The Organic Intellectual

If our greatest task is to liberate humanity, as Paulo Freire asserts, then it is absolutely essential that we create a culture of resistance from below that is able not only to counter, but transcend the limitations of the ruling culture imposed by above. Hopefully, The Organic Intellectual will help serve this purpose.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black support for Israeli Apartheid?

Last month the Vanguard Leadership Group  (VLG), a group of self-proclaimed “African-American leaders,” paid for the full-page ad titled “Words Matter” targeting Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for their use of the term “apartheid” in labeling Israel.  The SJP is “a diverse group of students, faculty, staff and community members…organized on democratic principles to promote justice, human rights, liberation and self-determination for the Palestinian people” which utilizes educational events, film screenings, discussion forums, and demonstrations to raise awareness and further the gowing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement from Israel.

What has become painfully clear is that the VLG ought to be ashamed of themselves. The stench of their propaganda is evident, as this “vanguard” of elite charlatans complain about the “offensiveness” of a word that those who have actually suffered under apartheid  use themselves to describe Israel. Perhaps the whines and moans of the VLG would be a bit more convincing if their utter ignorance was not revealed by the fact that Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Willie Madisha, and many other heroes in the anti-apartheid struggle openly label Israel an apartheid state, rebuking the vacuous claims of the VLG. 
Archbishop Demond Tutu proclaimed:
I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government.
Willie Mashonda, former president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, articulated the comparison openly:
As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine, I say with confidence that Israel is an apartheid state. In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed against the South Africans by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa pale in comparison to those committed against the Palestinians.
Over sixty church leaders and theologians in South Africa released a similar statement with no ambiguity and in no uncertain words:
From our own experience of apartheid, we can clearly and without equivocation say that your situation is in essence the same as apartheid and in its practical manifestation even worse than South African apartheid.
Although Nelson Mandela fell short of calling Israel an apartheid state, the purported letter to Thomas Friedman is not, contrary to popular belief (a mistake I previously made), written by him, he did maintain harsh criticism for Israel
[W]hat we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody talks about that. Why should there be one standard for one country, especially because it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, that is white.
And in 1997, Mandela marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, (the official ANC website has, for whatever reason, removed this sourced speech) affirming his support for their struggle:
When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.
Zionist organizations condemned Mandela for his relatively moderate, two-state solution approach:
We deplore Mandela’s outrageous and immoral attempt to portray the terrorist dictator Saddam Hussein as an innocent victim of American aggression, and to put Israel on the same level as Saddam. Israel is a beleaguered, peaceful, and responsible democracy surrounded by terrorists and tyrants who have launched four wars against it and murder its citizens daily. Israel, like America, has every legal and moral right to protect itself with whatever weapons at its disposal.
In the normal Orwellian language employed by the Zionist state, it turns out people wanting to return to their homes are, undoubtedly, "terrorists and tyrants."

It is not only major figures in
the anti-apartheid struggle, but also South African dockworkers, who had taken up the cause of anti-apartheid struggle by participating in the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement. In 2009, members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) refused to unload a ship carrying Israeli cargo in response to Israel's three-week assault on Gaza, which saw the slaughter of over 1,300 Palestinians, a third of which were children, and injured 5,300 more. Workers followed suit in Sweden and Malaysia. A year later, after the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, US activists successfully convinced International Longshore and Warehouse Local 10, not bereft of black members, in Oakland, California to refuse unloading Israeli cargo, marking the first time Israel was boycotted at a U.S. port. I think it is clear that the opinions of working people, especially working people who actually suffered under apartheid, are far more convincing than the vacuous assertions of the VLG, who lace their website with various references to AIPAC and Israel.


Perhaps, also, the VLG is ignorant of the historic connections between Israel and South Africa. For decades Israel propped up the white minority government under the apartheid regime, selling it weapons even while the rest of the world condemned it as a pariah state. The Jewish Defense League, a mouthpiece for Israeli propaganda, openly condemned Nelson Mandela and the ANC as a terrorist organization. Even by 1982, when apartheid comparisons were being made, Raphael Eitan, chief of staff of the Israeli Army during its brutal 1982 invasion of Lebanon, rejected the comparison, inverting the role of victim and victimizer, oppressed and oppressor:
I don’t understand this comparison between us and South Africa. What is similar here and there is that both they and us must prevent others from taking us over. Anyone who says that the blacks are oppressed in South Africa is a liar. The blacks there want to gain control of the white minority just like the Arabs here want to gain control over us. And we, too, like the white minority in South Africa, must act to prevent them from taking us over. I was in a gold mine there and I saw what excellent conditions the black workers have. So there is [sic] separate elevators for whites and blacks, so what? That’s the way they like it.
Perhaps the “African-American leaders” who hail from such haughty academic perches simply overlooked the historical facts? Doubtful. What is more likely is that they are spewing their propaganda to serve a political purpose.

As far as the evidence to support the apartheid assertion, I will rely upon what the evidence that one commentator has already posited:
One might point the VLG student leaders to The Inequality Report, a freshly-minted report by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel,  which found that “Inequalities between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel span all fields of public life and have persisted over time. Direct and indirect discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel is ingrained in the legal system and in governmental practice,” and that “More than 30 main laws discriminate, directly or indirectly, against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the current government coalition has proposed a flood of new racist and discriminatory bills which are at various stages in the legislative process.” One might also point the 16 VLG members to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, which in 2004, in a rare instance of candor, reported that Israel had done “little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country’s Arab citizens. The State Department’s most recent report, published April 8, 2011, confirmed that 7-year-old finding, that “Principal human rights problems [in Israel] were institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Arab citizens.” (It should go without saying that racism in Israel is not limited to the anti-Arab variety.)
Furthermore, a 2009 report by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa concluded "On the basis of the evidence presented, this study concludes that Israel has introduced a system of apartheid in the OPT, in violation of a peremptory norm of international law."

All of these studies are worth extensive reads, and show more clearly than ever that Israel is, by all accounts, and apartheid state. Perhaps, as some activists have pointed out, the fundamental difference rests in the fact that the dominance of the white minority in South Africa rested upon the exploitation of the Black majority’s labor, whereas this dynamic is slightly different in Israel, which opts instead for separation and segregation to further its colonial settler goals. Yet, the pillars of apartheid are evident.

Perhaps even more shamefully, the VLG is not only ignoring the words and disfiguring the legacy of anti-apartheid activists who resist all oppression, but it is undoubtedly a shame to the historic legacy of black struggle and black liberation in the US against oppression.

Did the Zionists have the legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves just based on the "religious" claim that their forefathers lived there thousands of years ago? Only a thousand years ago the Moors lived in Spain. Would this give the Moors of today the legal and moral right to invade the Iberian Peninsula, drive out its Spanish citizens, and then set up a new Moroccan nation ... where Spain used to be, as the European zionists have done to our Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine?
Huey Newton, of the Black Panther Party, articulated the organization’s vociferous support for Palestinian liberation:
We realize that some people who happen to be Jewish and who support Israel will use the Black Panther Party’s position that is against imperialism and against the agents of the imperialist as an attack of anti-Semitism. We think that is a backbiting racist underhanded tactic and we will treat it as such. We have respect for all people, and we have respect for the right of any people to exist. So we want the Palestinian people and the Jewish people to live in harmony together. We support the Palestinian’s just struggle for liberation one hundred percent. We will go on doing this, and we would like for all of the progressive people of the world to join our ranks in order to make a world in which all people can live.
This was a position which the copycat Black Panther Party in Israel, originally created to challenge the anti-black racism in the country, also supported. Even Martin Luther King Jr., whose face the VLG shamefully plasters all over their website, was no ardent supporter of Zionism as the VLG would have you imagine.

The evidence is clear. How shameful, how repugnant, how utterly disgraceful, then, that the "top African-American leaders," self-proclaimed, have consciously placed themselves on the wrong side of history, on the side of oppression, of colonization, and injustice. How shameful indeed that they have attempted, from the comforts of their ivory tower, to pit the oppressed against the oppressed, to construct a fa├žade of black support for Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians. But no matter, for those struggling for justice in Palestine stand on the shoulders of black intellectuals and giants that the VLG, the self-proclaimed "African-American leaders," could only wish to stand on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Exchanges with a "Socialist" Zionist

In the wake of the historic reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, as well as the opening of the Rafah border from Egypt to Palestine, and the continually growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement from Israel, it is clear that the struggle for Palestinian liberation in on the upswing. In turn, it is important to analyze the rhetoric from the so-called "liberal" Zionist wing in Israel that often portrays itself as the "good" or "clean" version of Zionism,  opposed to brutal right-wing manifest in Benjamin Netanyahu. Inherent in their conception of "liberalism" or, in the rare case, "socialism," is that Zionism is somehow compatible with the aspirations of the Palestinian people, that somehow colonial settler states can be progressive or "socialist." The purportedly "socialist" wing of the Zionist movement is, undoubtedly, a small minority. Thus, it is a rare opportunity that one gets to engage in debate with a representative of this contradictory trend that attempts to reconcile both socialist internationalism while internalizing Zionist ideology. The end-result, in my opinion, is of the utmost disgust, one that undoubtedly drugs the socialist name through the mud of Zionist propaganda. Here I re-post an online debate between myself and one of these "socialist" Zionists, removing the name of my opponent. What was clear beyond all doubt to me after this encounter was that there is no and cannot be any "socialist" Zionist, as implicit in Zionism is an imposition of rule on an oppressed population by a group of colonialists who aim to push the Palestinian Arab population off their land. Zionism, just like imperialism, ought to be rejected in all of its forms, no matter the disguise it wears. Notice the sly implications that anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish (a false notion which supporters of Israel constantly conflate), notice the libelous accusations of anti-semitism, notice the lack of response to particular arguments, the constant strawmanning and falsifications. These are the intellectual hurdles one must jump to protect and sanction Zionist propaganda.

In short, read the debate, and decide for yourself. The purpose I hope this post serves is to help prepare activists for the sorts of arguments they will run into from the so-called "progressive" Zionists. Nothing in these posts have been edited, and the only things added in rare instances were those in brackets to help clarify what the discussion was referring to. I have, however, left out the other people who engaged in the debate, mostly because I did not ask their permission to post and do not want to drag them into an unwanted public arena without their consent.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zionist: I like your profile pic [Vittorio Arrigoni], but am hopeful you support the right to both Palestinians and Jews to self-determination in national homelands and sympathize that the Arab League plays a larger role in the conflict than Israelis and Palestinians themselves. I sympathize with Palestinians and more Israelis should recognize the refugee experience deriving from all Holocaust survivors, but too often I feel too many take one side and do not support justice for both. That being said, Israel needs immediate government reform so more liberal Israelis can push forth negotiations with the PA/Hamas/Fatah and discontinue the wall and occupation. In the same vein, you must understand how important it is to me that the Jewish people also deserve the right to justice and are perhaps one of the historical opitomes of persecution and ethnic injustice. Anywho, peace and may all those who rightfully deserve justice receive it


Derek: ****, I support the right of JEWS. I do not, have not, and will never support, under any circumstances, the political ideology of Zionism. I am one-sided in this, something I will not deny, in the same way that I would have been one-sided in the struggle against South African apartheid. It is of my opinion, and I believe the historical record proves this more clearly than anything, that a two-state solution with a weak, fractured, diminished, and enervated Palestinian state is not the solution. This is exactly the outcome of any two-state solution, as a Palestinian state will, if it were to be created, be forced forever under the auspices and the shadow of Israeli military might (which, we might add, exists today in large part to serve US geopolitical and economic interests in the region). Couching Zionism in the cloak of "Jewish self-determination" can not hide the very nature of the Zionist state, that of a colonial settler state that utilizes techniques of apartheid and violence to achieve it's existence. I support the right of any people to self-determination, but I do not support the right of Zionists to ethnically cleanse Palestine to create a "Jewish state," and think that a single-state, under the historic name of Palestine, where what we now consider "Israelis" and Arabs (be they Christian or Muslim or, dare I say, Jewish!) live with the same legal, political, and economic rights. I am unequivically opposed to the purported "right" of anyone who claims Jewish heritage, especially those living in the US and Europe, to migrate to Palestine and settle on Palestinian land. But, as you say, "may all those who rightfully deserve justice receive it." I hope, as you claim yourself as someone who sympathizes with the Palestinians, that you support the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement in support of Palestinian liberation!

 
Zionist: Derek, I respect so much that you responded thoughtfully and without rhetoric and hate. I understand how someone in your position may not acknowledge Zionism in its many different forms, some of which should be ridiculed and perpetuate the conflict, however I believe you're a little misinformed or in denial while you trivialize the Jewish plight. If you'll recall, no nations in the world accepted Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, besides the Dominican republic and few European nations that surrendered their Jews to the NAZI regime; America is no exception, if you're skeptical, look up the M.S. St. Louis a ship in which FDR personally refused via Secretary of State. Thousands sent back and many later perished at Auschwitz. And how about the Mizrachi Jewish exodus from Arab States before the declaration of Israeli statehood. These "Arabic Jews" or so they saw themselves had NOTHING to do with Zionism and identified with Arab nationhood? As tensions grew in the British Mandate (which Palestinians did not exist before Arab nationalism, they were Arabs of the Ottoman Empire and before that Syria, Jordan, and Egypt)
 
Anyway, these Jewish communities present in Arab states even before the rise of Christianity or Islam were now being persecuted by their leaders and neighbors. Most to which end let to community massacres, probably equivicable to Israel's innocent casualty wrongdoing. Many communities, in the thousands in each Arab nation were either exiled or restricted to emigrate and persecuted. For this reason Israel rescued many of these communities by plane or bus from dangerous nations such as Ethiopia (Operation Moses, Flying Carpet, etc), Yemen and Oman, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, etc. I believe you are unfortunately too idealistic on this issue and only see black and white
 
At the same time, you won't even comment about the Arab League and how they're nations are revolutionizing toward democracy (like Israel where you obviously do not understand that Arabs, be them Muslim, Christian, or Druze hold equal rights and hold a better opportunity for life and free speech in Israel where they'd never be allowed in Arab nations

Or the fact that nations like Libya and Jordan have historically persecuted their Palestinian brothers and sisters, refugee populations and even exiled them back to Palestine

I think you perpetuate hate and anti-Semitism and won't acknowledge the plight of the oldest persecuted group in history. It saddens me that so many liberals do not remain objective on this issue and makes me believe anti-Semitism will remain until my culture no longer exists. Perhaps you don't know what it feels like to grow up realizing you're entire ancestry was murdered by NAZI regime and surrendered and abandoned by their neighbors; in Western Europe most Jews found Zionism ridiculous and identified with their nations until anti-Semitism exploded. Real liberals choose justice. Free Palestine, free Israel from being forced to deal with a military conflict they don't want for their own and other childrens' nations!

‎"We will never forgive Syria for making us kill their sons." -Golda Meir

if you support self determination for the Jews than where do you propose their homeland be? I honestly believe Native "Americans" deserve their own state which wouldn't even do justice because it would trivialize all native tribal cultures into one state. What do you propose is a solution than? Another holocaust?

And no I don't support that movement, I only advocate for objective Jewish-Muslim alliance oganizations that promote peace and justice for both like you claim to subscribe to

One more thing, almost all European Jews genetically originate in the Middle East and the Levant/ Afghanistan/Persia. This is empirically proven. I'm white in appearance but my father and sister are dark skinned, dark brown to black hair, and brown eyes and our ancestors derive from exiled Jews living in European lands. To support one and not the other, especially when history proves a much longer and deeper plight is contradictory

And my last name **** comes from the name Levite which was a tribe in ancient Israel, just like Cohen and Kohain, and Rubin. Just some more proof for you.

[After flooding my Facebook wall with propaganda] I apologize for flooding your page, and have removed the links except arabs for israel. I just think your position is too one sided an you have not addressed the Arab League whatsoever. I used to be just like you and was embittered by the modern Israeli state, but then I took Jewish history courses in college and realized how important the nation is to my people's existence. You have forgotten about the Holocaust and the 2000 years of persecuted diasporatic life. Either you are anti-Semitic by denying the existence of my culture's right to self determination. Watch Schindler's List brother and then lets talk

How about you practice what you preach and protest against Arab States that hold endless amounts of oil money, give their citizens NOTHING, and murder them if they speak out. Or how about that every major war in Israel has been initiated by the Arab League and not the Palestinian people.

P.S. I have always supported the right for Palestinians to self-determination. There are many Israelis on the left who feel the same way. I spoke out against Islamomaphobia when that asshole Senator Dodd held his ridiculous trial. I would like to see you or anyone from the Arab Muslim world to stand up against anti-Semitism or to acknowledge the right of Holocaust survivors to self-determination. It makes you hypocritical

and why aren't you protesting for statehood for the Native Americans?

We live in America, practice what you preach and demand nationhood now for Native Americans! and you've never been to Israel or Palestine, I have and know how deeply this "apartheid" is in Israel and the fact that Arabic is a national language in Israel, and Arabs serve in the Knessest and can openly criticize their government without fear of murder or imprisonment like in most Arab states. Once again, be objective and actually retort my arguments!


[Referring to me and one or two other anti-Zionists who responded or "liked" anti-Zionist comments] you all need to stop being TRENDY LIBERALS and be objective and provide agency for the Palestinian people in need and with right to a homeland without settlements or occupation, and protection for Israel who consists of Holocaust survivors and their families or exiled Jews from the Arabic world from powerful Arab states


Derek: Now you've done it.

I'm no "trendy liberal," but I'd rather be that than an apologist for Zionist crimes, as you have so obviously shown yourself to be.

First, I am going to correct the slanderous garbage you regurgitate, claiming anyone critical of Israeli policy is an anti-semite or denies Jewish oppression. You, just like the right-wing, are NO different in this regard (nor in your blatant falsehoods concerning Palestinian Arab freedom). Furthermore, not ONCE have I EVER trivialized Jewish plight, which you have mistakenly accused me of. The holocaust, and not only of Jews, but also of Communists, socialists, trade-unionists, gypsies, and homosexuals was, by far, the greatest crime against humanity in the twentieth century. Nor, for that matter, have I EVER denied complicity of European and U.S. governments, or their corporate counterparts, in the crimes of the Nazis. I have never ONCE denied the blunt fact that Western capitalism, manifest in corporations like IBM making deals with the Nazi regime or Henry Ford sympathizing with anti-Jewish racism, facilitated and perpetuated the slaughter of so many innocent Jewish people. Nor have I ONCE denied the blatant crime of Western governments that refused Jewish refugees, all of the purportedly great “anti-fascists” who, by their denial of the Jews, betrayed the roots of their complicity in Nazi crimes.

You start your historical inquiry, no doubt, as a time which is best suits your story. You introduce the debate within the context of the Holocaust, yet ignore the fact that the origins of the Zionist state have little to do with the holocaust. The Balfour declaration in 1917, over THIRTY YEARS before the creation of Israel, had already outlined British policy as creating a “national home for the Jewish people” in historic Palestine. Balfour would go on to say:

“Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, and future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

So let us do away with this myth that the holocaust was the impetus for the creation of Israel. Already, prior to 1948, Britain was already maneuvering to create a loyal client state in the region. Thus, thirty years after the original declaration 700,000 Arabs, whose homes and lives and desires Balfour callously dismissed, were forcefully and violently removed, bathing the “War of Independence” in Arab blood, baptizing Israel in ethnic cleansing. Call them “Palestinian” or not (your semantic arguments do little to sway anyone, I presume), but those Jews murdered in the holocaust were not murdered by Palestinian guards, they were not sent into Palestinian gas chambers, they were put to death by European Christians, by European fascists, and by so-called European and U.S. “liberals” who refused them refugee status and open borders. Why is it that the Arabs of Palestine, the 700,000 Arabs, many of whom are still alive, many of whom still have the original keys to their homes that they fled from Zionist violence, many of whom have sons and daughters and grandchildren who are denied the right of return to a place where only a few decades ago their ancestors lived. You cannot wipe the crimes implicit in the creation of the Israeli state clean. You are shameful to do so.

As Winston Churchill, an avid Zionist (as not all Zionists are Jews!) famously stated:

I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

This is how the Zionists, be they Herzl or Churchill, Balfour or Ben-Gurion, felt about the Arabs in Palestine. They were dogs, dogs who had no right to the manger, no matter how long they had been there. Just as Churchill would callously dismiss the suffering and oppression and exploitation of the Indigenous Americans and Africans, he too, along with the founders of Zionism you openly quote on your profile, dismissed the Arabs as sub-human. Israeli “independence,” or what Palestinians call al-Nakba (the catastrophe), was draped not only in Arab blood, but in Zionist racism.

Provide for us, ****, proof of your claim that there were “community massacres” equivalent to the “Israeli’s innocent casualty wrongdoing.” Prove for us where and when there were 700,000 Arab Jews forcefully removed from their home in the same way that 700,000 non-Jewish Arabs were removed from their homes by the Zionist armies, by the terrorist Stern gang, by the so-called “liberators” of the “Jewish homeland.” Provide for us where prior to the Balfour declaration, prior to the whipping up of anti-Semitic hate in the face of the artificial creation of a “Jewish state” and the potential removal of Arabs from their homes, where there was a mass Jewish exodus, where there existed massive Jewish oppression in the Arab world. For hundreds of years Jews escaped European persecution, persecution by Christians, to live in Muslim lands, where they were at least granted some semblance of protection.

As for your preposterous claims of genetic rights to Palestine, you must be having a laugh! You cannot, with a straight face, tell me that because SOME European Jews “genetically originate in the Middle East” that you have a right to Palestine. If that were the case, ALL white European colonialism was justified, as most scientific evidence suggests Africa as the birthplace of our species. Trace our genetics back far enough and perhaps I and other white settlers can remove all the inhabitants of Eritrea on the grounds that humans originally migrated out of the Horn of Africa. Can you imagine if every person claimed the right unequivocally to go back where their ancestors lived 1,500 years ago and displace the people who currently live there? The absurdity of the proposition discredits itself.

****, I have no need to comment on the Arab League, for the Israelis do it well enough themselves! I have no need, no love, and no respect for the corrupt, brutal, nepotistic Arab dictators who are falling under the weight of democratic uprisings. Yet, it is government YOU are defending which does! I have no sympathy for those facilitators of Palestinian oppression, for those dictators who would capitulate and defend Israel, a colonial settler state, against the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. But do not believe my words, look at how the Zionist press, the purportedly “liberal” and most prominent Zionist rag Haaret, treats the subject:

The West’s position reflects the adoption of Jimmy Carter’s worldview: kowtowing to benighted, strong tyrants while abandoning moderate, weak ones… Carter’s betrayal of the Shah [during the Iranian Revolution of 1978-9] brought us the ayatollahs, and will soon bring us ayatollahs with nuclear arms. The consequences of the West’s betrayal of Mubarak will be no less severe. It’s not only a betrayal of a leader who was loyal to the West, served stability and encouraged moderation. It’s a betrayal of every ally of the West in the Middle East and the developing world. The message is sharp and clear: The West’s word is no word at all; an alliance with the West is not an alliance. The West has lost it. The West has stopped being a leading and stabilising force around the world.

Was it not Israeli and the U.S. governments which have propped up these dictators and despots? Was it not, for the sake of “stability” and “peace with Israel” that relations were “normalized” through force for the Egyptians? Was it not against the will of the mass majority of the Arab, and in particular the Egyptian, population that their governments have capitulated and given into Western imperialism? 54% of Egyptians favor an annulment of the euphemistically phrased “peace treaty” with Israel. Over 80% of Arabs in that region feel Israel is the greatest threat to security in the region, followed closely by the U.S. at 77%. Do not post propaganda of one individual Arab, an Israeli Arab at that, defending Israel and pretending that you can project it onto the vast majority of the Arab population, whose opinions differ significantly. It was only yesterday that a Palestinian student of mine described to me in detail the humiliation and dehumanization that he faces when visiting Palestine. He explained to me he was ashamed that he did not even feel safe in his own country because of the Israeli occupation, because of the constant presence of occupiers, because of how Israel dictates the land, the resources, the very lives of Palestinians. So, please, save your vitriolic rhetoric, dressed in a liberatory and equitable garb. Do not spew nonsense about how I “don't know what it feels like to grow up realizing you're entire ancestry was murdered” by the Nazis to justify the dislocation and suffocation the Palestinian people. I dare say Arabs, who live with oppression on a daily basis in Palestine, understand it far better than you do living in Ohio.

And as for your barbarous quotes, “we will never forgive Syria for making us murder their sons.” Get off it! Let me tell you something, the people of Syria will NEVER FORGIVE YOU, if I can follow your lead in equating you with the Zionist movement (which you yourself do), for murdering their sons. What right does a Zionist, one who actively promotes the Zionist cause have to present such utterly false and mocking sympathy? Open apologetics for Zionist crimes, for crimes against humanity, are perhaps more than anything else the most disgusting aspect of your entire argument. I suggest in the future you refrain from regurgitating Zionist filth that openly exude the barbarity of Israeli crimes.

As far as your patronizing and paternalistic comments towards me, you are right, I do not utilize my past to justify the removal of people from their lands. I would never exploit my past to protect and defend a government which would initiate the slaughter of innocent Palestinian boys and girls in Operation Cast Lead, like you. I would never manipulate the oppression of my people to justify the existence of a colonial settler state.

It disturbs me that you spew that Zionist propaganda and simultaneously label yourself a socialist. I know of no real socialist that would willingly defend a state which can engage in ethnic cleansing, economic strangulation, and state terrorism to expand and encroach upon other peoples’ land. I suggest you either denounce Zionism as a political ideology, which drapes itself in the blood of innocent Arabs, or you renounce internationalist socialism, as these two things are incompatible and it does us socialists a real disservice to have you parading around under our banner.


Random Responder: simma down fellas [kept for comedic value!]

 
Zionist: At least I support both and acknowledge Israeli crimes. Let me ask you Derek, how about the Italian peace activist recently murdered in Gaza? He was murdered by an Islamist faction of al quaeda which you will never admit because it exposes the fact this war is perpetuated by nations and political movements that do not actually care about the Palestinian people, like they claim. Zionism began before the Holocaust because of the increasing antiSemitism in Western and Eastern Europe. You do have no idea and Jews have been representing socialism since the emmergence of capitalism. How about Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria give chunks of their ENORMOUS states to their Arab brothers and sisters? Why? Because they use them as political tools at the peoples' expense to push their political and economic agendas against Israel. Please Derek, tell me why we'd want to resettle a land with no oil and no infrastructure or agricultural system in the desert over life in countries that wouldn't accept us anyway. I love that you're white, claim to be a socialist which, israels economy is more similar to than US and European socialistic economies. You still haven't told me what the Jewish refugees should've done after WW2 or where to go or acknowledged that Jews have yearned for Zion throughout all of diasporatic history. You are regurgitating hateful, distored, and biased information. Once again, I support Palestine and Israel even though neither nations existed before nationalism. I challenge you to take a Jewish history course so you can see both sides of the conflict and realize it's not black and white


[Anti-Zionist comment here.]


Zionist: Ever hear of the Jewish question? Probably not, if you did you wouldn't HATE Zionism and Zionists. Native Americans do deserve states rather than "autonomous" reservations where capitalism perpetuates alcoholism, extreme poverty, and no rightful justice? How bout' you focus on this or the Arab states and how they do not give citizenship to minorities and murder those who they claim to be their own. Let a 2state solution arise and stop hating Israel. Hate the right wing Israeli government if you'd actually like to come off as holding a logical position


Derek: You seem to make a hell of a lot of claims about me that you have no evidence to back up. There is no evidence to suggest that Arrigoni was killed by anyone BUT an Islamist faction of al queda sympathizers. Yet, what is fundamentally clear is that NO ONE, not the Palestinian people, not Hamas (who were democratically elected), not anyone in the ISM or any other Palestinian solidarity organization identifies with the murderers, a paltry, infinitely small group that holds no weight with the Palestinian people.

Jews HAVE been representing socialism, and they should continue to do so! Some of the most important leftists and intellectuals that I admire and have learned from, be they socialist or other radical traditions, have been of Jewish origin. Yet, what is fundamentally clear is that they reject ZIONISM, especially those who have lived long enough to see what it has created. I never denied that Jews have been fundamental to the socialist movement. Indeed, that Jews have been part of my tradition is a badge of honor, something to be proud of. You make claims attempting to refute things that I have never said.

Listen, ****, I do not have an answer to what should have happened post-World War II. I would have been fighting here inside the U.S. for Jews to come here had I been alive. Either way, I sure as hell know it should NOT have involved displacing 700,000 Palestinian Arabs.

And don't give me that bullshit about "Jews have yearned for Zion throughout all of diasporatic history." The VAST MAJORITY of the world's Jews rejected Zionism, rejected the idea of resettling in historic Palestine, etc.

Finally, this is no "conflict," a word that intrinsically implies there are no actors, that it is just some neutral event that has spontaneously erupted. This is a conscious war of aggression, "genocide in slow motion," against a largely defenseless and starved population. This is the result of a colonial settler state. And I'll tell you why they choose Palestine, because it provided a religious pretext for colonial settlement. Because it was meant to be not a colony that exploits the labor and land of the people to send back to the imperialist base. It was instead meant as a settler state, one which would have to ethnically cleanse the population, to force them out for a new group of people to settle in. All the while to be utilized strategically by the real imperial masters, originally the British and post WW2 the Americans, to pursue their imperial ambitions in that region that IS oil rich, that DOES have a plethora of natural resources.

Don't be a fool, you surely must see that picture more clearly than you claim to.


Zionist: **** [Anti-Zionist commenter], I appreciate your loving demeanor, but I do believe you're truly misinformed. I do not agree with all forms of Zionism, I simply believe that the Jewish people need a national homeland and deserve justice for over 2000 years of persecution. I am very aware of how Jews flourished historically in Arabic society, however, the Arabic world has changed and unfortunately is controlled by selfcentered leaders. You and Derek must understand I love and defend our Arabic Muslim cousins. I am very against occupation and settlement but truly believe there was no alternative for the Jewish people. I think perhaps if you both lived 50 years ago, you'd be avid Zionists because of your current logic. I'm an anthropology major and studied Southeast Asia in the changing global world and how it affects tribal nations and cultures exposed forcefully to western globalization. I think this has gone too far, I love you guys, but also love my people who have been oppressed far more than any minority in history. Like I said, I say we focus on our similarities as liberal socialists


Derek: Do you support the right of return for Palestinians? ALL Palestinians?


Zionist: Of course duder, but I also support the right of all Jews to return, especially in circumstances, like originally intended to provide an actual refuge and returned nation for the Jewish people because nobody wanted us. The Zionist Congress even proposed Uganda as an ulternative, but that would not make historical or logical sense. The goal was refuge for oppressed Jews, not colonization and murder and oppression of others. The world does not function ideally my friends and this is why not everything is black and white in this conflict. We must support both and bring attention to the wrongs and rights on both sides


Derek: "The goal was refuge for oppressed Jews, not colonization and murder and oppression of others."

But as long as it is a refuge for Jews, colonization and murder and oppression are fine, I take it?


Zionist: Of course not Derek, I've already acknowleged that


Derek: Then why do you defend the origins of the Zionist state, which are marred in the blood and oppression and murder and displacement of Arab Palestinians?


Zionist: Because it's not that simple Derek. I don't dispute the fact that bloodshed was committed on both sides but there have always been peaceful, pro-Arab rights/self-determ Zionists since the origins of Zionism. What rights to self determination, regardless of Israel have you or the Arab League supported for the Jewish people, the most misplaced and oppressed people of all time?
 
http://www.mideastweb.org/zionism.htm

if you do not feel like going through this I understand, I would see evidence you gave me as biased as well I'm sure, but I'd still look at it. Read it and look at other parts of the website. I feel there are soo many things you are missing out on

 
Derek: And I respond in kind:
http://www.counterpunch.org/herskovitz04262011.html

 
Zionist: I agree with many aspects of Herskovitz article, I do, however, point out that he must have had no ties to anti-Semitism in Europe predating and during the Holocaust. Franz Boas, the founder of cultural relativity in cultural anthropology, his family came to the US far before a period of violent anti-Semitism began in Europe. He also deeply felt for the Jews, but did not support Zionism

Many Jews in Western Europe did not support Zionism because they truly believed for once in history they could assimilate with the majority, but of course, once again the Jews were used as a political tool as always the case throughout European history. That's what we get for being misplaced and restricted Israelites in European white society. It's easy for American Jews who's families immigrated before the anti-Semitic influx between 1890's-after WWII.

I also agree there is MUCH racism in Israel even against Ethiopian Jews as you mentioned before, but nowhere near equivalent to that in Arab states. I agree these things are all wrong, but they should not be our focus as liberals, our focus as liberals should be securing freedom for Palestine, maintaining the right of Israel to exist, and support democratic uprisings in the Arab world

 
[After responding to a commenter who asked why his name was drug into the debate]


I meant to say **** and **** since you both were supporting Derek's arguments without speaking for yourselves, but I apologize if you found that offensive
haha you're right that was pretty lame. I was just in the heat of the moment. Good luck in your research and remain objective. If I truly believed ALL aspects of Zionism and Israel were unethical and wrong I would have a different opinion. I used to feel the same way about Zionism and Palestinian encroachment (understatement), but took courses on Jewish history and Zionism in school and was informed by the truth and now my view supports both Palestine and Israel and I'm sorry, my friends, that you cannot accept this

‎"A classical two-state framework may serve only to feed revanchist nationalist sentiments, leading to renewed ethno-national conflict rather than to a stable peace. We must foster a countervailing force, one which stresses the values of regional cooperation and civic equality. Attachments to the sacred space and time of history and place, rootedness in ancestral family homes and tribal symbolism—whether by refugees insisting they can only return to their long-lost villages in Israel, or by settlers who demand to live everywhere their collective national memory was forged and to extend Israeli sovereign rule to every such area—must be tempered and transformed by new commitments to a shared political identity nourished by the ideal of equal citizenship. Rather than an intifada for winning Palestinian sovereignty over a holy mosque called Al-Aksa, placing both politics and law in the service of religion, we need a joint Israeli-Palestinian struggle for casting off the shibboleths and illusions of absolute national sovereignty itself. This is the hidden secret of human rights and international justice struggling to break free amidst the pious inflammatory nationalisms roiling the waters and sands of Palestine, Israel and the Middle East today." - Gidon Remba
 
Derek, at least read the abstract for this paper. Once again not black and white, and the world does not evolve ideally

‎"This is the kernel of the problem, as we see it: the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation.
"Hence the solution lies in finding a means of so readjusting this exclusive element to the family of nations, that the basis of the Jewish question will be permanently removed.
"This does not mean, of course, that we must think of waiting for the age of universal harmony.
"No previous civilization has been able to achieve it, nor can we see even in the remote distance, that day of the Messiah, when national barriers will no longer exist and all mankind will live in brotherhood and concord. Until then, the nations must narrow their aspirations to achieve a tolerable modus vivendi." - Leon Pinsker
 
Strawson, and Anti-Zionist pretty much sums up and explains why I am a Zionist.

Anti-Zionism, however tends to argue one or some of the following ideas (a) Jews are not a nation (b) Jews are only identifiable by attachment to Judaism as religion (c) there is only tenuous evidence linking Jews to Torah historical accounts (d) the Jews come from Eastern Europe, not the Middle East (e) Jews are not a homogeneous group (f) Jews have collaborated with oppressors (Imperialism, the Nazis) (h) Zionism inevitably means oppressing the Palestinians. There are of course other views. These arguments all lead to an uncomfortable position that whereas all other self-declared nationalisms have validity, the Jews have no such claims - John Strawson

My point is that, by calling me someone who supports a simplified linear meaning of what you misunderstand as only one type of Zionism, and associating me with people who murder Palestinians casts you as anti-Semitic (yes I know Palestinians are Semitic as well, just for liturgical purposes) because in doing so, you absolutely deny the right of Jews to nationalism, self-determination, and repatriation of their tribal land. Like Strawson mentioned, so every other ethnicity or nation in the world has the right to their own nation regardless of who has lived there at different points in history, but the Jews do not have a right to a nation in their homeland. I once again support Native American self-determination and am not sure why you're so hyperfocused on Israel, when there are plenty of worse nations and leaders and displaced peoples in the world to focus on. This is what makes your perpetual rejections of my arguments anti-Semitic

‎"To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realisation of Zionism, in return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people; it means that they despise the Arab race, which they regard as a corrupt mob that can be bought and sold, and are willing to give up their fatherland for a good railway system.

In the second place, this does not mean that there cannot be any agreement with the Palestine Arabs. What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter, because they are not a rabble, but a living people. And when a living people yields in matters of such a vital character it is only when there is no longer any hope of getting rid of us, because they can make no breach in the iron wall." -Ze'ev Jabotinsky 1923

read the Iron Wall


[Anti-Zionist Comment]


Zionist: I can associate anti-Semitism with Israel because answer to me why my fellow liberals are so hyper-focused on the Israeli-Palestinian issues, when the world truly has many more, worse human rights problems. They may not be intrinsically anti-Semitic, but they are projecting anti-Semitic preference to Israel and it's human rights issues. I agree to end it

 
[Small exchange between Anti-Zionist and Zionist]


Derek:

****, your incessant defense of the founding crimes of the Israeli state, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the vicious murder and displacement of the 700,000 Arabs is NOT, AND WILL NEVER, be justified by your claim that Jews have been oppressed before, even if they are one of the most oppressed people in history. Your shallow misuse of the holocaust, your superficial conflation of Judaism and Zionism, your implicitly racist accusations of backwards Arabs, who suffer under the dictators YOUR GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS, even while you utter the hypocritical words of multiculturalism, is disgusting to me and anyone who sees the human tragedy in the brutal dismantling of the Palestinian homeland, a "homeland for the Jews" STOLEN by blood, by violence, and by colonization. Your consistent and irresponsible lies concerning Arab freedom in Israel and Palestine, your constant dismissal of their suffering, of the apartheid style conditions under which they live, and your omnipresent denial of the crimes INHERENT in the Israeli state, all of it is an utterly absurd rejection of socialist principles and ideals.

Neither will anyone buy into your arguments that criticism of Israel is inherently anti-semitic. In fact, the ONLY anti-semite is YOU, the man who claims that Jews CAN NOT AND WILL NEVER be able to integrate themselves into other societies or cultures, and because of this they need their own state, a state soaked in the blood of the indigenous Arab population, a state which harbors an ideology of expansion and racism, not only towards the Palestinian Arabs but towards the Jewish people themselves! You, the ZIONIST, finds some inherent flaw in the Jews, some natural aspect of their character that inhibits them from functioning in other societies, that keeps them from living in other places, a feature which you claim is the basis and, by logical extension, the justification for Palestinian oppression.

You are not a socialist, and you do not fight for socialist values. I tell you once again, I would suggest you remove the banner of socialism from your ideology, as your values do not align with it, and we do not want your peculiar brand of whitewashing Israeli crimes.
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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Derek Ide (ruminyauee@hotmail.com). Anything on this blog may be used, circulated, disseminated, by readers in any setting except where profit it to be made from it. Feel free to use the work presented here in educational settings, activist work, etc. All I ask is that the blog be cited. I write for my own purposes. This writings presented here will be influenced by my background, occupation, and political affiliation or other experiences.

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