WORSE THAN A KAPO?

In my many years of pro Palestinian activism I have personally been called an anti Semite and a self hating Jew. Considering the anti zionist implications of these labels, they are both worn proudly.

BUT

When a new label, ‘kapo‘ is added, that is truly a hit below the belt. Not being a fan of J Street, I still find this term offensive and stand with them as they are smeared in such a way.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” 

Image by Carlos Latuff

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump's choice for US ambassador to Israel

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump’s choice for US ambassador to Israel

Trump pick for ambassador to Israel supports Israeli annexation of West Bank and calls liberal Jews ‘kapos

Donald Trump has nominated 57-year-old Long Island native David Friedman to serve as U.S ambassador to Israel. Friedman served as Trump’s Israel adviser during the election campaign and has worked as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer. He is a vociferous pro-settler advocate who openly advocates for the annexation of the West Bank, and serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, a settlement advocacy group. Friedman will join an administration that has continually promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has made clear its opposition to the two-state solution. In announcing the pick Trump called Friedman “a longtime friend and trusted adviser.”

Friedman is a writer for the Israeli settler news service Arutz Sheva, and his columns demonstrate strong right wing views concerning the occupation, U.S. politicians, and the Middle East. Friedman has called for ending “the two-state narrative”, describing it as “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs.” Friedman has also referred to the recognition of Jerusalem as “the indisputable capital of the Jewish people” as a holy battle, one that will be won by those who acknowledge Jerusalem as being “the holy capital of the Jewish people—and only the Jewish people”.

In 2015, Friedman wrote an article praising the pre-war sentiment expressed by Mike Huckabee, evangelical Trump-supporter and former Governor of Arkansas, who “referred to war as “killing people and breaking things” until the loser gives up or is destroyed.” Friedman writes that the Obama administration, which is waging countless military operations around the world, has been too docile and light-headed when it comes to “terrorists”.

“The United States has the largest and most powerful military in the world. Under the Obama Doctrine, however, it is no longer in the business of fighting to win,” he argues.

In another stunning column for Arutz Sheva, Friedman accuses Obama of being an anti-Semite, and characterized the centrist Zionist organization J Street as being “worse than kapos”.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps,” he wrote.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, tells Mondoweiss that the appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel “is but the latest suggestion of what a Trump administration’s policy toward Palestine/Israel will be and that is a full, unapologetic embrace of Israeli Apartheid. Trump has railed against political correctness throughout his campaign and in many ways he seems to be doing the same thing with shaping his policy on this issue.”

Munayyer explains that “for decades the US has done a sort of “politically correct” dance where they have consistently supported Israel as it colonizes what is left of Palestinian territory while saying they support a Palestinian state.” The nomination of Friedman signals that the U.S. will do away with this farce, and  “just own what they have done for years which is support the apartheid reality on the ground.” Munayyer contends that a Trump administration will treat Israel with light-headedness, which means that “the civil society effort to impose costs on Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics [BDS] has never been more important.”

Mouin Rabbani, co-editor of Jadaliyya, was straightforward in his reaction to Friedman’s nomination, telling Mondoweiss that he “hopes the appointment of such an avowed extremist to the position of US Ambassador to Israel, selected precisely because of his extremist positions, will disabuse Palestinians of any remaining illusions the the United States has anything positive to contribute to their struggle for self-determination.”

Jewish Voice For Peace released a statement from executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson condemning Friedman’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, arguing that it “indicates that the Trump Administration has aligned itself with the farthest right elements of the Israeli government”, and warning that this signals that the incoming administration will give the Israeli government a free pass to further its abusive control of Palestinian land, and to continue infringing upon Palestinian rights.

Writing on Twitter, London Review of Books writer Adam Shatz put it succinctly: “Let’s call the Friedman appointment by its name: a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.”

Both Trump and Friedman share the intention of rejecting the two-state solution and abiding by the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for recognizing Jerusalem and Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill was passed in 1995 but left unsigned under Bill Clinton and subsequently suspended on 22 occasions—thanks to the presidential waiver authority—mostly due to alleged national security concerns. Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was euphoric after Donald Trump’s electoral win, calling his election an “opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country”. He said, “The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

For this reason, advocates of the two-state solution are troubled by Friedman’s nomination. A press release from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) president Rabbi Rick Jacobs notes that while URJ supports Friedman’s goal of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and its designation as Israel’s capital, the organization is “greatly concerned” that Friedman is against a two-state solution. The Reform group maintains “that only a two-state solution will allow Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic while also addressing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians.”

Americans for Peace Now also announced its opposition to Friedman saying, “Friedman opposes the very essence of APN’s values and mission.” The organization added, “Trump repeatedly declared that he would like to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but coupled with the President-elect’s statements about his intention to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Friedman’s nomination is a destabilizing move, which only adds fuel to the Israeli-Palestinian fire.”

Chemi Shalev, U.S. editor and correspondent for Haaretz, recently published an article arguing that due to Friedman’s right-wing inclinations, “[h]e makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist”. Shalev contends that Friedman will satisfy Evangelicals, Jewish settlers “and bring pleasure to Land of Israel zealots far and wide”. While the Obama administration may have offered Palestinians some semblance of even-handedness, Shalev writes, Friedman and the Trump administration will likely offer them no such thing.

ISRAEL’S ‘WAR’ AGAINST DIASPORA JEWRY

It’s time for the State of Israel to reassess its relationship with Diaspora Jews who have embraced anti-Israel views and initiatives.

jews against

Jews in the service of Israel’s enemies

Elyakim Haetzni FOR

According to the polls, England’s Jews will vote in the upcoming elections for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a gentile who is less hostile towards Israel than the Jewish Ed Miliband, the chairman of the Labour Party. A significant part of the Unites States’ Jews embrace President Barack Obama although he favors the enemies of the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to France’s Jews, who are suffering from anti-Semitism and terror, that they have a warm home to return to, was met alongside the applause by objections from Jews seeking to remove any doubt from their pure Frenchness.

Jews in the world, especially in the media and academia, are attacking us and even calling for a boycott of Israel. They are led by J Street, a powerful American organization which serves as a mirror image of AIPAC, the great Jewish lobby. While AIPAC stands by Israel, J Street stands by the American administration and its anti-Israel views and initiatives.

And so the question of the Jewish state’s relationship with the Diaspora Jewry is back on Israel’s agenda. Here’s a reminder: The Land of Israel’s birthright position was only recognized by the Jewish people following the Holocaust. A smaller catastrophe was not enough to convince the majority of Jewish people that Zionism was the solution to the “Jews’ troubles.”

Theodor Herzl wanted to convene the first Zionist Congress in Munich, but faced the strong objection of the city’s rabbi, who was afraid that it would cast a doubt on the Jews’ loyalty to Germany. Many thought that more than Zionism solves anti-Semitism, it creates it. Vienna’s chief rabbi even suggested that Herzl should be hospitalized. He was forced to hold the Congress in Basel – at a casino.

The discovery of the horrors of the Holocaust silenced the anti-Semitism in the world for a few years of grace, and harmony prevailed among the Jewish people as well, first around the struggle over the Jewish state and then over its establishment. A sort of consensus was created that the state would take in the Jews of the distressed countries and leave the Jews of the welfare countries alone. The latter will provide the donations for the absorption of the “refugees.”

Gentiles in the European battlefield, including quite a few Israel haters, developed a perverted phenomenon of admiring the State of Israel precisely because of its alleged “non-Jewish” aggression.

All that ended after the Six-Day War. The Western world accepted a tiny Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, but not real Jewish strength, and especially not a Jewish Jerusalem. This is how the distinction between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic was born for a while: The Israelis, the occupiers and settlers, became the “bad guys,” and the Jews – especially the “enlightened” ones, who fight the “occupation” – remained the good guys.

Jews who participated in this celebration and thought that the call “hit the Israelis!” would make people to forget the old call “hit the Jews!” were quickly proven wrong: The hatred was always against the Jews.

It’s true that for a while, the “political correctness” allowed people to express animosity only against the Jewish Israelis, but the real intention was understood by every gentile. Only the Jews, as usual, refused to understand. Now it is being clearly explained it to them. The violent and terrorist anti-Semitism has reverted to its evil ways: Jews or Israelis, it’s the same thing.

It’s time for the State of Israel to reassess its stance. The Zionist Movement engaged in active fighting to deny the Diaspora. Should the state, its offspring, step into its shoes or stand aloof? And to what extent is the state allowed, as a state, to call on the citizens of another state to emigrate from their country to its country, even when they are Jewish?

In two cases, the answer appears to be clear: The desire of a Jew who has drawn away and doesn’t want to be linked to his Jewishness, for good or for bad, should be respected and he should be treated as a foreigner. On the other hand, a person who lets Israel’s enemies use the fact that he is Jewish and serves as their king’s evidence, he should be treated according to the paragraph in the Eighteen Benedictions, which begins with the words, “And informers shall have no hope.”

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

J STREET AND THE END OF ZIONISM

It’s time to bite the bullet. We of the critical (non/anti/post-Zionist) Israeli peace camp understand why a liberal Zionist organization like J Street could never consider, let alone accept, the end of the two-state solution. You say it yourselves: the end of the two-state solution is the end of Israel as a Jewish state; it marks the end of Zionism.

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An open letter to J Street: Let’s talk

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street

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It’s time to bite the bullet. We of the critical (non/anti/post-Zionist) Israeli peace camp understand why a liberal Zionist organization like J Street could never consider, let alone accept, the end of the two-state solution. You say it yourselves: the end of the two-state solution is the end of Israel as a Jewish state; it marks the end of Zionism.

We understood why you can’t go there – but the luxury of picking the solution you like regardless of its relevance and do-ability is no longer an option. In light of the collapse of the Kerry initiative (and it has finally collapsed, no matter if Abbas can be persuaded not to go to the UN), you cannot continue to deny the collapse of the two-state solution upon which it was built. That was not a failure of Kerry or of “negotiations” or of “both sides” or even the failed Oslo negotiators like Martin Indyk that you and the American government continue to parade that brought about that result, it was a conscious, deliberate and explicit policy of all successive Israeli governments since 1967 to eliminate a two-state solution.

You might be right that most Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs want a two-state solution. You are right that this is the only way a “Jewish” state can be salvaged. But you hit up against three insurmountable facts of life: (1) No Israeli government – and certainly not the current one – has ever seriously considered a genuine two-state solution, and in fact all have worked assiduously (and successfully) to create “facts on the ground” that prevent the establishment of a truly sovereign and viable Palestine state; (2) the Israeli public has no idea what it means by “two-state solution” and simply does not care; what we call the “occupation” has been rendered a non-issue in Israel and Israeli Jews will not pro-actively overthrow it; and (3) as long as Israel has Congress in its pocket – which it does despite your best efforts – it can thumb its nose at the Administration, the Europeans, the UN, international law, liberal Jewish values and J Street alike, or so it thinks.

The end of the Kerry initiative is a big thing. It represents that fateful juncture that we of the critical left have been speaking of for years: in the next few weeks, perhaps days, Israel will have irrevocably abandoned any opportunity for a just peace with the Palestinians for apartheid or, worse, for the warehousing of Palestinians in permanent ghettos. Israel will unilaterally annex the “settlement blocs,” up to 30-40% of the West Bank, arguing that “there is no partner for peace,” we need to ensure our security and, besides, 95% of the Palestinians live under Palestinian Authority rule in Areas A and B (38% of the West Bank truncated into 70 enclaves) and Gaza. Whether the PA remains as a collaborationist regime or leaves the scene makes no difference. The Occupation is over. Will J Street finally admit that apartheid has arrived, or will it try to make the best of a Palestinian bantustan as a “good enough” two-state solution?

In light of the struggle for a truly just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, of which the two-state solution was merely a diversion, I would suggest that we view the end of the Kerry initiative as a good thing. Finally the fog of the two-state solution is lifted. We finally see reality: naked, raw occupation and apartheid with no pretense of two equal “sides” or genuine negotiations. Now where do we go from here?

If J Street can learn anything from its years of existence, it is that you cannot simply assert a political position. You cannot promote “solutions” like that of two-states merely because you cannot entertain anything else. If there is no more connection between your political stands and the political facts on the ground, your stands have to change whether or not you want to “go there.” In the end, if J Street really wants to salvage something of worth from the rubble of the two-state solution, it must acknowledge what was apparent to everyone on April 1, 2014: Israel itself and no one else turned Israel/Palestine into one indivisible state.

Why am I writing this open letter to you-all of J Street, an oganization that would never allow people like me into its tent? Because a post-two-state-solution J Street could help bridge the gap between critical and liberal supporters of a just and lasting solution. Join with us, critical Israelis, Palestinians and others, in convening a meeting of minds on the one question remaining before us all: now that the two-state solution is gone, where are we headed? This is a question made urgent by the collapse of the Kerry initiative. It is of relevance not only to post-PA Palestinians who must now provide us with leadership, but of anyone concerned with securing a place for Israeli Jews in what will be a common country.

The new chapter opening before us will be infinitely more difficult and challenging than obtaining a two-state solution would have been, but so be it. Israel made its choice. This is the historical moment. Can we all rise to the occasion?

(Jeff Halper is the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

ZION GONE BONKERS ~~ CALLS DERSHOWITZ AN ANTI SEMITE

The following is almost amusing ….

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“If you don’t want people like me defending Israel,” he told them, “then you’re in serious trouble.”

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In Philly, rightwing Zionists call Dershowitz anti-Semitic for opposing settlements

J STREET’S DREAM OF PEACE IS PALESTINE’S NIGHTMARE

In a mass email sent on 5 May, Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of the pro-Israel lobby group J Street, wrote to his supporters: “I’ve just arrived in Israel with a delegation of J Street leaders on our annual fact-finding mission to the region.” He added: “It’s an energizing time to be here. After years of frustrating deadlock, talk of peace is in the air again.”

What air is he breathing?

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J Street’s pipe dreams of peace

Miko Peled*
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Sixty-five years after their forced dispossession, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning home.

 (Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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May and June are once again upon us, which means Palestinians are commemorating theNakba (the catastrophe of their 1948 dispossession) and Naksa (the disaster of the 1967 War and subsequent occupation). Meanwhile Israelis celebrate the establishment of their state and the conquest of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Sinai. This inevitably leaves one to ask the banal question: “Will there be peace in our lifetime?”

In a mass email sent on 5 May, Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of the pro-Israel lobby group J Street, wrote to his supporters: “I’ve just arrived in Israel with a delegation of J Street leaders on our annual fact-finding mission to the region.” He added: “It’s an energizing time to be here. After years of frustrating deadlock, talk of peace is in the air again.”

What air is he breathing?

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “the window for a two-state solution is shutting” (“Kerry: two years left to reach two-state solution in Middle East peace process,” The Guardian, 18 April 2013).

Myths and double standards

In fact, it’s been shut for decades. Kerry is merely regurgitating the old, numbing talking points. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deadlocked because of the myths and double standards that dominate the debate.

Zionists claim that Jewish people have a right to “return” to Palestine — or the Land of Israel, as they call it — because they are related to the ancient Hebrews, a tribe that lived there thousands of years ago. Yet Palestinians who lived in Palestine only 65 years ago and remember when they were forced to leave as refugees are forbidden from returning to their homes and their land.

A nation whose connection to the land is based on something that took place thousands of years ago is telling a nation that still has the keys to their homes and the deeds to their land that they must stay out.

The State of Israel was established on the ruins of Palestine, but today close to half of the population residing under Israeli control are Palestinians. Israel maintains laws that discriminate against the Palestinian portion of the population — or what it calls the non-Jewish population.

Catastrophe continues

One may wonder why Palestinians call Israel’s establishment a catastrophe, or Nakba. It might be hard to grasp how this historic marvel, the revival of the Jewish state, could be called a catastrophe. However, a closer look will show that characterizing the war of 1948 as catastrophic is not only justified, it involves understating what happened.

The war of 1948 was an act of terrorism initiated by Zionist militias that ended up in the destruction of Palestine and the forced displacement of its people. What makes it even worse is that the catastrophe did not just take place in 1948. It began in 1948 and has been going on ever since.

The catastrophe continues with thousands of Palestinians in jail, 1.6 million living undersiege in Gaza, another 1.5 million living as second-class citizens in Israel, close to three million in the West Bank living at the mercy of the Israeli army, which knows little mercy, and approximately seven million Palestinians living as refugees outside of Palestine who are not permitted to return to their homes.

This May and June, it is time to reflect on the reality in which Palestinians are forced to live, and separate it from the virtual reality that Israel and its supporters try to paint. Perhaps this year it is time to assert in clear terms that supporting an exclusivist and discriminatory Jewish state means supporting a state that violates the most basic human and civil rights of millions of Palestinians, including the right to life itself.

If peace is indeed in the air then one would hope that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the refugee camps and in Israeli jails are also breathing it. If so, they can leave their cells and their makeshift homes, close the camps, open the prisons and return home, to Palestine. It also means that a bi-national democracy that respects and represents the rights of all people is on its way.

*Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in California. He is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

Written FOR

THE HIDDEN AGENDA OF ‘LIBERAL ZIONISM’

Presenting themselves as progressive advocates of academic freedom, the pro-Israel liberals pushed back against the zealots who demanded Brooklyn College’s political science department withdraw its sponsorship from the BDS forum. At the same time, however, they warned political fellow travelers against falling for the appeal of BDS, characterizing the movement as dangerously radical, and potentially destructive to Jewish life.
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Brooklyn College battle reveals hidden agenda of “liberal Zionism”

Max Blumenthal 
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Liberal Zionists don’t bother to detail what a two-state solution would mean in practice.

 (Issam Rimawi / APA images)

As soon as it was clear that the pro-Israel forces opposed to the forum on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) held at Brooklyn College on 7 February had badly overreached, and that their crude invective and histrionic behavior was alienating broad sectors of mainstream intelligentsia, liberal Zionist writers and activists injected what seemed like a much more sensible narrative into the debate.

Presenting themselves as progressive advocates of academic freedom, the pro-Israel liberals pushed back against the zealots who demanded Brooklyn College’s political science department withdraw its sponsorship from the BDS forum. At the same time, however, they warned political fellow travelers against falling for the appeal of BDS, characterizing the movement as dangerously radical, and potentially destructive to Jewish life.

An editorial published in Tablet Magazine by the pro-Israel writer Yair Rosenberg typified the liberal line against BDS. After issuing his token support for the Brooklyn College political science department’s “right” to sponsor the BDS panel, Rosenberg lashed into the progressive MSNBC host Chris Hayes and The New York Times editorial board for supposedly “whitewashing the movement’s radicalism” (“New York Times, MSNBC whitewash BDS,” 6 February 2013).

Hayes and the Times had erred, Rosenberg argued, by failing to acknowledge that the BDS movement not only seeks to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land, but that it also calls for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to land forcibly expropriated from them by the State of Israel. According to Rosenberg, the right of return is a “radical goal” because it “denies the Jewish right to self-determination.”

No detail

What does “the Jewish right to self-determination” mean, and from where did Jews (whom Rosenberg conflates with Israelis) receive such a right? Was it guaranteed by a binding international legal treaty? Or was it derived from the Torah, the holy book that the self-declared messianist and Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion described as his “blueprint” for building the Jewish state?

Rosenberg did not explain. All readers needed to know, according to Rosenberg, was that this right necessitates the establishment of two states though a “peace accord” so sensible he did not need to provide details of what it might look like, or how it could be implemented.

In another recent attack on BDS, published at Newsweek’s liberal Zionist online forum,Open Zion, a Canada-based associate political science professor and analyst for Freedom House named Mira Sucharov reinforced Rosenberg’s argument. Like Rosenberg, Sucharov condemned BDS advocates for not respecting “Israel’s desire to maintain its core Jewish identity.” And like her counterpart, she failed to provide a scintilla of detail about the implications of such an endeavor.

Sucharov went on to denounce the BDS movement’s “demand that the Jewish nation give up national self-determination,” piling meaningless language atop subjective terminology (“Why BDS isn’t compatible with two states,” 8 February 2013).

The Nation columnist and Brooklyn College professor of English Eric Alterman produced what was probably the sharpest attack on BDS in the past week. Hammering on the allegation that BDS advocates rely on deception to mask their radical goals, Alterman likened them in an editorial for The Daily Beast to the American Communist Party cadres who campaigned during the 1940s as earnest progressives while secretly taking cues from Stalin’s Politburo.

According to Alterman, the real agenda of BDS — an “intellectual masquerade,” he called it — is to force Jewish Israelis to “commit suicide” by “forfeit[ing] their commitment to their history, their national identity and their understanding of Jewish history” (“Brooklyn College and the BDS debate,” 7 February 2013).

Gross distortions

Leaving aside the gross distortions leveled by Rosenberg, Sucharov and Alterman, it is instructive to note what they omitted.

While each writer ignored the clearly articulated guidelines of the Palestinian-led BDS movement, along with the scholarship on how such tenets could be implemented, either in the framework of two states or a bi-national arrangement, they accused the BDS movement of deliberately obscuring its real goals.

At no point, however, did any of the liberal Zionists who weighed in on the debate about Brooklyn College’s BDS panel attempt to explain in any explicit fashion what it was that they wanted.

Liberal Zionist critics of BDS proclaim their passionate commitment to two states, or at least, to the established proposals for partition that have emerged through the US-led peace process, but few are willing to provide details. And even fewer have attempted to explore what the established proposals for two states will mean for the Palestinians who would have to live with its consequences.

How do they get away with such reticence on a core issue of contention while simultaneously blasting their opponents for deception and ambiguity?

Detached from reality

Perhaps the pablum of “two states for two peoples” has become so entrenched in mainstream discourse that progressive Zionist supporters see little need to explain what it actually means in practice. There is also the possibility that their rigorous, all-consuming academic and intellectual pursuits in North America have left them with little time to experience the daily reality in occupied Palestine, relegating them to a superficial, detached relationship with the situation that they invariably describe as “complicated.”

There are myriad factors influencing their curious behavior, but none is more salient than the inherent contradiction between liberalism and Zionism.

Like the right-wing Likudniks they claim to abhor, liberal Zionists are staunchly committed to the maintenance of an ethnically exclusivist Jewish state. They will fight any political campaign (BDS) or natural trend (Arab babies) that threatens to upend the Jewish demographic majority inside Israel, wherever its borders are.

That is why they claim that BDS, with its call for Palestinian equality and the right of return, will “destroy Israel.” And it is why they are so passionate about reigniting the US-led peace process. From their perspective, the establishment of two states would provide the most effective bulwark against the non-Jewish “demographic threat.”

In the words of Yossi Beilin, the liberal Israeli politician credited as the godfather of theOslo accords, the two-state solution under the guidelines of Oslo is “the only way to save the Jewish state from an Arab majority” (Tikva Honig-Parnass, Between the Lines, p. 97).

Racist measures

Every major proposal for two states — even the supposedly progressive Geneva accords — has included measures to combat the presence and proliferation of the non-Jewish population inside a Jewish state. These have included separation barriers, Bantustan-style cantons ruled by unelected strongmen, annexing the major settlement blocs that sever Palestinian East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and instituting a program of de facto population transfer described in anodyne terms as “land swaps.”

During the Annapolis track of Bush-era Road Map negotiations, then-Foreign MinisterTzipi Livni proposed transferring the populations of entire Arab villages inside Israel into the hands of the Palestinian Authority in order to help resolve Israel’s demographic problems (“Livni: A lawyer against Law?,” The Palestine Papers, Al Jazeera English, 24 January 2011).

A more recent plan conceived by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and promoted by the progressive Zionist writer Bernard Avishai in The New York Times called for linking Gazato the West Bank through a 25-mile underground tunnel, tacitly designating Palestinians as untouchable Morlocks who must be hidden from the view of the enlightened Israeli public (“A plan for peace that still could be,” 7 February 2011).

Even the most acute liberal Zionist mind would struggle to sell a progressive peer on the logic of advocating for an immigrant-friendly, multicultural society in the United States while simultaneously defending a colonialist ethnocracy in a far away, Middle Eastern country that offers them the right of “return” on the basis of their supposed kinship with Early Bronze Era desert nomads.

This may be exactly what US-based liberal Zionists are doing, but for obvious reasons, they must find ways of concealing their agenda, either through strategic reticence, or by masking their extreme positions in flowery, essentially meaningless language.

Not a pretty picture

To be sure, a few major US-based liberal Zionists have been willing to sketch out the broad outlines of the kind of two-state solution they might support. It is not a pretty picture.

Peter Beinart, the editor of Open Zion, recently joined with Harvard University professor of law Alan Dershowitz, an outspoken proponent of torture and the collective punishment of Palestinians, to call for Israel to “divide the West Bank into three chunks” (“The conversation Israel and Palestine needs to have,” 3 December 2012).

And Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of the “pro-peace” J Street lobbying outfit, insists that the separation wall and major settlement blocs must be permanent features of the landscape of Israel-Palestine. A future Palestinian state should have no control over its borders or airspace, according to Ben-Ami (“A voice in the wilderness,” America Magazine, 2 April 2012).

Is unilaterally deciding how Palestinians will be controlled and dominated what liberal Zionists mean by “Jewish self-determination?”

Questions like this are not easy to answer, which may be why leading liberal Zionists stringently avoid engaging in forums where their onerous proposals might be placed under tough scrutiny.

Beinart has staged collegial debates with Dershowitz and Rabbi Daniel Gordis, a political hardliner who has suggested a new wave of ethnic cleansing to preserve Israel’s Jewish majority, but he has never met a figure like Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel founding member Omar Barghouti on the same stage.

Ben-Ami, for his part, has openly stated his preference for keeping discussions about BDS “within the Jewish community,” refusing a request to debate a Palestinian like Barghouti (“J Street’s Ben Ami: “Our discussion” on BDS should stay “within the Jewish community”,” MaxBlumenthal.com, 15 April 2011).

What are they afraid of? Do liberal Zionists have something to hide? If not, they should end the intellectual masquerade and bring their real agenda out into the open for all to see. Then we will know who the radicals are.

 

Written FOR

ZIONISTS TEACHING HATE TO BOTH THE YOUNG AND OLD …

 … Both in the Guardian and in J Street

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Guardian’s Treviño: Only way Mavi Marmara killings could be “better” is if “IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead”
Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

New revelations of Joshua Treviño’s bigotry and lies, as Guardian insists he hasn’t been “demoted.”

In his “clarification” of his June 2011 tweet calling on Israel to murder American activists aboard boats to Gaza, the Guardian’s new columnist Joshua Treviño claimed it was all a big misunderstanding:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

I already explained in my Al Jazeera article that this was disingenous and dishonest, but thanks to EI readers, even more of Treviño’s violent and bigoted tweets have come to light exposing him as a liar.

On 1 June 2010, the day after Israeli forces murdered 9 unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters, Treviño tweeted, “Only way the #flotilla story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.”

Only way the  story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.

In other words, after shooting dead the civilians, 8 Turks and one American, the student Furkan Doğan, Treviño wanted Israeli soldiers to carry out what he and others would have understood as an act of religious desecration.

In another tweet on 2 June 2010, Treviño wrote, “After examining the facts on #flotilla, I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.”

After examining the facts on , I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.

In answer to complaints about his hiring, The Guardian’s press office has been distributing Treviño’s piece in which he claimed never to have made such statements, thus making it directly accountable for his falsehoods.

Standing by their man

Yesterday, The Electronic Intifada revealed that The Guardian made surreptitious changes in a press release after it had been published, suggesting that the newspaper was demoting Treviño or distancing itself from him.

Today, the newspaper’s spokesperson denied that in a statement to The New Statesman:

I can confirm that there has been no change in Josh Trevino’s terms of employment – the contract has not been altered and he has most certainly not been “demoted” as some articles have suggested. In fact, a simple mistake was made in the press release and this was later corrected. It was clumsy but there is no change to Josh’s position.

Outrage at the hiring of someone who openly incites murder has grown: today the Guardian published a letter from academics, polticians and other public figures who support Palestinian rights expressing “shock and dismay” at the newspaper’s move.

Bigotry

What’s ironic is that while celebrating the murder of Muslims, and demanding religiously offensive acts as icing on the cake, Treviño, who identifies as an Orthodox Christian, is very sensitive himself.

Treviño said members of the group Pussy Riot had “desecrated” an Orthodox Church by singing a protest song in it, an act for which they were sentenced to two years in prison by a Russian court last week:

Well, @jstrevino, I wasn’t raised in a authoritarian state that was supported by the Russian Orthodox Church. Seems the ROC asked for it.

Of course, @markscrivens, one’s politics justifies desecration of an altar in a Christian church during Lent. That makes a lot of sense.

That desecrated a Church altar at Lent. Spare us this liberality. RT@markscrivens: …. This was clearly a “liberal” pro-freedom protest.

Anti-Muslim views

He has also expressed for years his hatred of Islam by demanding that the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul be turned back into a church. He claimed that a mosque was “sullying” the structure. Built as a church, it had later been used as a mosque, but is now a museum.

In exchange for the “Ground Zero mosque,” Cordoba/ASMA could advocate for the Hagia Sophia to be a Christian church again.

You know what’s also a desecration of a sacred object? The Hagia Sophia was made a mosque, then a museum. I’m just saying.

Also, remember that the Hagia Sophia is a Christian church first and always — and we ought to demand it back. That is all.

There is, of course, still a mosque sullying the Hagia Sophia: you just have to go to the right side of the complex to find it.

Remember this is the person who has an “important perspective” according to his new bosses at The Guardian.

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There’s still more …..
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American student shot dead by Israel “deserved” to die says Guardian’s Joshua Treviño

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 
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“There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them.” – The Guardian’s Joshua Treviño on 3 June 2010.

Today, despite the uproar over his incitement to murder Americans, Joshua Treviño was allowed to debut his new regular column at The Guardian.

The Guardian is sticking to the fiction that Treviño’s tweet of 25 June 2011 in which he wrote, “Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me,” was a one-off and somehow not representative or typical.

Why won’t the Guardian correct these lies?

Guardian editors were as of today still directing readers to a so-called “clarification” Treviño wrote on 16 August in which he told the following bald-faced lie:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

In fact Treviño regularly applauded, encouraged and welcomed the deaths of fellow human beings, specifically the 9 unarmed civilians killed aboard theMavi Marmara on 31 May 2010. A year later, in June 2011, he goaded Israel to kill passengers aboard a new flotilla. Some of the people aboard that later flotilla were American author Alice Walker and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.

Earlier today, I wrote to Guardian editors Alan Rusbridger, Janine Gibson, Matt Seaton, Nell Boase and PR rep Jennifer Lindenauer asking for a correction of Treviño’s blatantly false statement. So far I have had no response.

Not only has The Guardian been purveying false information about Treviño’s record, but on Saturday I caught them surreptitiously altering a press release after publication apparently to downgrade Treviño’s status. Are these really the kinds of dirty tricks The Guardian has sunk to?

A few of Treviño’s most vile statements

You can find many more examples at Topsy.

These are vile dehumanizing comments. I encourage everyone to read our interview with Dr. Ahmet Doğan who spoke of the moment he heard that the Mavi Marmara, with his idealistic young son aboard, had been attacked. Furkan’s father sat down, buried his head in his hands and “felt that boiling water was poured over me.” Dr. Doğan is struggling for justice for his son.

These comments also demonstrate that Treviño is a liar, and by extention The Guardian’s editors are liars for continuing to spread Treviño’s falsehoods.

The Guardian was likely aware of Treviño’s record

In a radio interview with conservative radio host Peter Ingemi on Saturday 18 August 2012, Treviño explained how he became a columnist at The Guardian(starting at approximately 20 minutes). “The origin is in my Twitter feed. I started to engage over the past few years with a couple of Guardian personnel there.” In March 2012, he was invited to speak at The Guardian Open Weekend in London, and then in May 2012 he spoke at the DC launch event forThe Guardian’s US edition. “Shortly thereafter,” he says, The Guardian began to discuss hiring him for a daily column.

If we are to believe Treviño – admittedly difficult given his record – The Guardian knew about his vile tweets all along.

Enough. It is time for The Guardian to stop the lies.

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J Street joins the hate bandwagon…
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Teaching young people to hate: the ugly face of J Street’s anti-Palestinian bigotry exposed

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 
&

For years, J Street has posed as the kinder, gentler face of the Israel lobby, the alternative to hardline AIPAC.

Anyone who’s paid close attention knows that has never been the case, and behind the smiling exterior that J Street boss Jeremy Ben-Ami projects are similar hardcore anti-Palestinian views.

And it seems teaching anti-Palestinian bigotry to the young is part of J Street’s mission. Take a piece by Jeremy Zelinger, a J Street Summer 2012 Communications Intern, published on J Street’s website on 14 August which says (emphasis added):

I am not satisfied with a pro-Israel voice that shouts about military threats from Hezbollah but is silent about the demographic threat from a stateless Palestinian population. Just as Israel needs to prepare for war, it must also prepare for peace. A pro-Israel voice should express the importance of both.

This is bigotry and racism of the worst kind. As I’ve said and written many times before, we should have zero tolerance for talk of Palestinians as a “demographic threat” just because (a) they’re born and (b) they’re not Jews.

Widespread “liberal” Zionist bigotry

This bigotry is not restricted to the “right-wing” of Zionism. The Washington Post’s liberal columnist Ruth Marcus recently characterized Palestinians as a “demographic threat” and African refugees and migrants as a “deluge.”

Former State Department diplomat Aaron David Miller (who once described his role during his years of US government service as being “Israel’s attorney”), wrote in a New York Times op-ed about Israel last week that:

The country’s demographics look bad — too many ultra-Orthodox Jews, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs and not enough secular Jews.

What would you call someone who wrote, say, that, ‘Mississippi’s demographics look bad – too many African Americans, poor white people and Latinos and not enough White Evangelical Christians’?

Yousef Munayyer recently took this kind of widespread bigotry to task in a piece in The Daily Beast’s Open Zion:

An ideology that seeks to build a society around a certain type of people defined by ethnicity or religion is inevitably going to feature racism, supremacy and oppression—especially when the vast majority of native inhabitants where such an ideology is implemented are unwelcomed.

But this premise of too many Arabs, too many Palestinians, too many __________ (fill in the blank with people unlike you) is so common in the discourse on the Israeli/Palestinian question today that the racism inherent in it rarely ever questioned.

It’s not enough that Peter Beinart’s Open Zion publishes views by Munayyer. That does not get them off the hook. They ought to do much more, and come out clearly and explicitly against any talk of a “demographic threat.”

Don’t expect that any time soon, however, because the fear of Palestinian babies lies at the core of “liberal” Zionism.

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J STREET REMOVES PEACE FROM ITS AGENDA

 At a time of regional upheaval, J Street could have played a constructive role in reaching out to the region’s new actors, and attempting to bridge the polarization. At least for balance, it might have found the courage to invite representatives of some of those Olmert killed. Instead J Street has given its platform to a man indicted for corruption who exacerbated the conflict and lost the confidence of his electorate. Olmert has not come to J Street to promote the cause of peace. More likely, he has come to whitewash his reputation and airbrush his past. Israel’s public will see through the charade, even if J Street, in a far-off fantasyland, cheers. By honoring Olmert’s words and condoning his actions, J Street risks giving peace, Israel and itself a bad name.
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J Street Stumbles by Inviting Olmert

Pro-Peace Group Errs in Honoring Architect of Two Wars

GETTY IMAGES

By Nicolas Pelham*

J Street’s decision to offer Ehud Olmert the keynote address at the peace lobby’s annual conference indicates a loss of moral compass. When Olmert takes to the podium tonight, delegates will applaud the Israeli prime minister who orchestrated the punishing siege on Gaza, launched two wars, killing 2,500 Lebanese and Palestinians and pulverizing their infrastructure. He was Israel’s only prime minister since Yitzhak Shamir not to withdraw from territory Israel occupied following the 1967 war. Israel’s leading human rights organization, Btselem, a participant in this year’s J Street conference, called the invitation a mistake.

Undeniably, Olmert speaks a more humanitarian language than most Israeli politicians on the right. During his 2006 election campaign for Israeli prime minister, he promised to withdraw from the West Bank, unilaterally if need be, to something akin to the 1967 lines. But he balked. When the moment of reckoning neared, he waged war, first in Lebanon shortly after his election, and then in the winter of 2008 when he invaded Gaza. By his own admission, he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were just then close to agreeing to the small print of a two-state settlement. Olmert had also accepted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s offer to mediate a peace agreement with President Assad and then, once talks had begun, torpedoed them with a Gaza adventure that embroiled Israel in allegations of war crimes. He lambasted Israeli settlers for their attacks against Palestinians, but continued to sponsor and defend their expanding settlements.

It might be that Olmert’s warmongering was unwitting, and that the blood that he has on his hands was forced by so many adverse events on his watch. Both the Lebanon and Gaza wars were retaliation for intense cross border attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas, including thousands of rockets that rained down on southern Israel. But he was leader of the region’s most powerful state, not a mere victim of circumstance. When the moment called for caution and cool appraisal, Olmert showed himself a loose cannon, jeopardizing the lives of Arabs and Jews alike. He seemed forever tugged back by the moorings of his early career when he denounced peace with Egypt and was Jerusalem’s most hard-line mayor to date.

As prime minister, his sugar-coated words stood at odds with his actions. He lambasted Israeli settlers for their attacks against Palestinians, but continued to sponsor and defend their expanding settlements.He endorsed a sovereign Palestine, but when Palestinians elected their own government sought to topple it, first by withholding the Palestinian customs revenues required to run it and then with a punishing siege, which he refused to lift even when Gazans agreed to hold fire. He denied Gaza such basics as fuel and toiletries, and reduced the enclave back to the age of donkey travel. Gaza’s plight triggered an escalation, which spiraled first into Gilad Shalit’s abduction and then full-scale invasion.

By contrast, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has captained a more steady ship. While sparing his public the pipes of peace, he has repaired much of his predecessor’s damage. He has eased, considerably, the siege on Gaza and removed many of the roadblocks and obstacles that Olmert retained across the West Bank. He has brought back Israel’s captured soldier alive, in exchange for a mass Palestinian prisoner release. He even halted the settlement construction Olmert pursued, just for a bit. The military occupation of the West Bank remains with all its associated injustice, but while Olmert rushed to escalate and radicalize, Netanyahu has largely calmed. Contrast Netanyahu’s sanguine and low-key response to the cross-border attack near Eilat last August with Olmert’s ill-judged rush into war following a less violent penetration of its border with Lebanon. Even a government-appointed commission condemned Olmert’s judgment as “misguided and rash.” Olmert insists that that ending the conflict justified his lethal means. Netanyahu has been more circumspect about shedding blood for elusive goals.

At a time of regional upheaval, J Street could have played a constructive role in reaching out to the region’s new actors, and attempting to bridge the polarization. At least for balance, it might have found the courage to invite representatives of some of those Olmert killed. Instead J Street has given its platform to a man indicted for corruption who exacerbated the conflict and lost the confidence of his electorate. Olmert has not come to J Street to promote the cause of peace. More likely, he has come to whitewash his reputation and airbrush his past. Israel’s public will see through the charade, even if J Street, in a far-off fantasyland, cheers. By honoring Olmert’s words and condoning his actions, J Street risks giving peace, Israel and itself a bad name.

*Nicolas Pelham has worked as a journalist and analyst in the Middle East for 20 years. He currently reports for The Economist from Jerusalem.

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 The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website

J STREET’S ‘JEWS ONLY BOYCOTT’

“We want to keep this debate inside the Jewish community. So we won’t participate in a debate with any Palestinians.”

In other words…..

Omar Barghouti: J Street’s Ben Ami has Jews-only policy on BDS debates

By Max Blumenthal

Last night I went to Columbia University to see Omar Barghouti discuss his new book, “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.” For those who don’t know, Barghouti is one of the BDS movement’s most effective strategists and promoters, basing his advocacy on a platform of human rights and international law while explicitly rejecting arcane ideology. His book offers the most in-depth and accessible analysis to date of the movement, its history, and why it is gaining so much momentum. Read an excerpt here.

During his talk, Barghouti mentioned that he had approached J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami about arranging a debate on BDS. The response from Ben-Ami was as follows, according to Barghouti: “We want to keep this debate inside the Jewish community. So we won’t participate in a debate with any Palestinians.”

Barghouti joked, “Why would BDS have anything to do with Palestinians?” He went on to describe Ben-Ami’s policy as racist.

Last December, I debated the issue of BDS against the director of J Street U, Daniel May. My debate partner was Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. Daniel May’s partner was a Jewish student from Princeton also named Daniel May. Everyone involved in the debate was an Ashkenazi Jew, yet we were debating a movement founded and controlled by Palestinian civil society. If I had known at the time that J Street had an alleged policy of refusing to debate with non-Jews, especially Palestinians, I would not have participated at all.

Another person told me about J Street’s “don’t debate Palestinians” policy, but did not authorize me to report it at the time. The source explained that the policy resulted in the Jews-only debate at J Street’s annual policy conference in February, where Rebecca Vilkomerson debated in favor of BDS against opponents Bernard Avishai and Ken Bob of Ameinu.

It is worth noting that after the debate, Bernard Avishai took to his blog to tell a certain member of JVP (he left the person unnamed) that “you remind me, forgive me, of the Tea Party.” Avishai was apparently upset that the JVP member had asked him how he could argue against divesting from multinational companies and Israeli institutions that profit from the occupation while supporting a boycott of the settlements. It is unusual for someone of Avishai’s intellectual caliber to stoop so low to rebut a simple question about tactics. His response makes me wonder if the opponents of BDS, especially those who define themselves as politically liberal, are simply overwhelmed by events in Israel and Palestine.

To J Street’s credit, it is the only major pro-Israel group I know of that will debate BDS at all. None of the other established pro-Israel groups have participated in debates and none seem likely to do so in the near future. Last week, the Columbia University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) responded to a demand by the campus Hillel house for a “dialogue session” by requesting a debate instead. SJP’s leadership told Hillel’s director that he could choose the topic, time and place of the debate. Hillel refused the proposal. Besides international law and human rights, what do they have to be afraid of?

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