Bluestockings, a neighbourhood bookstore on New York’s Lower East Side was the scene of a community gathering over the weekend. Kathleen & Bill Christison read from their new book PALESTINE IN PIECES. The Christisons are both former CIA analysts who have visited Israel and Palestine many times and have been pained by what they saw as the genocidal policy of Israel towards the Palestinians. They have spent a month there 7 times since 2003 and they have seen things getting worse each time.

Bill read from the book, the Zionist policies, he said, were getting more and more aggressive. The policy, from the very beginning, was to get all non-Jews out of the country and take their land. Non-Zionist Jews are rare and have no influence. He quoted Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz journalist,as saying that Israel talks peace but wants war. Very few people in the U.S. realize what the Zionists are doing. It was hoped that Obama would make changes but it is apparent that there is no real change in policy. He called the U.S. Israel’s enabler. The Israeli attack on Gaza which left 1400 Palestinians dead, including about 400 children, was blamed on Hamas. The Israeli election gave the right there a victory and they will resist any pressure to end the occupation. They will not relinquish control of Palestine and control of the lives of Palestinians. And, they will continue killing or driving Palestinians out of Palestine.

Then Kathleen read. She described the situation of the small village of Noman located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. There are only 170 people there and the Israeli government wants their land to be incorporated into one of the settlements (a better word would be colonies). Even though the village is in part of Jerusalem the residents have been given West Bank ID cards. Every possible harassment has been perpetrated to get the residents out: they have been economically crippled, water and electricity have been shut-off, houses are being demolished, children have to walk great distances to get to school. Gideon Levy wrote of one of the elderly residents of the town being found beaten to death, tied to his donkey with the donkey dragging the man’s body. At this point Kathleen got choked-up, holding back tears, she took a moment to recover. When confronted with the incident the Israeli border police said they called it their “donkey procedure”. This story represents a microcosm of the occupation.

The International Court at the Hague has ruled all of this illegal over 5 years ago. The wall, 26 feet high in some areas, was ruled illegal. Forcing people off their land is illegal. The blockade that is starving Gaza is illegal. But there is no way to enforce international law. Jeff Halper, an American born Israeli professor and activist against the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, wrote, and the Christisons quote him, that from 1948 to 2007 the policy was to drive the Palestinians out and take their land. That policy has changed somewhat. Now the Palestinians are to be strictly contained. There is a policy of cantonization – separating Palestinians from the Jews and from each other. There are 1,000 miles of Jews-only roads on the West Bank. Palestinians cannot even visit other Palestinian villages without major difficulties.

Bill’s final reading was about Israelis comparing their treatment of Palestinians to the U.S. treatment of Native peoples in this country. Israelis use it to justify their behavior and say that they should be able to “take care of Palestinians”as the U.S. took care of the American Indians. The Israeli historian, Benny Morris, said that the great American democracy could not have been accomplished without the destruction of the Indians. But Palestinians have said that they will not surrender, they will not disburse, they will continue to be there. For Palestinians their land is their source of self and they will resist to the end.

After the readings there was a very lively, sometimes passionate, question and answer period with almost everyone in the room participating. What was particularly interesting was the level of militancy in the room and that noone defended the Zionists. One person believed that instead of calling the U.S. enablers they should see them as symbiotic partners because of their vital mutual interests such as the economics of the Middle East and the military industrial complex. Another person asked if Israel was a fascist state. The Christisons thought it was but preferred not to use the word because it raises the anger level. The questioner then made the point that if it is a fascist country then those helping it are guilty of helping fascism. Someone asked about the Palestinian West Bank security forces – what do they do? The answer was that they were being trained by American generals to defend Israel – not Palestine. They do middle of the night raids against homes on the West Bank where people that oppose the occupation are thought to live. There was a long discussion about the role Obama might, or might not, play in the struggle. The overwhelming consensus was that Obama would not stand up to the Israel lobby in congress and not, in any way, protect the Palestinians from Israeli aggression. Hope was expressed that the policy of boycott, divestment, and sanctions, which is growing, would eventually yield positive results as it did in South Africa.

When the formal discussion ended people remained and spoke in small groups. Some exchanged a-mail addresses. Not so many years ago people in this country were not thinking about Palestine. But the other night, because of the struggle of the Palestinian people, and the outrages of the Zionists, there was an enlightened, caring discussion with an expressed will to destroy Israeli apartheid.

The Christisons plan to donate all profits from their book to organizations that aid the Palestinian people.

Our roving, activist team was there to share the event with you….
Commentary was by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer


  1. September 2, 2009 at 13:30

    Thanks for this DP

    Some events like this don’t really get covered and for those of us not in America it’s nice to see things like this, it gives people hope that Americans may wake up one day. Nice to see older people there as well.

  2. Abe F. March said,

    September 2, 2009 at 15:02

    It is refreshing to see that focus is being placed where it belongs. Intimidation has prevented many from speaking out, however the community gathering to discuss these important issues as referenced, may appear as a small step, but it is a start.

    The Unresolved Dilemma between Israel and Palestine needs forced action by the US. However, efforts at diverting attention from the actions needed to resolve the dilemma continue. These tactics are employed whenever there is movement toward a peace agreement.

  3. Rosie said,

    September 2, 2009 at 20:09

    Any impact upon the populace of the US; no matter how small, has to be positive.

    Little steps……lead to big steps…well one can only hope.

    Thank you to Desert Peace for providing good information and for your archives.

    Let’s hope humanity wins over insanity..

  4. September 2, 2009 at 22:05

    […] was a Bluestocking bookstore reading by Bill and Kathleen Christison, reported by desertpeace, which says the audience responded militantly to tales of Palestinian dispossession and nary a […]

  5. PG said,

    September 2, 2009 at 23:04

    I have read many articles written about the Palestinian plight by these two very excellent human beings. It is so rare to find people connected with the CIA speak out against Israel’s aparthied – genocide policies.

    Very refreshing and long overdue.

  6. September 3, 2009 at 01:44

    […] NEW YORKERS HEAR THE FACTS ABOUT ISRAELI APARTHEID « Desertpeace. September 2nd, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment | […]

%d bloggers like this: