an event in Vancouver with Ben Shapiro — a former Breitbart News editor. Shapiro has said the “Palestinian Arab population is rotten to the core”, “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage” and Islam is an “ideological representation of third worldism … and poverty.” In response to a 2012 United Church resolution calling for a boycott of products from illegal Israeli settlements, B’nai Brith CEO Frank Dimant issued statement claiming the minimal act of solidarity with the besieged Palestinians was tantamount to “calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from these areas.”
Just like White supremacists accuse people of colour of racism when they call for equality, B’nai Brith accuses others of what it promotes. It backs extremist elements of the “regime of Jewish supremacy” while labeling those challenging racist governance as racist. People of good conscience will see through this and demonstrate solidarity with Karen Rodman.