Today is Martin Luther King Jr day in the USA and yesterday in the paper of record the New York Times columnist Michelle Alexander sent shock waves across America by channeling her inner King.
Alexander a black columnist,and civil rights lawyer well respected for her book The New Jim Crow published her own mea culpa. on her own silence on Israel.
Like many and particularly with people of colour, Alexander was frightened off any criticism of Israel. She knew how brutish and ugly are the paid pro-Israel trolls who hone in on anybody who dares speak a word on the the decades long oppression and humiliation of the Palestinian people.
Reflecting deeply on King’s extraordinary moral courage in standing up to not only a racist America but also to its violent foreign policy which ultimately cost him his life, she wrote:
It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.
Ms Alexander looked at bought and paid for congress people too afraid to speak, fearing the false charges of anti-Semitism and then reflecting on King’s great courageous legacy, wrote:
And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.
We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel.
What I liked about Alexander’s piece was her genuflection to the the great moral courage of Jews of Conscience in Israel . Here she flags Adalah
And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population.
She could have easily tipped her hat to Breaking The Silence,israeli soldiers who had had enough of their disgusting,daily humiliation of Palestinians, Rabbis for Human Rights, ICAHD the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, B’Tselem -all Israeli organizations who courageously stand for human rights.
But enough. Alexander and the new leadership of the 38 year old new editor of the Times A.G. Sulzberger are causing an earthquake in established Jewish organizations.
Tomorrow the appalling history of the New York Times on Israel/Palestine.