PINKWASHING THE OCCUPATION

Scene from the 2016 Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade. 

 

On June 8, when some 250,000 people attended the pride march in Tel Aviv, just some 44 miles away Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip faced Israeli snipers. For LGBTQ Palestinians, Tel Aviv’s pride week is a source of pain and anger each year. Pride is “used as a tool to normalize and justify occupation,” 20-year-old Omar told Mondoweiss. “Israelis oppress Palestinians, Palestinian women, Palestinian children, LGBT Palestinians. Anyone who is not Israeli Jewish, they oppress.”

LGBTQ Palestinians: Israel uses Pride celebrations to ‘normalize and justify occupation’

When Ali*, a member of the LGBTQ community in occupied East Jerusalem, saw images from Tel Aviv’s pride week inundating his social media earlier this month, he felt angered.

“I feel used when I see all of these people flooding the streets of Tel Aviv. It’s irritating seeing all of these fellow queers who share some of my experiences being used by Israel to pinkwash settler colonialism,” the 22-year-old said.

The term “pinkwashing” is used by activists to describe Israel’s practice of promoting itself as a “gay haven” in the Middle East in order to distract attention from its human rights abuses, which have defined its 70-year-long colonization of historic Palestine and more than half-century occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

On June 8, when some 250,000 people attended the pride march in Tel Aviv, just some 44 miles away Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip faced Israeli snipers.

Depending on which news channel you decided to turn on, you could be faced with images of colorful outfits and rainbow flags overflowing the streets of Tel Aviv, or injured Palestinians being rushed to an ambulance after being shot by the Israeli army.

During the pride march in Tel Aviv, Israel simultaneously shot dead at least four unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including a 15-year-old. The small Palestinian territory has been held under a devastating Israeli air, land, and sea blockade for more than a decade.

Since the Great March of Return began in Gaza on March 30 to demand the right of Palestinians to return to their lands and homes they were expelled from during the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, Israeli snipers have killed at least 131 protesters and have injured tens of thousands.

For LGBTQ Palestinians, Tel Aviv’s pride week is a source of pain and anger each year.

Pride is “used as a tool to normalize and justify occupation,” 20-year-old Omar told Mondoweiss. “Israelis oppress Palestinians, Palestinian women, Palestinian children, LGBT Palestinians. Anyone who is not Israeli Jewish, they oppress.”

“You cannot be accepting to one minority while oppressing so many other minorities, including a minority you allegedly say you advocate for and support,” said Omar, who is also a resident of East Jerusalem.

‘I see daily violence’

LGBTQ Palestinians have long pointed out that their experiences under Israeli occupation do not differ from other Palestinians, despite Israel attempting to paint its image as a haven for LGBTQ peoples.

“To Israel, you are just Palestinian. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man, straight or queer. You’re Palestinian so you will be subjected to all forms of oppression and discrimination and violence that Israel subjects all Palestinians to,” Omar said.

Israel occupied and subsequently annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, a move which was not recognized by the international community until US President Donald Trump’s official recognition of the city as Israel’s capital last year.

Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem do not hold citizenship in Israel or the Palestinian territory and instead were issued temporary Jerusalem residency IDs, which can be revoked by the Israeli state for a variety of reasons.

Israel has expelled nearly 15,000 Palestinians from the city since 1967, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), while hundreds have been evicted from their homes owing to the Israeli settler movement.

While Palestinians in East Jerusalem are subject to Israeli civil law — as opposed to Israeli military law like Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza — they face routine discrimination and violence by Israeli forces.

In East Jerusalem, Palestinians are constantly subjected to harassment and arrest. As of April, 432 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem were being held in Israeli prison, according to Palestinian prisoners’ right group Addameer.

“I see daily violence here,” Ali said. “When you walk on the streets, everywhere I go I see an [Israeli] settler with a rifle over the shoulder, or I see soldiers and policemen.”

‘If they see you have darker skin or if they see that you are wearing something with Arabic writing on it — or even if you have an Arabic tattoo. If they see any signs that you are Palestinian, they will stop you, search you and interrogate you.”

According to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the youth are the main target of harassment and arrest by Israeli forces, particularly since the 2015 uprising in which many young Palestinians carried out lone-wolf attacks on Israelis, resulting in hundreds of Palestinians being killed as Israel was accused of practicing a “shoot-to-kill” policy.

“Everything is militarized in East Jerusalem,” Ali told Mondoweiss. “It’s violent and they wonder why the youth are sad and they have all this anger within them.”

Palestinians have to constantly fear for their safety, as one wrong move could result in prison or even death.

“If we plan for a picnic, we cannot even bring a knife to cut the vegetables and fruit,” Ali explained. “If the soldiers stop you, no matter how much time you would spend explaining to them that the knife is being used to cut vegetables, they will not believe you.”

“You will always be viewed as a potential terrorist.”

But Tel Aviv’s pride is part of Israel’s entertainment industry, meant to distract people from its routine violation of Palestinian rights, Ali said. “When they are dancing at pride, they are not seeing the everyday violence we [Palestinians] are subjected to.”

“All of these things are used to create this idea that Israel is introducing the world to Israeli culture,” Ali told Mondoweiss. “It’s mainstreaming Israeli entertainment in order to attract people to the state.”

In 2005, Israel launched “Brand Israel” — a marketing strategy meant to “rebrand the country’s image to appear relevant and modern.” Much of this strategy has been focused on promoting cultural events and entertainment in order to recreate Israel as a destination having “a productive, vibrant and cutting-edge culture,” according to American writer Sarah Schulman.

An intricate part of this rebranding was promoting Israel as a “world gay destination” and improving “Israel’s image through the gay community in Israel.”

‘I felt totally invalidated’

Omar was shocked to see many of his favorite drag entertainers from the United States performing at Tel Aviv’s pride and tweeting their support for the event.

“I felt totally invalidated,” he said “You’re celebrating queerness and being different among people who are either war criminals or complicit in war crimes through their silence.”

“How can you stand against [LGBTQ] oppression, and yet still go and subject other people to it? They are complicit in homophobia. They are complicit in hatred. They are complicit in the slaughter of their LGBTQ brothers and sisters and what have you in between,” Omar explained.

According to Omar, this dissonance is aimed at confusing the identities of LGBTQ Palestinians.

“I am privileged enough to be educated and aware. But Israeli pride is designed to make Palestinian queers question their identity. They are told, by Israel, that they have to choose between being gay and being Palestinian,” Omar said.

In actuality, however, LGBTQ individuals have existed in the Middle East since the birth of the Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian identities, Omar said.

“If you dig through fables or poetry from thousands of years ago, homosexuality is present. It’s there,” he told Mondoweiss.

“Historically we have always been rich in representation. I don’t know about acceptance, but that doesn’t mean that people were not living their homosexual/queer lives.”

According to Ali, if Israel does care about a Palestinian’s sexuality, it is only to use that information against the individual.

This at times plays out in the form of Israel attempting to coerce Palestinians into being collaborators and informants by threatening to shame LGBTQ Palestinians within their communities.

“Sometimes if you go to a protest, they [Israel] will try and shame you. If the army has access to information where they know you are queer, then they will threaten to tell everyone about your sexual identity,” he said.

“They don’t care about anyone’s identity, unless it can be used in their favor,” he added.

Israel’s practice of blackmailing Palestinians on the basis of their sexuality is just one of a myriad of techniques Israel uses to coerce Palestinians into providing information to Israeli authorities, according to al-Qaws, a Palestinian LGBTQ grassroots organization.

The Israeli army often extorts Palestinians “on the basis of their lack of access to healthcare, disrupted freedom of movement, exposure of marital infidelities, finances, drug use, or anything else,” the group has noted.

‘Freedom means no fear’

Omar tells Mondoweiss that Israel’s use of pinkwashing emboldens attempts to silence Palestinians who criticize Israel’s colonization of historic Palestine.

“Whenever we mention Palestinians undergoing ethnic cleansing or violence under the occupation, Israelis, Zionists, or white Americans mention homophobia in Palestine to counter it.”

But “there’s just as much homophobia in the Jewish community as there is in Palestine, or Lebanon, or Jordan — and even in the United States,” Omar said.

“Toxic masculinity is not unique to Palestine or the Palestinian society. It’s almost a universal queer experience, especially in conservative areas.”

For Omar, navigating the traditional society of East Jerusalem and the older Palestinian generations, while also being forced to maneuver through the violence of Israel’s occupation is particularly difficult.

“It’s really hard for you to feel safe if you’re a feminine man because on one hand your identity is misunderstood or misrepresented in your own community. And, on the other hand, you’re oppressed, you’re targeted by Israel. They want you killed in Israeli society.”

“It’s a struggle,” Omar continued. “But do I feel safer in Israeli places? No. Not as a Palestinian and not as a queer person.”

For Omar and Ali, pride events are far from their ideas of freedom.

“Freedom to me means no fear,” Omar said. “It’s being able to live and act the way I would normally act without fearing for my life.”

“For Palestinians, we don’t know when it is safe for us to be ourselves. Under Israel’s occupation, how can we exist without possibly dying at any moment?”

In a similar vein, Ali says he can “be free without pride.”

“Pride started as a protest. Now it’s more of a capitalist venture. It lost its essence,” he said. “I don’t feel like this is what I want or that this is what symbolizes freedom.”

The most important issue for Ali is feeling accepted inside his own community. “I don’t want to put myself off from my own society. I want to be part of my society,” he said.

“I want to be safe from Israel or any other authority in historic Palestine that is oppressing me for being who I am. This is freedom — being safe and empowered and being a part of this society and staying where I am without dealing with harassment and threats.”

As Omar watched the parties and dancing unfold in Tel Aviv, while facing the daily violence of occupation in his home of East Jerusalem and witnessing the continued Israeli massacre in Gaza, one question continued to come to his mind.

“I want to ask these people: What are you so proud of? Is it the bloodshed, the injustice, the ethnic cleansing? What are you so proud of?”

*The names of the interviewees have been changed to protect their identities.

WATCHING THE ISRAELI ‘LEFT’ GO RIGHT

His anti-intermarriage stance is shared within the Zionist community: notably by Dennis Ross, former White House negotiator who co-chairs the Jewish People Policy Institute.

Israeli left leader says intermarriage by U.S. Jews is ‘actual plague’ and he vows to find ‘a solution’

*

Isaac Herzog is the outgoing leader of the Israeli political “left,” the Zionist Camp coalition, and the new chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, which seeks to strengthen bonds between Jews worldwide. In an interview on Israeli TV (for which David Sheen provided translation), he describes intermarriage between American Jews and non-Jews as a “plague” for which he seeks to find a “solution”.

“I’ll tell you a personal story. Last summer I traveled [with my wife] to the USA for a vacation. I graduated from a Jewish school in New York. And we went to meet friends. I have a ton of friends in the U.S.A. And I encountered something that I called an actual plague. I saw my friends’ children married or coupled with non-Jewish partners! And the parents beat their breasts and ask questions, and are suffering. Listen, it’s every [Jewish] family in the U.S.A.! And we are talking about millions. And I said there must be a campaign, a solution. We have to rack our brains to figure out how to solve this great challenge.

Herzog is an expert on love. He has warned that his party must not be seen as “Arab-lovers.”

The intermarriage rate among American Jews is 58 percent, but 71 percent among the non-Orthodox.

The young are making these choices voluntarily. Herzog’s breast-beating, suffering friends are surely in the more traditional, religiously-identified Jewish community. Herzog attended the Ramaz school in New York when his father served here as an Israeli diplomat. He went on to Cornell and NYU. Among less-strongly-identified U.S. Jews, there is wide acceptance of intermarriage, because Jews are mixing freely with non-Jews at schools and jobs, and in neighborhoods.

Herzog is a regular at J Street, the liberal Zionist pro-Israel lobby group; and

His anti-intermarriage stance is shared within the Zionist community: notably by Dennis Ross, former White House negotiator who co-chairs the Jewish People Policy Institute.

 

ZION NOW DECIDES WHO IS A JEW

In his new book, Yossi Klein Halevi basically says if you don’t accept the idea of a Jewish state, you’re not a Jew. And STFU.

Maybe HE should STFU!

Literary hero Yossi Klein Halevi says anti-Zionist Jews aren’t Jewish

Every couple of years a pro-Israel book comes out that gets red carpet treatment in American Jewish circles. That was true for Ari Shavit’s 2013 book, My Promised Land. Now it’s happening with Yossi Klein Halevi and Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.

Halevi appeared at the J Street conference this spring, and on an AIPAC tour, too. He did an event with David Gregory, another with Abigail Pogrebin and a Muslim imam sponsored by the Jewish Federations. Liberals adore him: Cokie Roberts gave him a fulsome blurb (“Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor offers a model… for Middle East peacemaking”). And Halevi has been hailed as a guide by New York Times editors Jodi Rudoren and Bari Weiss at various Jewish gatherings.

One thing these folks don’t seem to notice is that Halevi, who moved to occupied East Jerusalem from Brooklyn more than 30 years ago, is such a fervent Jewish nationalist that he does not consider anti-Zionists to be Jews. Halevi wants support and understanding from American Jews; but if you are against the existence of a Jewish state, or have concluded that Jewish sovereignty hasn’t worked out for Palestinians or Jews– Halevi says you’re not a Jew.

In his book he writes that Judaism cannot now be separated from Zionism.

Is it possible, as anti-Zionists insist, to separate Zionism from Judaism? Is Zionism mere “politics,” as opposed to Judaism, which is authentic “religion”?…

If by Zionism one means the Jewish attachment to the land of Israel and the dream of renewing Jewish sovereignty in our place of origin, then there is no Judaism without Zionism. Judaism isn’t only a set of rituals and rules but a vision linked to a place. Modern movements that created forms of Judaism severed from the love of the land and dream of return all ended in failure.

By the time the state was established, anti-Zionism had become peripheral in Jewish life. Aside from a vocal fringe, most ultra-Orthodox Jews made their peace with a Jewish state. Israel’s Declaration of Independence was signed by representatives of almost the entire spectrum of the Jewish community–from ultra-Orthodox to Communists. That document attests to the legitimacy, within the Jewish people, of the state created by Zionism.

In recent years, there have been renewed attempts, especially on the fringes of the Diaspora left, to create a Jewish identity severed from Israel. But with nearly half the world’s Jews living in a thriving Jewish-majority state, that debate has long since been resolved. If in the past one couldn’t separate the land of Israel from Jewish life, today the same holds true for the state of Israel.

So if you don’t accept the idea of a Jewish state, you’re not a Jew.

During an appearance at Duke University last fall, Halevi filled in the point. He said it was OK for American Jews to criticize Israel about its religious practices at the Western Wall, but not about its security practices. And again, anti-Zionists are not part of the Jewish community.

Tough love is legitimate. when the love is evident. I would make a distinction between a group like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace. I don’t agree with J Street on a whole range of issues, especially on the Iran Deal. But J Street is part of a normative Jewish conversation. Jewish Voice for Peace, supporters of BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] to my mind have placed themselves outside the confines of the Jewish community.

Every community is defined by its red lines. I believe that in our Israel conversation we need to have low red lines. But we still need red lines, and groups, individuals, who actively support Israel’s enemies,who support effectively the destruction of the Jewish state, these are voices that should have no place in our communal conversation. And so the question of tough and love, there needs to be a balance.

Halevi also said that it worries him that more and more American Jews are opting out of the relationship with Israel, because American Jews need to be engaged with Israel right now to save Israel from the ultra-Orthodox, who have done the least to build the Jewish state but are being “anti-Zionist” in their efforts to limit access to the western wall. BTW, others have said the same thing to American Jews: Shut up about who we kill, but please weigh in on how we can pray.

You’d think Halevi’s intolerance about Who is a Jew might make him a bit too crispy for liberal audiences. But they overlook this intolerance. Halevi got a whole session to speak about his book at J Street this year. J Street obeys Halevi’s norms– inasmuch as it features a lot of center-right Zionists, including Tzipi Livni, who lied about the Gaza slaughter; but it excludes members of JVP (though Leanne Gale snuck in with some pro-BDS talk, and Jeremy Ben-Ami always says I’m part of the Jewish community).

J Street accepts Halevi’s red lines because: These are the norms of the American Jewish establishment. Being Jewish entails being Zionist. That conflation is now being undermined on a number of fronts by younger Jews who don’t like the way the Jewish state behaves in their name. But a lot of older Jews haven’t gotten the memo, or they’re in denial (“Where did we go wrong in our homes and schools?”).

P.S. Halevi reminds me of Shavit because Shavit was also heralded till his provincialism caught up with him. Nathan Thrall exposed Shavit’s rightwing Zionism in LRB; Reja-e Busailah showed that Shavit’s narration of the Lydda expulsion was insufficient and irresponsible; we did a piece about Shavit’s adoration of “sex in the toilets” in Israel.

MOST DISGUSTING IMAGE OF THE YEAR ~~ IN ISRAEL, MILITARISM BEGINS AT CONCEPTION

Militarism begins at conception? An ad for a maternity ward in one of Israel’s top hospitals depicts a fetus wearing a military beret and saluting.

An advertisement for Ichilov Hospital’s Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital. (Screenshot)

Ad for Israeli maternity ward portrays fetus as future soldier

By Mairav Zonszein

An advertisement for a maternity ward in one of Israel’s top hospitals, published in the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon this past week, has been making the rounds on social media.

The ad for Lis Maternity Hospital, part of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, shows a fetus wearing a military beret, with a caption reading: “Received the Presidential Award of Excellence, 2038.”

Portraying an unborn child as a soldier is disturbing in its own right, regardless of country. In Israel, an occupying power whose military has for over five decades been primarily concerned with maintaining control over a civilian population, this ad is even more charged and offensive. Furthermore, its timing is especially disturbing, considering that the IDF killed 60 Palestinians and wounded over 2,400 in a single day in Gaza, while continuing to exert control over millions of stateless Palestinians.

The notion that a good hospital will produce good soldiers is pathological. That a top hospital believes the best way to get women to choose their maternity ward is by convincing them their baby is destined to be a successful soldier in the Israel Defense Forces is also a genuine indication of just how militaristic Israeli society is. As if women don’t have enough on their minds as they approach birth, now they must be reminded that in 18 years, their child will be conscripted into the army. Regardless of their politics, Israeli mothers (and fathers) go through hell when their children — specifically their sons — serve in the army.

Israel, which consistently attacks Palestinian leadership and society for giving birth to “terrorists” and educating children to hate, seems to conveniently forget the deep militaristic, violent roots of its own society. This ad is just one indication of that.

Some Israelis on Facebook have expressed their disgust and outrage, demanding the hospital pull the ad. When asked for comment, Ichilov Hospital Spokesperson Avi Shoshan wrote in an email: “This was a one time ad published in Makor Rishon.” He did not answer my request to respond to those who are disturbed by the ad.

ISRAELI RACISTS LAUD TRUMP

“I think it’s quite fitting for a racist soccer team to give homage to a man who encapsulates what Israel has embodied under the cover of liberalism, namely a self-righteous and violent goal of establishing a racial and religious supremacy. This is not just about his embassy move, this is about a shared—and destructive—vision for the world.”

Beitar soccer fans march in Jerusalem chanting racist slogans

Israel’s Most Racist Soccer Club Renames Itself After Donald Trump

If there were ever two entities that deserve each other, it’s Beitar Jerusalem and Donald Trump.

Jerusalem’s most successful soccer team, Beitar Jerusalem, has announced—in celebration of the US embassy relocation to Jerusalem and assumedly in triumph following the massacre of 60 Palestinians in Gaza who were protesting the move—that they are now naming themselves after Donald Trump. In a message posted on their Facebook page, the soccer club wrote, “For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.”

If there were ever two entities that deserve each other, it is Beitar Jerusalem and Donald Trump. Just as Trump has a 45-year documented past of racism, the latest chapter being his statement that undocumented immigrants are “animals” (no, he wasn’t just referring to MS-13), Beitar Jerusalem shares a similar history and similar rhetoric. They are known internationally less for their on-field success than their anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hiring practices and fan supporters who engage in racist violence.

It was in the 1990s when this club, whose supporters had always rooted themselves in the hard-right, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim politics of “revisionism,” formed ”hooligan” clubs modeled after the violent skinhead soccer fan formations in Western Europe. (Their admiration for groups that were openly sympathetic to Nazi tells a story all its own.)

It was also in the 1990s when the these “fan clubs” particularly the one most known for racist violence, called La Familia, adopted the slogan and chant, “Death to the Arabs.” Their abuse of Arabs and Muslims was not confined to players on other teams. The club signed black, Muslim Nigerian defender Ibrahim Ndala in 2004. As Samirian Mishra wrote on the Football in Paradise blog, Ndala “left the club after just five games because of the torrent of abuse he received from his own fans.”

Mishra quotes Ndala saying,

“I left Betar because the fans abused me…. It was a bitter experience for me. They sang to me ‘son of a bitch,’ ‘Arab, go home.’ In Nigeria, I did not experience this kind of behaviour in my life, and it happened to me only in Beitar, and from the country, I came from, the rivalry was neither political nor ethnic, and because I was a Muslim I could not play Beitar.”

When the team, in 2013, signed two Muslim players, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, their “fans” set fire to a team office and Sadayev was met with boos and fan walk-outs when he scored a goal. When a fan favorite, captain and goalkeeper Ariel Harush, put his arm around Sadayev and Kadiyev on the field, in a show of support, he became an object of scorn. When Harush spoke out against racism and posted messages of solidarity toward Sadayev and Kadiyev, he was threatened with violence. This continued for several years, and Harush was booed every time he touched the ball. Both Muslim players left after the end of the season. Harush eventually was driven from the team as well.

Fans also chanted anti-Arab chants at Naala, Sadayev, and Kadiyev, which was bizarre, since none were Arab and the club refuses to sign Arab players. This is why Newsweek wrote about the team with the sub-headline, “Jerusalem’s favorite football team has hiring policies reminiscent of Apartheid and Jim Crow.”

Then there was the infamous moment in March of 2012 when hundreds of Beitar “fans” rushed a West Jerusalem mall, chanting “Death to Arabs,” and assaulted the Palestinian custodians who were there to clean up their trash. Mohammed Yusef, one of the cleaners, called it “a mass lynching attempt.” The headline in Haaretz was, “Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests.”

This is the team now named after the president of the United States of America. I reached out to human-rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University Noura Erakat for her response to the conjoining of Beitar Jerusalem and Donald Trump. She said,

“I think it’s quite fitting for a racist soccer team to give homage to a man who encapsulates what Israel has embodied under the cover of liberalism, namely a self-righteous and violent goal of establishing a racial and religious supremacy. This is not just about his embassy move, this is about a shared—and destructive—vision for the world.”

We have seen in other countries the ways that soccer-fan clubs can easily become shock troops of ethnic cleansing. This is Beitar Jerusalem, and they are getting further inspiration from the actions and rhetoric of the president of the United States. They deserve each other, but neither the Palestinian people nor the people of this country deserve either of them.

MUST SEE VIDEO (BEFORE MAY 22nd)

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING FOOTAGE – A MUST SEE (before May 22)

Can’t figure out those Palestinians? Maybe this short film by Dr. Rona Sela, an Israeli curator, researcher of visual history and culture, and lecturer at Tel Aviv University, can help.

Rona Sela has made her 46-minute documentary film ‘Looted and Hidden’ available for free on Vimeo until 22 May, on the occasion of 70 years Nakba.

(Click on link … Watch on Vimeo)

Arabic an Hebrew subtitles

Thanks to Sam Bahour for sharing the above

 

 

ON VIDEO ~~ THE EMBASSY OF DOOM

 As Ivanka smiled in Jerusalem, deadly bloodshed and violence erupted in Gaza, ending any dream of peace in the Middle East just as experts warned — but Trump recklessly ignored them.

‘Ashamed to Be Jewish’: As Trump Base Celebrates Embassy Move, Horrified U.S. Jews Mourn Gaza Deaths

I’ve always hated these kinds of expressions. Ashamed to be American, ashamed to be Jewish, ashamed to be whatever… Don’t allow states to soil you with their behavior. Israel claims to represent international Judaism. It doesn’t. But expressions of this kind seem to concede the point, however good the intentions behind the sentiment.

On a related note, I really get the sense Israel knows it has lost a generation of American Jewish youth for good, but it just doesn’t care anymore.

VIDEO ~~ TRUMP PICKS THE DEVIL TO PRAY FOR PEACE IN JERUSALEM

Who did Trump send to pray at the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem? A man who thinks all Muslims and Jews are going to hell.

Israel has no problem with anti–Semites whenever it’s politically expedient

Netanyahu’s choice was no better ….

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing in Jerusalem on Sunday from Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef — who was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League earlier this year for comparing black people to monkeys.

Jared And Ivanka Blessed By Israeli Rabbi Who Compared Black People To Monkeys

 

WATCH LIVE ~~ WORSE DAY EVER IN GAZA

Over 41 Palestinians have been murdered just today as protests against the U.S. Embassy relocation to Jerusalem as the March of Return continues in the lead up to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba tomorrow.

*
What should have been a day of joy …

Mother’s Day in Palestine by the talented Palestinian artist Mary Hazboun

THE AGE OF AQUARIUS IS DAWNING IN THE HOLY LAND

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

Visions of hope and peace surround us today from both sides of the wall in the Holy Land. Sunset will usher in the Hebrew Month of Sivan on one side whilst the Holy Month of Ramadan starts on the other.

Despite efforts of the forces of evil to increase the divisions and hatred between both of our peoples, this is the season that brings us hope that all will end well …. let us truly welcome The Age of Aquarius! Let the sun shine in!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius
Aquarius
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Oh, let it shine, c’mon
Now everybody just sing along
Let the sun shine in
Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in
*
To our Muslim readers, family and friends …..
Ramadan Kareem!
*
And to our Jewish readers, family and friends …..
Chodesh Sivan Tov!
*

IN VIDEO ~~ GENERATIONS OF THE NAKBA SPEAK

 #NakbaAt70

Palestinians of all their ages, and despite everything they’re exposed to  still hold on to the right to return to their stolen homes

IN ISRAEL ~~ YOU CRITICIZE, YOU GO!

“This is yet another alarming sign of the country’s increasing intolerance of critical voices”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, has been ordered out of Israel after the country accused him of supporting a boycott of the country.

Human Rights Watch Director Decries Expulsion From Israel as Attempt to ‘Muzzle Dissent’

“Barring access to those documenting human rights abuses won’t hide Israel’s mass violations carried out in the context of more than 50 years of occupation.”

Human rights campaigners stood in solidarity on Wednesday with Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) work in Israel and Palestine, after Israel announced that Shakir would be expelled from the country within 14 days.

Despite claims by the Israeli Interior Ministry that Shakir had violated the country’s anti-boycott laws, Shakir argued that the deportation order was part of Israel’s efforts to “muzzle dissent” regarding its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and other human rights violations.

Breaking: Israel has ordered me deported after compiling 7-pg intel dossier on me. 1st time in history Israel orders official out. Year ago it denied work permit before reversing, accusing us of ‘propaganda’. Now its BDS. Real aim to muzzle dissent.

Fifteen Israeli human rights groups including the Coalition of Women for Peace and the Human Rights Defenders Fund spoke out in support of Shakir, calling on Israel to “end the occupation”—rather than trying to hide it by removing critics.

“Israel is trying to keep both its own citizens and the world from seeing what it is doing,” the groups’ joint letter states. “Neither closing the borders to human rights groups and activists nor other Israeli measures against organizations critical of the occupation will deter us—or them—from reporting human rights violations in areas under Israeli control.”

The Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that Shakir was being ordered to leave Israel due to his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement urging backers to withdraw all economic support for Israel to protest the occupation and other abuses.

While Shakir said Tuesday, “I have not called for any form of boycott of Israel during my time at Human Rights Watch,” a statement from his organization argues that even trying to ban ban participation in such non-violent actions remains “contrary to Israel’s obligation to uphold the rights to freedom of expression and to non-discrimination on grounds of political opinion.”

“This is yet another alarming sign of the country’s increasing intolerance of critical voices,” added Magdalena Mughrabi of Amnesty International. “The Israeli authorities must immediately stop their ongoing harassment of human rights defenders. Barring access to those documenting human rights abuses won’t hide Israel’s mass violations carried out in the context of more than 50 years of occupation. Israel must repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict human rights advocacy, including criticism of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law that it has committed.”

Shakir, a U.S. citizen, was previously barred from Israel last year when the country refused to grant him a work permit. He was later given a one-year work visa after Shakir himself drew comparisons between the Israeli denialand a host of other countries that showhostility towards human rights observers.

WORLD NEWS ROUNDUP

                  Image by Carlos Latuff

Avenging the Iran Deal means speaking plainly about Netanyahu’s influence in our politics. In the wreckage lies the outline of a strategy. Resisting Trump means resisting Israel.


          Compiled and written by Mazin Qumsiyeh
*
An Israeli newspaper (Haaretz) had an opinion piece titled "Trump Tells
World to Drop Dead as Netanyahu Dictates His Nixing of Iran Deal." But it
is not just Netanyahu, it is the whole Zionist establishment that took the
decision to challenge a deal agreed to by much of the world and continue to
try to start new wars and sacrificing gullible gentiles on the alter of
Zionism. Most of the world now understands the ramifications. Israel has
nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, violates
international law, invades other countries. Israel is still illegally
occupying the Syrian Golan and colonizing Palestine.  It violates
international law with impunity and engages in war crimes and crimes
against humanity. But its attack on Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and Yemen (by
proxy) will now escalate to direct confrontation with Iran. Israel hopes
Trump will provide all needed military cover even at risk of WWIII.
*
The much maligned Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party scored significant wins in
British elections. The media, heavily infested with supporters of the
Colonial settler Israeli regime, spun this win negatively even after they
failed in all their desperate attempts to stop British voters choosing what
is best for them instead of what is best for greedy Zionists.
*
The much maligned resistance axis similarly scored significant wins in
Lebanese elections. This despite over one billion dumped by the Saudi
regime to prop-up Israel friendly candidates like Saad AlHariri. The Saudi
operated media like Al-Arabiya do everything they can to hide the crimes
against humanity in places like Yemen and Palestine to normalize the
apartheid regime occupying Palestine while continuing to try and villify
anyone who stands up against US and Israeli imperialism in Western Asia.
*
In Syria, there are desperate US/Israeli attempts to keep the war going.
Russia, Iran, China and others are taking control and insist on ending the
war. Trump is set to do what his Zionist handlers want him to do: confront
Iran and cancel the deal on May 12. This sets the stage for a law of the
jungle (but jungles are very nice compared to human greed an war). Oil
prices are set to sky rocket and the global economy to nose-dive.
*
Here in Palestine, we had dispensed with elections all together! No
elections were held for 12 years for the so called "Palestinian authority".
And the Palestine National Council has now moved to become more a
cheerleader club for the current 82 year old elder Mahmoud Abbas. The
latter is forced to apologize to "the Jewish people" (see Shlomo Sands'
book "The invention of the Jewish people") but has never apologized to the
12.5 million disheartend Palestinians for the treachery otherwise known as
"the Oslo Accords".
*
Article by Gideon Levy: Dear Occupiers, Sorry if We Hurt Your Feelings: Not
one Israeli statesman today intends to apologize for the Nakba – not for
the ethnic cleansing, nor for the exiling. But Abbas had no choice but to
apologize for his Holocaust remark.
*

As the US moves its Embassy to Jerusalem against International  law,  take
a moment to remember the US Servicemen killed by the deliberate attack of
Israel on their ship in international waters.
 *
Israel offended Japan's prime minister by serving him dessert in a shoe,
something 'despised' by Japanese people
*

Palestinian female poet sentenced to jail for a poem urging resistance to
colonization/
*
For Palestinians Under Israeli Occupation, Regard for India Runs Deep:
Palestine has been under Israeli military occupation for decades. The
author, who spent three months at the beginning of 2018 in the West Bank,
writes about his experiences.

#IsraelAt70 ~~ NUKES ARE US!

This guy on CNN just asked Netanyahu straight up if he has nukes!

*


The Iran Deal has been canceled, what is going to happen now?

WATCH LIVE ON VIDEO …. THE DESTRUCTION OF PALESTINE

Village of Al-Issawia (East Jerusalem) early this morning. The genocidal forces of the terrorist Israeli occupation destroyed one of the residential buildings in the village. The building structure also contained a dry cleaning business and a pizzeria that served Palestinian residents. After demolishing this dwelling, the owner will be forced to pay for the demolition or face prison time

As Israel ‘grows’ at the expense of stolen Palestinian land, one has to think of the following ….

ISRAEL AT 70 ~~ A DARKNESS UNTO THE NATIONS

Israel was founded on the infamous fallacy of “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Israel’s attempt to persuade the world that this was a valid premise for statehood has been a colossal failure, even among a growing number of Jews worldwide. Given the fact that historical [British-mandated] Palestine was inhabited prior to Israel’s creation, Israel has gone to great lengths, at huge costs, to bury this racist fallacy.

Artwork by Sliman Mansour.

Israel at 70

A Darkness unto the Nations

Several years ago, the late Polish mathematician from Youngstown State University (my alma mater in Ohio), Dr. Zbigniew Piotrowski, walked up to me at the Youngstown Arab-American Community Center and shared a bold observation after I delivered a talk on the Palestinians’ desire for freedom and independence. He said the silver lining of the WWII tragedy, and in particular the Jewish loss thereof, was that the world reset how it operates; post-WWII, international law became the order of the day to avert a repeat of history. It was as if all the nations of the world pressed the reset button and rebooted with this new operating system, one that obligated all states to respect a set of collective rules and regulations. Dr. Piotrowski rightly questioned how Israel, which claims to be built on Jewish values, could be so utterly disrespectful of this new reference point.

U.S. Letter of Recognition of the State of Israel, with the words “Jewish state” crossed out by President Truman.

 

This disrespect was exemplified by one of Israel’s founding ministers of education and culture, Professor Ben-Zion Dinur (1954), when he boldly claimed: “In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don’t agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force.”ii With this theme as the explicit backdrop of the newly established state, it is no wonder that Israel, 70 years later, has had little chance of being a normal member of the community of nations, let alone a light unto anything.
Individual Israeli achievements in fields such as science and technology are impressive. However, for all modern intents and purposes, the State of Israel, as a state-building model, is a failed experiment – ideologically, religiously, politically, socially, and, if US-favored-nation status were removed, possibly economically as well. Without immediate and decisive intervention from the international community to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression towards Palestinians, Israel’s intransigence and US-equipped regional hegemony will not only fuel another generation of Palestinians willing to sacrifice their lives to achieve their freedom and independence but will also further jeopardize Israel’s future as a state.

Israel was founded on the infamous fallacy of “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Israel’s attempt to persuade the world that this was a valid premise for statehood has been a colossal failure, even among a growing number of Jews worldwide. Given the fact that historical [British-mandated] Palestine was inhabited prior to Israel’s creation, Israel has gone to great lengths, at huge costs, to bury this racist fallacy.

It was totally in the hands of Israel – the occupying power – at the time of the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, as it is today, to end the military occupation of the Palestinian territory and start the bitter process of reconciliation.

The lead-up to the establishment of Israel witnessed the expulsion of well over half the indigenous Palestinian population by May 1948, not to mention the scores murdered in the process. Ever since, Israel has assumed a policy of structural discrimination, political imprisonment, torture, deportations, beatings, collective punishment, political assassinations, settlement building, economic dominance – the list is endless; and measures were intensified after the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in 1967. This “empty” land that was filled with Palestinians overwhelmingly complicated the efforts to implant a Western state in the midst of the Middle East.

Since its inception, Israel has arrogantly refused to address the most crucial prerequisite of its establishment as a conventional state: accepting the Palestinians – those people who just happened to be inconveniently living in that “empty” land. As a matter of fact, Israel’s membership in the UN was pre-conditioned on respecting past UN resolutions, including the one calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return home, as well as the one calling for Israel to define its borders.iii

To date, Israel has respected neither, to its own detriment.

After nearly seven decades of conflict, and after two decades of explicit Palestinian political recognition of Israel on part of their lands, Israel continues to choose to sustain the conflict. The Palestinians, those who were forcefully expelled from their homes in 1948, 1967, and more recently, have ever since been living in squalid refugee camps throughout the region. Those Palestinians who did not flee Israel proper in 1948 are today fourth-class Israeli citizens. The Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem who have lived under Israeli military occupation for 50 years, and counting, will continue to haunt the international community until justice is served and the Israeli occupation is ended, in its entirety.

As recently reported in the Associated Press,vi Israel’s leading demographics expert, Sergio Della Pergola, a demographer at Hebrew University, defended Israeli military figures indicating that the number of Arabs will soon equal that of Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Thus, any Israeli illusion that Palestinians will one day vanish into thin air is merely a hallucination of a people driving drunk on power.

Today, Israel seems more determined than ever to forcefully prove the original fallacy of its statehood – an Israel with expandable, unilaterally defined borders and a Jewish-only population. Twelve Israeli prime ministers before Netanyahu, six of them after the signing of the Oslo agreements, all failed. If Israel cannot produce a leader to move the country from a rogue state to a member state of the Middle East, no one but Jewish-Israeli citizens themselves will be to blame for the consequences, no matter how severe.

It should be no surprise that the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin rushed to sign the infamous Oslo Peace Accords after calculating the historic ramifications of the political earthquake that took place when the late Palestinian representative, Yasser Arafat, politically recognized the State of Israel. Rabin paid for that signature with his life, which was taken by one of his own citizens, a fanatic Jewish student. This was as close as Israel has ever been to overcoming its never-ending birth pangs.

Every step of the way, the United States has rewarded Israel as it further entrenched its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory. Israel has been propped up financially, politically, and diplomatically by every single US administration at the expense of US taxpayers. The entire US political system has been fully obedient to the far-reaching Israeli lobby and narrow electoral and commercial interests. What started as a US strategic ally in one of the most sensitive spots in the world during a Cold War that marred common sense has rapidly digressed into a liability in an age of globalization that the United States alone is spearheading.

Today, on the 70th remembrance of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), Israel must choose between continuing an illegal occupation and preserving itself as a state. To think that both can peacefully co-exist is utter ignorance of history and human development. Also, for Israel to believe that the United States will always be willing to jeopardize its own strategic interests for the sake of fulfilling an Israeli illusion of Palestinian submission is a miscalculation to the nth degree.


i Truman: Timeline, Truman Library Institute, available at http://www.trumanlibraryinstitute.org/truman/timeline/.
ii Cited in Jeff Halper, “Palestinian displacement: a case apart? – The message of the bulldozers,” Forced Migration Review, FMR 26, August 2006, available at http://www.fmreview.org/palestine/halper.html.
iii https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/0B3AB8D2A7C0273D8525694B00726D1Band https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/83E8C29DB812A4E9852560E50067A5AC.
iv Aron Heller/AP, “Israeli demographer: Arabs nearly equal Jews in Holy Land,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2018, available at http://www.latimes.com/sns-bc-ml–israel-palestinians-20180327-story.html.

 

Originally posted AT

IN TOONS ~~ EXCEPTIONAL EXCEPTIONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

World’s most moral army IDF, with two exceptions: KIDS & JOURNALISTS, Rules to be implemented in Gaza.

*

Israeli soldiers celebrate after shooting unarmed protesters and Israel continues to do nothing about it.

*

Israel at 70 years is using Military Snipers to kill innocent Palestinians who are peacefully protesting in Gaza

*

As always, the world looks the other way

HOW TO PISS OFF THE FAR RIGHT IN ISRAEL

DesertPeace and Associates congratulates David Grossman on his receipt of the Israel Prize for 2018

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize. It is not surprising when a Leftist writer rages against Israel at every opportunity and speaks disparagingly about Israel’s moral bankruptcy all over the world, but if a Rightest government in Israel  awards and praises him for it, that’s even more tragic.

David Grossman speaking at the Alternative Memorial Day event in Tel Aviv, April 17, 2018. credit Ofer Vaknin

Anti-Israel Prize

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize.

This year, the Israel Prize for Literature was awarded to David Grossman, one of the heralded novelists of the Left, who has a long reputation for speaking out against the “occupation” of Palestinian land, against the “settlers’ and the “settlements”, and against the ideological decay and dying morality of the Israeli majority.

In the past, after the Gaza War, Grossman demanded an inquiry to investigate the IDF, Tzahal, which led to the infamous anti-Israel Goldstone Report. After the Flotilla Affair, he accused the IDF of acting like a “brigade of pirates.” When Tzahal was sent to clean out terrorist havens in Judea and Samaria, Grossman drove off to assist Palestinians with their olive harvest.

On Memorial Day, as a bereaved father whose son, sadly, was killed in the Second Lebanon War, he spoke in Tel Aviv at a controversial gathering of Arabs and Israelis who had lost children in battle. Among the Arabs were family members of terrorists. The Israel Defense Minister attempted to thwart the event, calling it a blatant affront to the feelings of the country on the Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and terror victims, but the Supreme Court insisted that the gathering be allowed.

Here are some excerpts from Grossman’s speech, as reported by the newspaper, Haaretz:

“Finally, we have come home. But when Israel occupies and oppresses another nation, for 51 years, and creates an apartheid reality in the occupied territories — it becomes a lot less of a home.

“And when Minister of Defense Lieberman decides to prevent peace-loving Palestinians from attending a gathering like ours, Israel is less of a home.

“When Israeli snipers kill dozens of Palestinian protesters, most of them civilians — Israel is less of a home.

“And when the Israeli government attempts to improvise questionable deals with Uganda and Rwanda, and is willing to endanger the lives of thousands of asylum seekers and expel them to the unknown — to me, it is less of a home.

“And when the Prime Minister defames and incites against human rights organizations, and when he is looking for ways to enact laws that bypass the High Court of Justice, and when democracy and the courts are constantly challenged, Israel becomes even a little less of a home —for everyone… It is a dysfunctional home.

“The people and organizations who are here today, Especially the Family Forum and Combatants for Peace, and many more like them, are perhaps the ones who contribute most to making Israel a home, in the fullest sense of the word.”

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize. It is not surprising when a Leftist writer rages against Israel at every opportunity and speaks disparagingly about Israel’s moral bankruptcy all over the world, but if a Rightest government in Israel  awards and praises him for it, that’s even more tragic. Announcing that Grossman was this year’s recipient, Israel’s Education Minister, Naftali Bennet, declared:

“In his novels, books, essays, documentary writing, in his extensive creations for children, he presented a series of masterpieces that excel in rich imagination, deep wisdom, human sensitivity, a poignant moral stand and a unique and resonant language.”

Bennett defended giving the Israel Prize to a writer known for his opposition to the “settlements” and his support for European boycotts of products produced by the settlers, saying he has no regrets over his decision to award Grossman the acclaimed award.

The Israel Prize committee stated: “Since the early 1980s, David Grossman has taken his place at the center of Israeli culture, and he is one of the most profound, moving and influential voices in our literature… David Grossman is one of the most famous, admired and beloved Israeli writers in the world.”

Grossman is beloved around the world because of his unquestionable literary talent, but does this love also stem from his harsh and never-ending criticism of Israel?

Fortunately, we have the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, which awards its prizes on a far healthier basis, to builders of the Nation and not to its detractors.

Here is Grossman’s speech (Click on link)

‘Israel Is a Fortress, but Not Yet a Home’: David Grossman’s Memorial Day Speech to Bereaved Israelis and Palestinians

#IsraelAt70 ~~ MOST JEWS QUITE HAPPY OUTSIDE ITS BORDERS

But seven decades on, the language of Israel and Diaspora, of center and periphery, hub and spoke, homeland and exile, no longer describes the lived reality of the majority of the world’s Jews who continue to reside and thrive outside Israel’s contested borders.

Why Many American Jews Are Becoming Indifferent or Even Hostile to Israel
It’s not about what Israel does. It’s about what, to their minds, Israel is.

It’s Time For Israel To Recognize That Diaspora Jews Are Already Home

The State of Israel is 70 years old, well past its early growing pains; it is strong, confident and distinctive. North American Jewry is still here — strong, confident and distinctive in its own fashion. But the relationship between the world’s two largest Jewish communities is growing more and more strained, and, on this milestone anniversary of independence, it is the subject of much hand-wringing over whether and how it can ever be repaired.

So I’m going to offer an alternative idea: Rather than pretend that some sort of global marriage counseling can reconcile two fundamentally different entities, let’s acknowledge and celebrate their separate identities and embark on a new kind of relationship. To begin with, let’s leave behind the outdated notion of “Diaspora.”

I do not suggest that the two parties should divorce, or even amicably separate and go their own ways. After seven decades, Israel has become an essential element of modern Jewish life far beyond Tel Aviv, in Toronto and Tucson and Tashkent; those of us who live outside The Land benefit enormously from its political, social, intellectual, economic and cultural achievements, from its spiritual centering, from its very being there. We turn away from it at our peril, and our detriment.

But seven decades on, the language of Israel and Diaspora, of center and periphery, hub and spoke, homeland and exile, no longer describes the lived reality of the majority of the world’s Jews who continue to reside and thrive outside Israel’s contested borders.

We need a new vocabulary, one that reflects a more egalitarian relationship, something horizontal rather than vertical. While it is true that the negative connotation of “Diaspora” formulated in classic Zionism is fading — with so many Israelis living in Los Angeles and Berlin, how could it not? — there remains an expectation that Israel is the central address for real Jews, and the rest of us live in the outer exurbs.

Dealing with this disequilibrium isn’t a challenge only to Israelis, to view us as more than an open wallet, a font of unquestioning political support and a steady stream of tourist dollars. It’s also a challenge to those North American Jews who over the decades have substituted worship of a mythical Israel — what Donniel Hartman calls “the endangered fairy-tale land” — for real engagement and commitment to our own Judaism at home.

Some Jews in what we call the Diaspora will continue to make aliyah and fulfill the Zionist dream. But most will not, and we need to adjust our expectations of each other accordingly. A more balanced and realistic relationship can strengthen both anchors of 21st-century Jewish life.

The tension over the relationship is, of course, nothing new. Within only a couple of years of Israel’s founding, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and American Jewish Committee leader Jacob Blaustein agreed in a public declaration that the fledgling state would not speak for the rest of world Jewry and vice versa, but their agreement was quickly abandoned. Over time, Israel has assumed an ever more dominant role in world Jewish life, which has been both welcome and controversial. Ben-Gurion would not have anointed himself king of the Jews, even if he wanted to; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obviously covets the crown.

Efforts to refashion this relationship are also not new. Israel’s near-miraculous victory over its Arab neighbors in 1967 marked a turning point in how world Jewry viewed the Zionist homeland, as the fear of annihilation was replaced by pride and excited attachment. But this euphoria soon gave rise to worry, and every momentous anniversary since has prompted angst-ridden essays and demoralizing surveys, too numerous to recount here, about the growing disconnect between Israeli Jews (its non-Jews rarely make an appearance) and the rest of us.

We want to believe in Jewish Peoplehood with a capital P, and yet as Israeli society has matured, it has developed its own identity, singular and apart from the largely European cultural and political heritage of most American Jews. And American Jews, too, have evolved over 70 years to become more prosperous, powerful and assimilated into the wider culture.

Our ethnic origins and immigration experiences are different. The way we practice Judaism — or the way we don’t — is different. As Arnold Eisen, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, said at a conference in Israel in January:

“In North America, one has to choose again and again to be Jewish. In Israel, Jewish identity comes with the territory for the vast majority of the population — and comes with obligations, such as army service and taxation. A voluntarist community stands over against a coercive state. On one side, Jewishness is a highly individual matter. On the other, it is overwhelmingly collective.”

North American Jews stress personal morality and social ethics; Israeli Jews focus on history and destiny. These contrasting priorities are shaped by a more basic difference: American Jews are a religious minority, dependent on a society that values pluralism and diversity. Israeli Jews are an ethnic majority, shaped by the necessities of governing and the privileges of power.

Our conversation is stilted, in part because we are unable to talk and listen to each other genuinely. Most American Jews haven’t bothered to learn Hebrew, and unlike, say, the French, the Israeli government has never invested in a network of schools to teach the language systematically in the United States.

Several developments accelerated the widening divide in the past few years. Netanyahu’s provocative speech to Congress against the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran put him at odds with most American Jews and the president they warmly supported. His abrogation of the agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem last year alienated many members of the two largest religious denominations in America. His government’s lurch toward religious nationalism and its refusal to deal with the Palestinian occupation is leading to further disenchantment.

And while Netanyahu’s unflinching embrace of President Trump has cheered his domestic audience, it has disgusted many American Jews. The latest polling shows that more than two-thirds of Israelis approve of Trump’s leadership, while only about one-quarter of American Jews feel the same.

It’s clear that bridging the metaphorical gap between these communities will take more than a plate of hummus at a federation retreat. Netanyahu himself seems to understand this, which is why he increasingly looks to Republican Jews and Christian evangelicals for the love that more liberal Jews are withholding.

But instead of the Israeli prime minister shunning many American Jews, and American Jews turning away from Israel, a healthier, more realistic relationship requires leveling the playing field with mutual respect. Israelis can learn from us about living in pluralistic families and communities, and developing innovative expressions of Jewish faith and culture. We can learn so much from Israelis about collective identity, national pride and self-sovereignty, and about surviving in a very tough neighborhood.

And we each have a vested interest in each other’s security and sustainability.

“Seeing the global Jewish community as multiple centers, with Israel as one center, better describes how Jews actually live,” David Shneer, a history professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said in an email. He’s one of the scholars who posited a decade ago that the “bipolar universe of Israel and every other Jew” no longer works, and he’s even more convinced of it now, 10 years later.

Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, has also thought deeply about this challenge, arguing, since a seminal paper published in 2008, that Israel and world Jewry must radically alter their relationship.

He told me in a recent phone conversation from Israel that he doesn’t even use the word “Diaspora” anymore, and that he is formulating an alternative that builds on the idea that we all have multiple places we call home. Where we were raised. Where we live now. Where our children or our siblings live.

“We need to reclaim a family discourse. Families in fact have multiple centers that interact with each other,” Hartman said. “You have to work out the rules, because the rules aren’t simple. There’s a complex interplay. When you visit your kid’s home, you may open the fridge, but you don’t complain if it’s dirty. You don’t move the furniture.

“The multiple home narrative doesn’t require you to get into a conversation about whose home is better. It’s not a zero sum game. We are not competing. Your home is yours because that’s where you live.”

Instead of trying to build a bridge across many thousands of miles, as if we can somehow meet halfway and grasp each other’s hands in an elusive bond of unity, I suggest that those of us in the Diaspora think of ourselves as being at home. Unlike so many hyphenated Americans, we are blessed also with a homeland, Israel. Not necessarily the land of our birth, or our ancestors’ birth, but a living, breathing homeland connected to us through history and faith, one that we can engage and support and love.

While we live as equal Jewish citizens here.

 

FALSE FLAGS OVER SYRIA

Trump and his partners in (war) crimes UK/France decided to raise the body count in war-torn Syria, striking Damascus and guaranteeing that this long, savage imperialist conflict will remain claiming Syrian lives.

Images by Carlos Latuff

Report by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Today was the day that International inspectors arrived to examine the
unproven claim by the US/Israeli backed terrorist rebels that chemical
weapons were used in Ghouta (‘white helmets’ were known previously to have
manufactured media events**). Today at 3 AM the US, UK, and France attacked
targets in Syria with >103 missiles (71 of them were shot down by Syrian
air defenses, old Soviet Era weapons). Russia, China, Bolivia, and Iran
condemned the attack as a violation of the UN Charter and Russia is now
considering supplying Syria and “other countries” (perhaps Iran and
Lebanon?) with S-300 and other advanced air defense systems. Originally
Russia said it will target missiles and their launch facilities which could
have led to WWIII. It seems there was some sort of “understanding”: 1)
US/UK/France target unused fields and facilities with no damage for
domestic propaganda purposes (to appear tough and satisfy the
Israel/Zionist lobbies who have been pushing for war like they did in Iraq,
Yemen, and Libya and now pushing for war on Iran), 2) Russia and Syria also
get a propaganda “win” having shot most of the missiles using “old” Soviet
era weapons and Syria gets to get more advanced weapons.

They lied to us about Yugoslavia, about Ukraine, about Iraq, about Libya
and now they lie about Syria and Iran.   If these lies continue, World War
is the price not just bankruptcy of US taxpayers (already $21 trillion in
debt) and millions of lives lost.
Recent report of Chinese analysts being examined by Evgeniy Satanovskiy -
Russian leading expert in the field of Middle East. British and American
forces have been destroyed on a large scale in the Ghouta region, with the
22nd regiment of the SAS, those surviving the pinpoint Russian bombing,
that is, having to flee on buses in disguise. This is the reason for
skripal plan and the chemical weapons false flag.
We have no sympathy for the US, UK France Israeli governments’ position.
These are governments that have used chemical weapons (e.g. agent orange in
Vietnam, White Phosphorous in Gaza, last week nerve agents in Gaza) These
are hypocritical governments that fount International law (e.g. supporting
colonial occupation of the Syrian Golan and of Palestine) and support
brutal regimes (e.g. “Saudi” Arabia and Apartheid “Israel”). While that
does not mean we support any other governments (Syria, Turkey, Iran etc),
we do support justice and human rights and oppose tyranny.

Trump and his partners in (war) crimes UK/France decided to rise the body count in war-torn Syria, striking Damascus and guaranteeing that this long, savage imperialist conflict will remain claiming Syrian lives

*

Note from Russia’s Embassy in the U.S. about Syria
“A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that SUCH ACTIONS WILL NOT BE LEFT WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.
All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”

« Older entries