Jews ending Zionism

Jewish Voice for Peace bravely leads the way out of the false cred of Zionism, a counsel of despair which believes Jews  cannot integrate into society and that anti-Semitism is a virus without cure. It demands hafrada, separation, in the end segregation and apartheid. It fatally demonizes the Other as forever suspect. Jewish history is a  warning writ large about such a fatal embrace. In the end Zionism is a tragic negation of the universal values of Judaism. This is their welcome credo.

“Solidarity is the political version of love.”

– Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz,
Jewish American lesbian feminist, author and activist (1945-2018)

Jewish Voice for Peace is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.

We know that opposing Zionism, or even discussing it, can be painful, can strike at the deepest trauma and greatest fears of many of us. Zionism is a nineteenth-century political ideology that emerged in a moment where Jews were defined as irrevocably outside of a Christian Europe. European antisemitism threatened and ended millions of Jewish lives — in pogroms, in exile, and in the Holocaust.

Through study and action, through deep relationship with Palestinians fighting for their own liberation, and through our own understanding of Jewish safety and self determination, we have come to see that Zionism was a false and failed answer to the desperately real question many of our ancestors faced of how to protect Jewish lives from murderous antisemitism in Europe.

While it had many strains historically, the Zionism that took hold and stands today is a settler-colonial movement, establishing an apartheid state where Jews have more rights than others. Our own history teaches us how dangerous this can be.

Palestinian dispossession and occupation are by design. Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations, systematically separating Palestinians from their homes, land, and each other. Zionism, in practice, has resulted in massacres of Palestinian people, ancient villages and olive groves destroyed, families who live just a mile away from each other separated by checkpoints and walls, and children holding onto the keys of the homes from which their grandparents were forcibly exiled.

Because the founding of the state of Israel was based on the idea of a “land without people,” Palestinian existence itself is resistance. We are all the more humbled by the vibrance, resilience, and steadfastness of Palestinian life, culture, and organizing, as it is a deep refusal of a political ideology founded on erasure.

In sharing our stories with one another, we see the ways Zionism has also harmed Jewish people. Many of us have learned from Zionism to treat our neighbors with suspicion, to forget the ways Jews built home and community wherever we found ourselves to be. Jewish people have had long and integrated histories in the Arab world and North Africa, living among and sharing community, language and custom with Muslims and Christians for thousands of years.

By creating a racist hierarchy with European Jews at the top, Zionism erased those histories and destroyed those communities and relationships. In Israel, Jewish people of color – from the Arab world, North Africa, and East Africa – have long been subjected to systemic discrimination and violence by the Israeli government. That hierarchy also creates Jewish spaces where Jews of color are marginalized, our identities and commitments questioned & interrogated, and our experiences invalidated. It prevents us from seeing each other — fellow Jews and other fellow human beings — in our full humanity.

Zionist interpretations of history taught us that Jewish people are alone, that to remedy the harms of antisemitism we must think of ourselves as always under attack and that we cannot trust others. It teaches us fear, and that the best response to fear is a bigger gun, a taller wall, a more humiliating checkpoint.

Rather than accept the inevitability of occupation and dispossession, we choose a different path. We learn from the anti-Zionist Jews who came before us, and know that as long as Zionism has existed, so has Jewish dissent to it. Especially as we face the violent antisemitism fueled by white nationalism in the United States today, we choose solidarity. We choose collective liberation. We choose a future where everyone, including Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, can live their lives freely in vibrant, safe, equitable communities, with basic human needs fulfilled. Join us.

Edward Said, prophet remembered

17 years ago this week one of the great public intellectuals died. His name, Edward Said.

Edward Said Dies; U.S. Scholar Was Leading Voice for Palestinians

By The Associated Press

  • Sept. 25, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Edward W. Said, a Columbia University professor and leading spokesman in the United States for the Palestinian cause, has died, his editor at Knopf publishers said Thursday. He was 67. 

Said had suffered from leukemia for years and died at a New York hospital late Wednesday, editor Shelley Wanger said. 

Said was born in 1935 in Jerusalem, then part of British-ruled Palestine, but he spent most of his adult life in the United States. He wrote passionately about the Palestinian cause but also on a variety of other subjects, from English literature, his academic specialty, to music and culture. 

When it came to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Said was consistently critical of Israel for what he regarded as mistreatment of the Palestinians. 

He wrote two years ago after visits to Jerusalem and the West Bank that Israel’s “efforts toward exclusivity and xenophobia toward the Arabs” had actually strengthened Palestinian determination. 

“Palestine and Palestinians remain, despite Israel’s concerted efforts from the beginning either to get rid of them or to circumscribe them so much as to make them ineffective,” Said wrote in the English-language Al-Ahram Weekly, published in Cairo. 

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Rereading Edward Said’s 1979 classic reissued in 1992, The Question of Palestine, I  was struck by the sheer clarity of his thought and as one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last 50 years, his challenge to somnolent and putative Jewish Intellectuals.

Said understood then, as many do now the absolute and just claims of the Palestinian people.

He wrote then:

It is no exaggeration to say that for the first time in our struggle against Zionism the west appears ready to hear our side of the story. Therefore we must tell it, we must stand in the international theatre created out of our struggle against Zionism and there we must defuse her message dramatically.

In the West our aim should be first to engage the liberal Zionist establishment that has so long turned its back on Zionism‘s victims.

Every day Israeli Occupation practices on the West Bank and Gaza as well as Israeli attacks on civilians in Lebanon pass without so much as a gesture of disapproval from Jewish intellectuals who have traditionally been in the forefront of human rights causes. This community of writers, intellectuals, scholars and professionals has betrayed its human mission.

Why for example did not the mass expulsion of 250,000 civilians from their homes in South Lebanon,  Israeli forces using cluster bombs during the spring of 1978 elicit a single public expression of condemnation? The  outrages go on every day and no one says anything

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Said’s prophetic voice was not wasted. History as always open and he would be most gratified to see young Jews break from the false creed of Zionism the radical departure from the universal ethics of Judaism.

Trump’s Mideast Mirage

Eric Margolis is back and always worth a read. Describing himself as an “Eisenhower Republican,” he bolted from the Tea party/Trump cult a decade ago. For over 25 years he wrote for the Toronto Stun but wore out his welcome  because he knew something about the Middle East where  he had been a war correspondent and saw through Israel’s creeping takeover of all of Palestine. Like Robert Fisk, Margolis spoke Arabic and had this salient fact in his quiver- Margolis’ mother, Nexhmie Zaimi, was also a journalist who spent a long time in the Middle East documenting the plight of the Palestinians during the 1950s.

Reflexively conservative  as the scion of the founder of Jameson’s Drugs and independently wealthy, Margolis who actually knows something about the Middle East.

spoke and wrote unpalatable truths about Israel and quickly found himself banned from the Toronto Stun and virtually disappeared from CNN and Steve Paikin’s Agenda.

Unlike most North Americans who had fallen prey to Israel’s slick hasbara campaigns Margolis  easily saw how Israel the “model of reasonableness” smartly concealed its expansionist project of “disappearing” Palestine from naive Western sponsors. This ‘step by step” approach, flying in the face of international law, never fooled Margolis. His departure from the public Middle East discourse was sealed by his caustic reference to Israel’s mass murder in Gaza as “a final solution campaign.” Well, Eric is  back at EricMargolis.com

Trump’s Mideast Mirage

The Trump administration, desperate for some good news, just manufactured its own news by confecting a ‘peace’ deal between Israel and a bunch of pipsqueak Arab monarchies – just in time for November US elections.

The Gulf monarchies – the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – that signed this agreement are so frightened of neighboring Iran that they would happily have opted for Israeli rule rather than welcome the angry, unforgiving Iranians, who call the Gulf Arabs ‘traitors, cowards and backstabbers,’ a sentiment shared by much of the Arab world.

Few Americans could find these little sheikdoms on a map. But many evangelical voters, who have a comic-book view of the Mideast, will think the Trump administration has achieved a major feat by supposedly bringing peace to the Holy Land. Cynics, among them many Israelis, will likely scoff at such falafel in the sky thinking. Oman is expected to sign the new accord.

Israel remains intent on expanding its borders to gobble up all of what was historic Palestine and its water resources. Five million Palestinians will remain stateless. Israel also has its eye on fertile parts of Syria and Lebanon.

As I suggested in my book on Mideast strategy, ‘American Raj,’ the key beneficiaries of any Arab-Israeli peace deal would be Israel’s bankers, businessmen and arms makers. If a decent peace deal can be made with the Palestinians, the doors of the entire Muslim world (a fifth of humanity) will be opened to Israel’s commerce and finance. This will be a huge bonanza worth orders of magnitude more than the West Bank’s scrubby slopes.

But to do so, Israel’s hard right and religious extremists will have to lessen their demands for Arab land and water – that is, what they term, Greater Israel. Just as difficult and obdurate will be Trump’s evangelical core voters who want to see a mythical Biblical Israel recreated, paving the way for the return of the Messiah and earth’s fiery destruction.

The United Arab Emirates, population just under 10 million, is only 10% Arab. The rest of its people are mainly Indians and Pakistani coolies, giving rise to the old bon mot that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the world’s best Indian-run cities.

Non-Arab members of the UAE are treated like slaves. They are paid a pittance, poorly fed, and live in squalor. Non-Arabs have no rights. Arab citizens don’t have any rights either, just a better standard of living.

I remember these tiny city states from the early 1970’s when I worked for a leading US firm that smuggled high-end cosmetics and perfumes into India, Pakistan and the USSR via Dubai’s busy port.

Back in the day, Britain’s intelligence agency, MI6, controlled Oman and its royal rulers. Similarly, the CIA today exercises great influence over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, not to mention Egypt and Morocco. Tiny Qatar maintains a degree of independence in the face of Saudi threats and efforts by the Trump people to crush it.

The big Mideast deal ballyhooed by Trump and Co. is in reality a phony peace between secretly allied Gulf States and Israel. They have been playing footsie for over a decade. It is not primarily about peace but about Iran and arms sales to the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia that they have no idea how to use. Weapons sales are a protection payoff to Washington, which has important bases in Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

What next? Will Trump declare a trans-Pacific alliance between Tonga and the US to ‘contain’ China?

As for peace in the Mideast, recall the biting words of Roman historian Tacitus, ‘where they make a desert they call it peace.’ That is what awaits over five million Palestinian refugees, not a new dawn promised by the Trump administration.

Trump for the NOBLE!

Once again   we were  treated to a clown shown in the Trumpian parallel universe. There they were  virtually all white unmasked men flouting  COVID 19 directives promoting an irrelevant “Middle East agreement” as the Second Coming almost akin to V-E Day. Of course  there were no no Palestinians on whom justice depends in attendance. But there he was the other outlier, the Israeli racist in chief Netanyahu preening for the cameras 

This of course was a pathetic attempt to “wag the dog” Trump’s bizarre attempt   to deflect attention from what  Bob Woodward termed his “homicidal” presidency. The shameless narcissist was also busy promoting a NOBLE peace prize as one of his press releases said.

Now it takes a real Israeli writer to put all this Noble nonsense in context.Michael Brizon of Haaretz  writes under B.Michael. Here’s his latest

Netanyahu’s Dream-come-true Kingdom

sign at airport as Netanyahu leaves

B. Michael

Despite all the superlatives being lavished upon it, the hoopla in Washington is nothing more than a double campaign ad by two unbridled narcissists. Both are currently suffering some election anxiety, and so they fabricated a “historic event” to please their base. It wasn’t hard. A pair of tyrannical emirates – no bastions of human rights – were persuaded by Uncle Sam’s purse-strings and weapons store to expose their shadowy ties with a third tyrannical state. What was kept hidden under the rug for years has now been pulled out to be shown off for all to see. This is the whole reason for the big fanfare.

The festive signing of Israel’s new agreements with the UAE and Bahrain will not bring about any significant benefit, will not lead to any important change, will not solve any problem. Some tycoons will get a little wealthier, some arms dealers will get fatter on more blood money, and some tens of thousands of Israeli tourists will have yet another destination to which to flee from their dying homeland. There, in the sparkling shopping malls of the UAE, their money will help to “oil the wheels of the local economy.” What greater joy can there be?

In short, these agreements are as important and historic as a normalization agreement signed between Israel and the Azrieli Mall

Still, there has been something instructive about the whole thing, too. As we’ve learned, Benjamin Netanyahu is a complete cynic without a drop of empathy in his soul, which is entirely dark, cold, twisted and selfish. Witness the family trip he arranged for himself to America while millions of Israelis are struggling to put bread on the table and to keep healthy. But something amazing happened here:

Amid all the cynicism and the spin, there was a glimpse of something human, something real, almost touching, in the way Bibi has referred to his new friends. You could tell that he genuinely likes them, genuinely respects them – maybe even envies them. And it seems that he likes their kingdoms even more.

It’s not hard to see why. These rulers and their countries represent his dream come true. This is exactly the sort of kingdom he envisions. It is just what he wants – a feudal, fawned-over family regime that controls an entire country. Rule that is forever held by one family. A kingdom in which a chosen people that is the minority rules over a majority whose rights are trampled. And in which halakha (traditional Jewish law) is the law of the state and is used to keep the subjects in line and to stamp out any enlightenment.

And that’s not all: At the head of this state is the omnipotent Emir. He appoints judges, certifies police officers, selects generals, controls the media and chooses most of the members of “parliament.” All the state coffers are at the disposal of the Emir and his family, and they can use it to buy themselves yachts and planes, to build lavish mansions, and to purchase as many cigars and as much ice cream as their hearts desire. Needless to say, the Emir and his family don’t have to ask twice to get a tax refund.

Spirit of cooperation…

Is it any wonder that Bibi’s eyes gleam with admiration and envy when he speaks about his new partners in normalization? Partners whose countries are also under investigation for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity? And who make their in-house enemies disappear while scoffing at the critics outside?

So it is in Abu Dhabi, in Bahrain and in the country of Bibi’s dreams – the Abu-Yair Emirate where he is the absolute ruler. No joke. This is where we are headed.

As Zionism is unmasked, hysteria explodes

Israeli Lobby Organizations Seek to Bankrupt Progressive, Pro-Palestinian Restaurant

On July 10, 2020 Yves Engler wrote

The pro-Israel community is engaged in a remarkable effort to bankrupt a small progressive Toronto restaurant. In their attack on Foodbenders, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai B’rith have once again allied with the violent, far-right, Jewish Defence League (JDL).

Over the past week the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has tweeted no less than 25 times about a restaurant known for supporting indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes. CIJA and associates have targeted Foodbenders’ delivery services, institutional customers, website host and social media accounts. They’ve also gotten the prime minister, premier of Ontario, mayor of Toronto and numerous other politicians to (directly or indirectly) denounce the small restaurant that has “I love Gaza” painted in its window.

A CIJA action alert to its members states, “antisemites MUST be held accountable. We will never hesitate to take strong legal action against business owners in our city who declare Zionists are ‘not welcome’. United Jewish Appeal’s advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is “calling on the Ontario Human Rights Commission to hold Foodbenders accountable for its discriminatory stance against our community. 

B’nai B’rith has also put out dozens of tweets about the restaurant and different ways to bankrupt it. One statement calls on its supporters to “contact 311@toronto.ca to request that Foodbenders have its business license investigated. Be sure to mention section 27 of By-law No. 574-2000, which prohibits the use of a licensed business to ‘discriminate against any member of the public’ on grounds of ‘race, colour, or creed.’ Attach screenshots if you can.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and Honest Reporting Canada have put out dozens of tweets supporting efforts to bankrupt the social justice minded business. The Israel-based International Legal Forum filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against Foodbenders’ owner Kimberly Hawkins. In what is thought to be the first time the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism has been employed in this way, they are claiming that under its stipulations the restaurant owner should be charged with discrimination.

The more liberal end of the Israeli nationalist establishment has also joined the pile on. Former Canadian Jewish Congress president and current chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Bernie Farber, has repeatedly denounced the restaurant and so has the Canadian Jewish Record, a publication he recently established. In one tweet Farber denounced “the antisemitic tropes used by Food benders.”

Hawkins has being attacked incessantly since an Instagram post of hers began circulating last week that stated, “Open Now – 8 PM for non-racist shoppers #Bloordale #Bloorstreet, #Toronto, #Open, #ftp [fuck the police] #FreePalestine and #ZionistsNotWelcome.” The anti-Palestinian lobby pounced on the #ZionistsNotWelcome hashtag.

In response to Hawkins’ refusal to back down from her support of Palestinian rights, Jewish Defence League thugs held a rally in front of Foodbenders on Sunday. During their hate fest they scrubbed a Palestinian Lives Matter marking from the sidewalk and, similar to what Jewish supremacist settlers do to Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, someone painted the symbol on the Israeli flag onto the restaurant window. Alongside painting Stars of David on her storefront, Hawkins has faced a bevy of online abuse. The Foodbenders owner has been called a “dirty Palestinian whore” and told “Palestine sucks I will burn your business down” and “I hope your family gets trapped inside the restaurant when it burns.”

In the dozens of tweets and statements they’ve put out about the restaurant B’nai B’rith, CIJA, Wiesenthal Centre, Honest Reporting Canada and Farber have all stayed mum on JDL’s acts of hate, which were carried out in broad daylight and filmed (CIJA referred to “vandalism” in one tweet). This isn’t surprising. Despite the JDL’s racism and violence, the Jewish establishment has tacitly accepted or actively supported its often-violent targeting of Palestine solidarity campaigners.

After JDL supporters attacked peaceful pro-Palestinian activists protesting a presentation by Israeli military reservists at York University in November, the establishment Jewish organizations cried “anti-Semitism”. 

Last year JDL, B’nai B’rith and CIJA worked with Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak in a bid to have the city block Al Quds Day. Banned in the US and Israel, JDL participates in the annual Walk for Israel organized by United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto. JDL has also been allowed to recruit in Jewish high schools and during Israel’s 2014 destruction of Gaza the JDL and B’nai B’rith co-sponsored a counter-demonstration and the group provided “security” for a Canadians for Israel rally.

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On August 3, 2020, unknown individuals vandalized the rear of the store, spray painting, among other things, profanity and the Star of David. Police took a report and did not follow up.

September update

On the evening of Wednesday, September 2, 2020, vandals again attacked the Foodbenders store in Bloordale, this time smashing the storefront window. Responding to a vandalism report from Foodbenders’ lawyer, Detective Jason Crane of the Criminal Investigation Bureau has replied to Foodbenders that he has yet to assign anyone to investigate the incident.

Foodbenders is making a plea to supporters and the public at large to contact Detective Jason (Robert) Crane of the Toronto Police Service at (416) 808 1104 (Robert.Crane@torontopolice.on.ca) to inquire as to what they plan to do concretely to protect Foodbenders from vandalism.

A Clear Message From West Bank Mosque Burning: Palestinians Must Disappear

Ethnic cleansing has never stopped in Israel.This wobderful democracy built on the ruins of Palestine is an embarrassment to the rule of law. Settlers have carte blanche to make life miserable for the indigenous.

Jewish vigilantes below

Amira Hass a real Israeli journalist you can trust, writes for Haaretz

“Where is the El Bir Wa-el Ihsan mosque,” I asked the driver at the taxi stand in northeast El Bireh, a West Bank city, on Monday morning. “The mosque that was torched by the Jews?” he asked. “I have no idea.”

The mosque was opened in August 2016, and most of the people I asked, including other taxi drivers, had never heard of it. I assumed that it must be in a place that’s very accessible to anyone who wishes harm – with a convenient escape route. Near a settlement. Near military cameras. Near an Israel Defense Forces position.

My first guess was the El Bireh industrial zone, past the Beit El army checkpoint and the Civil Administration base. In October 2019 unknown individuals arrived there in a vehicle, punctured the tires of about 30 Palestinian-owned cars, and in order to remove any doubt regarding their identity – left behind graffiti in Hebrew.

But no. The mosque is not in the industrial zone. My second guess was correct: It’s situated in the city’s education complex, right next to the soccer stadium. Opposite it, to the south, less than a kilometer away as the crow flies, is the settlement of Psagot, in all its greenery.

As he does every day, muezzin Jalal Mahmoud Ayesh arrived at the mosque at 3:10 A.M. on Monday. Even before he got out of his car he noticed that the electricity in the building was off. Maybe there’s a short circuit, he thought. He entered the prayer hall via the western entrance, and immediately smelled fire. He followed the smell to the door of the eastern entrance. The handle was hot. When he opened the door, he saw flames climbing up the tiles on the mosque’s outer wall.

Ayesh wasted no time and called the local fire station. He assumed that it was a children’s prank – that perhaps they had set fire to the closet, made of wood and plastic, in which worshippers place their shoes before prayer. The firefighters, who arrived within a few minutes, said, “What are you talking about? It is not children,” and they pointed to graffiti in Hebrew, sprayed in black on a newly whitewashed wall. Later on people would come to translate the words for him: “A siege for the Arabs and not for the Jews,” with one exclamation point. “The Land of Israel for the People of Israel,” with two exclamation points.

A second locus of the arson attack was in the mosque’s bathroom. A carpet, under the sinks, was burned. The wall and floor tiles were charred, as was the windowpane, which was cracked.

At 9 A.M., when I was there, someone said that Palestinian police officers had arrived earlier, but they had been dressed in civilian clothing, because the site is located in what’s defined as “Area C”: under full Israeli security and civil control, where the Palestinian police are not allowed to operate. “C” is an artificial category, but the land belongs to the El Bireh Municipality, and the residential neighborhood in which it is located is within the municipal boundaries – a natural continuation of the city’s older neighborhoods.

In 2009 the settlement of Psagot and the Regavim pro-settler NGO demanded that the Civil Administration demolish the local stadium, then in the final stages of construction. They also warned that thousands of overexcited soccer fans were likely to throw “ballistae” (the term used in their petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice) at the settlement. But it turned out that already in the early 1980s, the military government had given the municipality permission to build in that area. The attempt at demolition was thwarted.

How did the arsonists arrive at the mosque? Perhaps on the road from the settlement to the city’s garbage-disposal site, and from there to the stadium near the mosque. They could have arrived in a car, if the guard at the site was not at his post then, or parked it on the slope of the hill and ascended on foot.

The arsonists’ indirect message is: Look at us, we do whatever we like and will continue to do it, because the police won’t bother to search for us and the army won’t turn us in. And if they do catch us, they won’t prosecute us, and if they do prosecute, the judges will find an excuse to acquit us. That’s how it’s been for years.

The direct message behind the arson attack is written on the wall: The Palestinians must disappear from here. And if they don’t disappear of their own free will then we, anonymous Jews, will force them to do so.

Israel’s culture of superiority and birthright entitlement

Before he was murdered by the Gestapo in April 1945, the Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer distilled this wisdom:

There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learnt to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled – in short, from the perspective of those who suffer 

In discussions with Palestinian Canadians, one quickly hears the deep pain not only  of what was lost in the Nakba of 1948 but the stunning inability or chosen blindness of the public to acknowledge the truth of their violent dispossession. Most Canadians  are incapable of cutting through massive Israeli propaganda and are terrified of being branded anti-Semitic.

For Canadian Jews, many highly educated, have resorted to an uncritical tribalism, devoid of authentic Judaic values.

The brilliant Israeli writer Amira Hass has internalised  Bonhoeffer’s ”history from below.” 

Israelis’ Shock at Police Violence at anti-Netanyahu Protests Is Quite Shocking

Amira Hass

For a moment I thought I would begin by writing that I welcome every blow delivered by a Jewish police officer to a Jewish demonstrator on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street. But I changed my mind. Violent police – who are arousing such shock among the mainstream media these days – are situated on the same continuum as individual and gang rapists, sexual harassers, nursery school teachers who abuse toddlers and social media bullies. I changed my mind because in my search for a lead for this article, this literary stratagem (“I welcome every blow,” etc.) does not apply to all parts of that continuum.

All those individuals are people with power and physical strength, who resort to violence in order to harm and cause pain to others – just because they can. To feel strong and superior, to scare and silence. And in order to enjoy themselves. Let’s not forget that dimension. Enjoyment and satisfaction are an important component in demonstrating superiority, in the act of causing pain to another person.

All the recent expressions of shock are encouraging: from the spontaneous demonstrations against rape culture and the forgiving attitude toward acts of rape and harassment, to the condemnations in the media that are putting the police on the defensive. Such shock is evidence of the health of a society.

That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, however, the shock at police violence on Balfour Street is surprising. Or to be more precise – it’s shocking. It demonstrates that Israeli society does not understand how deeply mired it is in a culture of superiority, of birthright entitlement and of the divine right to exercise our muscles to attain satisfaction, real estate and a cheap and submissive work force.

Or again, to be precise: Israeli society is living in a state of conscious denial. It refuses to internalize the scope of violence that it is nurturing. And I refer not only to police violence against Palestinian in East Jerusalem or against Palestinians who are Israeli citizens.

Fifty-three years of military, police and Shin Bet security service domination over about 5 million people are exactly that: violence. Supremacy. Satisfaction with the violence and the supremacy. Every floor tile in every house in every Jewish settlement is just that: arrogant, prolonged violence, which is defended day and night by brigades and generations of our delicate and armed children.

As part of their calling to garner real estate in the West Bank, they go out to make arrests every night, including of minors. They throw them to the floor of their jeeps, handcuff and blindfold them. In about 50 percent of the cases they hit minors. A slap here, a kick or shove there. Because they can.

Open the website of the B’Tselem human rights organization to the “Updates” section. You’ll find several examples there of kicking, laughter abuse by Israel Defense Forces soldiers in uniform. Yes, I know. The right-wing propaganda has succeeded. For you the testimony of an Arab about an attack – not documented in full in a video clip, from every angle, and preferably on the smartphone of the soldiers themselves – is worthless. By the way: That’s also violence, to first believe the version of events espoused by the ruler, the one in power. The strong one, which is us.

And still, maybe the physical blow delivered by a police officer did upset something in the collective denial mechanism, and you’ll realize the connection between it and the routine violence by soldiers, only an iota of which reaches the B’Tselem website. Not killing. Not serious injury. Just incidental violence, along the way. Because they can.

Jump from there to another website of bleeding hearts, that of Yesh Din rights organization. Read the statistics: The chances that a Palestinian complaint about a soldier’s violence against him will lead to prosecution are 0.7 percent. And is there any need to mention the extent to which Jewish Israeli citizens who harm Palestinians and their orchards, in most instances, receive immunity from a police investigation and prosecution?

From January through August 10, 2020, the United Nations counted 163 incidents of assault by Jewish Israelis, from the settlements, against Palestinians. Of them 49 were physical attacks that caused wounds and bruises. There were 114 attacks against orchards, crops, fields and other property. What is the systematic turning of a blind eye to these attacks, if not a blow delivered by Israeli society – again and again?

UAE Spacecraft Brings No Hope for the Palestinians

O Brave New world that has such people in it. And every country has such thoughtful, prophetic people like Hagai El-Ad the executive director of B’Tselem, Israel’s voice for human rights.Though a secular organization, B’Tselem was not able to run past or deny the authentic Judaic bedrock when Ben Gurion and the secular Zionist cabal created the stller colonialist state. This human rights organization takes its name from the bible: Genesis 1:27: “And God created humankind in His image. In the image of God did He create them.” The name expresses the Jewish and universal moral edict to respect and uphold the human rights of all people.Since the Nakba of 1948 israel has made a mockery of such a vision

Hagai El-Ad

The United Arab Emirates’ spacecraft heading for Mars is called Hope. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made sure to mention this in his announcement of the peace treaty with the UAE. After all, Startup Nation is happy to gaze into space, the heavens, the Persian Gulf or any other conceivable place, just as long as it doesn’t have to look straight at the Palestinians.

The Palestinians, unlike that spacecraft, didn’t merit a place of honor in the prime minister’s speech. The Palestinians, unlike that spacecraft, aren’t heading for Mars. The Palestinians, alongside us, live on the ground of reality.

The setting aside, at least for now, of the formal annexation of part of the West Bank allows us to direct our attention to that very place – the ground of reality. For in reality, with or without U.S. President Donald Trump’s backing, the ground between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is home to 14 million people. And all of them are subject to the same authority.

Millions of them – all Palestinians – live without rights, vulnerable to state violence, dispossessed, displaced, killed and oppressed. Israel considered for a time whether to make this aspect of reality official by announcing an “annexation” or “applying sovereignty.” Some people questioned the practical implications of such a move, since Israel already acts as if this territory were its own.

In the end, Israel forged the deal announced by Netanyahu. The declarations will be put on the shelf for now, but the Palestinian people will not. With or without the UAE, and with or without annexation, there is already a consensus in Israel about continuing to rule over the Palestinians. The argument is only over the details and the amount of lip service to be paid.

Netanyahu simply announced his preferred alternative for continuing the existing situation – without formal annexation (for now), but with the UAE. Yet under any possible scenario, anyone who wakes up tomorrow morning in Ramallah or in Khan Yunis will wake up to the same reality, one in which they are subjects with no rights and in which almost every aspect of their lives is controlled by Israel.

Netanyahu wants to talk about Abu Dhabi, but life itself, to use a favorite term of his, is attached firmly connected to Hebron and Nablus, Gaza City and Jerusalem. Because even after the Hope enters Mars’s orbit in a few months’ time, all of us here – Jews and Palestinians alike – will remain in the same shared orbit.

Look straight into the eyes of the people living under a regime of checkpoints, permits, military orders and walls dividing us. What hope – not in space, but here on earth – do they have in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege for 13 years; in the Jordan Valley, where dozens of communities have no water and are repeatedly expelled from their hopes; in the bantustan of Ramallah, whose residents are surrounded by settlements and checkpoints; or in the Jenin refugee camp?

The moral questions that must be answered are, first, how our life here on earth will look when millions of people are already in the sixth decade of this rotten reality. And second, how we can oppose a regime whose essence is one group’s supremacy over another so that we can live in a completely different reality, one with justice and rights for all.

The answers to these questions won’t be found on another celestial body or through disruptive technologies. They won’t be found in the prime minister’s speech or in Washington. They are simple, fundamental answers that all decent people can find when they look other people straight in the eye.

Look closely at them. Then look inward. You know the answers.

Hagai El-Ad is the executive director of B’Tselem.

Rashid Khalidi: Victory for Arab Reaction

As per usual it was Amy Goodman of Democracy Now who alone had one of the most thoughtful persons on the Middle East  Rashid Khalidi speak  to the announcement  that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement to fully normalize relations after years of secretly working together on countering Iran and other issues.The UAE is the first Gulf Arab country to normalize relations with Israel and just the third country in the Arab world to do so, after Egypt and Jordan.

Rashid Khalidi, is the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, author of several books his latest, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine was interviewed  on August 14.

Rashid Khalidi       Edited

In a sense, this is  another campaign in the hundred years’ war on Palestine. This is a great victory for Arab reaction. It’s a great victory for the annexationist government in Israel. It’s also a boost for President Trump. The Trump regime, which is one of the most authoritarian in American history, has now gotten a diplomatic victory.

So, I don’t see that it has anything to do with peace, of course. The United Arab Emirates was never at war with Israel. On the contrary, it makes the chance of a just, equitable and sustainable peace much, much, much harder.

 Well, it came about partly because of the blowback against the Trump-Netanyahu plan to overtly annex territories, which, as Rashida Tlaib said, are already under Israeli control, and, as Netanyahu said, he still plans to annex. But the blowback was so severe that both Trump and Netanyahu were forced to recalibrate.

And this is something that has always been ongoing, the plan to bring the most reactionary, most absolute monarchies in the world into an open public alliance with Israel, as part of the Netanyahu-Trump obsession with Iran, which is something that these regimes are also obsessed with, given that they have — they do not depend on consent of the governed, they do not have any kind of domestic legitimacy, they’re anti-democratic. They are the forces that fight against democracy throughout the Arab world. The United Arab Emirates is not a force for peace. It’s at war with the people of Yemen. It’s at war in Libya. It has never been involved in a war with Israel.

So, this is making overt a relationship that was already covert. This is making even more salient an alliance against Iran, which is the wet dream of both Netanyahu and Trump, to dangle Iran in front of people’s eyes to distract them from the kinds of reactionary dictatorships or absolute monarchies. Those monarchies are so reactionary that they make Henry VIII and Louis XIV look like Tom Paine and Robespierre. They are the most absolute monarchies in the world today. The fact that the United States is supporting them is an absolute disgrace.

the United Arab Emirates has never been engaged in war with Israel. On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates’ air defenses, its missile defenses, are manufactured in Israel and are probably controlled from Israel. So, this is an ally of Israel in practice. It always has been. Now this has been made public.

Israel still  the coloniser

Whatever the president and his ambassador to Israel say, I would take Netanyahu at his word. There is no change in his plans. He said it. You ran a clip from him, speaking in Hebrew. They will continue the ongoing colonization of the West Bank. They will continue to control it absolutely. Israel will continue to be the only sovereign between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. And it will continue its discriminatory policies whereby Israelis have one set of laws and Palestinians, under occupation, basically have the law of the jungle, i.e. military occupation, military courts, in which everybody is always guilty and in which about 20% of the Palestinian population has been sent to prison. So, we’re talking about a jackboot regime which is going to be sustained and continued by this deal. That’s not peace. That’s continuation of colonization and occupation, whatever the president says.

Conflict with Iran?

Rone of the greatest falsehoods that these people peddle is this idea that there is a conflict between the Arabs and Iran. There is a conflict between nonrepresentative, anti-democratic regimes and Iran.Arab public opinion considers Israel a great danger. There are polls every couple of years, run by the Arab Center, which show that across a dozen Arab countries, the Arabs, the people, most of them unrepresented by these dictatorships and absolute monarchies, consider Iran a minor threat. It’s a problem, but it’s not the number one problem.

For these regimes, which have no domestic legitimacy, which do not depend on consent of the governed, of course Iran is a problem. Moreover, they need the United States and Israel, because they can’t defend themselves, given the fact that — against their people, let alone against external threats, because they have no domestic legitimacy.

So, I think this is not something between the Arabs and Iran. This is something between unrepresentative and undemocratic Arab regimes, notably the absolute monarchies of the Gulf, and Iran.

US Leadership

I think that the leadership of the Democratic Party, from Biden to Senator Harris to the people who run it, the Schumers and the Pelosis and the Clintons and the Obamas, all of them are behind the times. The Democratic Party, its base, the people who are going to vote for the Democrats and will hopefully defeat Trump in November and take back the Senate and increase the progressive trends in the House, don’t feel that way. They strongly believe that Israel should be sanctioned for its violations of Palestinian human rights. They don’t have the position that the Democratic Party leadership has.

This is not new, and it’s unfortunately been further entrenched by Biden and Harris becoming the nominees for the party. There were several other candidates — obviously, Senator Sanders and Senator Warren, but others — who had more nuanced positions, much more in tune with the base of the Democratic Party on this issue, on the issue of Palestine. So, a lot of work is going to be necessary to force a leadership, that is, as I’ve said, completely blind to Israel’s faults and doesn’t see the Palestinians, to do the right thing.

Karcher on Weiss

Bari Weiss  is the very whiny former NYT editor who was catapulted into a cushy job based on her father’s AIPAC connections and her own hard right Zionist beliefs. She  has been caught out many times on her poor me “cancel culture” trope. Her own cancel culture activity included  her fanatical attempts to get Palestinian professors at Columbia fired, then her bigoted editorial work circumscribing progressive Jewish  and Palestinian voices voices from ever appearing in the NYT

The real significance of Bari Weiss’s resignation from the New York Times

Carolyn Karcher

Change is in the air and the Israel lobby can no longer stamp it out by using its gatekeepers to censor and malign opposing voices.

Bari Weiss’s letter of July 14 announcing her resignation as an editor of the New York Times opinion page has received considerable publicity and has won praise from prominent right-wing spokespersons, including Donald Trump, Jr., political commentators Ben Shapiro and Bill Maher, and U.S. Republican senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Kelly Loeffler.   In that letter, posted on her website, Weiss accuses her colleagues of “bullying” her and silencing writers whose views clash with the Times’s “orthodoxy.”  “Intellectual curiosity,” she claims, “is now a liability at The Times.”  These claims are breathtakingly dishonest, coming as they do from an editor who has herself engaged in systematically barring from the Times any op-ed or letter to the editor contrary to the orthodoxy of the pro-Israel establishment she represents.  

Although Weiss emphasizes the “necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society”—principles I fully support—nothing could better illustrate “tribalism” than the censorship of voices criticizing Israel or pointing out the inherently undemocratic nature of a state that privileges Jews over non-Jews. 

 A flagrant example of the tribalism that the Times opinion page exhibited under Weiss’s editorship is its publication of an op-ed titled “On the Frontlines of Progressive Anti-Semitism” by Blake Flayton, a sophomore at George Washington University, and its failure to publish a single one of the letters that poured in from Jewish students at George Washington and other universities contradicting Flayton’s allegations about both antisemitism among progressives and about quasi-universal support for Israel among young Jews.  Frankly, the Times is much better off without Bari Weiss.  Perhaps now the Op-Ed and letters to the editor page can finally begin reflecting the remarkable shift that has been occurring in Jewish attitudes toward Israel and Palestinians, as indicated by Peter Beinart’s two articles, “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State”, and “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine” and by Eric Alterman’s “In New York, Zionism and Liberalism Faced Off—And Liberalism Won.”

Both Beinart and Alterman describe a long process of grappling with the contradictions between their ideal of Israel as a haven for Jews that could also be a democracy for its Palestinian citizens and their growing awareness of the brutal repression Palestinians endure under Israeli rule.  Confronted by more and more evidence that “With each new election, irrespective of which parties enter the government, Israel has continued subsidizing Jewish settlement in a territory in which Palestinians lack citizenship, due process, free movement, and the right to vote for the government that dominates their lives,” Beinart concludes: “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. . . .  It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish-Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish-Palestinian equality.” 

 Similarly, Alterman acknowledges: “As Israel grows increasingly illiberal—embracing not only annexation but also official racism, theocratic governance, and increasingly anti-democratic restrictions on the freedoms of its Arab minority . . . Liberal Zionism—a cause to which I have committed myself for my entire adult life—has come to look like a contradiction.” 

Alterman’s article actually comments on another example of what his subtitle calls “a sea change for American Jews”: the defeat of Eliot Engel, the powerful chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, by Jamaal Bowman, an African American former middle school principal.  As Alterman notes, Engel used his position to deliver “one hundred percent support for Israel” in lockstep with AIPAC and the ultra-conservative Zionist Organization of America, while neglecting the needs of his constituents, nearly 60 percent of whom are Black and Latino.

  Bowman, in contrast, balanced his commitment to “the right of Israelis to live in safety and peace” with an affirmation that “Palestinians are entitled to the same human rights, safety from violence and self-determination in a state of their own.”  Instead of his stand’s costing him the election, as it probably would have in years past, however, “Bowman won in a landslide,” and Engel did not even carry the district’s Jewish voters.  As Alterman explains, the result showed that “Israel had lost its centrality” among constituents who were “reeling under the threat of the pandemic and inspired by the politics of racial reawakening.”  They also showed that whereas in the past, liberals “chose just to make an exception for Israel while sticking with the rest of their left-leaning agenda,” this time liberalism had clearly won out over Zionism.

In short, change is in the air, and the pro-Israel lobby can no longer stamp it out by using its henchpersons to censor and malign opposing voices.  This is the real significance of Bari Weiss’s resignation from the New York Times.

Carolyn L. Karcher is Professor Emerita of English, American Studies, and Women’s Studies at Temple University. Her latest book is Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation,