Seth Rogen wakes from his sleep

Seth Rogen much like so many privileged Canadian and American Jews who have absolutely no idea  of how the indigenous Palestinians live, six years ago actually signed a petition supporting the  2014 IDF massacre  in Gaza.This was  an ignorant tribal action with absolutely no forethought or understanding. No thoughtful Jew in touch with biblical Judaic values would ever do such a thing. It was simply a reflex action. Now Rogen in this time of COVID has awakened from his ethical slumber.


Jonathan S. Tobin writes in Haaretz

Like so many other celebrities who have gotten into trouble with wayward comments or tweets concerning the Jews and/or Israel, Seth Rogen now says he was misunderstood.

He may have been joking when he told host and fellow Jewish comedian Marc Maron on the hugely popular “WTF” podcast that the existence of Israel “doesn’t make sense to me.” But the response from much of the Jewish world was immediate and angry.

Coming on the heels of author Peter Beinart’s broadside published in The New York Times calling for replacing the Jewish state with a bi-national entity, a rant from an actor whose image and roles have generally portrayed him as a stereotypical Jew, seemed to be just one more indication of the growing divide between Israel and the Diaspora.

Critics of Israel couldn’t be faulted for jumping on the interview as proof of opposition to Zionism and the policies of the Netanyahu government. Rogen claimed that, “As a Jewish person I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life! They never tell you that — oh by the way, there were people there. They make it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the fucking door’s open! … They forget to include the fact to every young Jewish person.”

Many of those pro-Israel voices that responded to Rogen emphasized what they rightly considered his seeming ignorance of the history that made a Jewish state a necessity.

A native of Vancouver, Canada, Rogen went to Jewish schools as well as a Jewish camp and his parents met while volunteering at a kibbutz in the 1970s.

The actor, says he doesn’t want anyone to think that he believes Israel shouldn’t exist even though that was the plain implication of his podcast comments. But his words resonated specifically because they are very much in tune with the opinions of the woke Jewish left that tends to predominate in Hollywood as well as among non-Orthodox Jews.

Despite the arguments of the Jewish left, the growing Israel-Diaspora divide has little to do with opinions about the settlers or even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closeness with President Donald Trump, who is despised by the vast majority of American Jews like Rogen. The difference between these two Jewish tribes goes far deeper than politics. The American Jewish problem with Israel is not with what it does but with what it is.

The two nations are bound together by support for the values of democracy and are natural allies in the context of the contemporary Middle East. But there is a profound difference between the American experiment in democracy, which is avowedly non-sectarian, and a nation state whose purpose is to provide a home and security for one specific people that had been persecuted for 20 centuries. Like most other nations on the planet, Israel is an expression of particularism. Its priority is to reconstitute and defend Jewish sovereignty in the ancient homeland of the Jews and not to be the last and best hope of all mankind.

The inherent tension between a state whose purpose is sectarian but which seeks to govern itself democratically and with respect for the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities within its borders is a perennial theme of Israeli debates. But even in its most idealized form, a particularist project such as Zionism has been a difficult sell for American Jews.

Having found a home in which not only were they were welcomed and granted free access to every sector of society but also in which the non-Jewish majority proved willing to marry them, it is unsurprising that many American Jews have always had difficulty coming to tP With non-Orthodox Judaism having embraced social justice as its primary focus, support for Jewish nationalism is at odds with the mindset of American Jewry’s leading activist and faith organizations.

The Holocaust and then the drama of Israel’s creation and early wars effectively squelched anti-Zionist sentiment as an active political force for a time. But that seeming consensus ended once the murder of six million Jews — who had no homeland to flee to before there was an Israel — was safely in the distant past.


Next post, Phil Weiss laments that Seth Rogen’s serious concerns about human rights and Zionism have turned into dispiriting Jewish shtik

Young Jews breaking away

Inn the time of Covid 19 and Black Lives Matter and with no sports to keep us distracted, more people are unpacking  the settler colonial movement of Zionism and the dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people. 

To the consternation of their elders many of whom traded in the authentic values of Judaism for Zionism young Jews are discovering a deeper truth.

Among the latest is the Canadian actor, comedian Seth Rogen who recently unloaded on a podcast.

His confession is very similar those who now have had time to analyse their less  than honest education.

Rogen whose parents met on a kibbutz in Israel, says when he was younger he attended Jewish camp.he was told  that the Jewish state was created on on land that became the Jewish state but the fact that  Palestinians were living there was omitted I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel.

They never tell you that, ‘Oh, by the way, there were people there’. They make it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the fucking door’s open.”

More than 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation. Today, those families and their descendants make up around 5.6 million refugees

Younger than Rogen are Izzy Goldstein and Eli Green  who wrote

As 17-year-old Jewish-Americans, our formative experiences included our community trying to hide the ugly reality of Israel’s occupation from us. At Jewish Summer camp, we were told that Israel was the dream: a safe haven for the Jews, a democratic country with equality for all, a progressive oasis in the midst of a dangerous Middle East. But what about the Palestinians? 

Wedidn’t talk much about them, but when we did, we were told that the Jewish state was so committed to democracy that it even included Arabs in its Parliament. Conveniently left out of these conversations was the systematic and intentional denial or equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel and the brutal systems of occupation, siege, and apartheid that 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza live under.

But that was then. Now there are Jewish organizations that tell the truth. Since its small founding in 1996, today Jewish Voice for Peace has 60 chapters across the U.S. If Not Now holds regular training for young Jews on how to protest for Palestinian rights. CODEPINK and other organizations have been so effective in their campaigning that swaths of lawmakers no longer want to be associated with AIPAC.

Over 80% of Democrats believe that the U.S.-Israeli relationship should be questioned. Popular liberal Zionist Peter Beinart finally just embraced a one-state-solution. And Senator van Hollen — not known for being a leftist member of Congress — has legislation to condition U.S. military assistance to Israel so that it does not fund annexation.

on July 2, Van Hollen spoke on the Senate floor: “I do not believe that the United States government and the United States taxpayer should be aiding and abetting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to unilaterally annex the West Bank.” he preached. That very same day, he introduced the amendment “Prohibiting U.S. Funds from Supporting Israeli Annexation of the West Bank,” adding it to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

 While applying to colleges right now, we are proud to proclaim that our Jewish identity requires us to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. As we do all that we can to build a future that disavows racism in America, we cannot ignore that Israel is an all-out apartheid state that is funded and supported by the U.S. The way the DNC is trying to hide the Palestinian struggle is shameful and we can’t allow it.

Levy on Beinart

The sky is falling in the Zionist world. One state, impossible? There will be terrible violence as if palestinians have not already borne the brunt of the last settler colonial state. The wise man Gideon Levy lays out some common sense.

The New York Times (a day after the piece appeared in the paper’s U.S. print edition): “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.” No, the significance of this cannot be overstated. Peter Beinart, one of American Jewry’s most prominent liberal intellectuals, an observant Jew who was raised in a Zionist home, who was 28 when he became the editor of The New Republic, and who later became a senior columnist at Haaretz, has said goodbye to the two-state solution and in effect issued a divorce decree to Zionism, at least in its current format.

In an impressive essay that has already made waves in the United States, he writes: “It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.” Beinart is not a lone voice in the United States. American Jews are beginning, if belatedly, to take a clear-eyed look at Israel, its darling. The Democratic Party is also doing so, slowly. Now we can hope that Beinart’s op-ed will motivate more and more intellectuals and others to look honestly and bravely at reality, as he has done, and to say what is still considered heresy, a betrayal of Israel and not politically correct in the United States.

Beinart has seen the light. An end has come to years of a pleasant, intoxicating belief that it was possible to be a liberal Jew and still support Israel, by dint of the illusion of the two-state solution, which Israel and the U.S. never intended to carry out. Now Beinart too realizes that there is an inherent contradiction that cannot be resolved. As long as the occupation continues, no liberal, Jewish or not, can support Israel. Beinart realized that the die has been cast: The two-state solution died because of the irreversible number of settlers, to which the annexation plan was recently added. “The goal of equality is now more realistic than the goal of separation,” Beinart writes, expertly describing reality a moment before being attacked with the claim that the one-state solution isn’t realistic. (Anshel Pfeffer did so later  in Haaretz.)

Yes, the followers of the two-state solution are “realistic” and those who are for the one-state solution are delusional. It’s hard to think of a more delusional mirage. For 53 years there has been a single state here, its apartheid regime is becoming entrenched with sickening speed and to speak of regime changing in this single state is to speak unrealistically. When only two options remain, a single democratic state or an apartheid state, the democratic option doesn’t even come up for discussion in Israel, and barely does in the United States or the rest of the world.

The remnants of the imaginary possibility of a Palestinian state have long since been torn, but we must continue to hope for it, to long for it and to pray for its establishment. A Palestinian state? Where? How? Not here. Not now. Instead of launching the only struggle that offers a just vision – equality; one person, one vote – the liberals continue to sing paeans to a past that will never return, to a train that has left the station and will never return. Instead of taking the necessary conclusions, they continue to shut their eyes and scatter illusions. It’s more comfortable for everyone; for Israelis, for the Palestinian Authority and the world. A Palestinian state will surely come to be, just you wait and see.

The standard weapon of the “realists” for burying the last just solution is the threat of the terrible bloodshed that would occur in the binational state. The 53 years of the apartheid state generated the most terrible bloodshed of all. Things can only get better. Beinart, whose parents emigrated from South Africa, knows from history that when a government of equality is established in a binational state, and all its inhabitants win freedom and can exercise their rights, violence declines and even disappears. It happened in Northern Ireland as well as in South Africa. But the Zionist chorus will continue to paint a terrifying picture of the unknown and cling to the status quo, the steady, institutionalized situation of apartheid, which is the worst of all

Beinart misses the day when he saw Israel as a source of pride, like many Jews. Myself included. Now Beinart is himself a source of pride: an American Jew who heralds a change that gives hope.

Peter Beinart Doesn’t Go Far Enough Jeff Halper

Liberal Zionists are belatedly waking up to the only just alternative: a single state, shared by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. But if Israeli Jews won’t endorse a one state solution, will they have to be dragged unwillingly into it?

Whether or not annexation actually happens, it has already had far-reaching effects. 

It has forced liberal Zionists like Peter Beinart and Gershon Baskin, pro-Israel figures like Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, and even some Israelis – albeit mainly readers of Haaretz – to confront the political and moral flaw at the heart of Zionism: its inability to reconcile Jewish national rights and Zionism’s exclusive claim to the Land of Israel, with the national rights and existence of the Palestinian people. 

This inherent conflict was evident and recognized from the very first days of Zionism. The essayist Ahad Ha-am wrote about it. As a member of Brit Shalom, Arthur Ruppin, the head of the Palestine Office of the World Zionist Organization, supported a bi-national state. Jabotinsky confronted it in his famous “Iron Wall” doctrine.

And in 1942, when the intention to establish a Jewish state (and not merely a “national home”) was finally admitted,

Ben-Gurion himself said plainly: “[This is a] decision based on force, a Jewish military decision…We want the Land of Israel in its entirety. That was the original intention.”

Indeed, the idea of “transfer” was in the air decades before the right-wing racist Meir Kahane and his followers arrived on the scene in the 1970s. Yosef Weitz, the Director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Department and an architect of “Judaizing” Palestine, wrote in 1948: “It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples…The only solution is a Land of Israel without Arabs….” 

Since 1967 the two-state solution played a key role in covering over this inherent, unavoidable and finally fatal flaw. As a tool of conflict management, it held out the illusion that Jewish claims to the Land of Israel and Palestinian claims to Palestine could somehow be reconciled.

We accept the “notion” of two states, we keep the illusion of “two sides” alive by creating a collaborationist Palestinian Authority, we negotiate (or not) forever, and in this way we avoid having to deal with the underlying reality that Zionism has set up a zero-sum game: either “we” win or “they” do. And in the midst of the stalemate we continue the 125-year Judaization of the country. 

Annexation did not expose the illusion – any informed person knew it existed – but rather made it impossible to sustain. The two-state solution rested on the notion of “occupation.” This implies that a country has taken control of a territory that does not belong to it and must be prepared to negotiate its final status, which may or may not result in annexation

International law does not permit unilateral annexation. For this reason Israel has always rejected the idea that it even has an occupation – it prefers to speak of “disputed territories,” a concept with no legal legitimacy – and therefore has never applied the Fourth Geneva Convention which prevents settlement, harming the local population and, of course, annexation. 

Ever the master in legal manipulation, Israel’s current government therefore rejects the term “annexation,” speaking instead of “extending Israel’s sovereignty.” Whatever it’s called, Israel’s intention of incorporating 30 percent of the West Bank makes it impossible to sustain the two-state illusion anymore.

And so the anguish of liberal Zionists. Where do we go from here? Peter Beinart has raised the possibility of a bi-national state in a New York Times op-ed and a longer Jewish Currents essay. “Now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex parts of the land that Israel has brutally and undemocratically controlled for decades. And watching all this unfold, 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,” he writes. 

“The painful truth is that the project to which liberal Zionists like myself have devoted ourselves for decades — a state for Palestinians separated from a state for Jews — has failed. The traditional two-state solution no longer offers a compelling alternative to Israel’s current path. It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish –Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish–Palestinian equality.”

Gershon Baskin, another leading voice of liberal Zionism and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, recently published a piece entitled “Israel and Palestinians Must Join Forces in Creating a New Shared Vision.” That shared vision means a single state shared by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. 

A single state is the only alternative to what exists today, and what annexation plainly offers for the future: apartheid. Some have suggested confederation, but that fails for the same reason the two-state solution does, Israel is simply unwilling to provide the Palestinians with any meaningful political or economic space.   

Fortunately, there are Israelis and Palestinians who are giving Beinart, Baskin and, indeed, Israel itself, somewhere to go. The One Democratic State Campaign has formulated a political program that calls for a single democracy of equal rights, the homecoming of the refugees and the emergence of a shared civil society. It goes even further, recognizing that Zionism and Palestinian nationalism can co-exist within a pluralistic democracy – and both may eventually transform into something new, shared and vibrant. 

Will Israeli Jews buy into it? No, of course not. Why would they? To such a degree do they enjoy the benefits of an apartheid regime, that the occupation and Palestinian rights have been reduced to a non-issue. 

The refusal of most whites in South Africa to willingly dismantle apartheid resembles that of Israeli Jews. So Palestinians and the few Israeli partners that share the vision of a shared society must take a leaf from the ANC playbook. 

Like the ANC, we must create a direct link between the international public, for whom Palestinian rights is a major issue (including among a growing proportion of young Jews), and our one-state movement. In that way we render Israeli apartheid unsustainable, as the ANC did in South Africa, finally bringing the Israelis into the transition process when they have no choice but to cooperate.

The struggle for a single state, for justice, should be seen as a challenge to all of us, not as a threat. South Africans, the Northern Irish, Black and white Americans in Mississippi and many other peoples once locked in seemingly endless conflict discovered that when issues of inequality and justice are addressed, their “irresolvable” differences become manageable. 

Beinart, a die-heart Zionist to this day, reaches the only conclusion possible. “It’s time,” he says, “to envision a Jewish home that is a Palestinian home, too.” Zionism’s very purpose was to restore our self-determination. Well, here’s the challenge. 

Are we going to become actors in creating a state for all of us living in this country, in which we enjoy both democratic rights and, within that framework, a national life in our country shared with others, or will we have to be dragged unwillingly into it?

Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist, head of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions

Bob Rae liberal Zionist

Peter Larson’s column to follow is an excellent exposé of Bob Rae’s Zionism. Just as many young Jews are leaving the ersatz Zonist creed and returning to authentic Judaism and liberal Jews like Peter Beinart are acknowledging their historic blindness about Palestine, we are seeing the last gasps of tribal retrenchment among the old guard. Witness the sad but fruitless support of the longtime New York congressman Eliot Engel by Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo and that great israel supporter Hilary Clinton.

But never fear Canada and Justin Trudeau are sill holding on hanging on to a rear view reading of history. Note the JNF podium Rae stands behind, the Jewish National Fund


Bob Rae, Canada’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, is generally regarded as “progressive” on many issues. However there is one big exception – human rights for Palestinians. He is an active supporter of Israel and involved in many Zionist organizations in Canada and in Israel. Read more…

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Bob Rae, a respected former Canadian politician, as Canada’s new Ambassador to the United Nations. Rae is a skilled lawyer who is known for having adopted many progressive causes over his long career. Among other things, he was arrested defending the land claims of Indigenous People in Temagami, and most recently he investigated the expulsion of Rohingya Muslims from Mayanmar and pleaded for the rights of the refugees.

A talented and experienced negotiator Rae prides himself on understanding various sides of any issue. And when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict, Rae likes to show that he understands the “two narratives”. 

Rae travels to Israel regularly and is proud to say that he sometimes meets with senior Palestinian officials. 

But in words and deeds, he makes it clear he sides with Israel and supports Zionism.

Rae has been honoured with a doctorate from Haifa University in Israel (a distinction he shares with a few other well-known Canadian Zionists including Irwin Cotler, Jason Kenny and Avi Benlolo). 

He can be described as a “liberal” Zionist. He is a frequent speaker at events organized by J-Space Canada which describes itself as a “progressive” Zionist organization. J-Space supports the right of Jews to have a state which Jews control, based on the land that was taken from indigenous Palestinians in 1947/48. 

Most “progressive” or “liberal” Zionists hope that by letting Palestinians retain a small piece of historic Palestine (less than 22%), Israel’s right to control the rest will be secured. This is often referred to as the “Two State Solution”.)

In addition to his honorary doctorate, Rae is also a member of Haifa’s University’s Board of Governors. Its annual meeting brings together over 300 members from around the world every year. 

Haifa University is one of Israel’s most important. Among other things it is the home for Israel’s three military colleges which “form the backbone of the IDF’s elite training program”. According to the university’s newsletter, “This program is partially supported by donations from the Canadian Friends of Haifa University”, registered Canadian charity of which Rae is a member.

The IDF is responsible for the killing of thousands of Palestinians civilians. It seems odd that Canadian taxes should support foreign military colleges, particularly those whose graduates are being investigated for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Rae is on record as strongly opposing the legal and nonviolent Palestinian protest movement called Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS). Rae has said that BDS is “wrong at every level‘.

It is not clear which of 3 demands of the BDS movement Rae opposes. Is it:
• Its demand to “end the occupation” which is overwhelmingly supported by the UN General Assembly and by Canada’s official foreign policy?

• Its demand for “equality” for all citizens of Israel, whether Jewish or not? Equality and democracy are values that Canada supports around the world?

• Its demand for the “right of return” for the Palestinian refugees whose claim has been confirmed by the UN and endorsed by Canada’s official foreign policy (and would appear to be no less valid than that of the Rohingya refugees)?

Rae also helps fundraise for JNF Canada, a registered Canadian charity.   A recent CBC investigation found that JNF Canada is funding projects linked to the Israeli military. 

On November 24th 2019, Rae was a headliner at JNF Toronto’s 71st annual Negev Dinner.  “The event was a sold out success with 1,500 community members in attendance who all took a stand to help combat anti-Zionism and antisemitism,” according to the JNF FB page. Many JNF projects support the dispossession of Palestinians from the West Bank (including in Canada Park and East Jerusalem) and inside Israel itself through the actions of KKL Israel and its subsidiaries.

Rae’s views on the Israel/Palestine issue accurately reflect those of the two faces of the Trudeau government which, while publicly claiming to be “a friend of both Israel and the Palestinian people”, actually does the opposite. In fact, Canada supports Israel and undermines the Palestinians in dozens of hidden (and not so hidden) ways at the UN and elsewhere.

Every fall, a series of resolutions is presented to the UN General Assembly on the Israel Palestine issue. Canada regularly casts its lot with Israel, the USA, and a handful of tiny countries against the overwhelming majority of UN members. Based on his public record, we can expect that Mr. Rae will happily continue the pattern.


Beinart abandons 2 state

They stayed throughout the centuries and remained the people of the land with a dynamic identity. In the sense Palestinians today stand in historic continuity with biblical Israel .The native people of the land are the Palestinians.

faith in the Face of Empire, Mitri Reheb

Phil Weiss as usual puts it all in context

In the last day everyone has been talking about Peter Beinart’s article abandoning the two-state solution in Jewish Currents. Beinart says the effort to create a Palestinian state has failed, and it’s time for liberal Zionists to endorse equality between Jews and Palestinians. Beinart went further on Twitter, praising Ali Abunimah’s groundbreaking book of 2006, One Country, (which treated the two-state solution as apartheid), and in an op-ed in the New York Times today, in which Beinart deplores the idea of “separation” of Palestinians and Jews.

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.

Beinart pointedly abandons an argument that he had made on numerous occasions, that a binational state doesn’t work. Now he says what Yousef Munayyer said in his 2015 debate with Beinart, it won’t be easy but one democratic state has to be the vision.

Any discussion of Beinart’s shift must acknowledge his status and sincerity. This is a writer of establishment prominence. He was once Martin Peretz’s righthand man at The New Republic–so he had to be an ultra-Zionist. He gave private talks at AIPAC, the rightwing Israel lobby group. He wrote a book supporting the Iraq war, and later renounced his own position. His 2010 piece in The New York Review of Books on the failure of the American Jewish establishment, itemizing its moral collapse in enabling the occupation, was hugely significant in that Beinart was importing ideas from Walt and Mearsheimer and B’Tselem too into the mainstream. He followed that up with a book, “The Crisis of Zionism”, that opened with the author’s horror at Israeli human rights violations and later skewered DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for leading standing ovations for Netanyahu. Beinart became a hero at liberal Zionist gatherings. Young people wore t-shirts that said, Beinart’s Army, at J Street conferences.

Beinart’s stature in liberal Jewish communal life means that his new opinion represents a potential Walter Cronkite moment, as Robert Herbst puts it. The moment when America’s leading broadcaster came back from Vietnam in 1968 and said that America was not winning the war, it was a “bloody… stalemate;” and Lyndon Johnson famously said, he’d lost the country.

A lot of people will tell you that Beinart’s political revelations are not original, and while I agree, I would respond that he is charismatic and a gifted writer. I won’t forget him telling a large hall at J Street some years ago that if Israel/Zionism fails, Jews will be walking through the rubble of that error for generations… And here is a fine passage from the Jewish Currents piece:

For generations, Jews have seen a Jewish state as a tikkun, a repair, a way of overcoming the legacy of the Holocaust. But it hasn’t worked. To justify our oppression of Palestinians, Jewish statehood has required us to see them as Nazis. And, in that way, it has kept the Holocaust’s legacy alive. The real tikkun is equality, a Jewish home that is also a Palestinian home.

Beinart joins a list of liberal Zionists who have abandoned the two-state solution, and his joining that list means it is only going to grow. Some of the liberal Zionists who have preceded him are… Gershon Baskin in the Jerusalem Post last year:

Those of us in Israel who have supported and struggled to bring about a two-state solution are now forced to accept the new reality that [Netanyahu] will create, and we will have to join the ranks of the Palestinian people who will fight for democracy and equality in a non-nation-non-ethnic-secular state.

Ian Lustick in his book of last year, Paradigm Lost-– Lustick who had once been a two-state activist, now calling for a struggle for equal rights.

Or Eric Alterman saying that liberal Zionism is a contradiction in terms, in the Nation… Lara Friedman of Foundation for Middle East Peace, formerly of Americans for Peace Now, calling for sanctions… Larry Derfner publishing his book “No Country for Jewish Liberals” and supporting BDS…. or decades ago, anti-occupation legend Jeff Halper abandoning his Zionism…

Beinart’s defection from the two-state/separation camp puts huge pressure on the leading liberal-centrist Zionist organizations J Street, Americans for Peace Now, New Israel Fund, and Israel Policy Forum, to stop the beastly talk of “separation” and demographics and move further to the left. J Street is already under a ton of pressure. Its opposition to annexation has been lip service and ineffective, in the view of the alumni of its own youth branch, and these young people, many of them communal Jews, are surely exulting in Beinart’s new opinions– and trying to outdo him. I bet that IfNotNow endorses BDS before long…

Conservative Zionist David Harris lately complained that both the Jewish donors and Jewish bleachers are pressuring him to take a “macho” stand against Israel. Donors and bleachers both! The organized Jewish community is plainly in flux on Israel and the left can take credit for driving this discussion. Beinart’s endorsement of Ali Abunimah shows that the Palestinian narrative of Zionism is now in the Jewish tent, and it’s never leaving.

Earthquake in Zion

Jonathan Ofer below hits the nail on the head when he describes the shock heard around the Zionist world: Peter Beinart has abandoned ship. The highly respected liberal Zionist  in the always Zionist paper of record the New York Times argues:

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.

Ofer writes

A major earthquake has been happening in the Zionist camp this past week.

Peter Beinart, Prince of ‘Liberal-Zionism’, published a nearly 7K-word essay in Jewish Currents titled “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine”, explaining why he is abandoning the two-state solution. It was followed up by his much shorter piece in the New York Times titled “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State”.

I don’t need to write an essay to explain just how deeply this cuts into the Zionist heart. Equality between Jews and Palestinians is anathema to Zionism, and abandoning the Jewish State is relinquishing the conceptual means by which this inequality is maintained.

These advocacies in general are not novel. Many others as well as this writer have been making them for years. But the person who is now voicing them is part of this story which makes it that much more explosive.  The prince has just abandoned the castle. Even though Beinart seems keen to soften the blow by suggesting that Zionism continue more as “essence” rather than “form”, that is, become a kind of cultural signifier without a Jewish nation-state as such, for Zionists today, this is still very much tantamount to a death blow.

And yet, the liberals can’t just throw Beinart off as yet another negligible anti-Semite cuckoo. They know he has too much clout for that. Thus come the attempts to both be respectful yet dissenting.

Chair of J Street Jeremy Ben Ami starts out with greetings then lowers the boom

“Peace process” personas such as Martin Indyk and Aaron David Miller express disapproval

These critics need to hold on to their orthodoxy in the face of this shift. Beinart has moved on from the charade of the two-state solution that only prolonged Israeli oppression, and he has abandoned the camp. Although he ostensibly offers Zionists, including himself, a conceptual refuge of identity in “essence” but not “form”, this is not a refuge these Zionists seek. They want to maintain that form.

Enter Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz, and the critique becomes somewhat more crass.

Pfeffer’s Haaretz piece   is titled “Peter Beinart’s One State Solution Sounds So Perfect It’s Practically Utopian”, 

So, to recap Pfeffer:

Zionism is not about morals, but it is of course moral, and that’s beyond discussion. And it’s also beyond discussion currently, because it doesn’t exist anymore, and that’s why Beinart is wrong and utopian.

This is not just disingenuous argumentation – it is reactionary. “Our” pragmatism trumps all other moral considerations, because it’s singularly moral for us to survive, come what may.

Michael Sfard, Yesh Din and Israeli Apartheid

Just a couple of days after Beinart’s bombshell, came another, from another direction. The respected Israeli NGO Yesh Din which focuses on human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories published a legal opinion titled “The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid”.

The claim: “[T]he crime against humanity of apartheid is being committed in the West Bank. The perpetrators are Israelis, and the victims are Palestinians.”


“Continued creeping legal annexation, let alone official annexation of a particular part of the West Bank through legislation that would apply Israeli law and administration there, is an amalgamation of the regimes. This could mean strengthening the argument, which already is being heard, that the crime of Apartheid is not committed only in the West Bank. That the Israeli regime in its entirety is an apartheid regime. That Israel is an Apartheid state.”

“Right. When I started writing the opinion, I had only Israel’s acts on the ground to prove its intention to perpetuate domination. For 50 years the Israeli government was saying the ‘right thing’ — that the occupation is temporary until peace agreements will replace the ceasefire agreements. But then the gap between the Israeli statements and the Israeli actions disappeared. With their own words, Israeli officials have shattered their own alibi — a very lousy alibi that couldn’t hide the deeds anyway. Today my work is much easier.”

This is a good moment to reflect upon Aaron David Miller’s “honest answer”, that there is “no way out”. Oh, it’s so much easier for the privileged stratum to say that there’s just “no way out” and “no solution”, when that “no solution” is by default an acceptance of Apartheid, without one having to say so explicitly. Moshe Dayan said it a bit more clearly in 1967. He proposed saying to Palestinians:

“We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and we’ll see how this procedure will work out”.

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.


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


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

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.


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.