JUDAISM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

“Do you think Judaism will ever recover from having been hijacked by Zionism?”

Being Jewish Is Not The Same As Being Zionist!

Long past time to reclaim Judaism from Zionism

“Do you think Judaism will ever recover from having been hijacked by Zionism?” a friend recently asked me.

I have wrestled with a similar question for many years: how can the ethical precepts of Judaism—pursue justice, love your neighbor, love the stranger, repair the world—be reconciled with Zionism? Any Judaism I can believe in is at odds with this nationalist ideology, which claims that only a state controlled by Jews and privileging them over non-Jews can protect them against anti-Semitism and the threat of another Holocaust.

I did not always realize this.  When I was growing up in Tokyo, Japan, in the 1950s, I thought Judaism consisted only of rituals performed with Hebrew prayers and allegiance to the newly established state of Israel. Our small Jewish community, made up mainly of Ashkenazi emigres from Siberia like my father’s family and of Sephardi emigres from Syria and Lebanon, together with Israeli Embassy staff and American businesspeople, did not have a rabbi.

Perhaps that is why, instead of Judaism’s key ethical tenets, our Sunday School class was taught the story of Israel’s heroic founding, as recounted in Leon Uris’s novel “Exodus.”  No wonder I confused Zionism with Judaism, mistaking a political ideology of Jewish nationalism born in the late nineteenth century for an ancient religion rooted in the Torah and the Talmud.

The cover of Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation

Not until Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon did I begin to question my idealized image of Israel and, ultimately, the premise of Zionism.  Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Beirut, shelling of hospitals, and collusion with Lebanese Phalangist militias in massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps shook me to the core.

Struggling to digest these atrocities, I went to a teach-in. The main speaker contrasted Israel’s boasts of “making the desert bloom” with its destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes and olive trees. My stomach in knots, I recoiled from her message.

Only when I learned that she was not Palestinian but an Israeli Jewish human rights lawyer could I let her words penetrate my consciousness.

Back then, disputing Zionism felt very scary. It certainly isolated me from friends and family. I did not know that at the start of the Zionist movement, most Jews worldwide had opposed it. Even throughout World War II, Jewish opponents of Zionism continued to hold up an alternative vision for Palestine of a secular democratic state in which all citizens would enjoy equal rights. In 1947, they demanded freedom for the region’s “entire population” and a guarantee of “the national rights of both communities,” Jewish and Arab.

Although by 1948 the Holocaust convinced a majority that a Jewish state offered the best protection for Jews, Israel’s decades of ethnic cleansing and unending warfare—and Palestinians’ tenacious resistance—have since led me to understand that a Jewish state was a false solution to the quest for safety.

Over the years, I met more and more Jews who were questioning Zionist ideology. In 2016, the idea occurred to me of collecting their stories so others contending with the same doubts could know they were not alone. I designed the collection as a vehicle for initiating difficult conversations within Jewish families and communities, through stories with which readers could identify.

I began with a handful of acquaintances. Then I solicited narratives from people who told personal stories at public events, or wrote insightful op-eds, articles, or letters to the editor. I found more contributors when those I recruited spread the word through their networks.

To ensure that the collection reflected diverse backgrounds and perspectives, I made special efforts to seek out Sephardi/Mizrahi as well as Ashkenazi Jewish contributors. And in view of the leading role that college-age Jews are playing in the Palestine solidarity movement, I worked hard to enlist them. I ended up with forty fresh and deeply personal accounts.  This year, the book came to fruition, under the title Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation.

The collection defies the stereotype of Jews who reject Zionism as “self-hating.”  On the contrary, it reveals that many remain religious and observant, while others take pride in a secular Jewish identity intertwined with their progressive ideals. The authors include rabbis, historians of Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, other academics, lawyers, social workers, journalists and media professionals, activists, and recent graduates. Whether religious or secular, they have come to see Zionism as violating Judaism’s most sacred ethical principles.

The Torah commands Jews: “The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev. 19:34).   Zionist ideology instead teaches Jews to treat Palestinians as strangers in their own land, enemies who must be expelled.

It is long past time to reclaim Judaism from Zionism, long past time for all who value the ethics of Judaism—or of simple humanity—to repudiate any ideology that denies Palestinians equality, freedom, and dignity.

THE LORD HIMSELF IN DEFENSE OF ZIONISM

My favorite rabbi and Lord (NOT) once again reaches at straws to defend the undefendable.

The problem for Sacks is that his attempt at historical inversion ignores Zionism’s founding fathers. The early Zionist leaders knew their project was a colonial enterprise and knew they needed the support of imperial powers to achieve their aims.

Jonathan Sacks dumbs down Jewish history in order to defend Zionism

To remind you, Sacks is the ultimate Jewish establishment figure. He was Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth from 1991-2013; he was made a member of the British House of Lords in 2009; he’s the author of more than 25 books on Judaism such as To Heal a Fractured WorldThe Dignity of Difference, and Not in God’s Name. He’s also written a multi-volume Torah commentary and edited prayer books. Sacks is highly-respected within the Jewish world and well beyond it. When he talks, people of all faiths, and none, stop and listen.

I’ve read much of his work over the years, but over time I’ve become increasingly disenchanted. In the abstract, Sacks is a great moral educator who can draw on Jewish scripture to make universal observations about justice, kindness, compassion, tolerance and political leadership. But when it comes to the greatest moral issue facing Jews and Judaism today, Israel and the Palestinians, he offers nothing but dumbed-down history and a version of Judaism that sells it short and denies another people their heritage and story.

All of this is on show in the Rabbi’s latest video. It’s one of several he’s made and they’re all designed to reach a broader audience than his books. I dealt with his animated distortions and untruths about BDS in an earlier post.

This new video is more significant. It’s an attempt to make any critical debate about Zionism impossible.

Sacks’ international standing means even his cartoon capers will be taken seriously no matter how dumbed-down and prejudiced is his presentation of Judaism and Jewish history.

A Closed Debate

Notice in Sacks’ opening narration that his question is not “Is Anti-Zionism the new antisemitism?” but “How is anti-Zionism the new antisemitism?”.

The starting point is the assertion that anti-Zionism can be nothing other than antisemitism. Counter to the tradition that two Jews will always produce three opinions, Sacks makes clear that this particular subject is not open to the usual rabbinical rigour applied to the interpretation of matters of Jewish law or indeed any other subject of Jewish interest. When it comes to Zionism, only one interpretation is kosher.

Remember, Sacks doesn’t make these videos for a Jewish religious audience. He makes them for the secular world of politics in which he knows that Zionism is becoming a highly contested ideology because of its consequences for the Palestinian people.

Here’s an extract from the video which anyone who follows Sacks’ writing in recent years and his theory of “mutating antisemitism” will be familiar with:

In the Middle Ages Jews were hated for their religion. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century they were hated for their race. Today they are hated for their nation state, Israel.

It’s a tidy summation, easy on the ear and the brain. It uses the truth of antisemitism down through the centuries to set up a lie about Zionism.

The underlying assumption is that the creation of the Jewish State of Israel was an innocent, noble endeavour and certainly without victims. Therefore, the only possible explanation of the new “hate” is that it’s driven by age-old antisemitism.

Aside from being unbelievably simplistic and devoid of context, Sacks pretends to be talking history and religion while in fact he’s being deeply political. Imagine you are a Palestinian watching this video. Or maybe you are a Palestinian and have unfortunately stumbled across it. According to Sacks’ rhetorical construction of events, despite your home being destroyed, your farmland confiscated and your family sent into exile, the only possible reason for your objection to Zionism must be antisemitism.

Sacks needs to be told that he cannot make statements about Zionism without first thinking how they would sound to Palestinian ears. The ideology that Sacks defends has impacted the lives of every Palestinian alive today. Zionism is part of their history too.

Unbroken Connections

Sacks sketches out his dumb-down Jewish history emphasising the 3,000 year unbroken connection between Jews and the Biblical Land of Israel. I have no wish to deny this connection. But this telling of our story wipes out millennia-long connections to places elsewhere in the word, places which have shaped Judaism, as we recognise it today, just as much as Ancient Israel.

Our Jewish ‘exile’ has not been an historical aberration. Our wanderings have not been an unfortunate detour from our true destination. We are the product of a scattered existence of which there is nothing to be ashamed of and much to celebrate.

The construction of the Talmud, the wisdom of Midrash, the philosophy of Maimonides, the Hasidic masters, the Jewish Enlightenment, the paintings of Chagall, the stories of Bernard Malamud, the plays of Arthur Miller, the music of Bernstein and Gershwin, the songs of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan – these are the products of Jewish experience too and they happened well beyond the Land of Israel. Frankly, this inheritance is more recognisable to me as ‘Jewish’ than the modern State of Israel, built as it is on an unhappy cocktail of secular nationalist identity and extreme religious orthodoxy that could only be achieved through the displacement of another people.

If Zionist thinking has always been such a central tenet of Jewish life, why was it such a contentious idea among Jews for the first 50 years of its existence? But this has been erased from the whiteboard of Jewish history. Apparently, we’ve all been Zionists for 3,000 years.

Strangers

But it’s not just my history that Sacks ignores.

Jews are the only people who ever created a nation state there. At all other times in the past 3,000 years it was merely an administrative district in an empire whose centre was elsewhere: the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Alexandrian, Roman and Byzantine empires, the Crusaders of the Holy Roman Empire, the various Muslim empires such as the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Mamluks and Ottomans, and finally the British.

Never mind the empires whose centres were “elsewhere.” Why is it of no relevance who was actually living on the land, apart from the minority Jewish population? Why does Sacks make these people invisible in his narrative?

Sacks talks of Jews as:

the only people who have maintained a continuous presence in the land. They are its indigenous, original inhabitants.

So how long does anybody else have to be around before they stop being squatters, interlopers and off-comers? Five hundred years? A thousand? Two thousand? When can anyone else claim a “continuous presence”? The chances are that today’s Palestinians carry the same amount of first century Jewish DNA as I do. Perhaps more.

Historical Revisionism

Then comes another shameless piece of historical revisionism.

The November 1947 United Nations vote to bring Israel into existence was a momentous reversal of imperialism. It gave back to the Jewish people the home taken from them by empire after empire.

The problem for Sacks is that his attempt at historical inversion ignores Zionism’s founding fathers. The early Zionist leaders knew their project was a colonial enterprise and knew they needed the support of imperial powers to achieve their aims. Herzl and Weizmann both imagined the Jewish State as a Western Imperial outpost – good for Jews, good for the ‘inferior natives’ they would displace, and good for their imperial sponsors. The idea that it was a “reversal of imperialism” is absurd, especially from a public intellectual like Sacks.

613 Commandments

Sacks seems remarkably relaxed about cancelling out the contribution of his own rabbinic ancestors. He reminds us that many of the 613 commandments identified in the Torah relate only to living in the Promised Land. He fails to mention that the majority of those commandments refer to Temple practice including animal sacrifice.

The genius of rabbinic Judaism was not only to make Jewish observance ‘portable’ but also to move it forward in its theological understanding. For most of our history, possession of the Land has not been necessary for the maintenance and development of Judaism. Leaving the land made Judaism better not worse.

Cognitive Dissonance

It’s when Sacks brings his just and compassionate telling of Jewish theology into the whiteboard frame that I’m most struck by the scale of the cognitive dissonance that must be at work in the Rabbi’s head.

Read the Hebrew Bible and you’ll see immediately that it isn’t about the salvation of the soul. It’s about creating in the holy land a society based on the biblical ideas of justice, welfare, the sanctity of life – and caring for the stranger “because you know what it feels like to be a stranger.”

This is my idea of Judaism too. Except, the story of the Jewish people has been the story of applying these values to every country in which we found ourselves. Judaism became our home and we carried it with us.

If Sacks believes what he’s saying about the grand project of Jewish life in the Holy Land, then where is his criticism of the modern State of Israel?

At best, I would expect Sacks to see the Palestinians as the “stranger” of Jewish theology. For any Palestinian, calling them strangers in their own land is deeply insulting as well as historical nonsense, but let’s put that to one side for the moment. How is stealing land and water; destroying homes; imprisonment without charge; snipers at the Gaza fence, “caring for the stranger”? Why does Sacks have no Torah commentary on any of this?

A Political Agenda

I have no problem with using Jewish myths to explain and illustrate our  religious understanding and to shape our ethical outlook. But that’s not how Sacks uses religious mythology. Sacks is applying Jewish myth, scripture, and ancient history to a highly political Jewish agenda that’s become enthralled to secular ideas of power. Calling anti-Zionism antisemitism is not a lesson in Jewish history, it’s an exercise in the delegitimisation of another people’s historic experience. In using his global reputation as a moral leader to defend Zionism, Sacks ends up not defending Judaism but undermining it.

We don’t need dumbed-down Jewish Studies or a whiteboard whitewash of Zionism to resolve the  greatest moral challenge facing Jews and Judaism. Zionism cannot be a ‘no-go area’ for debate in either religious or academic discussion. The sooner that admirers of Jonathan Sacks (both Jewish and non-Jewish) grasp this, the sooner we can progress toward a version of Judaism that takes seriously the meaning of justice, welfare and the sanctity of life.

More photos at Source

WHEN A DUTY IS NOT A CRIME

Images by Latuff

 

There are consequences if the duty is a challenge to zion …

Another victim of the Israel Lobby: Academic and activist Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN after making statements in support of Palestinian liberation at the UN.

PRINCIPLED ANTI ZIONISM ~~ A GUIDE

What does principled anti-Zionism look like?  And what might it accomplish?

At its best, a principled anti-Zionism understands that freedom isn’t merely an optimal byproduct of struggle, but its only acceptable outcome.

A guide to principled anti-Zionism

An optimal anti-Zionism supersedes Palestine’s geography.  It likewise transcends ethnocentric interests. Anti-Zionism is a politics and a discourse, sometimes a vocation, but at its best it is also a sensibility, one attuned to disorder and upheaval.  It is a commitment to unimaginable possibilities—that is, to realizing what arbiters of common sense like to call “impossible.”

What, then, does a principled anti-Zionism look like?  And what might it accomplish? Here are some suggestions:

  • It is internationalist in the classic Marxist sense of the term; as such, it informs and absorbs liberation movements around the world.
  • It is anti-capitalist because Palestine will be free only when nobody within its borders is exploited.  (You can agitate for something less perfect, yes, but the language should reflect the limitations of that approach.)
  • It recognizes that mass extinction is earth’s immediate forecast.  Israel has destroyed Palestine’s environment with an array of bulldozers, munitions, and chemical weapons, along with overdevelopment to accommodate settlers.  It is, in short, an ecological catastrophe requiring what Anthony Galluzzo terms a “decelerationist socialism” to avert or at least mitigate our “literal gothic nightmare.”
  • It moves beyond opposition to military occupation.  Decolonization is key. The difference may appear semantic, but it’s actually significant.  In addition to disrupting the colonizer’s physical and political control, decolonization aims to abolish the settler’s psychic influence.
  • It is feminist in both theory and practice.  There’s no pre-patriarchal history in Palestine to satisfy our nostalgia, but this shouldn’t prevent us from pursuing a post-patriarchal future.  It’s critical to decouple visions of this pursuit from Western orthodoxies around sex and gender.
  • It opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.  This principle on its own decisively rebukes Zionism.
  • It is anti-imperialist.  While anti-Zionism and anti-imperialism are coterminous, some elements of the pro-Palestine crowd yearn for a world the USA can dominate without Israeli interference.  Other elements of the crowd have a bad habit of supporting US interventions that either benefit or directly involve Israel (as in Syria). Imperialism executes colonial fantasies of redemption; it has no place in any serious political community.
  • It doesn’t reduce Palestine to a branding device that can be invoked or ignored depending on the mood of editors and prize committees, or an instrument of celebrity to be calibrated according to market fluctuations in the pundit economy.
  • It doesn’t give progressive politicians a pass when they suck up to the Israel lobby.

These suggestions, I realize, risk transforming Palestine into a utopian tableau, perhaps a search for some kind of “Palestinian Wakanda,” as a prominent activist put it at a recent event I attended.  There’s much to be said about the benefits that would come from basic freedoms (travel, medical care, civil rights, housing, and so forth). I see no appreciable conflict between efforts at short-term relief and long-term emancipation.  Upholding principles that maintain the dignity of struggle foregrounds an effective material politics. We oughtn’t surrender notions of possibility to people who adore a stunted imagination.

Moreover, the suggestions don’t simply appeal to Palestine solidarity activists; they also demand that progressive formations take up anti-Zionism.  We’re well past the point where it’s acceptable to dispose of Palestine as a matter of choice or necessity. There’s significant opposition to Israeli brutality on the US left, but hardly any consequence in electoral culture for cosigning or ignoring that brutality.

Done without care, opposition to Israeli brutality can reify other forms of oppression, or it can conceptualize Israel as an aberration from honorable American values.  Israel doesn’t corrupt the United States—nor does the United States corrupt Israel. Both states originated through corruption—as paragons of foreign settlement, land theft, environmental degradation, racial inequality, and labor exploitation—a condition they mutually reproduce within and beyond their borders.  Israel doesn’t distract the United States from its otherwise noble mission in the world; it helps the United States manage a world order beneficial to its ruling class.

Disrupting those benefits is easier than it might seem.  We shouldn’t voluntarily concede to the oppressor, first of all.  The needs of power aren’t our guidepost for liberation; our notions of justice aren’t derivative of colonial logic.  At its best, a principled anti-Zionism understands that freedom isn’t merely an optimal byproduct of struggle, but its only acceptable outcome.

ZIONISM DECLARED NOT KOSHER

Badatz to winery: ‘Remove Zionist label’

Beit Din Tzedek, or Badatz, the ultra-Orthodox body that grants kosher certificates and serves the Haredi community, told Psagot Winery to remove its kosher certificate from its labels celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary. As the wine labels, which featured a big number ’70’ had already been printed, the winery complied by covering up Badatz’s kosher seal with a sticker.

I spoke to one of the owners of the winery in question …. here is what he said;

“Good for sales — people have seen that article and because of it want to buy full cases of wine! 🙂 “

Here is a picture of the bottle of wine causing the friction..

either Eida or Israel, but not both on your wine

The latest kashrut brouhaha with the Eida Hachareidis is a report on Channel 11 News (Kan) is regarding a winery that put out a line of wine marketed with the celebratory symbols for Israel’s 70th birthday.  The Eida has told Psagot Winery that they must either cover up the Zionist symbols on the labels of the bottles, or must cover up the Eida hechsher.
*
What a conflict! They want to market to a community that will only rely on the Eida hechsher and not any of the other hechshers available, but they also want to market their wine to people who will buy it as part of a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday! And the Eida will only allow it to be one or the other, not both.
It is also possible that the Eida was simply embarrassed to have its logo on a bottle for a company that could not even spell the worth “birthday” correctly for a major marketing campaign taking advantage of Israel’s 70th birthday!

The Eida always claims that the kashrut division is independent of the rest of the activities of the Eida and is “kashrus neto” with no involvement in the anti-State activities of the Eida. An incident like this shows that this is not true – they are giving an ultimatum that it is either a symbol of the State of Israel or it is the logo of the Eida, but the two cannot reside on the same bottle side by side.

Being that this is purely a marketing issue, companies feel that having the Eida hechsher will bring them a lot more business, people need to make it known to the companies that the Eida hechsher will expose them to an entirely new market, but it will close them off from other markets.. If the Eida says it can only be one or the other, who can blame them for choosing Eida if there are no ramifications?

FROM

‘LIBERAL’ ZIONISM IN DEFENSE OF APARTHEID

I have always maintained that there is no such thing as a ‘liberal zionist’ …. Here’s proof of that.

But the truth is, the Nation State bill is not overturning the applecart. In fact, it’s reaffirming some of the key ideas that always lay at the heart of the Zionist project, bringing about the correct balance of “Jewish” and “democratic” that has always been the secret sauce that makes Israel work.

Watch this short video prepared by Rabbi Brant Rosen

On the Fallacy of “Liberal Zionism”

Everything You’ve Heard About Israel’s Nation State Bill Is Wrong

Israel’s new Nation State Law, which passed last week with the aim of affirming the country’s Jewish character, has come under considerable fire.

The new legislation is made up of mostly symbolic declarations that reaffirm the symbolism, calendar, and meaning of the “Jewish State.”

And it took about eleven seconds before critics went ballistic.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of Knesset and the former aide to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, declared “with shock and sorrow the death of democracy.” He was joined in his condemnation by other opposition members who shouted “Apartheid!” as they tore up the law defiantly. The chief legal counsel of ACRI, the Israeli equivalent of the ACLU, agreed. “This is a racist law,” he pronounced.

Nor was the umbrage limited to Israeli activists. The New York Times published no fewer than four different pieces, each more critical than the last.

While the Times stopped short of calling the bill racist, one of its pieces opened with an outright falsity, claiming that the law declared that “only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country”— when in fact the law explicitly says “national self-determination,” something entirely different from individual freedoms (more on that later).

In its main coverage of the new legislation, New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief David Halbfinger gestured towards a different, widespread criticism of the bill, casting the bill as just another step in Israel’s inexorable march into darkness.

“Wrapping up its business before a long summer recess, the right-wing, religious coalition that rules Israel’s Parliament moved aggressively this week to push through its polarizing agenda, piling up points at the expense of its already weakened foes,” he wrote.

But the truth is, the Nation State bill is not overturning the applecart. In fact, it’s reaffirming some of the key ideas that always lay at the heart of the Zionist project, bringing about the correct balance of “Jewish” and “democratic” that has always been the secret sauce that makes Israel work.

And a closer look at the criticism the bill has engendered will reveal it to be nothing more than prefabricated outrage from Israeli opposition parties, American Jewish liberals, and the usual chorus of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites.

To be sure, each of these groups have different core interests and each believes different things. But all have become totally reflexive in their rejection of anything coming out of the current government. It is, in fact, hard to imagine that in the current political climate, there could have been any version of the Nation State bill coming from this government that would not have set off alarms.

Before diving in, a note about who this article is for, and who it’s not for. If you have been vociferously denouncing the law but have not read it yet (it’s a quick read); if you believe it doesn’t matter what’s in the law because its passage by a Right-Wing Israeli Government qualifies it for your fury; if you are receiving a salary or other compensation to criticize Israel; or if you simply despise Israel—this piece is not for you.

But if you’re a fair-minded person who’s troubled by the noise surrounding the law, or if you’ve read it but don’t understand why it needed to be passed, I have a lot to tell you.

o, what’s actually in the law? When you look more closely, it’s really not very controversial — or at least, it shouldn’t be.

Most mundanely, it ratifies the Hebrew calendar as the official holiday schedule of the State of Israel and it establishes Independence Day, Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day as holidays, too. It also reaffirms Israel’s special connection to diaspora Jewry. None of this is new.

Among its more talked-about provisions, however, was the clause about the Hebrew language, which for the first time was made into Israel’s sole official language, a status it has shared with Arabic up til now.

Critics have said that in the new bill, Arabic has been “demoted.” And at a highly abstract level, they are right.

And yet, the law is careful to clarify that the Arabic language will not only be granted “special status,” but also that “this clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.”

Now, the primacy of Hebrew in the Jewish State is an obvious matter, and has been since Israel’s inception. It is the language of public discourse, of Knesset deliberations (including speeches of Arab members of Knesset), of the nightly news, of the culture, of the courts, of university classes, and of the laws themselves. Ratifying this is something quite ordinary, which democratic countries like Spain and France have done long ago.

Furthermore, the clarifying clause makes it impossible for the demotion of Arabic to be anything other than symbolic. To turn this into “the end of democracy” is nonsense.

Similarly offensive to critics was the clause according to which “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

This, too, is almost synonymous with the very idea of a Jewish state. What could a right of “national” self-determination to non-Jewish communities inside Israel possibly mean other than ending the Jewish state as such?

More to the point, what democratic country on earth offers national self-determination to twenty percent of its citizens? With few and minor exceptions, the U.S. gives no minorities any such right. In Israel, such a right is something the Jewish majority has never granted and never promised, and never could have or should have, since day one.

This clause is not a violation of democratic principle, much less “racist” or “Apartheid,” so long as individual rights continue to be guaranteed. And they are, through the other Basic Laws that make up Israel’s constitutional reality.

Similarly baffling were objections to the law’s determination that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.” No doubt, in the context of today’s politics, anything about Jerusalem smells like jumping on the Trump-Bibi bandwagon.

Yet there is nothing at all new in it. The hope that some may have of internationalizing the Western Wall or dismantling the sprawling urban neighborhoods of Gilo and Pisgat Ze’ev has never been more than a fantasy.

At the same time—and this is crucial—the law does not define Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, thereby leaving fully open the possibility that, when the geopolitical time is right, major Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem like Isawiyyeh, Silwan, or Jabel Mukkaber could become part of a future Palestinian State by simply redefining the city’s map.

What many in the West fail to understand is the role that Jerusalem has played in Israel’s self-definition since well before the Six Day War that led to the city’s unification under Israeli rule. There’s a reason why the IDF risked a lot to take the strategically unimportant eastern Jerusalem in 1967, and why Jerusalem, but not the West Bank, was effectively annexed in 1980.

Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold”—one of the most iconic songs in Israeli history—became popular before the city was reunified. Regardless of international recognition, and in the face of global disregard, Israel declared Jerusalem its capital within two years of its independence, and has insisted on it ever since.

Finally, critics were angered by the bill’s declaration that “Jewish settlement” be “a national value” that the state will continue to promote.

Once again, distilling reality from projected fear is crucial here. The word being translated as “settlement” is hityashvut, which to any Israeli ear refers more to the Galilee and the Negev and the history of building new Jewish communities a century ago across the country than it does to the West Bank.

Yes, it is true that a major coalition partner, The Jewish Home, would love to claim a victory for the settlers of Judea and Samaria; that’s politics. But it’s the courts, not the politicians, who will interpret the law; and there is nothing in the phrasing that even hints at the West Bank; historically charged terms such as “in the Land of Israel” are nowhere to be found.

Again, you can decide that Jews should never have been encouraged to settle in their historic homeland, and the idea of a place on earth that continues to encourage it—even offering them citizenship and financial benefits for doing so—is something you can’t live with.

But then you really shouldn’t call yourself a Zionist, or even a supporter of Israel, in any meaningful sense. Building a Jewish homeland—through sovereignty, through culture, and through settlement—has always been the core purpose of the country. Should it really not appear in its Basic Laws?

Nor does anything in the law make Israel unusual for a European-style democracy. France, a country that granted equal rights to all a century before America freed its slaves, nonetheless has a single national language. The United Kingdom has an established church, as well as a hereditary monarchy. Germany will put you in prison if you deny the Holocaust.

Limits on pristine and abstract rights, especially the right to feel equally central to the narrative of the democracy in which you live, are acceptable because they are limited, and because people are complicated and human, with a real history that inevitably influences the core principles of their social contract.

Even democracies have a right to enshrine in law the things that make them unique.

To suggest that Israel alone shouldn’t be allowed to is self-evidently absurd, and smells a lot more like political noise-making than honest criticism.

It’s true that Israel’s Nation State law was passed by a right-leaning national government. But a much more meaningful way to look at it is in its historical and constitutional context.

This law has been in the works at least since the early 2000s, a time when two major forces arose that threatened the Zionist project as it was historically understood. The first was the rise of “post-Zionism,” a small but passionate intellectual-political movement that explicitly repudiated the idea of a “Jewish state” and sought to transform the country into a “state of all its citizens” by stripping it of any connection to Jewish history, peoplehood, or symbolism.

The second, more important factor was the “constitutional revolution” led by then-Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, which recognized earlier Basic Laws as having constitutional status, and which culminated in the passing of two new Basic Laws (Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty, and Basic Law: Freedom of Employment) that established the core rights of Israeli citizens, Jewish or not.

These basic laws were not at all a bad thing. The fact is, Israel is both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, and basic freedoms must be protected for all.

But defenders of Zionism correctly noted that such laws would have to be balanced with similar protections of Israel’s flag and anthem and the original vision of the country as not just a refuge for oppressed Jews but also as the embodiment of the aspirations of the Jewish people.

Much of what we see in the law is the direct result of the big debates that happened back then—debates I was directly involved in.

The bottom line is that Israel is the Jewish State, and this law tells us what that means, just as other Basic Laws tell us what goes into its democratic foundations.

You can freely dislike the idea of an ethnically or historically based democracy for a specific people. But know that it’s not fascism, it’s not the rise of ethno-national-populist-alt-right-MAGA-Bannonism. That’s just a category error—one that a lot of people really want you to make right now.

Israel’s Nation state bill reflects rather, the constitutional reality of nearly every European democracy, and European democracy has always been a little different from American democracy.

If you have any interest in understanding what’s really a fascinating and historic development in a country far away, the one I actually live in, tune out the noise.

WAS THE FATHER OF ZIONISM AN ANTI SEMITE?

Jewish History professor addresses Zionist visionary and accusations that Theodor Herzl made anti-Semitic statements.

Herzl – Anti-Semite?

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. Many events have been held to commemorate and discuss the legacy of the congress, which was held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897.

In recent decades there have been a number of attempts to undermine the legacy of Theodor Herzl, who led the congress and is considered the grandfather of the Zionist movement. Some have gone as far as to accuse Herzl of anti-Semitism.

Arutz Sheva discussed these accusations against Herzl with Dr. Udi Manor of the Department of Jewish Heritage at Ariel University, an expert on Israeli history, Zionism and politics.

Dr. Manor was asked at the beginning of the discussion whether there is any truth to the assertion that without Herzl none of the great events which befell the Jewish people would have happened, including the establishment of a Jewish state. “”On the one hand there is an accepted saying among historians: ‘don’t ask ‘what if?” The fact is that Herzl existed, and our work is to examine what he did. On the other hand, we try to ask ‘what was’ in order to filter out [nonessential information] and to understand a thing’s uniqueness.”

“Herzl wrote a lot, and he did not think that he had done everything. It is hard to know if all this would not have happened without him, but everything that happened in the first half of the twentieth century made a tremendous contribution to the establishment of the State of Israel,” Dr. Manor said. He emphasized that “without the actions of the Zionists who came and established settlements with blood and sweat this would not have happened.”

When asked to summarize summarize Herzl’s work, Dr. Manor said that his contribution was decisive in establishing the politicization and democratization of Zionism. This was done through the establishment and very existence of the Congress, which became a focal point where Jews could concentrate their efforts in the directions they saw fit. This direction was the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel in accordance to international law. This is what the Jews did at the congress, and, he said, it was done in a very democratic manner.

In his opinion, it was not the Dreyfus Affair which led Herzl to Zionism, even though he himself wrote it was. “This is a big question that I could not find a convincing answer to – what caused Herzl to choose this path and dedicate the last nine years of his life to Zionism? What made him a Zionist?”

“He writes in 1899 that it was the Dreyfus trial that motivated him, but it was a bluff intended to enlist the support of American Jews at a time when everyone knew about the Dreyfus Affair. After that, he hardly ever wrote about it. As a student in Vienna, he understood the anti-Semitic threat to society in Europe, and not only to Jewish society.

And what about the rise of nationalism and national consciousness which had occurred at that time, Dr. Manor was asked. Did that contribute to Herzl’s actions in the area of Jewish nationalism? According to Dr. Manor, the answer is definitely ‘yes.’

“The issue of national consciousness throughout Europe certainly influenced him, but it should be said that, contrary to the words of [certain] Israeli intellectuals, Zionism did not invent the Jewish people. There was a national consciousness long before that. The roots of early Jewishness are not in the 19th century. It was organized then, but it existed way before that.

Dr. Manor was presumably referring to radical Israeli intellectual Shlomo Sand, who has accused the Zionist movement of ‘inventing’ the Jewish people whereas before that, Judaism had only been a religion.

On the atmosphere and reality that enabled Herzl’s activities, Dr. Manor said that Herzl could only have acted and established the congress because he belonged to the minority of Jews who had civil rights. “Most of the world’s Jews had no rights. Jews in Russia had no civil rights. Nor did the Jews of Morocco or the Middle East. The only ones [in those regions] who had civil rights were about ten thousand Algerian Jews who became citizens of France.”

“The creation of a congress can only be carried out by someone who has citizenship and enjoys civil rights. Herzl’s book was translated into 15 languages ​​and became the talk of the day. Herzl used his civil rights to create a political instrument that would serve the Jews to establish a state which would grant them civil rights in the future.

In contrast to other historians, Dr. Manor does not belittle Herzl’s meeting with the Kaiser, which he believes is the most dramatic event in establishing international political recognition for the Jewish people and its needs. He compared it to an ordinary US citizen meeting the president in the White House.

Today, we are in a country whose prime minister is invited to every place in the world and continues Herzl’s endeavor to achieve recognition for the Jewish State. But 120 years ago, the important factors in the Jewish people, including the Rothschild family, were hostile to the Zionist enterprise. Everyone appreciated the Rothschild family and saw them as leaders of the Jewish people, and suddenly a journalist comes along who produced a revolution on this issue. In his eyes, it was the public, not the leaders of that time, whom he had to convince.

“More and more Jews were convinced, and after eight or nine years he was gaining esteem in European politics. He was meeting the emperor, and holding meetings with the most significant world leaders. The importance of such meetings cannot be underestimated.”

Dr. Manor was also asked about a number of statements written by Herzl which have been accused of being anti-Semitic in nature, including a statement in which Herzl said that that “the priests of the Christians are at the top of the scale and the simple Christians are better than the Jews.”

Elsewhere, Herzl seems to claim that the Jews rule the world, provoke nations, and that it is on their orders that governments make peace. Some statements seem as if they were ripped from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ the notorious anti-Semitic forgery which claims to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. In other statements Herzl seems to praise honest anti-Semites and favor mass conversion of Jews to Christianity.

In order to properly understand those statements, Dr. Manor said that it is important to understand the context in which they were said or written. “It is necessary to understand who is meant by what can be defined as auto-anti-Semitism. The question of the context is the true complexity of a historian’s work. People say a lot of things which have to be left in context.”

“It is true that Herzl had a very creative mind, and in the early stages of his life he thought of being a playwright. I one of his diary writings he dealt with the type of uniform that the members of the orchestra would wear on a ship leaving Europe and other anecdotes which are perhaps nonsense.

“Herzl’s criticism of Jews is not about the Jews themselves, but rather about the group which he called until he died the ‘protest rabbis.’ Local rabbis, a coalition of Orthodox and Reform, opposed him when he wanted to hold a congress in Munich. They believed that a Jew was first and foremost a German. Suddenly, a Jew from the German culture comes and wants to define the Jews as a national group and not only as a religious group, and writes one of the most difficult to read articles with a headline that was an [anti-Semitic] title hurled at Jews by their enemies.

“His thesis is that a Jew living in a reality of emancipation can assimilate if he wants to, and that the community cannot do anything to stop him. Many Jews had erased their identity, the most famous of whom is the family of [Karl] Marx. Herzl understood this, and stated that when there is liberalism, a person has the right to choose his future.

According to Manor, in this reality in which there is a fear of assimilation, Herzl sought to offer Jewish nationalism as another solution for those who did not want to or could not assimilate, and as he ironically put it, “to establish a state in which Jews can proudly turn around with their crooked nose.” Manor is convinced that such a statement reveals the tone in which it is said, a tone of absurdity that uses what Jews were accused of as a tool for the Jewish reaction, a form of Jewish humor.

As for the proposal to convert to Christianity, Dr. Manor believes that if the words are read in their full context, it is clear that Herzl took the words of the opponents of the Jewish state and showed them where their position would lead, and was not advocating mass conversions.

“The extreme solution is absurd, and therefore I direct you to my solution, even if it is currently hard to imagine the existence of a Jewish state with urban settlements and roads,” Dr. Manor explained.

“The right thing to do with Herzl is not to look for embarrassing quotes, although that is permissible, but instead to take his two most important books, ‘The Jewish State’ and ‘Altneuland,’ and see in them a sincere response to Herzl’s conception. In ‘The Jewish State’, he explains the problem of Jews who do not want to assimilate or be German or American members of the Mosaic religion, and in ‘Altneuland,’ e describes the establishment of the Jewish state, which would be established with accelerated technological development, and would be a place of private initiative without trampling on social values.”

Dr. Manor ends with the quote he considers to be Herzl’s most important: “Zionism is first and foremost a return to Judaism.” He said that this quote shows that Herzl did not see any disconnect between his vision and Judaism.

 

Source

ZIONIST OCCUPATION TAKES ITS TOLLS

When  an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 

voltaire-zion

Zionist Occupation and Expulsion Take Their Tolls!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, translated by Milena Rampoldi,  edited by author William Hanna
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Netanyahu and his regime reacted with customary “outrage” to the attack in Jerusalem where Netanyahu with immediate instinctiveness appeared centre stage to invent a connection between the Islamic State and the Palestinian perpetrator, Fadi al Hanbar, a 28-year-old father from Dschaba, an illegally occupied part of East Jerusalem. It is absolutely mysterious how Netanyahu arrived at this conclusion without any apparent evidence: especially since the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not due to the Islamic State, but to the decades-long illegal occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of Palestinians.
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Was this young Palestinian “attacker” not himself a victim? He had been just released from an Israeli prison, where – of course – he was detained as a “terrorist suspect” rather than a brave “resistance fighter” as was the case for those Europeans who during the Second World War fought against Nazi occupations. Currently more than 6,000 Palestinians are detained indefinitely and without trial in Israeli prisons under Administrative Detention Orders. Almost all Palestinian families at one time or another had family members who were detained or are still being detained without knowing when or if they will ever be released. Men and women, old and young, are brutally tortured and kept in unacceptable, inhumane conditions that contravene the Geneva Convention. The Apartheid regime illegally occupying Palestine does not hesitate to use its infamous secret services Shin Bet and Mossad – along with their renowned superpower ally – perpetrate murderous crimes on a global scale. Extra-judicial executions by the “Jewish Defence Forces”; barbaric attacks by illegal Jewish settlers; and targeted killings by Mossad are carried out with impunity everywhere because the “Jewish State” has granted itself the licence to kill.
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Should there be astonishment at such attacks and explicitly against soldiers who were ironically on a bus tour through Jerusalem. Furthermore, these officer cadets have been trained to go to places where they are particularly needed, and where they have to execute reprisals and operations against Palestinians. In the occupied East Jerusalem the atmosphere is tense with Palestinians fearing that after January 20 – when Trump is inaugurated as U.S. President – matters will only get worse. Will Trump for example make good on his statement that under his presidency – with help of David Friedman, the orthodox Jew, right-wing settlement supporter, and the future U.S. ambassador to the “Jewish State” – the U.S. embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem thereby violating international law? This would be a provocation of the worst kind, cemented by the illegitimate claim of Jewish Zionist-fascist hardliners and their illusion of an “eternal and undivided Jerusalem” as capital of the “Jewish State”.  
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How can the Palestinians be blamed? They have for decades been forced to live under brutal conditions and are now faced with the threat of extremist Jews with Netanyahu regime support of having a new Jewish Temple built on Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount), the Islamic holy site (“the Noble Sanctuary”) where the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock have stood for over 1,300 years. Directly after the recent attack, the Netanyahu regime decided to arrest the IS followers in the “Jewish State” without due legal process under the notorious Administrative Detention Orders that had for decades been routinely used against “troublesome” Palestinians whose illegal detention without trial has been condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, B`Tselem, and Human Rights Watch to no avail while the international community with its core “values” maintained a cowardly silence!
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Five family members of the attacker have already been arrested, his house scheduled for destruction, and his body due to be buried in secret without being returned to his family whose applications for reunification with the inhabitants in the Gaza Strip have been refused by the Security Cabinet.
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Ethnic detention and illegal house demolitions – injustices tolerated by Western state communities – with even Germany always insisting on responsibility for remembrance of the past as justification for a “Jewish State,” failing to meet the responsibilities of the present for universal justice and human rights.
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Rather than continually promoting the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine, Merkel and Steinmeier should instead denounce the fascist crimes against humanity and stop the colonial terrorist zeal of their “Jewish friends”. There are no protests from Germany, the U.S. or the EU, who while expressing condolences for the attack on Israel, regard justified Palestinian resistance to persecution as being acts of terrorism.
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Because of this blatant double standard injustice there will never be peace. Only when the hypocritical “community of values” under “Christian-Jewish” leadership begins to perceive the illegal occupation as the main cause of legitimate Palestinian resistance, will there be tranquillity.
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Why should this resistance against the illegal occupation of Palestine be considered as an act of terrorism as compared with resistance to Nazi Germany’s terror! The application of double standards is always inadvisable because it will only fail at a political level. While Netanyahu – who is bogged down in the quagmire of a brutal occupation – is constantly looking for any opportunity to divert responsibility away from himself, the community of states should resist participation in, and support for this denigrating game.  
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This is a Zionist regime of a country drowning in a moral swamp – where a soldier’s cold- blood murder of an injured Palestinian lying on the ground – is celebrated by the majority of the population with even Netanyahu recognising him as a hero and brave opponent of terrorism. By reacting in this manner, Israel’s Zionist regime has forfeited any right to claims of being a democracy. Incomprehensibly, the military court has just condemned the soldier to only Second Degree murder and not to assassination. A further outrageous injustice would be if this murderer-soldier Azaria, was to be pardoned!
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Despite what Netanyahu and Western politicians want us to believe, this attack had absolutely nothing to do with Paris, Nice, Berlin, or anywhere else. The fact is that in the decades-long illegally occupied Palestinian Territories the injustice of the occupation has created a fertile ground for such resistance attacks by a hapless, denigrated, and desperate people, who have absolutely nothing to lose.  
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Meanwhile Netanyahu simply pursues self-serving policies that retain his power base by directing attention towards Iran, the Hezbollah, and Hamas. Furthermore he stokes the fire in Syria by supporting the terrorists of al-Nusra and taking the opportunity to reconnect with ISIS – which does not even operate in the “Jewish State” – so as to delegitimise the Palestinians and portray himself as the hero supporting the war against terrorism.
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This infamous conduct becomes even more so when Western politicians like French Prime Minister Hollande officially authorise targeted killings with drone attacks in Africa and the Middle East since 2013. On the list containing 17 names of those to be killed, 13 are still pending! Welcome to the club of those who have the licence to kill! With such policies, conscientiously supported by Germany and other Western alliance partners who promote such bombing, the real reason behind the “War on Terror” becomes apparent.
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This is not a Clash of Civilizations between the saviour “Judaeo-Christian values” and extremist Islamic terror, as they would have us believe, but a deliberate attempt to “Zionise” Western democracies into accepting the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. To this end, the Brandenberg Gate was illuminated in the flag colours of the Star of David which is a symbol of Israel’s illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine!

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When such an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 
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Originally written FOR
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Image by Carlos Latuff
In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

REMEMBERING THE TERROR THAT LED TO JEWISH STATEHOOD

#DeirYassinMassacre let us remember the innocent lives lost to terror

#DeirYassinMassacre let us remember the innocent lives lost to terror

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Palestinians mark 68th anniversary of Deir Yassin massacre

Palestinians on Saturday marked the 68th anniversary of the massacre of more than 100 Palestinians civilians carried out by Zionist paramilitary groups in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948 prior to the establishment of Israel.

Deir Yassin has long been a symbol of Israeli violence for Palestinians because of the particularly gruesome nature of the slaughter, which targeted men, women, children, and the elderly in the small village west of Jerusalem.

The number of victims is generally believed to be around 107, though figures given at the time reached up to 254, out of a village that numbered around 600 at the time.

The Deir Yassin massacre was led by the Irgun group, whose head was future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with support from other paramilitary groups Haganah and Lehi whose primary aim was to push Palestinians out through force.
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Records of the massacre describe Palestinian homes blown up with residents inside, and families shot down as they attempted to flee.
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The massacre came in spite of Deir Yassin resident’s efforts to maintain positive relations with new Jewish neighbors, including the signing of pact that was approved by Haganah, a main Zionist paramilitary organization during the British Mandate of Palestine.
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An Israeli psychiatric hospital now lies on the ruins of Deir Yassin, the remainder of which was reportedly bulldozed in the 1980s to make way for Jewish housing and incorporated as a neighborhood of Jerusalem. Streets of the neighborhood hold names of Irgun militiamen who carried out the massacre.
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The massacre was one of the first in what would become a long line of attacks on countless Palestinian villages, part of a broader strategy called Plan Dalet by Zionist groups to strike fear into local Palestinians in hopes that the ensuing terror would lead to an Arab exodus, to ensure only Jews were left in the “Jewish state.”
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Thus the attack on Deir Yassin took place a month before the UN Partition Plan was expected to be carried out, and was part of reasons later given by neighboring Arab states for their intervention in Palestine.
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The combination of forced expulsion and flight that the massacres — what would later become known among Palestinians as the Nakba, or catastrophe — precipitated left around 750,000 Palestinians as refugees abroad. Today their descendants number more than five million, and their right to return to Palestine is a central political demand.
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The anniversary of the deadly razing of the village comes as modern day Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue to fight for their livelihood in the face of illegal Israeli settlement expansion, widespread detention campaigns, extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces, and a surge in housing demolitions — most recently leaving 124 Palestinians homeless in a single day.
The 97 known victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre committed by Zionist Terrorist  in Palestine

The 97 known victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre committed by Zionist Terror in Palestine

FROM

ZIONISM … CAUGHT ON TAPE AND IN RAP

If you DON’T support the BDS Movement, then THIS is what you DO support …

Video distributed by Ryan Dawson, with thanks

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The following 2 posters were displayed at Columbia University Saturday evening

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

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Photo © by Bud Korotzer

Photo © by Bud Korotzer

KOSHER NOSTRA RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS FOR ANTI BDS DRIVE

The Kosher Nostra is right back where it started …..

An unprecedented meeting of more than 50 major Jewish and pro-Israel organizations took place in Las Vegas, to discuss the growing international boycott efforts against Israel.

The conception of Las Vegas as a leisure Mecca, it's most famous underworld personages have always been Jewish mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.

The conception of Las Vegas as a leisure Mecca, it’s most famous underworld personages have always been Jewish mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.

Anti-BDS Conference Brings 50 Jewish Groups Together

Conference organized by billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban to launch in Las Vegas this week.

An unprecedented meeting of more than 50 major Jewish and pro-Israel organizations took place in Las Vegas, to discuss the growing international boycott efforts against Israel.

The conference’s billionaire organizers – Sheldon Adelson and HaimSaban – told Israel’s Channel 2 they were determined to turn the tide on those seeking to challenge Israel’s legitimacy.

“The BDS (movement), and anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations similar to it, are making a lot of noise in (university) campuses in the United States, in addition to creating headlines on important topics such as industry and so on,” Adelson said. “My vision for this conference is based on the idea that it is on us to act first, in coordination, against the attempts to delegitimize Israel.”

“This challenge which has brought different Jewish groups to come together,” he added.

Saban – who part-owns Partner Communications, which has hit headlines over the controversy regarding its licensing agreement with Orange – was asked if he believes the “regret” voiced by Orange France’s CEO over talk the company would be “boycotting” Israel.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard claimed Saturday that he “sincerely regrets” the furor he sparked Wednesday when he said that Orange would end its brand-licensing agreement with Partner, Israel’s second largest mobile operator, and stated as well that he would “dump” Israel “tomorrow” if he could.

Richard insisted the decision to end the licensing agreement had nothing to do with politics – but given his statement in Cairo few are buying it.

Saban agreed with that sentiment, dismissing the comments as “blatant lies.”

“This is why we should consider all options available to us. One thing is for sure: this is not over,” vowed Saban, who has threatened to sue Orange as a result.

He pledged make an example of Orange and force other would-be boycotters to “think twice.”

“Trust me, this is only the beginning,” he added.

Source

An interesting report from The Times of Israel can be seen HERE

A summit in Las Vegas strives for bipartisan opposition to anti-Israel campaigns, and more rocket fire hits southern Israel

‘LIBERAL’ ZIONISM IN DEFENSE OF THE BOGEYMAN

Pundit deflects criticism onto bogeyman Israeli right, ignoring racism inherent in his own liberal-flavored variety of Zionism.

Peter Beinart says Palestinians in Israel, like these participants in the March of Return at Hadatha village on 23 April, should not be allowed “full, equal citizenship.” (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Peter Beinart says Palestinians in Israel, like these participants in the March of Return at Hadatha village on 23 April, should not be allowed “full, equal citizenship.” (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Challenging Peter Beinart’s dishonesty about the inequality in Zionism

ISRAEL IS THE BIG WINNER IN BRITISH ELECTION

George Galloway should have learned one thing from the recent election campaign in Israel; people want to hear issues, not attacks on fellow candidates.

He didn’t and it cost him his seat in Parliament …

Worse yet, Palestine lost one of its most outspoken supporters.

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

George Galloway blames ‘racists and Zionists’ for defeat to Naz Shah in Bradford West

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

 George Galloway delivered a typically eccentric speech after he suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Labour’s Naz Shah.

The Respect party MP, who lost his Bradford West seat with 8,557 votes to Shah’s 19,977 said he feared the “racists and Zionists” would be celebrating long into the night upon hearing the news.

“I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration of course,” he said.

“But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign.”

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

This is how Twitter reacted to the news he would no longer be in the Houses of Parliament.

Source

Also see …. (Click on link)

Naz Shah interview: Labour’s new MP for Bradford West on beating rival George Galloway – and considering legal action against him

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, zion rejoices in his defeat … as reported in UK Media Watch

Galloway gone! Ward ousted! Liberal Democrats demolished! Labour decimated! SNP in.

The country knew by 10pm on Thursday night that there had been a political bloodbath.

Contrary to all the opinion polls putting Labour and the Conservatives level the Exit Poll published at 10pm told a different story; the Conservatives had won a crushing general election victory. Labour had lost many seats and the Liberal Democrats had virtually disappeared.

An Exit Poll is pretty trustworthy and within minutes of its announcement the British Pound was surging on the financial bourses. The United Kingdom had voted for stability.

All that was left to be decided was the scale of Cameron’s victory (the Conservatives finally ended up with 331 MPs, Labour 232, the Liberal Democrats just 8) and which MPs had lost their seats. Famous names were about to disappear from the political scene.

The Liberal Democrats won 56 seats in 2010 but were heavily punished due to Nick Clegg’s pre-2010 election promise that he would abolish tuition fees for university students. He reneged once he was in coalition with the Conservatives.

For those supportive of Israel the demise of the Lib Dems is sweet. If the Israeli army was called on to defend Israelis from Hamas’ rockets Nick Clegg would call for an arms embargo on Israel.

And one has to question how Clegg can lay claim to any morals after not sacking David Ward who suggested that Jews had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

After minimal admonition from his party leader Ward was free to continue as a Liberal Democrat. Pleased to report that Ward has now been swept away politically by the good people of Bradford East.

And the good people of Bradford West swept away the Respect Party’s  George Galloway. Maybe they felt that Galloway was far more concerned with Tehran West than Bradford West.

It would be nice to think that Bradfordians also felt uncomfortable with his venomous anti-Zionist rhetoric (he declaredBradford an Israel-free zone) and were concerned for Bradford’s small Jewish population.

It was also goodbye to Simon Hughes and Bob Russell, two more anti-Israel Liberal Democrats swept away in the political tsunami.

Meanwhile, Labour lost 24 seats from last time! Much of Labour’s Parliamentary party is still anti-Israel and Labour’s main anti-Israel firebrands survived, including the likes of Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter and Richard Burden who has metwith Hamas. Labour also added Rupa Huq to their anti-Israel numbers.

For five years Labour has been isolationist on the foreign policy front. It voted not to assist the Syrian people being slaughtered by Assad.

There was, however, one country on which Labour was not isolationist: Israel. Precious parliamentary time was wasted by Labour MPs these last five years smearing Israel as evil and debating, and voting for, a future Palestinian state.

But despite the election results there is no room for complacency for British Jews. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have virtually swept away Labour in Scotland. They grew from six to an astonishing 56 MPs!

The SNP like to paint themselves as supportive of multiculturalism but there is, again, one country they are not too accepting of: Israel.

These are SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s words to the ‘Ending Scottish Arms Trade with Israel’ conference only yesterday:

“As you may be aware, during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”

An SNP council also once voted to ban Israeli books in its libraries.

No doubt the SNP will soon be joining forces with Labour, what’s left of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party to attack Israel.

In the meantime the average hard-working grassroots pro-Israel activist can enjoy some well-earned schadenfreude at the demise of Galloway and Ward.

ANIMATED HASBARA

On the eve of Israel’s 67th Independence Day, the following was issued to bring Hasbara to the masses …. Zionism in Animation is a project which will tell the story of Zionism in a series of short; compelling; animated clips which cover the main Events, people, places and concepts which make up this story.

Here is their last animated attempt to ‘save their wayward youth‘ ….

It was a genuine act of desperation …

LogoBut
They neglect to show the true face of zionism that we have to live with every day ….

Some examples ….

The wacko settler gal …

And these ‘loveable zioteens’

Meet ‘the beloved mother of the occupation’

And see the ‘love’ on the streets of Jerusalem

Click HERE

The above was removed by YouTube …. but here is the sequel

And defending all of the above …

The true mantra of zionism …

“With malice toward none, with charity for all”

With malice towards all, and charity for none

ZION OUTRAGED BY THE TRUTH ABOUT ISIS

As if yesterday’s post wasn’t convincing enough, zion continues its attacks against Palestinians for speaking the truth in comparing zionism to ISIS …

The head of communications for the Joint Arab List party, Raja Za’atra, caused an outrage on Tuesday when he compared the Islamic State to the Zionist movement and claimed Hamas was not a terror organization. 

The true face of zion

The true face of zion

Arab list spokesman raises ire over comparison of Zionism to ISIS

‘Where do you think Islamic State learned these things? Look for what the Zionist movement did in 1948. The rape, the looting, the murder… the exact same things,’ Joint Arab List spokesman says at political panel.

 

The head of communications for the Joint Arab List party, Raja Za’atra, caused an outrage on Tuesday when he compared the Islamic State to the Zionist movement and claimed Hamas was not a terror organization.

During a political panel organized by the Bar Ilan University’s student union, Za’atra said: “Where do you think Daesh (Islamic State) learned these things?”

After someone in the audience responded with “From you!”, Za’atra continued: “Look for what the Zionist movement did in 1948. The rape, the looting, the murder… the exact same things.”

Za'atra at the panel (Photo: Bar Ilan students union)

Za’atra at the panel (Photo: Bar Ilan students union)

Ignoring the loud booing from the audience, Za’atra went on: “Daesh is the strategic partner to the State of Israel’s anti-peace policy.”

Za’atra, however, does not regret his comments. “I believe in every word,” he said after the panel.

The Zionist Union issued a harsh denunciation of Za’atra’s comments. “We expect the heads of the (Arab) list to immediately renounce these outrageous comment comparing Israel and the Islamic State, as well as his remark that Hamas is not a terror organization,” the party said in a statement. “The comparison between beheaders who have no humanity, to a nation that was reborn and made many contributions to the world, is intolerable and points to ignorance and hatred.”

The party went on to say that “we believe Israeli Arab citizens expect the Joint List to promote their rights and their needs and to solve their economic and social problems, rather than fan the flames of incitement and lies that will achieve the opposite. It’s regretful that the spokespeople of the Joint List are damaging the desire of the Arab and Jewish publics to live in coexistence. The Zionist Union will fight any attempt – both from within and from without – to hurt the morality of the establishment of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic country with full equality to all. So will we also fight Hamas – an Islamist terror organization seeking Israel’s annihilation, and we will ensure it remains on the list of terror organizations.”

Coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who was present at the panel, also issured a condemnation. “Those who allow Hanin Zoabi run for Knesset should not be surprised when her friends praise Hamas or compared the horror of the Islamic State to the Zionist movement. I’m just wondering why (Amos) Yadlin and the Labor party chose to boycott (Baruch) Marzel but didn’t mind sitting next to a Hamas supporter.”

The Joint Arab List said that “the things were said in response to provocation from one of the panel’s participants, who claimed Daesh (Islamic State) learned their acts from the representative of the Joint List. The Joint List has issued a decisive statement against Daesh’s crimes, and it condemns them regardless of any other historic event.”

Sweidan Rifat, the academic adviser for Arab students at Bar Ilan University, said that “the atmosphere during the debate was positive, and in this positive atmosphere there was also a mutual democratic dialogue between the representative of the Arab party and Jewish students.”

 

Report FROM

LIVING IN ISRAEL ISN’T THE SOLUTION TO ANTI-SEMITISM

Living in Israel isn’t the solution to antisemitism, though many like the concept of a Jewish state despite its racial exclusivity. Modern Jewish identity isn’t about cowering in fear but should be about building decent communities that accept the diversity of human existence.

Israeli life isn’t a protection against real anti-Semitism

Antony Loewenstein

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A woman holds a cardboard sign reading “Je suis Charlie, je suis Juive, je suis Musulmane, je suis Francaise,” meaning “I am Charlie, I am Jewish, I am a Muslim, I am French” during a unity rally in Paris on Jan. 11. (Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman holds a cardboard sign reading “Je suis Charlie, je suis Juive, je suis Musulmane, je suis Francaise,” meaning “I am Charlie, I am Jewish, I am a Muslim, I am French” during a unity rally in Paris on Jan. 11. (Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

“Europe will forever be tainted”, wrote Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer in the wake of the terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher supermarket in Paris. “It will always be the continent of expulsion, blood libels, numerus clausus, ghettos and the Final Solution.”

It was an ominous warning to European Jewry that it “may be too late” to save them from discrimination, hatred and violence. “Freedom of speech is shrinking in Europe”, Pfeffer concluded, “hemmed in on all sides by libel laws, political correctness, financial pressure and religious intimidation.” Jews would inevitably flee, he argued, if “freedom and tolerance” didn’t survive across Europe; instinctively Jews knew the history of pogroms, expulsions and death camps and never felt safe away from Israel. 

This is the debate that never goes away. It’s a discussion that lurks under the surface of almost all arguments on the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Terror in France has unpicked a scab that never heals, unleashing insecurity over what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century and where to live it. Growing numbers of French Jews are moving to Israel, claiming they feel safer there than in their birth country, happy that they can openly wear a kippah [skullcap] and comforted with an army to protect them. There’s little comment about what that military actually does to the Palestinians, occupying and brutalising them daily.

It was a highly selective argument forcefully made recently by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling French Jews that they were only secure under his nation’s protection, though he was slammed for shamelessly appropriating a tragedy for political gain. Israel even pressured one of the Jewish victim’s families to be buried there.

Too much of the discussion in the last weeks has revolved around a clash of civilisations narrative, with refined Europe, Israel and the west on the one side and barbaric extremism of the Muslim fanatic on the other. This is a gross insult to the truth. Moroccan-Dutch writer Abdelkader Benali explains that the reason so many European Muslims are disenfranchised, and a tiny minority are attracted to violent jihad, is because “Muslims are every bit as European as the Roma, gays, intellectuals, farmers and factory workers. We have been in Europe for centuries and politicians and the press must stop acting as if we arrived yesterday. We are here to stay.” Both Said and Cherif Kouachi, the Charlie Hebdo killers, had a long history of radicalisation against France, the US and Jews.

Increasing numbers of Muslims have argued that Islam itself needs to become far more capable of both tolerating and accepting blasphemy in a non-violent way and acknowledging that virulent antisemitism, not simply in response to Israeli violence in Gaza or the West Bank, is a rising problem. Not all anti-Jewish hatred is about Israeli crimes in Palestine (though it is one of many causes). The Jews of France have felt increasingly targeted for the act of being Jewish. Historical anti-Semitism was always about targeting the “otherness” of Jews, playing on stereotypes that today finds an expression in Islamist attacks on Jewish centres of learning. Muslims also face deep discrimination for their faith, practices and alleged association with terrorism. In fact, separatist groups are the largest majority of perpetrators of political violence in Europe, not Islamist jihadis. For example, in 2013 there were 152 terror attacks across Europe and only two were “religiously motivated”, according to Europol.

Israel is hardly a good model of tolerance and plurality; there’s a reason European boycotts are surging, more young Israelis are refusing to serve in an occupying military and prominent Zionist groups decry intermarriage as treason. It’s a delusion to believe that Jews are either safer in Israel than in Europe or more able to live peaceful lives. The narrative pushed by Netanyahu that all Jews of the world should move to Israel – 90% of his election funding comes from American Jews, proving that a Jewish diaspora remains an essential support base for maintaining Israeli policies – cynically expands the belief that Jews are the eternal victim (despite now having a country with nuclear weapons). Islam is framed as the enemy, an image recently tweeted by the Israeli embassy in Ireland.

Instead, Israeli writer Orly Noy explains, it’s easier to “promote a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation, no Palestinian people and no blatant disregard for human rights. There are only Jews and Muslims. Turns out we look a lot better fighting a religious war than we do running an occupation.” Free speech is constantly under threat in Israel with a vocal and active far-right, Jewish fundamentalist movement. 

Hypocrisy over free speech principles defines this debate. Muslims are accused of having no sense of humour over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and yet Israel and its backers routinely try to censor images critical of the Jewish state.

France, with its historical and ongoing record of colonial adventures in Africa and the Middle East, claims to believe in free speech but wants to silence those with whom it disagrees. The Charlie Hebdo massacre should enlighten us to the real power of satire and how it affects those with and without power. Is it a false comparison to say that if you can insult the prophet Muhammad, you should be able to poke fun at the Holocaust? Does British journalist Mehdi Hasan have a point when he says that “Muslims are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren”?

British political parties such as the UK Independence Party have mainstreamed anti-Muslim rhetoric of the type once experienced by Jews. “The cold truth is that organised suspicion and denigration of Islam is the new antisemitism”, argues historian John Keane. Islamophobia is a scourge despite the term being dismissed by the French prime minister.

So what are Jews to do from Australia to Europe to America? In a recent survey, a majority of British Jews said they couldn’t imagine a long-term future in England, concerned with rising anti-Semitism. This Jewish feeling of insecurity is real and can’t be easily dismissed. British police have recently stepped up patrolling Jewish communities and soldiers in Belgium are guarding Jewish sites. The threat exists.

The answer isn’t more state surveillance, as proposed by Australia, Britain, France and the US, nor mass emigration. The facts speak to a vibrant Jewish diaspora that has the right, in light of the 20th century, to settle and be safe wherever they want. Fleeing to Israel isn’t the answer. It would be a “blatant capitulation to terror”, suggested Israeli reporter Chemi Shalev.

Israel has framed itself since its inception as a “light unto the nations”. “There is no demographic or practical existence for the Jewish people without a Jewish state”, Netanyahu proclaimed in 2010. But the vast bulk of global Jewry feels secure in their own multicultural country with full rights and responsibilities, a transformation from 100 years ago when Jews were often ghettoised.

Living in Israel isn’t the solution to antisemitism, though many like the concept of a Jewish state despite its racial exclusivity. Modern Jewish identity isn’t about cowering in fear but should be about building decent communities that accept the diversity of human existence.

Originally posted AT

#WeekofAction ~~THE WEST BANK IS NOT FOR SALE!

Boycott RE/MAX Week of Action

SHAME on RE/MAX! While Palestinian homes and olive groves are bulldozed to make way for new settlements, Israeli RE/MAX agents are doing business in all the major West Bank settlements, including Adam, Beit Arye, Beit El, Giva’at Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim, Oranit, Salit, Sha’arei Tikva and Zufim.

In occupied East Jerusalem, the company markets and rents properties in the settlement neighborhoods of Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot, French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev. The settlement properties cater to young Israeli couples and first-time buyers by offering less expensive suburban real estate.

Through REMAX you can find —for a cool $1 million—a 4,000 square-foot villa just minutes from Jerusalem, “at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac” in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumin with balconies, high quality materials, and swimming pools for example.

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Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action

Ben Norton FOR

While temperatures cooled, the first week of December saw a tremendous kindling of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement, as Palestinian solidarity activists across the US flooded RE/MAX offices, demanding that the real estate giant cease its activities in illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate corporations in the world. RE/MAX International, based in the US, with headquarters in Denver, Colorado, oversees more than 100,000 agents in over 7,000 offices in almost 100 countries. Realtor Magazine has consistently ranked numerous RE/MAX franchises in its annual list of Top 100 Companies.

Several of RE/MAX’s Israeli franchises sell property in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the French Hill, Armon HaNatziv, and Pisgat Ze’ev. The office of RE/MAX Israel’s Atid franchise is itself located in Maale Adumim, a major illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. RE/MAX Israel agents openly admitthat many of the homes they sell can only be owned by Jewish people.

A screen grab from RE/MAX Israel’s website shows a map of some of the settlement houses it markets.

The United Nations published a report in 2013 indicating that RE/MAX LLC, the US-based parent company, can be “held accountable” for the crimes of RE/MAX Israel, over which it “has constant interaction and influence.” Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventionmandates that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” and UN Security Council Resolution 446explicitly states that Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, in which RE/MAX Israel is operating, “have no legal validity.”

No Open House

In October 2014, peace and social justice organization CODEPINK launched the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen Land (or No Open House, for short) campaign. At the end of November, No Open house launched its official website, BoycottREMAX.org. The website includes answers to frequently asked questions, a campaign timeline and tactics, a newsletter, links to further reading materials, and a wide array of resources, including shareable memes, protest chants, and a draft of a letter to send to RE/MAX.

CODEPINK says its goal in launching the campaign is to pressure RE/MAX “to cut its ties with franchises involved in the sale or rental of settlement properties.” Sophia Armen, National Coordinator of the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen land, explained the “campaign is a call for people of conscience to address the complicity of RE/MAX corporation in heinous violations of international law. It is our duty, as people concerned with justice, to be in solidarity with Palestinians and to address how these large corporations are profiting off continuing displacement, dispossession and death in Israel/Palestine.”

15657098090_b47c84a1af

In October 2014, CODEPINK sent a letter to RE/MAX co-founder and Chairman of the Board Dave Liniger. The RE/MAX executive never responded. Overall, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin says, RE/MAX has been largely unresponsive and dismissive. In the summer of 2014, CODEPINK began working on building a coalition with Palestinian solidarity groups around the country, including countless chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace, and a variety of social justice, peace, anti-war, and leftist organizations.

By October, CODEPINK made a national call for a Week of Action, to be held from 29 November to 5 December. Activists from over 15 major cities organized demonstrations outside of local RE/MAX offices. CODEPINK organizer Desirée Fairooz says the strategy of activists targeting local RE/MAX franchises “is the only way to express solidarity with this campaign in their own hometowns,” noting it is not clearly feasible for everyone to travel to the Denver headquarters to protest. Fairooz says she hopes local protests will inspire franchises to tell “LLC ‘Make it stop!’, thereby pressuring LLC to close operations in Occupied Palestine.”

On 21 November, Rich Forer, author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, delivered a petition with over 4,000 signatures to the RE/MAX headquarters in Denver, Colorado, requesting that Chairman Liniger “stop RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales of Jewish-only settlement homes on Palestinian land.” In the early December Week of Action, activists throughout the country delivered this petition to local RE/MAX offices.

Boycott RE/MAX Week of Action

No Open House protesters in Dallas, Texas on 29 November  CREDIT: Facebook

On Saturday, 29 November, three Boycott RE/MAX demonstrations were held, thousands of miles apart. Activists from a variety of groups, including CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, and more gathered in Dallas, Texas; Strongsville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland; and Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, to protest outside of RE/MAX offices. Those in Strongsville and Somerville stood outside for hours in below-freezing weather. Cleveland-based activist Toni Ann Rozsahegyi said she helped organize the action because she feels “it’s important to raise awareness of the fact that companies like RE/MAX break international law and impede the peace process for profit.”

No Open House protesters in Los Angeles, California on 1 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On Monday, 1 December, Palestinian solidarity activists in Los Angeles demonstrated in front of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX, stop making money off violating law,” “RE/MAX sells ILLEGAL settlements,” “RE/MAX, stop selling stolen land,” “RE/MAX, every settlement is an obstacle to peace,” and more.

No Open House protesters in Denver, Colorado on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On  Tuesday, 2 December, activists from CODEPINK Greater Boston, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, United for Justice with Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, and more held a demonstration outside a RE/MAX office in Boston. Organizer Hayat Imam said she “salute[s] CODEPINK for putting out the call for actions against RE/MAX to demand that they stop the sale of houses on stolen Palestinian land by their franchisee RE/MAX Israel” and feel[s] good about the fact that our action is the opening salvo of the boycott in Boston.” Imam explains the activists made an appointment with RE/MAX and organized a representative “delegation” of individuals “who had just been to Palestine so they could talk about the first hand conditions there” to hand a letter to the RE/MAX Chair.

Coalitions of protesters also gathered in both Chicago and Denver. Pat Hunt, an organizer in the former, insisted that “it’s our responsibility to shine a light on the illegal settlements and” on RE/MAX Israel’s illegal profiteering. “We need to keep the pressure on companies that participate in apartheid and let them know we will not tolerate it,” Hunt said.

On Wednesday, 3 December, Palestinian human rights advocates protested in San Francisco and Washington, DC. Activists in the nation’s capital were joined by Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Falk spoke about the importance of pressuring RE/MAX to end its illegal activities and addressed the the illegality and immorality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

We are here today to bring pressure on RE/MAX to comply with international humanitarian law, to cease engaging in commercial activities with the settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And we have made every effort to engage the officers of RE/MAX in a constructive dialogue, which they have refused to engage in, presumably because they have no response to make. And we are disappointed that they won’t even physically receive our petition.

It is a shame that the interests of the market take precedence over the interests of people and the well-being of people and a common sense of morality. …

To establish a settlement of the occupying power’s people in an occupied society is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. And this has gone not for just a few months, or even a few years, but more than 47 years. …

And RE/MAX, in the mean time, will feel the costs of continuing to deal with these unlawful settlements. They really are making a sustainable peace between these two peoples a real impossibility. So it’s not just a matter of violating a particular provision of law; it’s subjecting the Palestinian people as a whole to the daily ordeal of living under this prolonged occupation that’s gone on longer than any other comparable situation in recent history.

It is a scandal that the international community has allowed this to go on for so long.

DC-based CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski addressed the need to make realtor allies in the Boycott RE/MAX movement. “While local franchises indeed have nothing to do with RE/MAX Israel, this visibility of protests helps to mount pressure on headquarters which has the power to halt operations in any franchise at any time,” she said. Protesting local RE/MAX branches “can also help individual franchises learn more about what their company is doing overseas and realtors can use the opportunity to learn more about the conflict and how their company violates international law. Realtors can then use their concern regarding a boycott to help mount pressure on RE/MAX HQ.”

Only miles away, on the same day, in Olney, Maryland, activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX Israel complicit in theft of Palestinian homes,” “Stolen land not for sale,” and “RE/MAX profits – Palestinians suffer.”

No Open House protesters in Olney, Maryland on 3 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On Thursday, 4 December, activists woke up bright and early to protest RE/MAX in Houston, Texas, in what was the second Boycott RE/MAX demonstration in Texas in five days.

On Friday, 5 December, the country saw its largest flood of Boycott RE/MAX protests. Activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office in Rochester, Minnesota. Just two days after one demonstration, San Francisco Palestinian human rights activists got together for another.

UCSB SJP members meeting with RE/MAX representatives  CREDIT: Facebook

Miles away, in Ventura, California, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Students for Justice in Palestine met with RE/MAX representatives, asking the workers to pressure their company to stop its operation in illegal settlements. The students also connected the struggle of indigenous Palestinians against Israeli colonization to that of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border, as well as to the struggle of black Americans in Ferguson and across the US, protesting police brutality and structural racism in the Justice System. Anumita Kaur, a UCSB SJP organizer, spoke of what she sees as the importance of the BDS movement, explaining that, as “students at the UC, our tuition money is invested in corporations profiting off of Israeli apartheid and occupation—we are not okay with this.”

In Portland, Oregon, protesters assembled in freezing weather. They made cardboard props of RE/MAX apartment complexes, emblazoned with the word “stolen,” and stood next to mounds of snow. Portland-based CODEPINK organizer Lisa Savage explains they scheduled the demonstration to coincide with evening commute traffic and to be end when a Black Lives Matter civil rights march began, which many of the Palestinian solidarity activists then joined.

No Open House protesters in Portland, Oregon on 5 December   CREDIT: Lisa Savage

SJP activists in NYC RE/MAX offices  CREDIT: Facebook

New York City held the fifth demonstration on this day. Members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others flooded New York RE/MAX offices, asking the offices to convey to RE/MAX International that RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales must cease immediately.

No Open House’s Week of Action marked just the beginning of the Boycott RE/MAX campaign, and it marked it with a bang. Activists around the country showed great enthusiasm and took great initiative, organizing more than 20 demonstrations. Noteworthy was the community-based nature of all these protests, demonstrating that the Palestinian solidarity movement is a true grassroots movement, and that this grassroots movement is growing rapidly. While the chill of winter begins to fill the air, this new phase of the BDS movement is just heating up.

ADL DEFENDS FUNDING TO UKRAINIAN NEO NAZIS … HAVING ENEMIES IS KEY TO THEIR SURVIVAL

NEVER!!!

NEVER!!!

The following is a strange turn of events ….

Rep. John Conyers wanted to block U.S. funding to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help.

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How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

Rep. John Conyers wanted to block U.S. funding to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help.

SO MUCH FOR THE ONE STATE SOLUTION

Let’s start with only one official language 
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Current Israeli law borrows from legislation from the British Mandate period, under which the government and local authorities must publish all announcements and forms in Arabic. The new bill would annul this stipulation, as well as the use of Arabic at government ministries and in the courts.

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Right-wing MKs aim to make Hebrew Israel’s only official language

The legislators say such a law would ‘foster mutual trust in society and preserve the values of democracy.’

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Road sign to Yitzhar settlement. Arabic blackened, "revenge" sprayed in Hebrew instead.

Road sign to Yitzhar settlement. Arabic blackened, “revenge” sprayed in Hebrew instead. Photo by Adar Cohen
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Knesset members from Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi are pushing a bill to make Hebrew the only official language of the State of Israel.

Current Israeli law borrows from legislation from the British Mandate period, under which the government and local authorities must publish all announcements and forms in Arabic. The new bill would annul this stipulation, as well as the use of Arabic at government ministries and in the courts.

According to the bill, highway signs would still have Arabic, “and everyone has the freedom to use other languages in the private and public domains, to nurture them and teach them.”

The bill was initiated by MK Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beiteinu) and has been signed by two members of his party — David Rotem and Hamad Amar. High-profile right-wing MKs Moshe Feiglin (Likud) and Orit Strock (Habayit Hayehudi) are also on board.

“In most countries around the world the language of the country is the language spoken by the majority of the population. Therefore, in the State of Israel the Hebrew language has the status of the language of the country, which should be enshrined in legislation,” the MKs said in a statement.

They said such a law would “contribute to social solidarity” and help “build the collective identity necessary for fostering mutual trust in society and preserving the values of democracy.”

THE HATRED WE CALL OUR OWN

no-to-hatred
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“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.”
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Israeli Teens Gripped by Virulent Racism

Book Details Spread of Anti-Arab Hatred in Schools

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HAARETZ

By Or Kashti

 

(Haaretz)  (VIA)— “For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.”

The student’s comments appear in a chapter devoted to ethnicity and racism among youth from a forthcoming book, “Scenes from School Life” (in Hebrew) by Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz. The book is based on anthropological observations made by Dr. Yaron, a sociologist, over the course of three years in a six-year, secular high school in the Israeli heartland – “the most average school we could find,” says Harpaz, a professor of education.

The book is nothing short of a page-turner, especially now, following the overt displays of racism and hatred of the Other that have been revealed in the country in the past month or so. Maybe “revealed” isn’t the right word, as it suggests surprise at the intensity of the phenomenon. But Yaron’s descriptions of what he saw at the school show that such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social “unity.” What he observed is unfiltered hatred. One conclusion that arises from the text is how little the education system is able – or wants – to deal with the racism problem.

Not all educators are indifferent or ineffective. There are, of course, teachers and others in the realm of education who adopt a different approach, who dare to try and take on the system. But they are a minority. The system’s internal logic operates differently.

Much of the chapter on racism revolves around the Bible lessons in a ninth-grade class, whose theme was revenge. “The class starts, and the students’ suggestions of examples of revenge are written on the blackboard,” the teacher told Yaron. A student named Yoav “insists that revenge is an important emotion. He utilizes the material being studied to hammer home his semi-covert message: All the Arabs should be killed. The class goes into an uproar. Five students agree with Yoav and say openly: The Arabs should be killed.”

One student relates that he heard in the synagogue on Shabbat that “Aravim zeh erev rav” [“Arabs are a rabble,” in a play on words], and also Amalek, and there is a commandment to kill them all,” a reference to the prototypical biblical enemy of the Children of Israel. Another student says he would take revenge on anyone who murdered his family, but would not kill them all.

“Some of the other students are outraged by this [softer stance],” the teacher reported. “The student then makes it clear that he has no love for Arabs and that he is not a leftist.”

Another student, Michal, says she is shocked by what she is hearing. She believes that the desire for revenge will only foment a cycle of blood; not all Arabs are bad, she adds, and certainly they don’t all deserve to die. “People who decree the fate of others so easily are not worthy of life,” she says.

Yoav himself claims to have heard Michal say: “Too bad you weren’t killed in a terrorist attack.”

“The students all start shouting,” the teacher says, according to Yaron. “Some are personally insulted, others are up in arms, and Michal finds herself alone and absorbing all the fire – ‘Arab lover,’ ‘leftist.’ I try to calm things down. The class is too distraught to move on to the biblical story. The bell rings. I let them out and suggest that they be more tolerant of one another.”

In the corridor during the break, the teacher notices that a crowd has gathered from all the ninth-grade classes. They have formed a human chain and are taunting Michal: “Fie, fie, fie, the Arabs will die.” The teacher: “I contemplated for five seconds whether to respond or keep going down the corridor. Finally I dispersed the gathering and insisted that Michal accompany me to the teachers’ room. She was in a state of shock, reeling under the insult, with tears to come instantly.”

Six students are suspended for two days. The teacher reports on his conversation with Michal: “She continues to be laconic. This is what always happens, she says. The opinions are racist, and her only regret is speaking out. I just want to hug her and say I’m sorry I put her through this trauma. I envy her courage to say aloud things that I sometimes am incapable of saying.”

Leftists as ‘Israel-haters’

In his research, Yaron spoke with Michal and Yoav, with other students in the class and with the homeroom teacher and the principal. The multiplicity of versions of the goings-on that emerge suggest a deep conflict and a lack of trust between the educators and the pupils. Each world functions separately, with the adults exercising little if any influence on the youngsters. It’s hard to believe that the suspension, or the punishment inflicted on some of the students – for example, to prepare a presentation for the ninth-grade classes on the subject of racism – changed anyone’s opinion.

The same goes for the principal’s unequivocal declaration that, “There will be no racist comments in our school.” Even the essay Michal was asked to write on the subject was soon forgotten. “The intention was to launch an educational program, but in the meantime it was postponed,” the homeroom teacher admits.

A year later, however, the incident itself was still remembered in the school. The same student who told Yaron that she won’t think twice if she gets the opportunity “to shoot one of them” when she serves in the army, also said, “As soon as I heard about the quarrel with that leftist girl [Michal], I was ready to throw a brick at her head and kill her. In my opinion, all the leftists are Israel-haters. I personally find it very painful. Those people have no place in our country – both the Arabs and the leftists.”

Anyone who imagines this as a local, passing outburst is wrong. As was the case with the girl from the ORT network vocational school who alleged earlier this year that her teacher had expressed “left-wing views” in the classroom – in this case too a student related that he cursed and shouted at a teacher who “justified the Arabs.” The students say that workshops to combat racism, which are run by an outside organization, leave little impression. “Racism is part of our life, no matter how much people say it’s bad,” a student said.

In the concluding discussion in just one such workshop, the moderator asked the students how they thought racism might eradicated. “Thin out the Arabs,” was the immediate reply. “I want you to leave here with the knowledge that the phenomenon exists, for you to be self-critical, and then maybe you will prevent it,” the moderator said. To which one student shot back, “If we’re not racist, that makes us leftists.”

The moderator, in a tone of despair: “I’d like it if you took at least something small from this workshop.” A student responds to the challenge: “That everyone should live the way he wants, that if he thinks he’s racist, let him think what he wants, and that’s all.”

As an adjunct of racism and hatred, ethnic identities – Mizrahi (Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries) and Ashkenazi – are also flourishing. Yoav believes that there is “discrimination between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. We were severely punished for the incident [with Michal], but if it were the other way around, that wouldn’t have happened.” Yoav later told Yaron that he found the common saying, “What’s this, an [open-air] market?” offensive, because his whole family works in the local produce market.

“Our business has existed since the state was established,” he said. “I am proud of my father, who is a man of the market. What are they trying to say, that my father isn’t cultured? When people say something about ‘Arabs,’ it’s considered a generalization, but when they say ‘market,’ that’s alright. When people say ‘market,’ they are actually talking about Mizrahim. We need to change the prejudices about the market and about the Mizrahim. People say I am a racist, but it’s just the opposite.”

“There is no discussion about the topic of racism in the school and there probably will not be,” the principal admits. “We are not prepared for the deep, long-term process that’s necessary. Even though I am constantly aware of the problem, it is far from being dealt with. It stems in the first place from the home, the community and the society, and it’s hard for us to cope with it. You have to remember that another reason it’s hard to deal with the problem is that it also exists among the teachers. Issues such as ‘human dignity’ or ‘humanism’ are in any case considered left-wing, and anyone who addresses them is considered tainted.”

Threat of noise

Prof. Yoram Harpaz is a senior lecturer at Beit Berl Teachers College and the editor of Hed Hahinuch, a major educational journal. Recalling the recent promise of Education Minister Shay Piron that classes in the first two weeks of the coming school year will be devoted to “emotional and social aspects of the summer’s events,” including “manifestations of racism and incitement,” Harpaz observes that schools in their present format “are incapable of dealing with the racist personality and identity.”

He adds: “The schools are not geared for this. They can only impart basic knowledge and skills, hold examinations on them and grade the students. In fact, they have a hard time doing even that. In classes of 40 students, with a strict curriculum and exams that have to be held, it is impossible to engage in values-based education.”

Yaron, a senior lecturer in sociology at Ashkelon Academic College, emphasizes how important teachers and the principal (and the education system in general) feel it is to stick to the curriculum and the lessons schedule – two islands of quiet amid a risk-laden reality.

“Doing this makes it possible for the teachers not to enter a dynamic sphere, which obligates openness and is liable to open a Pandora’s box, too,” he notes. “The greatest threat to the teacher is that there will be noise – that someone will complain, that an argument will break out, etc. That danger looms especially large in subjects that interest young people, such as sexuality, ethnicity, violence and racism. Teachers lack the tools to cope with these issues, so they are outsourced, which only emasculates educational personnel even more.”

The demand for quiet in the schools is not only an instrumental matter, deriving from the difficulty of keeping order in the classroom. There is also an ideological aspect involved. In general, there is a whole series of subjects that are not recommended for discussion in schools, such as the Nakba (or “catastrophe,” the term used by Palestinians to denote the establishment of the State of Israel), human rights and the morality of Israeli army operations. This was one of the reasons for the warnings issued by Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev during the fighting in the Gaza Strip about “extreme and offensive remarks.”

Harpaz: “In Israel, the most political country there is, political education has not been developed as a discipline in which high-school students are taught how to think critically about political attitudes, or the fact that those attitudes are always dependent on a particular viewpoint and on vested interests.”

What, then, can be done? According to Harpaz, the solution will not be found in discussions between the homeroom teacher and the students. Nor is a condemnation, however late, by the education minister sufficient. A more radical change is needed.

“Values and outlooks are acquired in a lengthy process of identification with ‘significant others,’ such as teachers,” Harpaz explains. “This means that every aspect of the schools – patterns of teaching, evaluation methods, curricula, the physical structure and the cultural climate – has to change in the direction of becoming far more dialogical and democratic.”

And he has one more recommendation: not to flee from political and moral dilemmas, or from possible criticism. “Our leaders are so fearful of criticism, but they don’t understand that critical education is what generates close ties and caring. We get angry at those we love.”

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