I AM NO LONGER ACCEPTING THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE

I AM CHANGING THE THINGS I CANNOT ACCEPT!
Free yourselves from all evils of society

Free yourselves from all evils of society

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As a society, we have been duped by the powers that be. We were told to chant the following …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Yet, the President of the United States promised CHANGE …. and yes, he kept his promise. Things have changed from bad to worse!

Are we expected to accept that?

I SAY NO!

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Now that we are finally awake, let's get out of bed and get to work!

Now that we are finally awake, let’s get out of bed and get to work!

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Acceptance of what Obama calls CHANGE is complicity with the evils within those changes!

Let’s start with the erosion of our Academic Freedom …. students are no longer allowed or encouraged to think … or even hear opinions contrary to those of the Administration. The human brain has become as redundant as the appendix.

Black Americans have become mere targets for trigger happy police officers, especially the youth.

Muslim Americans have been classified as terrorists and are racially profiled in every aspect of their lives.

New wars are being waged throughout the world targeting self created enemies … soldiers are dying for no reason at all yet they continue to follow orders, truly ‘Waste Deep In The Big Muddy’ …

Attempts to change any of the above leads to arrests, loss of jobs, or even worse, loss of lives.

BUT IT MUST BE DONE!

The American nation has become a nation of Sheeple being led to slaughter.

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The outdated Serenity Prayer presented above has allowed the Administration to destroy the very fibers of our society. They have treated us as if we were all addicted to a substance  dangerous to our health … and yes we were, a substance we know as Capitalism! Don’t allow that substance to become fascism …. an evil even harder to cure.

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It can be nipped in its bud!

It can be nipped in its bud!

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Stop following that asshole in front of you! Become the CHANGE that will give us something to really be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving!

IN ISRAEL, THE THEME IS ‘ACCEPTANCE OF THE OTHER’ … UNLESS THEY ARE SEPHARDIC JEWS

Helen Thomas was wrong, we are not ALL from Poland ;)

Helen Thomas was wrong, we are not ALL from Poland ;)

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A nice and impressive conference, organized by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, is taking place Sunday and Monday under a promising banner, “From Xenophobia to Accepting the Other.”

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Israeli academia is not accepting of the other

Op-ed: When academic conference is held under banner of ‘Accepting the Other,’ but only has Ashkenazi participants, it’s not rejection – it’s a disgrace

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A nice and impressive conference, organized by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, is taking place Sunday and Monday under a promising banner, “From Xenophobia to Accepting the Other.”

Every civilized society, at any point in time, is in need of self-examination over manifestations of hatred, incitement and exclusion within it. “The other,” regardless of who that is, is worthy of acceptance (as long as he wants to be accepted, and that isn’t always the case). Not in order to be discussed, not in order to provide for academic chairs and researchers who will receive funds on his behalf.

The other is worthy of acceptance as a partner, not only as an image one looks at through an academic microscope.

The other will be perpetuated as “the other” as long as he remains solely an object of research. Because the other usually wants to be a partner. He wants to be not only part of the labor market, but also part of the elite. In fact, he usually doesn’t want to be “the other,” but there are those who take the trouble to leave him out. Sometimes unintentionally; sometimes willfully.

When all of the Bank of Israel’s bills feature Ashkenazi figures, the state is nurturing the rejection of the other. It’s a symbolic matter. But symbols are part of the issue. And when an academic conference is held under the advanced banner of “Accepting the Other,” but all – or nearly all – of its Jewish participants are Ashkenazim, it’s not just a rejection of the other. It’s a disgrace.

Not every conference and not every panel have to be based on a complete reflection of the Israeli diversity. A cardiologists’ conference can be dominated by men of Bulgarian descent. Their ethnic origin is irrelevant. But a conference about the status of women, in which the overwhelming number of participants or all participants are men, is a conference perpetuating the oppression of women. There is no chance that this will happen in any civilized country. And if it does, there will be a huge uproar.

But lo and behold, the most prestigious academic body in Israel, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, organizes a conference about the other which is characterized mainly by an exclusion of the other.

It’s not just about the ethnic origin issue. It’s possible that a very small minority of the participants are of Sephardic decent. The problem is also about opinion and outlook and a school of thought.

Can the organizers explain the absence of professors like Nissim Mizrachi, the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, or Yossi Yonah, who has written many publications about multiculturalism and racism and the exclusion of the other, or Meir Buzaglo, or Yossi Dahan, or Henriette Dahan Kalev, or Pnina Motzafi-Haller, and many others whose work focuses on these exact fields?

It should be mentioned that I strongly disagree with some of the names I mentioned. But that’s not important. There is no need to agree with them about everything. It’s clear that they have something to say. Some of them have experienced rejection and integration themselves. They have engaged in this issue more than others. The things they have to say, which are sometimes irritating, are challenging things.

They can’t be left out of the discussion, even though they – they too – are not nice. Whoever excludes them from the discourse because he doesn’t like their opinions is violating the basic idea of academic thought.

The problem is that the Academy of Sciences has been infected with a disease which characterizes a major part of the humanities and social sciences departments in Israel. There is no real openness. There is no willingness to listen to the other. Entire conferences are dominated by participants who share the exact same opinion.

Sometimes the academic staff in a certain department or institution is dominated by lecturers whose opinions range from radical left to even more radical left. Here and there, although much less, we see panels of rightists with rightists. It’s boring. It’s banal. It’s definitely not academic.

The conference’s organizers may have had good intentions, but the result is the exact opposite.

 

See my Previous Post

JEWISH RECOMMITMENT AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

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Jews Recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia

by: Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin FOR

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While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

As part of our commitment to challenging Islamophobia in all its forms and to bringing these issues to the forefront within the Jewish community, the coalition we are part of, Jews Against Islamophobia (Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), wanted to make visible the many manifestations of Islamophobia that we oppose and that we are committed to challenging. We created a short video that highlights the multiple ways Islamophobia is promoted – through police surveillance of the Muslim community, government institutions and policies, and the media as well as through Islamophobic ads in public spaces and demanding that Muslims pass a litmus test declaring their loyalty to the State of Israel before being considered an “acceptable” partner.

Some of us from Jews Against Islamophobia have also been part of initiating a new national network, J-NAI (Jewish Voice for Peace Network Against Islamophobia) that we hope will provide support and resources for those interested in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and in making the connections between Islamophobia and Israel politics.You can learn more about these efforts at JVP.org/JNAI

We join our partners and allies from the Muslim community and from other communities who are organizing against Islamophobia and for justice and dignity for all our communities.

#FergusonOctober COMES TO MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

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#FergusonOctober Comes to Monday Night Football

Black lives matter

“Rams Fans Know Black Lives Matter On and Off the Field” (Photo: Benjamin Boyd)

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The tradition is as longstanding as it is powerful: fans and even players disrupting sporting events in the name of a greater cause. Sometimes when this takes place, it’s iconic, other times it’s forgotten. This is usually dependent on the power and breadth of the movements off the field that animate these extraordinary actions.

We saw it most famously perhaps when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics. It helped change the world when the people of Australia and New Zealand fans stormed the grounds when Apartheid South Africa’s storied Springbok rugby team took the field. It continues today when people protest the Israeli basketball tour of the NBA preseason in the shadow of the Gaza war or when NFL players in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown raise their hands as they leave the tunnel.

That tradition continued last night when, as a part of #FergusonOctober, fifty people in the upper deck of the St. Louis Rams-San Francisco 49ers game unfurled a banner saying “Black Lives Matter On And Off The Field” and held a protest right in the middle of Monday Night Football.

An NFL stadium is a place of constant security, surveillance and inspection. Getting inside the White House with a knife seems like an easier task than entering an NFL arena for a protest. Yet in St. Louis, they did it and sent a strong message that this was not a time for games.

Stadium protester Shannon Wilson said, “We chanted in protest to tell the world that Rams fans know that black lives matter. Some Rams fans who sat in front of us ignored us at first. When our cries for our lives grew louder, some men began to dance as if to imitate monkeys, and shouted, verbatim, ‘Shut the f*** up you monkeys.’ I guess some Rams fans don’t know that Black lives matter.”

Charles Modiano, who helped organize the action, said:

Sorry to inconvenience the 3rd quarter, but the wild cheering of African-American athletes who can run fast, and the death and disrespect of Mike Brown simply cannot be separated from each other. Black lives must matter on AND off the field. We witnessed many hateful, hostile, and nearly violent responses from fans inside and outside the stadium. But we witnessed many Rams fans – including many white fans — who joined our protest in solidarity after initial hesitance. It’s almost like they needed permission to show their justifiable outrage. Last week the St. Louis Symphony protesters asked ‘What side are you on, my friends. That’s the question. There are six witnesses, no police incident report, still no arrest, and Mike Browns in every town. This is real basic. There can be no fence-sitting here. Dismantling the Blue Wall of Silence also includes ending white walls of silence.

Thousands were protesting at St. Louis University, Walmart, at the Ferguson police Department, and other places. And that was just one day.

As one stadium protester who requested anonymity told me, “Tonight was a major success. Our message was clear – black lives matter and that means that police violence is an issue no one can ignore, even during Monday night football. Our movement is growing every day and while ESPN chose not to air our major action, we know that many in our country stand with us. We are waiting for our leaders to act.”

Yes, it’s true that ESPN ignored the happenings in the stands. But it was picked up by mainstream channels like The Sporting News and SB Nation as well as the highly trafficked rebel sports site Deadspin.

At a rally this weekend, Montague Simmons, from the Organization for Black Struggle, told a crowd: “They didn’t value Black lives then, they don’t value Black lives now…. If this moment is gonna be all that it can be, we got to make the cost of Black life too high for them to take it.” Actions like last night are a critical part of that process.

Protestor Darnell Moore said, “While waking around the stadium with several dozen others chanting ‘Mike Brown’ and ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ some fans willfully ignored us or shouted irately because their game was interrupted.”

This was a brave action that went down last night. As long as some people in the United States cannot escape the fear of police violence, the escapism of sports is a bubble well worth popping.

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

RABBIS JOIN THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE IN FERGUSON

American Handala By Mike Flugennock

American Handala
By Mike Flugennock

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Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

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20 Rabbis Join Rallies in Ferguson as Anger Keeps Building

Protests Against Racism Back on Streets of St. Louis Suburb

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Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

PHILIP DEITCH
Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

“We repent for the sins of our community, not only for the things we personally did,” Rabbi Jill Jacobs told one officer. “I asked him if he would join me in repenting, and he didn’t really respond.”

Two months after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the protest movement in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb shows no sign of ending. A grand jury has yet to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, for shooting the unarmed black teen. And in early October, a St. Louis police officer shot another black teen to death under unclear circumstances, giving the movement new energy.

Rabbis from outside of the St. Louis area have stayed away from the protests in Ferguson, leaving them to local leaders and activists. But that changed October 12, when 20 rabbis joined dozens of clergy members for a series of actions protesting what they see as a pattern of police impunity.

The goal was to get arrested.

“It was clear they didn’t want to arrest clergy,” said Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, a rabbinic social justice group, of police at the October 13 protest outside of the Ferguson police station.

Some clergy did go to jail, though all of the rabbis remained free. Rabbi Susan Talve, the spiritual leader of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, who has been a regular presence at the Ferguson protests, was driving to prison to visit a group of arrested ministers when she was reached by the Forward.

“I want my sisters to know I’m here,” Talve said.

Talve’s synagogue is near Ferguson. One 16-year-old black congregant lives in the town.

“He just wants to go to school,” she said of the teenager. “He also doesn’t want to be afraid that when he walks on the street at night, that he’s going to be provoked, profiled and harassed because of the color of his skin.”

Talve said that Jacobs and others had been asking her how to support the Ferguson protest movement since the beginning, but that she had waited for an appropriate moment to invite them to come in. The civil disobedience at the police station was part of a series of events called Ferguson October meant to draw national attention to the ongoing protests.

Jacobs said that she and her colleagues from outside of the area felt that they, too, had a role in countering the discrimination in Ferguson. “We know what it’s like to be singled out because of our religion, because of the way we look, so we have an obligation to stand with other people in the same situation,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredibly important to break out of this us/them dynamic. This is about the Jewish community and every community.”

Outside the police station, activists chanted while some confronted the officers.

“We had clergy of all faiths going up to the police officers and asking them to repent for their part in the system that led to the death of Michael Brown,” Jacobs said.

Some Christian clergy offered to take confession. Jacobs said that she spoke to two unflinching riot police who would not engage with her. Talve spoke to a Catholic officer who did not accept her premise.

“He said he didn’t have anything to be sorry for, to repent for,” Talve said. “I said, I’m sure you’re a good man, you’re doing holy work… but we’re all part of the system.”

The protest was designed as a civil disobedience action, but the unwillingness of the officers meant that the rabbis stayed out of jail. “They wouldn’t arrest me,” Talve said. “We tried.”

CNN reported that 43 people were arrested outside the police station, including Cornel West, the academic and activist.

The weekend was not without tension among the activists. At a rally on the evening of October 12, local youth leaders protested when speakers from outside Ferguson were given priority, calling for their own chance to speak.

RISING ABOVE PAMELA GELLER

Condemned by such noted liberals as the ADL, Dinesh D’Souza, and the Daily News, banned by the Great Neck Synagogue (but embraced by Chabad), Geller is the anti-Muslim wacko who takes ads on buses and subways to remind us all that followers of Islam are “savages” and that there’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. (Someone better inform Dr. Oz.)
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We Are All Pamela Geller

Let’s Figure Out How We Rise Above Her

By Jay Michaelson

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Hate: One of Geller’s ads posted in the New York subway system.

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Hate: One of Geller’s ads posted in the New York subway system.
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Well, now we know what it takes to stop Pamela Geller’s crusade against terrorism: an actual victim of it.

Condemned by such noted liberals as the ADL, Dinesh D’Souza, and the Daily News, banned by the Great Neck Synagogue (but embraced by Chabad), Geller is the anti-Muslim wacko who takes ads on buses and subways to remind us all that followers of Islam are “savages” and that there’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. (Someone better inform Dr. Oz.)

Until yesterday, Geller was planning another assault on the citizens of New York, in the form of hateful bus and subway ads. But at the 11th hour, reason intervened, in the form of the family of James Foley, one of the Islamic State’s victims, who asked that Geller pull the ads.

The Foley family succeeded where an array of activists and municipalities have failed. Say what you will about Geller’s politics, her legal counsel is excellent. Her organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative — and its project, Stop the Islamicization of America — has won court victories that make it very difficult for the MTA, or its sister agencies in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to stop her. “Our hands are tied,” an MTA representative told the Daily News.

This is, after all, political speech, carefully lawyered to evade prosecution. And let’s remember that Geller has only committed to withdrawing those picturing Foley, which still leaves plenty of hate to be written on the subway walls.

Prior to the Foleys’ success, tactics have varied widely — with similarly varying results.

The best the MTA has been able to win is a disclaimer that SOIA’s views are not those of the MTA. Mayor Bill DiBlasio has proposed contemplation: Those “forced to view [the ads] can take comfort in the knowledge that we share a better, loftier and nobier view of humanity.” Alright.

San Francisco’s Muni system did better, posting their own ads a few feet from Geller’s setting forth Muni’s anti-discrimination policy and explicitly condemning Geller’s statements. Better.

Moderate Muslim organizations have started their own counter-protests: the #MyJihad campaign (which Geller has co-opted) and humor-based campaigns such as “Fighting Bigotry With Hilarious Posters,” which warns us that “the Muslims are coming — to your radiology department.” Nice.

And enterprising activists have made an art form out of directly “modifying” Geller’s posters, sometimes just with black spray paint but other times with pictures of Geller herself and witty speech-bubbles like “I’m obsessed and must struggle to stop.” I won’t name acronyms, but some left-leaning Jewish organizations have gotten in on the act too.

Here, however, I’d like to take a different tack.

Geller’s ads may have been pulled, but her presence is still felt keenly in our community, and I think it’s too easy to focus on Geller as a racist clown, thus giving all the rest of us a free pass. Geller is like a pro-Israel Barry Goldwater: in our hearts, many in our community believe her to be right.

So, rather than Di-Blasian self-satisfaction, I’d like to invite the exact opposite: self-questioning. It’s highly appropriate for this season of repentance, and it is a lot more productive. We should be asking ourselves: What views do I hold that enable, or resemble, such extremism? If I’m on the Left, do I call out my friends when their anti-Zionism slides into anti-Semitism? And if I’m on the Right, do I hold myself and my friends accountable for views which border on bigotry?

Let me give some examples, direct from Geller herself.

One of Geller’s new ads states that “Hamas is ISIS, Hamas is Al-Qaeda, Hamas is Boko Haram, Hamas is CAIR in America.” Factually, this is quite false. In fact, while Hamas has nominally supported ISIS in Syria — thus damaging ties with its historic sponsor, Iran — the Islamic State is a Salafist jihadist/fundamentalist movement that regards Hamas as impure and the Israel/Palestinian conflict as largely irrelevant. In fact, Hamas’s best friend today is Qatar, which is in the coalition opposing the Islamic State. Unsurprisingly, Geller is just ignorant here.

But to vilify CAIR in this way is defamatory, like saying that AIPAC is Baruch Goldstein. Do some CAIR members support Hamas? Probably. Did some AIPAC members support Goldstein? Probably. Does that make them identical? No.

Now I want to turn the question inward. Have I learned enough about the differences among Muslim groups, or do I reduce them all to the “Them” in an Us/Them dichotomy? Do I recognize that all religious and national groups have their moderates and extremists? That Paul Ryan isn’t Bill O’Reilly isn’t Pamela Geller — even if they’ve all intersected at times?

And do I appreciate the consequences for American civil society if I were really to believe, as another Geller ad insists, that “yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline”? Is everyone who has an expansive view of the Second Amendment the same as mass shooters in Colorado and Connecticut? Is every conservative in the KKK? Do we see what this kind of thinking would mean?

Let’s take a second example. “Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran,” an AFDI poster blares. And indeed, the Quran has many violent passages, including some about Jews — most notoriously 5:60, which says that “some” Jews have been transformed into “monkeys and pigs.” It is definitely triumphalist in nature. (See, e.g. 4:101, 66:9, 28:66.)

But have you read the Quran, cover to cover? Including verses like 2:256 (“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error”), or the many similar exhortations in 6:107, 11:28, 42:8, 65:26, and elsewhere? Or, for that matter, 2:47, which exhorts “Children of Israel! Call to mind the favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other nations”?

To be sure, ISIS’s barbarian shave not lived up to these nobler teachings. Nor did the Crusaders, of course, live up to theirs.

And have you read the Bible, cover to cover? Including Deuteronomy 7:2-3, which calls for the complete ethnic cleansing of the Land of Israel, along with similar exhortations in Numbers 31:7-18, Joshua 11:12-15, and elsewhere? And is not Judaism likewise triumphalist, sure that it is the one true religion?

All Western religions have teachings of peace and teachings of violence within them. All have followers who emphasize one or the other. All can be triumphalist, violent, and ethnocentric — or the opposite. In some times and places, the fundamentalists hold sway; in others, the moderates. This is reality.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the irony here. In condemning all Muslims as savage and violent, Geller is herself becoming like those Muslims who are. She is a fundamentalist like they are fundamentalists; she is irrational like they are irrational.

And another irony: So are we, if we simply assume that Geller is over there, and I’m over here. Moderate/Extremist is just another Us/Them dichotomy — one that gives me a pass just as Geller’s Us/Them dichotomy gives her.

Actually, we are all Pamela Geller to some extent: She is simply the manifestation of the fearful, irrational, and hateful parts of each of us. There’s a Geller inside me and a Geller inside you. I can listen to that part of myself and “know she’s right.” Or I can listen to it, reflect on it, and explore whether that’s the voice I want to obey.

Indeed, what finally defeated Geller — in this particular battle at least — was nothing more and nothing less than basic human decency. A grieving family with every reason to support her vitriolic rhetoric has instead asked her to back off. They have risen above vengeance to something better.

It is all too human to support Pamela Geller, and all too human to simply blow her off. But as the Foley family has shown, it is also possible to rise above her.
The views expressed in these two articles are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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No, Pamela Geller, the Qur’an Is Not Anti-Semitic

By Reuven Firestone

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Pamela Geller, left; Qur’an, right / Getty Images

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Soon you will see ads, courtesy of Pamela Geller, in the New York City subway system that state, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Qur’an.”

Is she right?

It’s easy to understand why many Jews might think so. Anti-Semitism has become a frightening force in much of the Muslim world, and a recent Anti-Defamation League study has shown that anti-Semitism is more common in Muslim majority countries than in any other region identified by religion, culture or geography. Muslims need to address this problem for many reasons, not least of which is that anti-Semitism reflects deep ignorance and a willingness to be manipulated by simplistic propaganda that is harmful to Muslims as well as Jews.

But anti-Semitism is not found in the Qur’an.

This may be difficult to fathom given the recent heated public discussion. Some people cite what appear to be obviously angry and seemingly hateful negative references to Jews in the Qur’an. Others argue that these verses are taken out of context. They cite counter-verses from the same Qur’an that appear to respect Jews and even refer to Jews using the same positive language reserved for followers of Muhammad.

So what’s the real story? As usual, the issue is not so simple, and many on both sides of the debate do us all a disservice with their hyperbole and naïve arguments.

Yes, the Qur’an contains verses that refer negatively to Jews. In order to understand these verses, we must read them both in relation to the fullness of the scripture in which they are located (synchronically), and also in relation to how other scriptures treat non-believers (diachronically).

Let’s start with the synchronic reading. Negative references to Jews in the Qur’an occur in relation to negative references to other communities, all of which opposed the emergence of the new Arabian prophet and his revelation. The Jewish communities of Arabia, like the Christian, Zoroastrian and native polytheist communities, did not accept the prophetic status of Muhammad. A few individual Jews and Christians joined his movement, but when they did they voted themselves out of their native religious communities.

This is a natural occurrence. No established religion is willing to discard the canon of its own scripture in order to accept a new prophet with a new revelation. Islam fits into this pattern as well, since it refuses to accept the prophetic status of new divine messengers who emerged out of its own tradition, such as the prophets of the Baha’i faith or the Ahmadiyya.

The Jews of Arabia were greatly respected and influential in Arabia during Muhammad’s lifetime. Because of their status, their refusal as a community to acknowledge his prophethood was a major impediment to the new movement and was condemned by the Qur’an as obstinacy, and hard-headedness. The Qur’an criticizes local Jews, for example, when it states, “Many of the People of the Book would like to turn you back to unbelievers after your having believed, because of envy on their part after the truth has become clear to them” (Q.2:109).

Established religions are never welcoming to new religions, and the disappointment, resentment and anger of newly emerging religions toward established religions that refuse to embrace them is found in all monotheistic scriptures. Many are familiar with the negative references to Jews in parts of the New Testament such as Matthew 23 and John 8. As in the Qur’an, these texts reflect the shock and resentment of those believing in a new redemptive and charismatic leader. They simply could not understand why members of established religions would refuse to join their program.

Negative references to Jews in both scriptures reflect reactive anger and zealous resentment. They do not represent a program to vilify, demonize or scapegoat Jews.

Jews are naturally sensitive to negative references to Jews in other scriptures, but are usually unaware of the same phenomenon of othering in their own scripture. The Hebrew Bible is full of reactive anger and zealous resentment toward competing religious communities. Canaanites, Egyptians and other members of established religious peoples are depicted repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible as spiteful, wicked and mortal enemies of ancient Israel. But most of those portrayed as evil opponents were simply members of established religions who felt threatened by Israelite successes in conquest and expansion. Like the Jews and Christians of Arabia, they opposed the emergence of a new, competitive religious community. The Israelite claims to being God’s chosen people with an exclusive relationship with the one God of the universe (who happened to be called the God of Israel!) could only have added to the tension.

These are all cases of the natural tension that occurs with the birth of new religions. Established religions resent and oppose them — just think of “cults” as new religions in order to understand the mindset. Like the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the Qur’an includes material that reflects this frustration. It does not express anti-Semitism, Jew-hatred or racism.

Anti-Semitism is caused by different forces, which scapegoat Jews by manipulating people through deceitful deflection of criticism onto Jews. Those who engage in the deception use anything they can to further their aims, including scripture. Negative scriptural references to non-believers exist in all scriptures, and they are sometimes cited and manipulated by hateful people to encourage violence and even slaughter of the religious other. But it’s important for Jews to understand that anti-Semitism is no more basic to Islam than hatred of all non-Jews is basic to Judaism, an old anti-Semitic screed that was often claimed by citing scriptural citations from the Hebrew Bible.

Many writings single out and disparage particular communities, and any kind of “othering” is problematic. We need to be able to distinguish between normal even if problematic cases, and those that are truly hateful and absolutely unacceptable cases of racism, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. Reacting to every negative reference to Jews as anti-Semitic is unwise, simplistic and dangerous. Don’t be fooled by frightened people into the naïve and simplistic conclusion that any negative reference to Jews is anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Reuven Firestone is Professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and Senior Fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is author of Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam and is President Elect of the International Qur’anic Studies Association.

WHERE IS MOHAMMED?

Peek-a-boo, I don’t see you

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Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn’t there

It isn’t a matter of racism. It’s a matter of denial.
By Asher Schechter FOR

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Babies born in Israel. Photo by Ancho Gosh
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Earlier this week, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel’s population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA’s annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.

The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.

But Yosef wasn’t actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz’s Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

One would be hard-pressed not to suspect racism. No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel’s population.

On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn’t a matter of simple, blatant racism. It’s worse. It’s denial.

Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.

But mostly it’s a denial of a reality that isn’t convenient. In recent years, Israel has developed a habit of trying to embellish or simplify reality by ignoring inconveniences. Let’s call it the “not counting the Haredim and Arabs” trick.

Peek-a-boo, I don’t see you

For instance, back in April 2012, PM Netanyahu made a revealing admission. Asked about the extreme inequality in Israel and the surge of public anger, as shown in the social protests of 2011, Netanyahu claimed: “If you deduct the Arabs and the Haredim from inequality indices, we are doing great.”

His statement caused an uproar but since then, the claim that Israel is doing just great if you don’t count it’s most impoverished groups has become a cliche of sorts among Israeli officials: if not for those pesky Haredim and Arabs, Israel would have been one of the most advanced countries in the OECD.

A study conducted by the Taub Center for Israel Studies in 2013 proves that even if you discount the Haredim and Arabs, Israel remains a poor, unequal, relatively-unproductive country by OECD standards. But the misconception has become entrenched, appropriated by ordinary and official Israelis for other walks of life beyond economics, whether it’s Israel’s troubled education system or, well, baby names.

In that sense, if you don’t count the name Mohammad, Israel’s most popular baby name is Yosef. And if you deduct the Arab population, Israel is a Jewish state. It’s a cool mental trick, that enables Israel to be the Jewish country it always wanted to be. It also implies, quite ominously, that Israel as a nation has lost some capacity of dealing with reality.

For years now, for instance, Israel has been concerned with the so-called “demographic threat”, a scenario in which Palestinians, both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, become a majority thanks to their high birth rates and therefore risk Israel’s Jewish majority and its status as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to raise this concern, back in 2003. Some analysts suggested the fear of it forced Ariel Sharon to unilaterally disengage from Gaza.

Which brings us back to Mohammad, and the reality that its omission masks. After all, what is the acknowledgement that Mohammadis the now most popular baby name in Israel, if not an embarrassing admission that the so called “demographic bomb” has already exploded? That Israel, despite its definition of itself as Jewish, is a lot less Jewish than it would have liked? How would you like a dose of demographic gunpowder with your honey-dipped apple this year?

But, if you deduct Mohammad, everything seems just fine. We are not racists, we swear, we are simply escaping to a much-less complicated fantasy land.

HOW ZIONISTS VIEW THE SANCTITY OF LIFE

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At the Israeli youths’ funeral on Tuesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contrasted Israelis from those who killed the youths.

“They sanctify death, we sanctify life,” Netanyahu said. “They sanctify cruelty, and we mercy and compassion.” 

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Now read on …

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Jerusalem “lynch mobs” attack Palestinians after Israeli teens’ funerals

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Amnesty warns against “revenge”

Amnesty International today condemned Israel’s use of collective punishment against Palestinians.

“Justice will not be served by Israel seeking revenge by imposing collective punishment, or committing other violations of Palestinians’ rights,” the group stated.

Occupation forces ransacked and partially destroyed the Hebron homes of the families of two Hamas members Israel says were responsible for killing the boys.

But as Amnesty notes, “The Israeli authorities have not presented any evidence to back their assertion that Hamas or the two named suspects were responsible for the teens’ abductions and murders.”

With thanks to David Sheen (@davidsheen on Twitter).

NO SCHOOL FOR GIRLS OF SEPHARDIC ORIGIN IN ISRAEL

They can stay in the kitchen, learn to cook, go barefoot and get pregnant!
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Who said Israel was the only Democracy in the Middle East?

Obviously someone that never read the following two reports …

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Haredi school admits only 5 Sephardic girls 

Education Ministry cancels registration of girls to New Beit Yaakov seminary in ultra-Orthodox city of Elad after learning that 83% of students accepted for next school year are Ashkenazi.

Read the full report HERE

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Even worse is the fact that Sephardic leaders endorse this madness

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Rabbi’s ban on women’s studies embarrasses Shas 

After haredi movement’s new spiritual leader rules that women must not pursue academic degree, members present three letters in which late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef encouraged women to study.

Full report HERE

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First they didn’t allow Arab kids in Israeli schools

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Then they removed Ethiopian kids from their schools in Israel

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Now it’s girls of Sephardic origin …

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And some of us DID SPEAK OUT!

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MISSISSIPPI BURNT DOWN 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

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Fifty years ago the State of Mississippi was burning …. burning with the same hatred that we see in the State of Israel today. Three young men went missing the summer of 1964. Two of them were Jewish, the third was African American. 

Fifty years ago today Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered in cold blood by active members of the KKK.

But 50 years after Freedom Summer, we once again need to cause some trouble. The tragedy of the “Mississippi Burning” murders became a travesty of justice when only a handful of the perpetrators were convicted on federal charges, none spending more than a half-dozen years in prison because the state wouldn’t pursue a murder prosecution.

Time for a FREEDOM SUMMER THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD!

Below is a report from the younger brother of Andrew Goodman …. let us never forget the bravery of these young men and the many others that gave their lives for the Freedom of others. Let us never forgive those that snuffed out those lives.

 

‘Freedom Summer’ 2014

50 years after the murder of my brother, Andrew Goodman, voter rights still threatened.
David Goodman
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The Andrew Goodman Foundation
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Fifty years ago, on June 21, 1964, my older brother, Andrew Goodman, was murdered near Philadelphia, Miss. He and his colleagues Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were ambushed by more than a dozen members of the Ku Klux Klan, including the county’s deputy sheriff. They were taken to an unmarked dirt road and shot, one by one. Their bodies weren’t discovered for 44 days, a mystery and a tragedy that continues to elicit raw emotions even a half-century later.

It happened on the first day of Freedom Summer, an effort by the black leadership to flood Mississippi with northern college students who would help register African-American voters.

At the time, barely 7% of Mississippi’s black residents were registered to vote. In eight of the 13 mostly black counties in the state, not a single African American had ever voted. A century after the Civil War, they remained disenfranchised — citizens without a voice. It was more than segregation; it was subjugation. Something had to be done.

A daring initiative

The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project was a bold initiative. Given the widespread hatred of “outside agitators,” it was an act of remarkable bravery by all who participated.

As the late Maya Angelou wrote in the foreword to My Mantelpiece, the recently published posthumous memoir of my mother, Carolyn Goodman, “Those three young men represent 300,000 young men and women who dared, who had the courage to go to the lion’s den and try to scrub the lion’s teeth.”

When 20-year-old Andy asked my parents for permission to volunteer in Mississippi, their urge to protect their son was trumped by the understanding that he was a spiritual reflection of themselves and their willingness to take action. His death devastated my family, but the brazenness of the act also shocked the nation. Sadly, it was largely because two of the three victims were white.

In fact, as officials searched through the forests and swamps of Mississippi, they discovered many black lynching victims who simply had been ignored because their tragic fate had become commonplace. So the case, which inspired the movie Mississippi Burning, lit a fire for the cause. It is no coincidence that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed the following year.

Yet here we go again. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of that landmark piece of legislation, and immediately a number of states moved to implement laws that would essentially reduce voter turnout among minority groups. Dubious claims ofvoter fraud are being used to once again disenfranchise a portion of the population.

In 1964, black would-be voters were turned away by intimidation and poll tests. Now, voter ID requirements and limited voting hourswill disproportionately turn away, or inconvenience, low-income and minority voters. It is a more sophisticated and insidious form of voter suppression.

Not letting go

Something has to be done. After Andy’s death, my mother devoted the rest of her life to ensuring that he did not die in vain. She formed The Andrew Goodman Foundation, celebrated youth activists, and worked tirelessly for voting rights and human rights (she was even arrested during a protest at age 83).

As the estimable Rep. John Lewis put it, “She got in trouble. … It was necessary trouble. And she inspired many of us to continue to get in trouble.”

But 50 years after Freedom Summer, we once again need to cause some trouble. The tragedy of the “Mississippi Burning” murders became a travesty of justice when only a handful of the perpetrators were convicted on federal charges, none spending more than a half-dozen years in prison because the state wouldn’t pursue a murder prosecution.

It wasn’t until 41 years later that the ringleader of the group wasconvicted of three counts of manslaughter. My 89-year-old mother testified at the trial, a trial that happened because a few determined folks, inside and outside of Mississippi, wouldn’t let it go.

So we cannot let this new movement — these cynical and sinister attempts to disenfranchise Americans — go. If it takes an act of “outside agitation,” so be it. If it requires courage, we can summon it. If it means replacing cynicism with optimism and apathy with action, we can accomplish it. After all, there is a tiny hamlet right next to Philadelphia, Miss. It is a town called Hope.

David Goodman is The Andrew Goodman Foundation president.

‘CELEBRATING’ 66 YEARS OF APARTHEID

There are two peoples here, and one people controls the other people. It controls its freedom of movement, its education, its social and economic development, where it lives and where it doesn’t, what it will do for a living and where. The Jews control the Palestinians and decide what is right and what is wrong for them. There is no other description of the reality of our life here apart from racial segregation.

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Apartheid is 66 years old

Op-ed: There are two peoples here, and one controls the other’s freedom of movement, education and development. What is that if not racial segregation?

Khaled Titi*

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“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an effort to minimize the damage caused by his comments leaked from a closed forum, that Israel could become an apartheid state.

In other words, if he had the option, he would have described the reality of racial segregation Israel is approaching, but without irritating the Jewish lobby in the United States.

So why is apartheid so irritating in the Israeli context? First of all, because Israel, which has just celebrated 66 years of independence, is the only country in the world which can still be mentioned in the apartheid context in the 21st century.

Secondly, the connotation of the term “apartheid” focuses on a comparison which will lead to a complete overlap between the reality of life in Israel and the reality of life in South Africa in the 20th century – a regime/policy of racial segregation.

It’s true that there isn’t a complete overlap between Israel today and South Africa of those days, but if we examine the reality of life in Israel in accordance with the racial segregation theory, apartheid is already here, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and no green or purple line can blur it, and neither can artificial definitions of territories and populations.

There are two peoples here, and one people controls the other people. It controls its freedom of movement, its education, its social and economic development, where it lives and where it doesn’t, what it will do for a living and where. The Jews control the Palestinians and decide what is right and what is wrong for them. There is no other description of the reality of our life here apart from racial segregation.

The refusal to accept this argument stems from the disregard towards the slew of examples on the ground which prove the Jewish control over the Palestinians’ lives.

If there is no apartheid here, what should we call a situation in which the civil law applies to the settlers and the military law applies to the Palestinians? What is the political meaning of stripping Palestinians of their land, restricting them with a concrete fence and building multi-story buildings on that land for the Jews? And what is the explanation for the humiliation of a laborer from Hebron at Israeli checkpoints?

The Israeli control alongside the loss of any chance for the existence of a sovereign Palestinian state on the ground will officially turn into apartheid. No other name will change the content. The early stage of this process will be a bi-national state, which is the final institutionalization of the Jewish state as a state of racial segregation.

Don’t get me wrong. The exclusivity of the Jewish control, which will soon enjoy a legal status, is not only relevant to the occupied Palestinians. The “separate development” theory is alive and kicking within the State of Israel too.

The Palestinian citizens of Israel are second-class citizens. They live and “develop” separately from the Jews. It’s true that we vote in the Knesset elections, but the question is whether we have any control on making decisions about our lives? The state controls all the systems of our lives, the education, the culture and the urban and economic development, and without official legislation.

One of the famous laws in South Africa, the Mine and Works Act, fixed the manning of senior positions with white people only. That sounds familiar, right? There is no such law in Israel, but that is what is actually happening.

Jews and Arabs live separately. Arabs cannot live in Jewish cities, because that will of course affect the “Jewish identity.” Moshavim and kibbutzim has special legislation which blocs the entry of Arabs, and now the finance minister even wants to determine that an Arab will pay more for an apartment.

Jews cannot live n Arab villages either. There is nothing for them there – no infrastructures, no new neighborhoods, no education or sports facilities. And we have yet to mention the Prawer Plan for the eradication of the Bedouin settlement in the Negev, and the division of the Palestinians into ethnic groups. When one ethnic group controls another ethnic group and intervenes in shaping its national identity, it is exercising a de-facto apartheid regime.

Apartheid is also a matter of consciousness which creates “acceptable” patterns of behavior between the masters and the subjects and allows the Jewish public to feel like the Palestinians’ master.

The Jewish public has become accustomed to not letting the facts, as harsh as they may be, confuse it. Most people have adopted ready responses like “this is the Jewish state,” “without loyalty there will be no citizenship” or, for example, “Go to Gaza, and say thank you that you’re not living in Syria.”

Thank you, really. And really, just admit it: We are living in an apartheid after all.

*Adv. Khaled Titi is the parliamentary assistant of Knesset Member Dr. Basel Ghattas.

ISRAELI RACISM 101

The now official legalisation of racism in Israel has a history …. it didn’t start with Netanyahu and surely won’t end with him …

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Some attitudes and policies … Prepared by Michael Rivero

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1. “There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies, not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.” Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. ” [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”. New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. “The Palestinians” would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ” Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

7. “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

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And now, the defense of same ….

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Israel PM defends plans for law on Jewish state FROM
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) chairs the weekly cabinet
meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on May 4, 2014 (AFP/Oliver Weiken)
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JERUSALEM (AFP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday moved to defend his plans to enshrine Israel’s status as the national homeland for the Jewish people in law.Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the aim was to “anchor” in law Israel’s status and ensure it would remain a Jewish state following any peace deal with the Palestinians.”There are those who do not want Israel to be defined as the national homeland for the Jewish people,” he said in remarks broadcast on public radio.

“They want a Palestinian national homeland to be established here next to us, and that Israel be gradually turned into a bi-national Jewish-Arab state within our reduced borders,” he told ministers in a reference to Israel’s Arab minority who number just over 20 percent of the population.

Netanyahu and others in the rightwing camp have long expressed fears that following the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israel’s Arab citizens would seek to press their own claims for territory in the northern Galilee and southern Negev regions.

“You cannot say we want to break away from the Palestinians to prevent a bi-national state — something which has a certain logic — and at the same time give your blessing to a bi-national, Jewish-Arab state within Israel’s permanent borders,” he said.

“Israel gives full equal rights to all of its citizens but it is the national homeland of just one people – the Jewish people.”

Throughout the most recent round of peace talks, which ended in crisis on Tuesday with the sides bitterly at odds, Netanyahu demanded such recognition from the Palestinians, insisting it was a core issue of the conflict.

The Palestinians have refused.

For them, accepting Israel as a Jewish state would mean accepting the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, that befell them when 760,000 of their people fled or were forced out of their homes in the war that accompanied Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Israel’s Arab minority are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land after 1948.

According to figures published ahead of independence day, which is marked from sundown Monday, Israel’s population stands at 8.2 million, the Central Bureau of Statistics said.

Of that figure, 75 percent, or 6,135,000 people, are Jewish, while Arab Israelis account for 20.7 percent, or 1,694,000 people.

IT’S OFFICIAL ~~ ISRAEL IS A RACIST STATE!

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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It took 66 years, but Netanyahu finally admitted that Israel is a racist (for Jews only) state …

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“The state of Israel provides full equal rights, individual rights, to all its citizens, but it is the nation state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people. And therefore, in order to bolster the status of the state of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, I intend to submit a basic law that will anchor this status.”

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Netanyahu pushes to define Israel as nation state of Jewish people only

PM proposes rare change to basic law in response to ‘constant and increasing assault’ on aspects of Israel’s legitimacy
Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem FOR
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Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu, centre, at the weekly meeting of his cabinet. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/AFP/Getty Images

Binyamin Netanyahu will push ahead with a rare change to Israel‘s basic laws – which amount to the country’s constitution – to insist Israel is “the nation state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people”.

At Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the civil rights of minorities, including Arabs, would be guaranteed, and the move was vital at a time when aspects of Israel’s legitimacy were “under a constant and increasing assault from abroad and at home”.

Netanyahu proposed the change last week during a visit to Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall, attracting fierce criticism from political rivals and support from some of his allies. The move follows a Palestinian refusal in peace talks to recognise the status that Netanyahu described.

The proposed law would be in addition to Israel’s declaration of independence of May 1948 – the anniversary of which is celebrated on Tuesday – which defines Israel as a Jewish state.

Most of Israel’s basic laws deal with procedural issues relating to elections, the appointment of the prime minister, state payments and the administration of the judiciary, but some laws have been more controversial, including the 1980 law that designated Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Despite the intention that the new law should guarantee full equal rights, critics say it strays into contentious territory in its explicit definition which, regardless of passport and citizenship, would codify a differential notion of nationhood.

Netanyahu laid out his rationale for the change at the cabinet meeting. “The state of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Our basic laws give full expression to the democratic side of the state,” he said. “On the other hand, that the state of Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people is not sufficiently expressed in our basic laws, and this is what the draft basic law is meant to provide.

“The state of Israel provides full equal rights, individual rights, to all its citizens, but it is the nation state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people. And therefore, in order to bolster the status of the state of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, I intend to submit a basic law that will anchor this status.”

He added: “Of course, there are those who do not want the state of Israel to be defined as the nation state of the Jewish people. They want a Palestinian nation state to be established alongside us and that Israel should gradually become a binational, Arab-Jewish state inside shrunken borders. But I simply say that one cannot hold the national stick at both of its national ends.

“They cannot say that they want to separate from the Palestinians in order to prevent a binational state, which has a certain logic, and also sanctify a binational, Jewish-Arab state within the permanent borders of the state of Israel.”

Among those who have expressed concern over the proposal is the justice minister, Tzipi Livni. Although in favour of defining Israel more clearly in law as “the national home of the Jewish people and a democratic state”, she has expressed opposition to “any law that gives superiority” to the Jewish nature of state over the country’s democratic values.

She said she could only support legislation where “Jewish and democratic would have the same weight, not more Jewish than democratic, nor more democratic than Jewish”.

Her remarks echoed those of the Labour party leader, Isaac Herzog, last week when the idea was first floated. “With all its being, the Labour party supports Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” he said. “Labour built the state and its leaders formulated the declaration of independence, the foundational document that anchors Israel as a Jewish state.

“Unfortunately, the diplomatic destruction Netanyahu is causing will lead Israel to lose its Jewish majority and become a binational state. This unfortunate fact is something no law can hide.”

RABBIS AGAINST RACISM SPEAK OUT

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In recent years, Eliyahu sought to keep Arabs from moving into Safed, whose local college has some 1,500 Arab students. He said that selling or renting homes to Arabs “is prohibited by Jewish law.”

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Over 1,000 rabbis urge Jerusalem mayor not to pick Islamophobe for chief rabbi

Rick Jacobs, Julie Schonfeld, Asher Lopatin and Debra Waxman among signatories who say choice of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, now chief rabbi of Safed, would send ‘message of divisiveness and intolerance.’

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Shmuel Eliyahu

Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed. Photo by Nir Kafri
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Over 1,000 liberal Diaspora rabbis have appealed to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat not to appoint Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu as the capital’s chief Sephardi rabbi, citing his history of anti-Arab remarks and rulings. Reports are that Barkat is leaning toward Eliyahu for the appointment, which is being fought over by Jerusalem’s Orthodox Jewish powers.

Prominent among the rabbis signing the letter were Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Conservative Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, liberal Orthodox Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Reconstructionist Rabbi Deborah Waxman and Rabbi Brian Lurie, president of the New Israel Fund.

The letter notes that Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed, “made a halakhic ruling barring Jews from renting apartments to Arabs, opposed military service for women, characterized Arabs and Muslims in racist and humiliating terms, while the attorney general said his candidacy for [Sephardi] chief rabbi was inappropriate.”
The rabbis told Barkat that appointing Eliyahu to the post would “send a message of divisiveness and intolerance” from Jerusalem.

In recent years, Eliyahu sought to keep Arabs from moving into Safed, whose local college has some 1,500 Arab students. He said that selling or renting homes to Arabs “is prohibited by Jewish law.”

On one occasion he was quoted as saying, “The Arab society has an agenda; they want to Islamicize the world. Arab society is, generally and without generalizations, a violent society.”

Another time he came out against girls serving in the army, saying it puts them “into inappropriate situations that harm their faith, emotions and often, sadly, their bodies.”

Eliyahu’s late father, Mordechai, was chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel and later a spiritual leader to many extremist settler youth, delivering a eulogy at Meir Kahane’s funeral.

 

Written FOR

 

RACISM SURFACES AGAIN AT NEW YORK TIMES

‘All the racism that’s fit to print’ …. OR NOT!

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The Times must apologize to all its readers, especially to those who are “Palestinian Arabs,” and the newspaper should also reprimand the editor who allowed this libel to get into print.

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‘NYT Book Review’ owes readers an apology for printing blatant racism about Palestinians

AN AFRO-AMERICAN RELIVES SEGREGATION ON A VISIT TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE

When I first visited Occupied Palestine, in 2011, there was something about the experience that seemed very familiar. It was not only the sense of the racist oppression the Palestinians were experiencing; it was something else. When I returned home I realized what it was.

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Traveling Through Palestine While Black: A Firsthand Look at a Slow-Moving Annexation

Witnessing a brutal occupation, where permanent insecurity and maximum humiliation are the norm.
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.*
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A Palestinian boy and Israeli soldier in front of the Israeli West Bank separation barrier.
Photo Credit: Justin McIntosh/Wikimedia Commons

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In the first several days after returning from Israel and Occupied Palestine, I dreamed of Palestine each night. It was never a pleasant dream. While I cannot remember the details, I was always left with a feeling of anxiety and insecurity. In that sense the dreams matched the realities of the Palestinians, be they citizens of Israel or residents of the Occupied Territories. It also corresponded to the emotions raised in a recent trip in which I participated.

Prison

It has become almost a cliché to speak of Gaza, the Palestinian territories on the Mediterranean controlled by Hamas and blockaded by Israel, as the largest open-air prison on the planet. Yet I am not sure I will any longer agree with the limits of that characterization. The Palestinians are all in prison. While Gaza may be a maximum security facility, the West Bank is nevertheless a prison. So little is actually controlled by Palestinians despite the formal notion of autonomy. Israeli military incursions can and do happen at any time convenient for the Israeli government and its military occupation. Palestinians are prohibited from using certain roads. The ominous and illegal separation wall, better known as the apartheid wall, spreads like a disease across the land, dividing the Palestinians not as much from the Israelis as from their own land.

For all of that, it is the sense of permanent insecurity and maximum humiliation that reinforces the feeling one gets of being in a prison. There are checkpoints at seemingly every turn; one is subjected to being stopped at any time. There is an attitude of arrogance and contempt on the part of most of the Israeli military personnel. With their submachine guns and their insistence on using Hebrew in communicating with the Arabic-speaking Palestinians, they invade the space of the indigenous population, always reminding them that there is no such thing as privacy in the Occupied Territories.

An African-American delegation

Within black America there has for decades been an amorphous constituency that, at a minimum, has been interested in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and in many cases has been supportive of Palestinians and their fight for national self-determination and democracy. Yet the issue of Palestine has rarely been one around which African Americans, in any great numbers, have organized and mobilized, or for that matter even spoken out.

It has nevertheless been the case that since the June 1967 Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors, there have been African Americans who have raised questions about the objectives of Israel in its occupation of Palestinian territories and its treatment of its own Palestinian minority. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) offered an historic condemnation of Israel in the aftermath of the June 1967 war, resulting in SNCC losing a significant portion of its white support in the USA. The black radical movement, of which SNCC was part[during the course of the 1970s], frequently linked the cause of the Palestinians with the struggles against colonialism and white minority rule in Africa. And during the 1970s and 1980s, center-left political figures such as Rev. Jesse Jackson began pushing the US mainstream consensus around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, insisting on the legitimacy of the demands of the Palestinian people.

The small African-American delegation of which I was a part of in many ways reflected this internationalist tradition. Though broadly speaking progressive, most of the members of the delegation were under 45 and had little background in the Palestinian liberation struggle. Comprised largely of artists, the members of the delegation were individuals cognizant of but not immersed in international issues at the level of organizing and mobilizing.

Almost universally, delegation members were unprepared for the in-your-face brutality of the Occupation. While it may seem melodramatic, the visit was potentially life-changing for each member of the delegation. The question is whether the overwhelming sense of the criminality of the Occupation will be suppressed inside each of us over time since such feelings compel one to ask several questions, not the least being, how can the USA be so complicit in this horror?

The Middle East’s One True Democracy?

It is clear that it is more than possible to visit Israel and have no sense of the apartheid system that operates both within its borders as well as in the Occupied Territories. Such visits happen all the time. It is not possible, however, to visit the Occupied Territories and walk away with such ignorance intact unless, perhaps, one goes directly from Jerusalem to a settlement in the dead of night and fails to leave the settlement’s confines.

Israel has been an explicit occupying power—by international standards—since the June 1967 war when it seized the West Bank from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Sinai from Egypt.1 Almost immediately after the commencement of the Occupation, Israel began to construct a system and program of settlements in the Occupied Territories. What too many people in the USA fail to understand—or do not wish to understand—is that settlements on occupied territory represent a violation of international law. Both Israel and Morocco (in the latter’s occupation of the Western Sahara) are explicitly in violation of international law through their respective colonization projects. The United Nations has been quite clear that Israel should stop settlements, but in large part due to the refusal of the United States to take a serious stand against this practice, Israel has snubbed its nose at the UN and at most of the rest of the world.2

The term “settlement” does not properly convey what one sees in the Occupied Territories. What strikes any first-time visitor is that the settlements can better be described as suburban communities, not unlike the communities of stucco-tiled homes that line the hills along the coast of southern California. The word settlements brings to mind tent cities or other impermanent housing arrangements with neither water nor sewer service out in the middle of nowhere. That is not what one sees in the West Bank.

Much as they did within Israel proper, the Israeli authorities have seized lands owned by Palestinians in order to create, in this case, settlements on the West Bank. This land has been seized in the name of security in some instances, and has been seized in other instances because the Palestinians have allegedly abandoned it. In still other cases, land has been seized because Israeli authorities have proclaimed an archeological find located in the territory inhabited by Palestinians, thus justifying land theft and the removal of Palestinians. There are a host of reasons that are offered, with desperate attempts to find justification within an alleged legal framework.

But here is where the trick unfolds. The Israeli authorities make and then enforce respect for the laws that they need in order to advance their own objectives. Even in situations such as Hebron where the Israeli court has agreed that certain territory should be returned to the Palestinians, the Israeli military refuses to comply and nothing has been done about it.3

The “settlements” begin with what look like camps. Indeed, some of them are called outposts if they’re originally built without explicit government approval. They seem innocuous at first, but what is striking is that they are each designed as part of a process of surrounding Palestinian cities. While, for instance, the city of Bethlehem is Palestinian, Israeli settlements have been established around Bethlehem which, in conjunction with the refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow Palestinian expansion, essentially chokes the city itself.

So, for a moment, think about a nice suburban community in the USA. Now, think about several such communities being located on hilltops surrounding a central community inhabited by a different ethnic group that is not allowed to partake in any of the resources of those suburban communities. In fact, residents of that central community are not permitted to use the same roads as the settlers and are not even guaranteed water. It was pointed out that one can tell the difference between Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities by who has water tanks on their roofs. Why? Because the settlers are guaranteed access to water pumped into their homes. Palestinians have to rely on water that is collected over time and stored in water tanks on their roofs.

The West Bank is divided into three zones: A, B and C. “A” are those zones under Palestinian control. “B” is under Palestinian administrative control, but the Israeli military has the final word. “C” is under Israeli military control. Sixty percent of the West Bank is classified as Zone C. These designations, which arose out of the fateful Oslo Peace Accords, have resulted in the interminable squeezing of the Palestinian population. There is no room for their expansion, they control no water and there is the ominous separation wall which disrespects international law by its very existence, cutting through the West Bank and cutting off entire communities from the land that they farm. As one Palestinian explained to me, the Palestinian experience is akin to the legendary Chinese water torture, with the drops of water falling on one’s forehead, slowly driving the person insane. In this case, each drop—each micro- and macro-aggression—is aimed at making the situation so intolerable for the Palestinians that they will abandon their homeland.

You Cannot Run Away From Race

Israel and the Occupied Territories exist within the framework of a particular and peculiar racial hierarchy. During the first three decades of its existence, the world was led to believe that race was not a factor in Israel, discounting, of course, the treatment of the Palestinians. With the appearance of the Israeli Black Panther movement in the early 1970s, all of that changed, and actually introduced complications.

The Israeli Black Panthers originated in the Mizrahi community, that is, Jews from the Middle East and North Africa. They emerged as a militant protest movement challenging an Israeli establishment that was dominated by Ashkenazis (Jews from Europe). Though the movement borrowed the name from the US-based Black Panther Party, in reality the movements had little in common other than addressing, to varying degrees, race. The Israeli Black Panthers were not a particularly left-wing formation and they were not at all sympathetic to the Palestinian people. Instead, they were a movement that challenged racial discrimination and privilege within the Jewish Israeli bloc, but in no way suggested that the very existence of an Israel that marginalized and oppressed Palestinians undermined any intentions or efforts to eradicate racial discrimination.

Thus, the Israeli racial hierarchy exists with the Ashkenazi Jews largely at the top; then the Mizrahi. At that point the hierarchy reformats given that outside of the Jewish Israeli bloc there are three very separate groups: the Palestinians, the Druze (an ethno-religious community), and most recently, African migrants.

There are many people who have been involved with the issue of Palestine who refrain from references to “race” when it comes to describing or analyzing the situation of the Palestinians. Instead, they focus on the “national” aspect of the oppression and the generalized denial of human rights. Yet in walking the streets of Occupied Palestine, and also in walking through Israel-proper, members of our African-American delegation could not escape the feeling that we had seen this before.

The United Nations definition of the “crime of apartheid” from 1973 reads in part: “Inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” This definition is of critical importance for several reasons, not the least being that it is not limited to the South African or even Southern African context. In other words, as far as the international community is concerned, “apartheid,” as a system, is a category of racist oppression that can exist outside of Southern Africa, though the term itself was coined in South Africa.

The stench of race and the racism perpetrated against the Palestinians is evident throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories, manifesting itself in various forms. The most obvious form surrounds the matter of the “right of return.” Jews, regardless of nationality, are guaranteed a home in Israel. Palestinians, irrespective of whether their families inhabited a piece of land for generations, are not guaranteed the right to return to their lands in Israel if the Israeli state has declared that they have abandoned the land. This is once again in contravention to United Nations resolutions and Geneva Conventions.

Palestinians, regardless of their country of residence, are subject to humiliating harassment when they attempt to enter or leave Israel. Palestinian citizens of Israel find themselves subject to full body searches at airports and other exit points, not to mention extensive interrogations.

As noted earlier, there are certain roads on which Palestinians are prohibited. This was a matter that our delegation directly experienced. The van we were using was authorized to travel on settler-only roads, but our Palestinian guide could only travel with special permission. Yet these “settler-only” roads often run under or through Palestinian land. The inability of Palestinians to use these roads means that travel between various points within the West Bank is nothing short of onerous. A trip that would normally take 30 minutes can end up taking 90 minutes or more.

An additional feature to “race” in Israel and the Occupied Territories is something that can perhaps be described as ecological racism. It concerns trees—specifically, pine trees. In the vicinity of many of the Israeli settlements one finds pine trees. They are very beautiful but there is a problem. These pine trees are not native to Israel/Palestine. They have been brought to the region by Europeans. The planting of these pine trees is as ecologically catastrophic as it is offensive to the Palestinians. There are pine trees that are native to the region, but the settlers have decided to ignore that reality and bring in alien vegetation that is harmful to the land and the water table.4 The settlers have made a practice of planting these European pine trees on the locations of Palestinian villages in the Occupied Territories that were destroyed in order to make way for the Israeli settlements.

In order to understand race, one must appreciate the notion of arbitrariness. Anyone who has directly experienced racism realizes that it is the insecurity and the notion that at any moment matters can be taken out of your hands that makes the racist oppression ever-present and very real. In the case of an African American in the USA, the idea that one can be stopped by the police when driving through a white neighborhood, or in a different scenario, shot and killed by a white homeowner if you happen to knock on his door, that emphasizes the perpetual vulnerability that one experiences.

This is very much the same with Palestinians. A former Israeli soldier, offering insight into the workings of the Occupation, noted that Israeli soldiers are trained and encouraged to engage in random, violent acts against the Palestinians, for example, through invading the homes of Palestinians for no apparent reason. The idea behind such psychological warfare is to keep the Palestinian people perpetually unstable and uneasy.

Violence perpetrated against Palestinians, particularly by settlers, is rarely punished by the Israeli state. Yet any violence by Palestinians against settlers earns the wrath of the settlers and the Israeli military. Again, despite the pretense of a system governed by laws, the Israeli domination of the Palestinians—whether in Israel or in the Occupied Territories—is outside the law. To borrow from the Dred Scott decision in the US, the Palestinians have few, if any rights, that Israelis are bound to respect. Though this is frequently covered in religious and semi-religious rhetoric, the basic fact remains that the Palestinians exist as a subordinate species as far as most Israelis are concerned.

This sense of violence surrounded our experience as a delegation. We never feared a terrorist attack or armed assault by Palestinians. Yet every day, it is fair to say, we approached our activities with caution vis-a-vis the Israelis. One never knew, from one moment to the next, whether we would be held and interrogated, or whether our Palestinian guide would at some point be whisked away from us for allegedly breaking any of the myriad restrictions imposed on the Palestinians by the Israeli establishment.

But the sense of violence was concrete in a different manner. At one point, in a tour of the South Hebron Hills, our van stopped and a guide, who happened to be a former Israeli soldier, had us outside while he was explaining the Israeli system of outposts and settlements. Several settlers drove by, slowly, watching us. In one case a settler, who as it turned out had been implicated in physical assaults on Palestinians, drove by twice, the second time stopping his vehicle immediately behind us where he just sat for several minutes, glowering. Although our Israeli guide was not particularly worried, our delegation, keenly aware of African-American history and black experience at the hands of white vigilantes, was less than sanguine about sitting out in the middle of nowhere. At the end of the day, we all knew that there existed scant (no) justice (system) in the Occupied Territories for people like us.

Race has taken on a newer form in Israel with the introduction of African migrants. There are actually two sets of African migrants. First, the Ethiopian Jews (Falasha), many of whom were brought to Israel in a mass retrieval. The Israeli establishment, irrespective of their rhetoric, has never been entirely comfortable with this population, and Israeli right-wing and semi-fascists are even less so. A recent incident whereby a Falasha, who is an elected member of the Knesset, was not allowed to donate blood highlights the point. Nevertheless, this segment of the population is considered, officially at least, to be legitimate. They are found in the Israel Defense Forces and elsewhere.

Separate and apart from the Falasha are the African migrants who have traveled to Israel as political refugees. Described by none other than Prime Minister Netanyahu as “infiltrators”—a term which I only recently learned had originally been coined to describe expelled Palestinians who crossed back into Israel—this population has grown over the last decade. A significant percentage of these migrants are from Eritrea and Sudan. Their likelihood of gaining citizenship or a legal status is slim to none. Yet, as with migrants in so many other parts of the world—including but not limited to the US—the Israeli economy finds such migrants quite useful as a productive and vulnerable workforce, even if the Israeli political Right wishes them expelled.

Walking through the streets of South Tel Aviv on a Saturday afternoon is a surreal experience. Our delegation saw a huge wedding party of East Africans. A park became the home for hundreds of African men, socializing or simply hanging out. This migrant population has become an unstable element in Israel. The political establishment has shown no interest in offering asylum—temporary or permanent—to these migrants, so many of whom have sought freedom from hunger, repression and war. Instead they have been locked up or are living lives in the shadows. In the recent past they have begun to organize and mobilize, insisting upon their human rights. In fact, our delegation spoke with Israeli supporters of the migrants who informed us that the loose organization of migrants wishes to take their case to the United Nations if the Israeli government continues to refuse to recognize their rights as legitimate refugees.

In the case of both the Palestinians and the African undocumented migrants there is a demographic concern that eats away at the Israeli political establishment. They are actually quite open about this concern. Contrary to the international notion of an ethnically pluralist democracy, the Israeli establishment believes that they, and they alone, have the right to an ethnically/religiously pure nation-state. However, they face four problems: the existence of Palestinian citizens of Israel who represent approximately 20% of the state of Israel and are growing; the Palestinians in the West Bank; a Palestinian Diaspora that insists upon its internationally recognized right to return to the land that they believed that they temporarily vacated in 1948, and later in 1967; and the undocumented Africans.

For the Israeli establishment the sum total of these problems is a demographic threat to Israel. Specifically, the Israeli establishment is deeply worried that they will quickly become another apartheid South Africa or white minority Rhodesia, wherein the Jewish population ends up constituting a minority and is swamped by non-Jews.5 Although publicly cast in religious terms, the problem really comes down to cold demographics, in that sense so very similar to the US Southwest in the period after the US war against Mexico and the white expansion into lands populated by Mexicans and those populated by Native Americans.

Since We Are Talking About Race…

There is another side to race in Israel and Palestine that gained the attention of our delegation: race within the Palestinian community.

Among Arabs, race is a very complicated matter that cannot be distilled down to skin tone or hair texture. The Arabic word that is frequently used for “blacks” is the same word that is used for “slaves” (Abeed or Abid). Yet, some who use that term—as in the case of Northern Sudanese—would be described as black in a US context.6 It is also worth noting that there has been struggle around the very usage of the term, much as there has been in the USA around terms such as “Oriental.”

One can get different signals from within both Arab and Muslim history regarding race. One of the most important people in Islamic history was an Ethiopian slave liberated by the Prophet Muhammad, named Bilal ibn Rabah. And certainly a “black” presence can be seen throughout the Arab world and Arab history, e.g., in the recent past, Egypt’s Nasser and Sadat. At the same time there was the Arab-run slave trade and in various parts of the Arab World biases against those seen or described as black.

Arabs who migrated to the USA (pre-1980) by and large developed a relationship with African Americans that was less than solidaristic. Arab/African American tensions in the US in part reflected the economic niche that many Arabs came to occupy, that is, store owners in African-American neighborhoods, and otherwise having little constructive contact. This was compounded by attempts by Arab immigrants to assimilate into white America, attempts which grew in complexity in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

The problematic side to the relationship between Arabs and African Americans in the US contrasts with the emergence of a significant Muslim trend within black America and also with the attention that the Arab world received within progressive political circles in black America in the context of the anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century. For example, the Egyptian Revolution and the Algerian Revolution were discussed in African-American political movements and frequently served as points of inspiration. The favorable feeling toward the Arab world in much of black America was aided by the outstanding assistance that Arab nations, such as Egypt and Algeria, offered to anti-colonial struggles in other parts of Africa.

The Palestinian movement, as it moved to the Left and became more radical in its analysis and approach, also saw itself as aligned with other anti-colonial and national liberation movements. This included attention to the African-American people’s movement in the US. The Left within the Palestinian movement had an appreciation of the African-American struggle, but the global solidarity work of the Palestine Liberation Organization never matched that of South Africa’s African National Congress or Pan African Congress of Azania in terms of building a breadth of organized support.

Nevertheless, certainly by the time of the Oslo Accords (1993), the PLO/Palestinian Authority adopted a different and more insular view. Much like Ireland’s Sinn Fein, which in the aftermath of the cease fire in the north of Ireland slowly but surely abandoned many of the broader international relationships it had cultivated, the Palestinian Authority turned in on itself, ignoring many of its global supporters, and sadly, ignoring many from the global Palestinian Diaspora as well. As such, connections that seemed to have existed between the Palestinian movement and black America dried up.

Attention to the matter of racism among Arabs reemerged in the context of the civil war that took place in the Sudan (between the North and the South), and subsequently, the war in Darfur and the genocide that unfolded. As a result of the fact that so many countries of the Arab world united behind Sudanese President Al Bashir in both internal conflicts (claiming that the West was attempting to dismantle the Sudan), and ignored the plight of those who suffered at the hands of his and prior regimes, sensitivity to this issue has grown within segments of black America.

Our delegation was not immune to that sensitivity. Thus, it was fascinating to have begun the trip with a discussion with Afro-Palestinians. There is a lengthy African presence within and among the Palestinian people. While there are those who can trace their ancestry back 1,000 years, over the last 100 years migrants from various parts of Africa settled in Palestine (what is now Israel as well as the Occupied Territories) and were absorbed into the larger Palestinian community. This community sees itself as Palestinian and there has been much intermarriage with other segments of the Palestinian community. Yet, shades of color and the legacy of the Arab slave trade remain a component of the Arab reality, compounded by the impact of European colonialism and its modification of the ignominious color line.

The biases we occasionally encountered were not surprising, any more than unpleasant encounters between an Arab delegation and some African Americans, if the former were visiting the US. The critical matter that confronted us, as a delegation, was the attitude of leading elements of the Palestinian movement toward race both within and among the Palestinian people, but also vis-à-vis the Arab relationship within and toward the larger African world.7 It was here that we began a constructive dialogue that can be mutually beneficial. Among other things it reminded the African Americans that race does not play itself out identically around the world. Our experience with white supremacy in the US, for instance, is quite different from the rationale and operation of race among Arabs, a formerly colonized people. Our experience with white supremacy, however, shares a great deal in common with the Palestinian experience with Israeli apartheid in both the state of Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Time Running Out

When I first visited Occupied Palestine, in 2011, there was something about the experience that seemed very familiar. It was not only the sense of the racist oppression the Palestinians were experiencing; it was something else. When I returned home I realized what it was.

In 2005 I drove with my family from Los Angeles to Boulder, CO. We drove through a Navaho area. There was a sense of depression, if not despair, from the Navaho we encountered and the realization that this proud people had been relegated by a conqueror to less than perfect lands where they were to remain. Some Native Americans were not so “lucky.” They are only remembered by the names of some rivers and towns, having been annihilated in the process of the European expansion westward.

There was a moment in the early 19th century when the demographic balance of North America was not so unbalanced that it might have been possible for Native Americans to have constructed a different outcome. This was the principal focus of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, but there were others who also recognized the nature of the challenge. Unfortunately, by the time of the US war against Mexico, the balance was clearly against Native Americans. Immigrants from Europe were flooding into North America, and combined with technology (including military technology), the Native Americans were defeated and ultimately marginalized.

While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may have been correct in affirming that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice, this does not mean that every morally just struggle wins, at least in the short-term. There is something about timing, which is linked to organization and the extent of support any cause has within both a nation-state context and globally.

As our delegation rode through Israel and the Occupied Territories I could not help but wonder how much time remained for the Palestinians. I do not mean to suggest that they face physical annihilation, in the sense of extermination through mass executions.8 They do face the possibility of a different sort of annihilation. If their land continues to be seized; if they cannot build; if they remain cornered like rats in a maze; they will cease to exist. They will find themselves without their homeland, and much like Native Americans in North America, relocated to some other territory or simply dispersed onto the winds.

Much of the Israeli political establishment believes that Palestinians should be evicted and moved to Jordan. In that sense the Israeli strategy for a slow-moving annexation of the West Bank, as criminal as it is, is nevertheless quite understandable. They want to turn the conditions in the Occupied Territories, along with the conditions for Palestinian citizens of Israel, into something so inhospitable, that there is no choice but to move.

Our delegation certainly was moved to speak out against this abomination. Yet so much more is necessary. Insofar as the leadership of the Palestinian Authority is prepared to make serial and humiliating concessions to the demands of Israel and its US sponsors, the future of the Palestinians will resemble the reality of today’s Native American nations in North America. In the alternative, the extent to which the global community is moved to counter the current denial of Palestinian rights, appropriation of Palestinian lands, and displacement of Palestinian people—as occurred with regard to colonialism and white minority rule in Africa—is the extent to which Dr. King’s arc will bend toward justice.

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1 Some in the Palestinian movement have taken the position that the entire area of historic Palestine is occupied. They base this claim on the manner in which the United Nations divided up the then-British-controlled “Palestine Mandate” into Jewish zones and Arab zones (and Jerusalem as an international city) without the input or approval of any Arabs, not the least being the exclusion of the Palestinians themselves. In the text of this essay, however, the use of the term “occupied” makes reference to territories seized by Israel through the June 1967 war.

2 Morocco, in part due to its alliance with France and the US, has done much the same.

3 For more on the situation in Hebron, see: Allison Deger, “Palestinians in Hebron demand Israel ‘Open Shuhada Street’ and protest 20th anniversary of Ibrahimi Mosque massacre,” Feb. 24, 2014, mondoweiss.net/2014/02/palestinians-twentieth-anniversary.html. Additionally, see: Alternative Information Center, “Settler Aggression Against Palestinian Children in Hebron,” Institute for Middle East Understanding, April 14, 2011, at imeu.net/news/printer0020752.shtml.

4 It is interesting to note that European settlers did much the same thing in South Africa. The post-apartheid government began taking steps to remove the alien vegetation due to its impact on the environment.

5 A close examination of the current numbers, if one were to look at the Gaza, West Bank, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, points to the basis for the demographic unease within the Israeli establishment. This helps to explain the xenophobic tendencies within the right-wing of the Israeli establishment that would actually like to envision a wholesale population “swap.”

6 Look at a picture of Sudan President Al Bashir, for instance.

7 The wording of this challenge is complicated by many factors. “Arab” represents a culture and Arabic is a language. Arabs are themselves quite diverse. In fact, there is an overlap between Arabs and other ethnic groups in North Africa especially, e.g., the Berbers. Arabs are part of Africa (and Asia) and the broader African world, while at the same constituting their own Arab world. Neither is monolithic. The Maghreb, or the Arab world to the west of Egypt, includes various tribes and ethnicities as far west as the Western Sahara and Mauritania.

8 The Deir Yassin massacre is among the most well-known of the ethnic cleansings carried out against Palestinians between 1946-’49 at the hands of Zionist military units.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor and international writer and activist. He is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com, and the co-author of Solidarity Divided.

 

Related Links

 

RABBINICAL SATANIC VERSES

The Rabbis of The Devil

Posted by Khalid Amayreh

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Rabbis of the Devil

 

By Khalid Amayreh

Imagine, just imagine, the outcry that would follow an imagined call by a European Muslim or Christian religious leader suggesting sending hundreds of thousands of Jews to concentration camps.  The Sheikh or priest or  bishop would be lambasted  beyond imagination, and his  denomination  or church  would immediately distance itself from his foolish remarks.

Political authorities would also declare that Nazi-minded Sheikh or bishop has no place in modern Europe and that governments would nip the hateful and racist elements in the bud. In short, he would be looked upon  as a pariah, to say the very least. He even might be forced to commit suicide under public pressure.

 As to Jewish circles, their protests would be clarion and omnipresent.

But how would things look like if such a call took place in Israel and was made by a popular rabbi, with hundreds of thousands of followers?

According to a weekly Hebrew magazine, several rabbis, including the rabbi of Safad, Shmuel Eliyahu,  recently proposed  the establishment of death camps for the Palestinians.

The magazine indicated that the creation of these camps would be the duty of all devout Jews.

The Yedeot Ahronot’s YNet on Saturday, 15 January quoted the rabbis  as stating that the Torah requires Jews to wipe out any trace of the so-called Amalek in Palestine . Many religious Jews refer to their perceived or real enemies as Amalek.

The YNet quoted Jewish intellectual Audi Aloni as saying that calls for the extermination of Palestinians are openly made in the synagogues as the genocidal idea has become a practical option.

“No one objected to Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Chief Rabbi of Beit El, who undersigned the advisory opinion, which suggested approval for their opinion.”

I realize that these evil men don’t represent Jews everywhere, nor do they even represent the entire rabbinic community. There are many esteemed rabbis who reject outright the satanic mindset permeating through the landscape of the sick minds of people like Elyahu,  his cohorts and evil colleagues. 

The Torah, after all, was supposed to be a light upon humanity. But when it becomes, thanks to those rabbis of Satan, a tool for genocide, there is obviously a huge catch-22 hanging over Judaism’s conscience.

Again, the fact that these nefarious rabbis don’t represent the entirety of Judaism is no guarantee that their damage will be limited. A fool man’s fire could frustrate a thousand wise men who wouldn’t know how to put it off.

Isn’t this the way the holocaust started? It didn’t start with concentration camps, or even with Kristalnacht.  Such death camps as Auschwitz , Treblinka, Mauthauzen and Bergen Belsen became only known much later.

The purpose of this small piece is not to vilify or demonize Jews. Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about hurling Nazi epithets at Jews. However, nothing should be further from truth.

The call for sending millions of Palestinians to concentration camps means that a sizeable segment of the Israeli Jewish society is capable, at least mentally, of embarking on the unthinkable. It means that a real Jewish holocaust against the Palestinian people is not outside the realm of imagination.

This matter is well known, even known too well for us who live in this part of the world. After all, Israel demonstrated two years ago, during its Nazi-like onslaught on the Gaza Strip, that it could do the unthinkable.

And that was not the first time Israel behaved manifestly nefariously. In 2006, during the Israeli aggression on Lebanon , the Israeli air force dropped more than 2,000,000 cluster bomblets on South Lebanon civilian areas, arguably enough to kill or maim at least  2 million Lebanese children.

The scant media coverage of the latest diabolic statements by the rabbis of evil in no way lessens their gravity and seriousness. After all, these are not marginal or isolated figures in society.

In fact, paying not sufficient attention to this phenomenon is tantamount to encouraging it. If Germans and others had not kept silence in the late 1920s and early 1930s, many things wouldn’t have occurred.

I would want to be cautious drawing historical analogy between every thing happening in Israel today and everything that happened in Europe several decades ago.  However, there are certain parallels that shouldn’t escape our attention, and the latest outrageous statements by these diabolical rabbis are one of them.

Let no one say that words are innocuous and can’t kill; nay, words can kill and do kill. A few years ago, a Jewish immigrant from France decapitated a Palestinian cabby from East Jerusalem after the taxi-driver gave the killer a ride to his home north of Tel Aviv. And when the murderer was eventually arrested and interrogated by the police, he said he heard his neighborhood synagogue rabbi say that the lives of non-Jews had no sanctity.

More to the point, it is abundantly clear that thousands of Israeli soldiers would rather heed and obey their respective rabbis’ homilies than their army superiors’ instructions when it comes to treating Palestinians. This fact was revealed during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza two years ago when Israeli soldiers knowingly and deliberately murdered innocent civilians, including children, by the hundreds.

But this is not the time for demonization; it is rather the time for action. Jewish leaders of all orientations should speak up as strongly as possible against those who are besmirching the good name of their religion.

The likes of Shmuel Eliyahu must be told that there is no place in Judaism for those who advocate genocide for non-Jews. In the final analysis, when Jews or anybody else think or behave or act like the Nazis acted, they simply become Nazis themselves.

Finally, Jews shouldn’t keep silent in the face of these abominations just because the media and public opinion in the West are more or less keeping silent. Well, since when a moral stance was decided by other people’s apathy or silence?   In fact, the immoral silence of much of the west toward what is happening in Israel these days is bad and dangerous for Jews and their future.

Anything that causes moral desensitization to occur is definitely bad, and this is putting it mildly. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSA PARKS

 

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Rosa is 104 today

Rosa

By Tom Karlson

She is supported  yes

Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mother Jones, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Lucy Parsons,

and la rage des oublies

She stands, then sits and fifty thousand walk

(three hundred and eighty days)

CNN wants us to believe

this small framed seamstress…chosen by god…mother of the civil rights movement… humble… meek…tired

YES TIRED of Jim Crow, racism, lynching

yes tired

but this is no stripped down fox-murdock retelling

her’s is no spur of the moment

forty-two years of forged steel

and three hundred years of chained ghosts

this is the time

of

Emmet Till

joe mccarthy-j edgar hoover

and the Highlander Center

where Marx and Gandhi sing songs of struggle

and students, auto workers, and coal miners

are schooled on integration, sit-ins, boycotts and strikes

as the NAACP and A Phillip Randolph fight for freedom

half a century later

Rosa lies in state

and brings honor to the Rotunda

a smile to the great liberator

(where twenty three years before j edgar was deposited briefly before burial)


GHOSTS OF RACIST PAST ARE HAUNTING ISRAEL TODAY

Occasionally, not often enough however, rational opinions appear in the zionist press. Today that happened with the following  Op-Ed in Ynet…
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By the way, comments similar to his (Lieberman) made us drive American immigrant Meir Kahane out of the Knesset running. Now the foreign minister is making them. This is enough to show just how far we have gone down the slippery slope of dark racism.
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NetanyahuandLieberman
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Let’s swap Lieberman and keep Wadi Ara

Op-ed: Foreign minister’s proposal to transfer Arab communities to a new Palestinian state is just aimed at inflaming tensions

Yigal Sarna*

There is a wonderful Hebrew term – “a quarrelsome person.” A. Lieberman is such a person. As long as it’s within the community, who cares? When it turns into a nationwide problem, it’s serious trouble.

Once in a while, this angry-faced person, who claims to be living in paradise, comes up with proposals meant to turn life into hell on earth. Violent proposals made by a person who has no interest in peace for anyone but himself in his many comfortable travels beyond what was once called the Iron Curtain. His proposals are always aimed at inflaming tensions, as if they were rage, hatred and anxiety – the stuff A. Lieberman is fed in his eternal paradise.

This time Lieberman is again bringing up a stale proposal for swapping land filled with people. I am in favor of land exchanges – sand for sand, something based on reciprocity. But Lieberman, as always, has to leave a poisonous sting in the tail of every proposal. He is suggesting transferring Wadi Ara, with all its populated villages and small towns, to the Palestinian Authority. That wadi thatIsrael insisted upon so much in its agreements with the Jordanians more than 60 years ago, so that it would not be left with a waist that is too narrow and a belly that is too soft.

If that is the case, Lieberman is also proposing to harm a security interest.

By the way, comments similar to his made us drive American immigrant Meir Kahane out of the Knesset running. Now the foreign minister is making them. This is enough to show just how far we have gone down the slippery slope of dark racism.

So if it were in my hands, I would be glad to carry out a much less dramatic and inflammatory population exchange. A. Lieberman, who immigrated at the age of 20 from Kishinev in Moldova, could remain in his home in the settlement of Nokdim as a Jewish enclave under the PA’s control beyond the West Bank fence, while my friend, lawyer and human rights activist Hussein Abu Hussein, whose great-grandfather was born in Wadi Ara, would stay put as an Israeli citizen working frequently in the PA territories. Thus everyone’s problems would be solved.

TODAY’S TOON ~~ WHAT COLOUR WAS JESUS (AND WHO CARES)?

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
megyn-kelly-jesus-was-a-white-man
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Fox News host Megyn Kelly says Jesus and Santa are white

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