The education of Peter Beinart

I have begun to wonder, for the first time in my life, whether the price of a state that favors Jews over Palestinians is too high.

Peter Beinart

The Jewish monolith is crumbling thanks to the  appalling arrogance of Israeli leaders who kept thumbing their nose at international law and pouring illegal settlers  (“facts on the ground”) into Palestinian territory. The world conveniently turned away as a whole society was destroyed.

Now the two state solution is dead and there is only one way forward, a democratic country  where no religious group is privileged, one person, one vote. That’s what a democratic state is.

Peter Beinart  is a liberal Zionist  whose analysis of the chaos created by Great Britain  only begins in 1967. Like  many Zionists he has never dealt with the original sin of 1948, the dispossession of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Jews from Central Europe. His vision has improved.

I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State NYT July 8 Peter Beinart

For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state.

I was 22 in 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn to officially begin the peace process that many hoped would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. I’ve been arguing for a two-state solution — first in late-night bull sessions, then in articles and speeches — ever since.

I believed in Israel as a Jewish state because I grew up in a family that had hopscotched from continent to continent as diaspora Jewish communities crumbled. I saw Israel’s impact on my grandfather and father, who were never as happy or secure as when enveloped in a society of Jews. And I knew that Israel was a source of comfort and pride to millions of other Jews, some of whose families had experienced traumas greater than my own.

One day in early adulthood, I walked through Jerusalem, reading street names that catalog Jewish history, and felt that comfort and pride myself. I knew Israel was wrong to deny Palestinians in the West Bank citizenship, due process, free movement and the right to vote in the country in which they lived. But the dream of a two-state solution that would give Palestinians a country of their own let me hope that I could remain a liberal and a supporter of Jewish statehood at the same time.

Events have now extinguished that hope.

About 640,000 Jewish settlers now live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Israeli and American governments have divested Palestinian statehood of any real meaning. The Trump administration’s peace plan envisions an archipelago of Palestinian towns, scattered across as little as 70 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control. Even the leaders of Israel’s supposedly center-left parties don’t support a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. The West Bank hosts Israel’s newest medical school.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fulfills his pledge to impose Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, he will just formalize a decades-old reality: In practice, Israel annexed the West Bank long ago.

Israel has all but made its decision: one country that includes millions of Palestinians who lack basic rights. Now liberal Zionists must make our decision, too. It’s time to abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.

Equality could come in the form of one state that includes Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as writers such as Yousef Munayyer and Edward Said have proposed; or it could be a confederation that allows free movement between two deeply integrated countries. (I discuss these options at greater length in an an essay in Jewish Currents). The process of achieving equality would be long and difficult, and would most likely meet resistance from both Palestinian and Jewish hard-liners.

The process of achieving equality would be long and difficult, and would most likely meet resistance from both Palestinian and Jewish hard-liners.

But it’s not fanciful. The goal of equality is now more realistic than the goal of separation. The reason is that changing the status quo requires a vision powerful enough to create a mass movement. A fragmented Palestinian state under Israeli control does not offer that vision. Equality can. Increasingly, one equal state is not only the preference of young Palestinians. It is the preference of young Americans, too.

Critics will say binational states don’t work. But Israel is already a binational state. Two peoples, roughly equal in number, live under the ultimate control of one government. (Even in Gaza, Palestinians can’t import milk, export tomatoes or travel abroad without Israel’s permission.) And the political science literature is clear: Divided societies are most stable and most peaceful when governments represent all their people.

That’s the lesson of Northern Ireland. When Protestants and the British government excluded Catholics, the Irish Republican Army killed an estimated  1,750 people between 1969 and 1994. When Catholics became equal political partners, the violence largely stopped. It’s the lesson of South Africa, where Nelson Mandela endorsed armed struggle until Blacks won the right to vote.

That lesson applies to Israel-Palestine, too. Yes, there are Palestinians who have committed acts of terrorism. But so have the members of many oppressed groups. History shows that when people gain their freedom, violence declines. In the words of Michael Melchior, an Orthodox rabbi and former Israeli cabinet member who has spent  more than a decade forging relationships with leaders of Hamas, “I have yet to meet with somebody who is not willing to make peace.”

Rabbi Melchior  recently told me that he still supports a two-state solution, but his point transcends any particular political arrangement: It is that Palestinians will live peacefully alongside Jews when they are granted basic rights.

What makes that hard for many Jews to grasp is the memory of the Holocaust. As the Israeli scholar Yehuda Elkana, a Holocaust survivor, wrote in 1988, what “motivates much of Israeli society in its relations with the Palestinians is not personal frustration, but rather a profound existential ‘Angst’ fed by a particular interpretation of the lessons of the Holocaust.” This Holocaust lens leads many Jews to assume that anything short of Jewish statehood would mean Jewish suicide.

But before the Holocaust, many leading Zionists did not believe that. “The aspiration for a nation-state was not central in the Zionist movement before the 1940s,” writes the Hebrew University historian Dmitry Shumsky in his book, “Beyond the Nation-State.” A Jewish state has become the dominant form of Zionism. But it is not the essence of Zionism. The essence of Zionism is a Jewish home in the land of Israel, a thriving Jewish society that can provide refuge and rejuvenation for Jews across the world.

That’s what my grandfather and father loved — not a Jewish state but a Jewish society, a Jewish home.

Israel-Palestine can be a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home. And building that home can bring liberation not just for Palestinians but for us, too.

Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) is a professor of journalism and political science at the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY and editor at large of Jewish Currents.

MP PLEDGE TO OPPOSE ISRAELI ANNEXATIONS

Where are the Liberal politicians afraid to defend international law?

Where are the Tories also MIA as Palestine burns?

Bravo to the Independent Jewish Voices for standing in the footsteps of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos et al

Israel is not a Jewish state, it is a Zionist state built on the dispossession of an indigenous people.

The world is now waking up to this massive, ongoing injustice which flies in the face of the universal ethical values of biblical, prophetic Judaism.

Canadian politicians representing nearly 60 MPs sign pledge opposing Israeli annexation plans

July 7, 2020 IJV Canada

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Tuesday 7 July 2020 – Canadian politicians representing nearly 60 Members of Parliament have signed a pledge calling on the government to “show meaningful opposition” to Israeli plans to annex portions of the occupied Palestinian territory. The pledge also called on the government to “consider all reasonable diplomatic and economic options to stop annexation and prompt Israeli compliance with international law.” 

A total of 29 MPs have signed onto the pledge, including the foreign affairs critics of three out of four opposition parties, a few Liberals and one Independent. The number of MPs represented is expanded to 57, considering that three MPs affiliated with the Bloc Québecois–Stéphane Bergeron, Mario Beaulieu and Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe–signed on behalf of the entire Bloc caucus of 32.  

The pledge is the product of an online email campaign launched by several high profile civil society organizations representing millions of Canadians, including the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress, Mennonite Central Committee, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV). Nearly 6500 Canadians have participated in the campaign thus far.

“This pledge should send a strong message to the Trudeau government that words are not enough and that serious action is required,” said Corey Balsam, IJV National Coordinator. 

Trudeau has expressed that his government opposes annexation, but has yet to announce any measures to either dissuade or punish Israel if it proceeds. As recently as in May, Trudeau discussed strengthening relations with Israel and building on the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), which includes settlements in the occupied West Bank that Israel intends to annex.

“If Canada is serious about its opposition to annexation, it needs to do something about it,” said Balsam. “The Trudeau government has imposed sanctions and spoken out forcefully against Russia for annexing Crimea. It would only be consistent for it to act in a similar way with respect to Israel.” 

Canadian MP signatories join hundreds of European politicians who have signed on to statements opposing annexation, including a letter signed by 130 UK MPs calling on the Johnson government to “make clear publicly to Israel that any annexation will have severe consequences including sanctions.” Palestinian civil society has also called for sanctions.

A recent IJV-sponsored EKOS poll showed that 74% of Canadians want the government to express opposition to Israeli annexation, and 42% want to impose economic and/or diplomatic sanctions should Israel’s plan proceed.

The MP Pledge campaign is still open for signatures.

“It’s not too late for MPs to stand on the right side of history, concluded Balsam, “but the window may soon close.”

For the full list of pledge endorsements, click here. For media requests, please contact info@ijvcanada.org.

It’s Palestine,stupid : Salutin

It was  nice to see Rick Salutin the former rabbinical student state what  other columnists or editorial writers won’t dare say about Trudeau’s snub  for the Security Council seat. It’s Palestine, stupid! 

Salutin, like Philip Roth and Mordecai Richler has always been a pain in the ass  to the Jewish community and he seldom writes about Israel any more but the column below was a welcome riposte. 

In the 90s Mordecai Richler left the Zionist train.While admiring many accomplishments of the state he told the truth “that  much of it was achieved on land where another people, however unambitious, was rooted. ‘And their failure to cultivate their gardens does not justify their displacement by a stiff-necked people turning up and saying, “This is the turf God Almighty promised me and mine thousands of years ago. we took it by force of arms  in the first place…Now we’re back, what’s left of us so move over or get out.”

Over the years those three scribblers drove  the tribalists crazy and then moved on, tired of the drubbing they got  of the  “self-hating Jews” rap.

In this day of plunging print subscribers  no mass circulation paper wishes to offend the Zionist truth squad which gets angrier week by week as Israel continues to shoot itself in its head with  its failure to deal with the elephant in the room, the brutal occupation. This is the grievous original sin which created the state, and produced  the Nakba, the  catastrophic dispossession of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians.

What is really bugging the Jewish establishment  is not so much old guys like Salutin but the defection of their children from the false Zionist narrative which took the place of the  universal values of Judaism.The kids have woken from this bad dream and rediscovered the true beating heart of Judaism, social justice. Salutin, partially edited,  follows below. Globe June 25.

SALUTIN

There is one and only one reason, IMO, for the resounding defeat of Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat at the UN: Palestine. It has been a UN focus — almost obsession — since the vote for partition in 1948, though it’s taken various forms. The current version is opposition to Israel’s intention to annex large chunks of the occupied territories that it conquered 53 years ago, on which it has planted many settlements.

UN attention to this issue is so intense that you can readily access voting stats of contenders for the seat, the way you could once check how teams are doing in the sports world. So, just in this century, on votes backing, somehow or other, the Palestinian cause, our rivals for the seat, Ireland and Norway, voted yes 251 and 249 times, while Canada did so 87 times — and 85 of those were from 2000 to 2010. Post-2010, one of our only two yes votes came last December, with the Security Council vote looming. So that might merit an asterisk, like this year’s World Series winner, if it’s played.

On these effectively “pro-Palestinian” motions, Canada voted no 166 times. The other two never did.

None of the other arguments mounted by critics, especially Canadians, really mattered: our failure on climate targets, the government purchase of a honking big pipeline company, or our mining companies that ravage African and Latin American countries. Those countries though, have many votes at the UN and long memories of bitter settler and colonial experiences.

I’m not saying former colonies are morally pure. Power warps everyone and foreign policy is a swamp. But Palestinian rights are iconic in most of the world, as opposing apartheid once was. That regime’s few supporters, like the U.S. and U.K., used to complain there were lots of situations as bad or worse that didn’t get the same attention. Canada made a similar argument to justify why it voted against pro-Palestinian resolutions: that they unfairly singled out Israel.

In the vote for the Security Council seat, it was irrelevant. The world has made up its mind on this. Can’t anyone at Fort Pearson count?

Liberals whose judgment I trust have told me the main reason for the “anti-Palestinian” tilt is electoral concern about a batch of ridings that Stephen Harper snatched by portraying himself as a staunch “friend of Israel.” If that’s how they want to play it, fine. But I don’t understand why they thought they could pull off a Security Council seat with the lofty slogan “Canada is Back.” The problem isn’t the hypocrisy; that’s perfectly normal. But it’s stupid and obtuse.

They show a similar dimness on their other high-minded promises, like our climate obligations or rectifying the relationship with Indigenous peoples, which would mean eliminating the Indian Act. Or Justin’s proud boast in 2015 that we’d never see another first-past-the post election. They dropped that casually one day as they crossed the street and haven’t mentioned it since.

Oddly, the one area where they’ve been brave and bold is their economic response since COVID. They’ve shaken off the timidity about deficits that hobbled Chrétien and Martin, and which makes all Tories cower. And given the money not to the rich, as in 2008, but to those in real need, for the most part.

Do I have a theory on why they’ve unexpectedly done that in the face of the rest of their rancid record? Not a clue, I’m afraid.

Canada’s embarrassment at U.N. shows there’s a price for bowing to Israel lobby

Not wishing to antagonise the outsize power of the Canadian Zionist power brokers, both the Star and the Globe did their level best to totally ignore the obvious reason for Canada’s failure to get a seat on  the  UN Security Council. It’s Palestine, stupid! Then there’s our ridiculous $14 billion arms  sales to the peace-loving Saudis killing Yemenis at  breath taking speed. Add to this our chintzy foreign aid (0.3%) never ever approaching the !% agree to decades ago.

The real game changer is Palestine and there can be little doubt that Canada would  have done Israel’s bidding as she always has.   The fact that we bought the shameless IHRA definition of antisemitism which conflates BDS  with anti-Semitism is cause enough to distrust our genuflecting to the oppressive policies of Israel, its scorning of international law and persistent human rights abuses

Yves Engler  laid it all out.

Canada’s embarrassment at U.N. shows there’s a price for bowing to Israel lobby

Canada’s defeat in its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council is a major victory for Palestinian solidarity. It also puts Canada’s Israel lobby on the defensive.

Israeli politicians and commentators have begun to publicly bemoan the loss, to rivals Ireland and Norway, which will gain seats on the council. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, told the Jerusalem Post, “we are disappointed that Canada didn’t make it, both because we have close ties with the country and because of the campaign that the Palestinians ran against Canada.” In another story in that paper headlined, “With annexation looming, Canada’s UNSC upset is bad news for Israel, US,” Deputy Managing Editor Tovah Lazaroff labels Canada’s loss “a sharp reminder of the type of diplomatic price tag Israel’s allies can suffer on the international stage.”

Inside Canada the Security Council defeat is a blow to the Israel lobby. While the Canadian media has generally minimized the impact Canada’s anti-Palestinian position had on the vote, the subject is being raised. In a Journal de Québec column titled “Why did Canada suffer a humiliating defeat at the UN?” Norman Lester writes, “it is the support of the Trudeau Liberal government for Israel, like that of Harper before him, that is probably the main reason for Ottawa’s two successive setbacks. Ireland and Norway have more balanced policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than Canada.” He concludes the article by noting, “Canada has no chance of returning to the Security Council in the foreseeable future unless there is a radical change in its position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

By acquiescing almost entirely to the ‘Israel no matter what’ outlook of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai B’rith, the Trudeau government undercut its bid for a seat on the UN’s highest decision-making body. The Israel lobby’s point people in the Liberal caucus, Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt, are no doubt hoping to avoid too much blowback for their role in this embarrassment. 

Housefather ought to be prodded on his contribution to the Trudeau government’s anti-Palestinian voting record at the UN since he repeatedly boasted that it was more pro-Israel than Stephen Harper’s.

Canada’s voting record at the UN was at the heart of the grassroots No Canada on the UN Security Council campaign. An open letter launching the campaign from the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute noted, “since coming to power the Trudeau government has voted against more than fifty UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights backed by the overwhelming majority of member states.” A subsequent open letter was signed by over 100 civil society groups and dozens of prominent individuals urging countries to vote against Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat due to its anti-Palestinian positions. That letter organized by Just Peace Advocates stated, “the Canadian government for at least a decade and a half has consistently isolated itself against world opinion on Palestinian rights at the UN. … Continuing this pattern, Canada ‘sided with Israel by voting No’ on most UN votes on the Question of Palestine in December. Three of these were Canada’s votes on Palestinian Refugees, on UNRWA and on illegal settlements, each distinguishing Canada as in direct opposition to the ‘Yes’ votes of Ireland and Norway.”

Just Peace Advocates organized 1,300 individuals to email all UN ambassadors asking them to vote for Ireland and Norway instead of Canada for the Security Council. In a sign of the campaign’s impact, Canada’s permanent representative to the UN Marc André Blanchard responded with a letter to all UN ambassadors defending Canada’s policy on Palestinian rights.

Not only has Canada’s voting record on Palestinian rights undercut its standing within the General Assembly, the Canadian public doesn’t want the government pursuing anti-Palestinian positions. A recent Ekos poll found that 74% of Canadians wanted Ottawa to express opposition to Israel’s plan to formally annex a large swath of the West Bank with 42% of the public desiring some form of economic and/or diplomatic sanction against Israel if it moves forward with annexation. “The Trudeau government has not only isolated Canada from international opinion regarding Palestinian rights at the UN, but its positions contravene the wishes of most Canadians regarding the long-beleaguered Palestinians,” explained Karen Rodman of Just Peace Advocates.

While the impact of the loss shouldn’t be exaggerated, Justin Trudeau’s brand is linked to the idea that he is liked internationally. Additionally, the Liberals’ base supports the UN and the international body is closely connected with how they market their foreign policy.

Kowtowing to CIJA, B’nai B’rith and Israeli nationalists such as Housefather, Levitt, etc. on Palestinian rights at the UN helped scuttle Canada’s Security Council bid — that’s a fact Trudeau and the Liberals must face. More important, the international community’s rejection of a government enthralled to the Israel lobby weakens Israel diplomatically and is a victory for Palestine solidarity.

Murder in Minneapolis and Hebron

When a Jewish child is hurt, all of Israel shakes, when a Palestinian child is hurt, Israel yawns.

Gideon Levy

If an Israeli soldier shoots a Palestinian in the head in Hebron, and there’s no camera to film the act, does he still become “man of the year?”

+972 Magazine

In the USA and literally around the world visceral anger took to the streets over the murder of Afro-American Floyd George.Caught on camera by an unidentified Afro-American woman, it brought to the surface the generational institutional racism of American police forces.

A few days after Minneapolis, Gideon Levy wrote 

In Jerusalem’s Old City, Eyad Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic man, was on his way to the Elwyn Center for disabled people. Border Police officers claimed they believed he was holding a gun – there was none – and when they called out for him to stop, he started running. The penalty was death. The Border Police, the most brutal of all units, knows no other way to overpower a fleeing autistic Palestinian except to execute him. The cowardly Border Police officers fired some 10 bullets into Hallaq as he fled, until he died. That’s how they always act. That’s what they’ve been trained to do.

But this wanton and cruel act was nothing compared to the cowardly murder of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron on March 24,2016. The Palestinian al-Sharif was laying prone on the ground, totally incapacitated when he was shot in the head, killed by a 20 year old medic Elor Azaria, who then shook hands with Baruch Marzel, a notorious, violent ultra-nationalist who lives in an illegal settlement in Hebron.

Like Derek Chauvin,  the policeman who lynched George Floyd, Azaria was  also caught on film by a real “Jew of Conscience” a volunteer from excellent Human Rights  group B’Tselem named  Imad Abu-Shamsiyeh. This video too went viral with quite different results.

Instead of becoming a cowardly pariah, to many in Israel Azaria was cheered and supported from the top down. The far-right ministers in Netanyahu’s coalition immediately demanded a pardon and  the culture minister, Miri Regev, said he should not have faced a criminal trial. 

Despite massive support from the right wing the senior military officers now under a global spotlight, pushed for his conviction and the three-judge military panel responded with  a slap on the wrist conviction of 18 months making it clear clear Azaria was a serial liar who changed his stories about the circumstances of the killing on multiple occasions.

He was back on the street in nine months

The Prime Minister Netanyahu crowed, “I called for a full pardon for Elor Azaria from day one,” as he embraced the “Hebron shooter’s” entire family. At his home in Ramle, southeast of Tel Aviv,  he was greeted with Israeli flags and signs saying “It’s so good to have you home, the soldier of us all,” and “Welcome home, Elor the hero.”

A Tel Aviv club owner said he is cheered every time he appears, people demand to have their picture taken with him.

Such a national treasure. The night club owner told the press:

“In my opinion, he is an Israeli hero. My brothers and I served in the Golani [Brigade] and we would do exactly the same thing that he did, or even shooting off some more bullets.” 

The American billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s media outlet Makor Rishon, selected Azaria as one of their people of the year. As well  a Jewish American millionaire offered him an all expenses paid vacation.The Israeli news site Mako wrote that Azaria regularly converses with other Israelis serving in the military, who turn to him for guidance about how Palestinians should be treated.

Two additional observations here.

Azaria is the son of a Moroccan Jew.This alone is significant for two reasons.

First, he  is a classic example of the “black peons” despised by the Ashkenazi elite.The Mizrahim as Arab Jews are called, were taught to despise  other Arabs..They are literally de-Arabized so they can fit in and please  a society dominated by the dominant Ashkenazim.This immature 20 year old is a classic case of self-hatred.

Secondly, poor Azaria was a medic, sworn to deliver aid to anybody in distress. All Israeli medics are trained to treat with respect, and to consider their  “actions with understanding, wisdom, and love of humanity.” Azaria has shown no remorse for his killing of a “terrorist murderer.”

Azaria was convicted, his defence was justifiably mocked by the three judge military panel and it was clear he was a serial liar who changed his stories about the circumstances of the killing on multiple occasions.

Palestinian Knesset member Yousef Jabareen at said the expressions of support for the soldier “turn Azaria from being a murderer into a hero and lay the ground for the next murder. It was  “outrageous” that he was released  today (May 7,2018) after nine months of incarceration. “His release  sends the difficult message that the blood of the Palestinian is up for grabs.”

Compare this embarrassing miscarriage  with  that of Derek Chauvin and Garrett Rolfe, the officer who fatally shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooksi in Atlanta  and who has been charged with felony murder.

Gideon Levy sums it up

There, they shoot black people, whose blood is cheap, and in Israel they shoot Palestinians, whose blood is even cheaper. But here, the killing puts us to sleep; there it sparks protest. The mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, who happens to be Jewish, was quick to apologize to the black community of his city.

Robert Fisk cheers Independent Jewish Voices

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) tired  of Jewish officialdom’s blindness on Palestinian suffering and the betrayal of Judaism’s ethical code only began  twelve years ago in 2008. The organisation is a model of integrity and intelligence on how society must change and how putative Jewish leaders have to cease being PEPS, progressive except for Palestine. The silence of the rabbinate and Jewish organizations on this matter  is sad to watch. Tribalism is no substitute for prophetic biblical speaking.

Young people justly calling for similar change in societal structures would be wise to follow IJV.

On June 10 we saw an excellent example of IJV’s impact when the British journalist Robert Fisk flagged their prophetic witness on the Trudeau government’s absolute craven approach to both Israel’s perennial snubbing of international law and Canada’s unwarranted position on the UN’s Security Council. Fisk below.

Justin Trudeau’s government has offered up nothing but empty words over Israel’s annexation plans.

The brave and pioneering Independent Jewish Voices was the first to cry “Whoa, boy!” at Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s pusillanimous response to Israel’s projected annexation of much of the occupied West Bank. “Given Trudeau’s frankly disappointing record on the Israeli-Palestinian file,” IJV said cynically, “we are relieved to some extent that he even went so far as hinting at concerns over the annexation plan.” But it wasn’t much of a hint.

Maybe Trudeau, the liberal dream, the clean new voice of Canada which followed the long and dark years of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper – who equated even criticism of Israel with antisemitism – is worried about Donald Trump. Or too deep in the toils of Covid-19. But all he’s done since the Benjamin Netanyahu-Benny Gantz revolving-chair premiership in Israel, which promises to gobble up even greater tracts of Arab land for colonisation, is to congratulate the happy pair on their political marriage. And waffle a bit about – ahem – “the rules-based international order” to which Canada is supposedly committed in the Middle East.

International Jewish Voices-Canada – whose courageous defence of human rights in what was Palestine is second to none – has stated quite baldly that Netanyahu’s annexation plan is an attempt to see how far Israel “can push its immunity on the world stage”. Given the EU’s pitiful reaction to the colonial ambitions of Netanyahu and Gantz – much huffing and puffing about labelling products from Jewish settlements and the possibility of cuts in scientific funding – it’s therefore a relief to find that IJV is not alone.

For now along come 58 former Canadian diplomats, ex-ministers and politicians with a rousing letter urging Trudeau “to protect Canada’s good name in the international community by speaking loudly and clearly on this issue”. John Allen, who was Harper’s first ambassador to Israel, is among the signatories and has told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that annexation “is likely to provoke the collapse of the Palestinian Authority” but also represents a threat “to Israel and its future as a Jewish and democratic state”.

The fact that former ambassadors to Israel who served under both Conservative and Liberal Canadian governments have signed the letter – as well as other diplomats who have endured postings in the Middle East – makes this an unprecedented demarche. Despite the Harper interregnum, millions of Canadians still believe that their country should concentrate on peacekeeping, international law and even neutrality in the Middle East.

On taking office, Trudeau swiftly abandoned Harper’s one-sided perspective on the region and put a stop to all Canadian military air operations there. But even the Canadian foreign ministry – now cringingly called “Global Affairs Canada” – could produce only a silky reply to the former diplomats which claimed that the Canadian government was “very concerned that Israel moving forward with unilateral annexation would be damaging to peace negotiations and contrary to international law”.

“Concern” is somewhat less than the Trudeau administration expresses over Russia’s continued annexation of Crimea. Only three months ago, Canada’s foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne marked the sixth anniversary of what it called “this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and of international law”. And he added much condemnation of Russian human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, torture and detentions in the annexed territory – over which Canada has imposed severe sanctions.

Furthermore, suggesting that the unilateral annexation – in other words, further land theft – might be “damaging” to peace negotiations, is preposterous. If one set of negotiators is stealing territory from the other set of negotiators (“unilaterally”, as Canada points out), it means there is no peace to be had. There was a time when Canada, the US and the EU described the building of such settlements on Arab Palestinian land as “unhelpful” to peace – but this latest reply to the ex-diplomats is ridiculous.

Their letter begins in very sober fashion. “We are writing to you as retired Canadian diplomats, proud of Canada’s historical commitment to multilateral institutions and its reputation for supporting the rule of law,” it says. “As you know, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced publicly his intention to ‘annex’ in the coming weeks a significant amount of land that Canada, and the international community, recognise as Occupied Palestinian Territory … Territorial conquest and annexation are notorious for contributing to fateful results: war, political instability, economic ruin, systematic discrimination and human suffering.”

NYT’s Voices of Zion

NYT have excellent columnists on race issues. It is a pleasure to read Charles Blow, Michelle Alexander, Michelle Goldberg and Jamelle Boule but it continues to be self-censorious on Israel. Being at the centre of Jewish power in the USA, there are few prophetic voices—-and none in local government. Cuomo is an Israel toady as is deBlasio, Hilary Clinton as a senator was particularly servile but Chuck Schumer is the absolute worst. Here is his greatest hit, a virtual promo for Israel idolatry.

In 2010, he told a Jewish radio program: “My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov and I believe Hashem [God, lit. ‘The Name’], actually, gave me the name as one of my roles that is very important in the United States Senate, to be a shomer for Israel, and I will continue to be that with every bone in my body.

it has apparently escaped Schumer that a Jew should be a shomer for justice.

So the Times has  had a bad history of sending Zionist Jewish correspondents to Israel.The only one worth a damn was Chris Hedges. James North and Phil Weiss (Mondoweiss) do an excellent job below of calling out the very worst in the article below. Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens should be proscribed from writing about Israel. Bring Michelle Alexander back

NYT’s Voices of Zion

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Over several hours the Times defended the decision to print the rabid Arkansas  senator Cotton’s article on free speech grounds,The Cotton Op-Ed debacle, although obviously a direct consequence of the police killing of George Floyd, is also reviving questions about how the paper covers Israel.

Here are some of them:

Opinion editor Bari Weiss defended the Cotton article, arguing on Twitter that a liberal old guard at the paper was being overrun by young “woke” staffers motivated by emotions (“the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech”).

Weiss has been mocked for this claim partly because she began her public career by trying to shut down discussion of the Israel issue at Columbia University, participating in a chilling campaign that called on the administration to fire pro-Palestinian scholars. As Steven Salaita wrote:

Those of you dragging Bari Weiss: don’t fucking be vague about it. She wasn’t trying to get “professors she disagreed with” fired. She was trying to get ARAB AND MUSLIM professors fired because she’s a pro-Israel fanatic. Name the problem: Zionist repression.

Writes Rula Jebreal:

Bari Weiss who consistently defends Israel’s racism/ apartheid, led hate campaigns to chill Arab academics, denigrates her Black colleagues, horrified at publishing a fascist op-ed during uprising over racist police violence, as ‘mostly young wokes,’” Some ally.”

Cotton’s op-ed is also a reminder that the New York Times ran four defenses on its op-ed pages of Israel’s slaughter of nonviolent demonstrators at the Gaza fence in 2018, and never backed down, though Donald Johnson repeatedly raised this issue on our site.

Regarding Gaza, Bret Stephens wrote that the Palestinians brought the killings and maimings on themselves through a “culture of. . . violence.” Shmuel Rosner made a Trumplike fascistic argument: “[S]ometimes there is no better choice than being clear, than being firm, than drawing a line that cannot be crossed by those wanting to harm you.” Matti Friedman said that Israel was restrained and maybe should have done more. [W]ould a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run?” Thomas Friedman blamed Palestinian leaders for “the tragic and wasted deaths of roughly 60 Gazans [on March 30] by encouraging their march.”

Hobbled by snipers on Gaza border

Israel killed more than 200 demonstrators over that year, including 59 on the day Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and maimed thousands, in what human rights organizations called war crimes.

Yesterday at least one commenter on Twitter asked why Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens have jobs at the newspaper, given their proven records of incompetence. The main answer is that the paper has a longstanding attachment to Zionism, and zeal for Israel is the core value for both Weiss and Stephens, the former editor of the Jerusalem Post.

Other Times writers have made no secret of their pro-Zionist passions. Former editorial page editor Max Frankel revealed that he personally wrote all the editorials on Israel: “I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert,” he said in his memoir. Thomas Friedman said last year that he would defend Israel whenever necessary: (“Israel had me at hello. . . In times of crisis, I know where I will be. When the Jewish state is under threat”). David Brooks has said that he got “gooey-eyed” over Israel, and Palestinians are to blame for no peace. Investigative reporter Ronen Bergman recently praised the rightwing lobby organization AIPAC for having Israel’s back. And during an Israeli assault on Gaza, former Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren said Palestinians seem “a bit ho-hum” about the deaths of family members, compared to Israelis who are “traumatized” by violence.

Tom Friedman, Israel first

Even alongside that pro-Zionist list, though, Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens stand out. Support for Israel has always been at the heart of their journalistic careers, and you will struggle to find any other subjects that they feel nearly as passionate about.

The free speech argument might be more convincing if the Times ever ran anti-Zionist op-eds. It rarely ever does so. Where are Rashid Khalidi and Ian Lustick, both of whom have lately published books saying the two-state paradigm is over?

The pro-Zionist pattern at the New York Times is not a conspiracy. The paper is historically comfortable with supporting Israel, and naturally hires people who share its outlook. Unfortunately, and sadly, this unexamined bias has forced America’s leading newspaper into endorsing violent responses to Palestinian demands for human rights.

These days it is only fair to ask whether the paper holds a similar bias against African Americans.

Stop the Annexation Fanatics. Impose Sanctions on Israel

The only international response to the brazen Trump-Israel plan must be concrete action to stop Israel’s West Bank annexation, and full-fledged apartheid

Israel’s colonial project in Palestine was never about a temporary Israeli presence. 53 years since it occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Israel is now moving ahead with its de-jure annexation of several other integral parts of occupied Palestine, following its annexation of occupied Jerusalem.

Such a move is a confirmation of Israel’s arrogance and non-compliance with a multitude of UN resolutions, including UNSCR 242, adopted in November 1967, which stated the inadmissibility of acquiring land through the use of force.

Israel’s half-century long record of systematic violations of Palestinian national and human rights is a testament to its commitment to colonial expansion and not to the achievement of peace. The rest of the world now has another measure of explicit evidence.

The U.S.-Israel plan is a blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international law and order and a confirmation that Donald Trump’s ‘Vision for Peace‘ is really about turning Israel’s occupation of Palestine into a permanent annexation, while denying the people of Palestine their inalienable right to self-determination. 

President Trump’s Annexation Plan is a brazen, blunt roadmap to imposing a reality of one state with two systems, a full-fledged apartheid regime, violating the pillars of freedom, justice, and equality.

In this context, the Palestinian leadership’s announcement that Palestine is absolved of all agreements signed with Israel didn’t come out of thin air. Palestine has remained committed to the principles of the Middle East Peace Process throughout the past quarter of a century. But Israel has still seized every opportunity to defeat the achievement of peace, turning this process into a total failure.

Accordingly, Palestine’s recent decision is a rejection of this failure and an affirmation that our nation can’t and will not pay the cost of Israel’s occupation, illegal policies, and violations of its obligations under signed agreements. It’s time for a change of course, through which the international community will hold Israel accountable.

It will no longer be possible to defend Israel’s violations and illegal policies against the land and people of Palestine, which are, in fact, a violation of Article II of its association agreement with the European Union, Israel’s leading trade partner. This article conditions the applicability of the agreement to respecting human rights.

What “shared values” do certain EU officials mean when defending Israel as it systematically attacks a rule-based world order? It is absurd to condemn Israel’s colonial-settlement project while still welcoming their services and products in international markets that primarily sustain Israeli apartheid.The international community can stop annexation, but only if it applies the same concrete measures that it has continually refused to adopt. Stopping annexation begins by imposing sanctions against a country that has never respected its most basic obligations under UN resolutions, signed agreements, and international treaties.

Unlike what Israel itself claims, its colonial-settlement enterprise is neither permanent nor irreversible. The family of nations should not yield to Israel’s racism, incitement, and violence. Instead, they should end its unparalleled culture of impunity. 

Policies of accountability against the Israeli occupation are essential. But countries such as Germany, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S. are doing the opposite: preventing the International Criminal Court from investigating crimes committed in occupied Palestine. That effort is easily taken as an endorsement of Israel’s illegal policies that have allowed it to expand its colonial-settlements to over 600,000 settlers today.

Those who argue for “more carrots” for relations with the new Israeli government have yet to acknowledge what the other “carrots” did create over the past 53 years: an apartheid regime. The database released by the United Nations listing the companies profiting from the Israeli occupation should be taken seriously. These companies should change course or face boycotts and legal consequences. And Israel should face sanctions. 

Countries, alliances and blocs must systematically review of all agreements signed with Israel, to ensure that they do not contribute to the occupation and domination of Palestinian land and lives.

For example, several of Israel’s Free Trade Agreements, which provide tax exemptions to settlement products, should be suspended. The same applies to the presence of several Christian Zionist organizations and other “charitable organizations” funding Israeli settlements in countries such as the US, UK, France, Canada, or Australia, including the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Ateret Kohanim and the Israel Land Fund.

These organizations should be held accountable by the governments of countries where they’re based. “Charities” shouldn’t be allowed to fund Israel’s illegal enterprise from their soil.    

The Israel-U.S. Annexation Plan is not just the outcome of a group of fanatics that disregard international law and Palestinian rights, but a consequence of decades of impunity. We have been contacting governments worldwide demanding action to stop Israel’s annexation.

We have reached leading international players to call for an international conference to facilitate a constructive and meaningful peace process based on the implementation of international law and relevant UN resolutions.

This week European countries will mark forty years since the issuance of the Venice Declaration, calling for the end of Israel’s occupation and the fulfillment of Palestinian rights. After decades of warning signs, it is overdue time to pursue the only path left to move towards a just and lasting peace, including the recognition of the State of Palestine, and the imposition of sanctions against Israel and its occupation.

Dr. Saeb Erekat is the Secretary General of the PLO and Chief Palestinian negotiator. Twitter: @ErakatSaeb

If Palestinians were black: Only connect

On October 15, 2000 in London England  the Observer ran a piece which made this prescient observation::

If Palestinians were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to  economic sanctions led by the United States,

Thi is undoubtedly true.People seeing what happened in South Africa would have quickly  understood: Only connect. Jews of  conscience who helped bring apartheid down in South Africa and Jews in America would have rallied to the cause.

As Jewish american theologian Marc ellis wrote:

Most jews have little sense of the reality of Israel…few Jews in America have actually met Palestinians or traveled in Palestinian areas.They haven’t witnessed the checkpoints, the bypass roads and tunnels, the demolished homes and olive groves, the encircling of Palestinian villages,towns and cities by Jewish settlements …Jewish leaders are willfully ignorant and maintain a silence on injustice toward Palestinians..

But Palestinians are not black and American Jews who are still enthralled by Zionism have largely failed  to: Only connect. Things are changing today as many Jews have seen through the false promises of Zionism, its brutal past and its tragic conflation with the universal values of Judaism. As Alan Brownfield noted, “The State of Israel became central to their Jewish identity, replacing God and the Jewish moral and ethical tradition. Israeli flags flew in many American synagogues; young people were sent on free Birthright Israel trips.” Many younger Jews  have now connected  Torah with  the rejection of occupation and the  second class citizenship of Palestinians.

Consider the following.

The Great March of Return March 30-May 15,2018

On Friday March 30, 2018  Palestinians gathered on the Gaza/Israel border tin a engagement entitled the Great March of Return. It was another nonviolent  attempt to demand the right enshrined in international laws, conventions and treaties   to return to their ancestors’ homes, which they were expelled from in 1948 when Zionist militias forcefully removed 750,000 Palestinians from their villages to clear the way for Israel’s creation.

The protesters also demanded an end to the 12-year-long Israeli blockade, which the UN  says amounts to collective punishment.

Every Friday until May 15 they showed up to press their logical demands.

What happened in the next two months  was extraordinary and defied the civilised behaviour of any democracy.

Israeli snipers opened fire at protesters during the demonstrations. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return, 107 Palestinians were killed, and close to 3,400 were shot with live ammunition, while almost 13,000 were injured overall.

According to the World Health Organization, 111 amputations – 20 involving children – have taken place resulting from injuries sustained during the demonstrations. Nineteen people have been paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries, and six people have permanent vision loss.

No Israelis have been killed or sustained significant injuries, beyond scratches, from the demonstrators. Israel however, still insists that the protests have been non-stop riots which have been going on for nearly a year and a half straight.

The  deadly force against unarmed protesters during those demonstrations, provoked the condemnation of UN human rights officials and an unprecedented warning from the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

On May 14,2018  Israeli forces killed at least 41 Palestinians along the Gaza border as angry protesters demonstrated at the frontier hours on the day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem, health officials said.

It was the highest Palestinian death toll in a single day since the Great March of Return” began.

The health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.

BACK IN THE USA

In the USA on May 25 another black man George Floyd was killed in plain view by a policeman. The country since then has been in virtual lockdown with cities aflame with anger not seen since the Rodney King was beaten on camera by LAPD in March, 1991.affair and the  riots after Dr King was assassinated in 1968. 

Simply look at the different response in both countries.

In the USA massive rallies in dozens of cities. One man asphyxiated by a racist policeman.

In Israel silence in “the only democracy in the Middle East “ —-no massive out cry, no rallies.Ho hum. Business as usual in a country more racist that the USA

After the first rally Gideon Levy wrote

The killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes. There’s nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood. If there were a hundred or even a thousand deaths Israel would still “salute” the IDF. This is the army whose commander, the good and moderate Gadi Eisenkot, is received with such pride by Israelis. Of course, in the holiday media interviews, no one asked him about the anticipated massacre and no one will ask him now either.

To the shock of  many Zionist defenders of Israel, American blacks have begun to make intersectional links with the plight of Palestinians. This has been gradually coming.In 2015 after the Israeli massacre in Gaza, more than 1,000 black scholars, activists and students signed The Black Solidarity with Palestine

Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint struggle have emerged between our movements.

Amnesty International recalled Sunday that U.S. police trains in Israel alongside military officers, who “have racked up documented human rights violations for years.”

The rights group reported that hundreds of law enforcement officials from Baltimore, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police all travel to Israel for training, while thousands of others received training from Israeli officials in the U.S.

The Progressive  reports

Among other objections, activists point to Israel’s clear record of human rights abuses and state violence toward Palestinians, Jews of color, and African refugees. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2018 brought a 69 percent increase over the previous year in Israeli settler violence toward Palestinians, and a rise in Palestinian deaths and injuries in Gaza.

And finally, the shooting of  an autistic man Iyad Halak, 32, in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 30, drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces.

“Only connect” 

David Friedman, Jewish comedian

Jewish Illiteracy’ Is the Biggest Threat to Diaspora Jews, U.S. Ambassador Friedman Says

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman  is merely the latest jewish comedian to strike it big on the nightclub circuit. Following a long tradition of Jewish comics like Eddy cantor, Milton Berle, Woody Allen, Allan King et al, Friedman is leaving em rolling in the aisles with his latest act.

The former bankruptcy lawyer for the “stable genius” American president Donald Trump appearing on line May 24 proved himself a master of droll satire, akin to another Jewish comic jack benny.

Dave believes that too many Diaspora Jews are “illiterate” about Judaism, which he says is the “greatest threat of all” to the continuity of Jewish life outside of Israel. The ambassador made the comment during Haaretz’s Judaism, Israel and Diaspora conference held virtually on Wednesday.

His opening line set the scene for his hilarious shtick.

The state of the Jewish community outside of Israel, the ambassador said, was “not good.”

Friedman praised the diversity of the Jewish community, which he said grows through “conflicting views.” The problem, he said, was that “we lose ground through one primary factor: Jewish illiteracy… How many of us are fluent in Judaism?” he asked.

Ambassador Dave then said he has done a lot of reading on Jewish history during quarantine, called on Jews around the world to “dedicate ourselves to recharging around Jewish education and sharing our learning with many, many, many others.”

Davey then genuflected to goyim who are just as chosen as Jews are

Let’s face it: Jews do not have a monopoly on acts of kindness, charity or social justice,” he said. “We all know many non-Jews who are as fine and admirable people as one could be.”Many saw this as a reference to his friend the president.

As  a clever aside Dave admitted He is a passionate supporter and even a funder of the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and on the Golan Heights.

Always the biblical scholar Dave launched into a fine piece of exegesis

“Most of the prophecies are about the return of the nation of Israel to their land. And it is happening in our lifetime,” Just being in this room is evidence that the prophecy of Ezekiel and others have come true.”

“So where am I off in saying that God is on the side of Israel?The fact that God has fulfilled his prophecies and delivered the people of Israel to their land is demonstrably true.”

 Dave then got downright maudlin by likened the US-Israel relationship to the “altar” of the original Jewish temple in Jerusalem and called the embassy a “shrine” that people pray to and thank God for

Ambassador Dave then completed his 50 minute set with a comedic tour de force. He did a Charlie Chaplin (who was not Jewish) by remaining silent.

In the final 10 minutes he remained silent about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists  largely from Poland and said nary a word about about over 200 innocents shot at the Gaza border in 2018 on the March of Return and finally with a bow Davey remained absolutely mum  on Israel’s constant ignoring of international law and the proud possessor of the world’s longest occupation, a proud zionist achievement but totally antithetical to the universal values and ethics of Torah Judaism.

Ambassador Dave’s next gig will be as the opening act  at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando Florida.

Ticket’s go on sale Monday at Meyer’s deli.