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Originally published in Tikkun Daily

When Carole Zawatsky, CEO of the Washington, DC Jewish Community Center (DCJCC), informed me that my March book event had been cancelled due to my political views, I was stunned. However, when she explained that one view in particular precipitated her decision - my position that Palestinians' use of nonviolent opposition (boycotts) is legitimate - I was no longer just stunned. I was deeply saddened.

After all, my book event at the DCJCC, part of its "Embracing Democracy" series, was to focus on the narrative of reconciliation embedded in my memoir, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? The entire narrative is a treatise on the power of nonviolence, a narrative Zawatsky found wildly compelling when she invited me to speak.

That is, until I embraced Palestinian nonviolence. Suddenly, my narrative was no longer so compelling, and I was no longer welcome to speak in the community, despite being a Jewish educator (I teach biblical and rabbinic texts to 4th-8th graders) and a progressive Zionist.

While saddened by the lost opportunity for dialogue in DC, what most upset me was how this cancellation fit into a larger crisis within the American political landscape and, more specifically, the American Jewish community, where honest discourse on Israel is being constricted by high-profile politicians and Jewish institutional leaders alike. I articulated as much in my response to the DCJCC, published in Israel's Haaretz.

To my great surprise, that piece set of a firestorm within the DC Jewish and political communities. My inbox began filling with messages of support from people I did not know, and my voicemail from individuals and organizations who wanted to create an alternate book event in DC - an event which will likely become official next week.

Much of the outrage expressed by these people, both privately an in public, shared my dismay at the communal damage being done by Jewish institutions, which are shrinking the communal tent by excluding progressives for political views which "stand outside the bounds of legitimate discourse," as Willam Daroff, head of the Jewish Federation's DC office, articulated recently.

However, I was surprised by a particular trope which began to appear in published pieces opposing the DCJCC's cancellation. In The Washington Post, Sharon Jacobs wrote:

Among us, Harris-Gershon - a man whose [wife] survived a Palestinian terrorist bombing - is uniquely qualified to discuss nonviolent resistance as an alternative to bloody attacks.
Jabobs' view that my encounter with violence lent credence to my voice, and made its muzzling all the more troubling, began to be echoed by others. In The Forward, Mira Sucharov wrote:
Harris-Gershon is not a "one-stater." He is a self-declared liberal Zionist who seeks an end to the occupation. This by its very nature puts him well within the mainstream. He is simply a clearly and understandably fatigued member of the mainstream.

Reading Harris-Gershon's actual book, one quickly realizes that he has endured his share of fatigue: deep, personal, unyielding and terrorizing fatigue. His wife had her body torn apart by a Palestinian suicide bomber while eating lunch at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He helped nurse her to recovery, in a slow, sad, heavy process. They lost two of their close friends in that bombing.

If anyone deserves to be fatigued by the lack of current political options, it is Harris-Gershon.

Sharna Marcus, a friend and blogger, wrote:
David has over and over clarified his position on the issue [of BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]. He has most recently written in Haaretz after being banned by the DCJCC that he "views economic sanctions as a legitimate form of nonviolent protest for Palestinians to use, despite my opposition to some tactics used by the BDS movement and its implicit goal of a bi-national state."
I don't see why any Jewish organization or Jewish leader would not be okay with that statement, especially given the fact that when Palestinians used a violent form of protest, his wife paid a high price and their friends were murdered. He is saying, "Go ahead, use a non violent form of protest to make your point."
Now, I have never viewed my wife's trauma, and in turn my own, as giving my voice more legitimacy than others when it comes to political discourse in America, whether that discourse be U.S. policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the conflict itself. However, I have viewed my experience and research as giving me the 'credentials' to offer how nonviolent initiatives might play into solving the conflict.

And others have recognized this as well. After all, I have been speaking around the country, and was invited to do so by the DCJCC and Santa Barbara Hillel - two venues to cancel my book events - specifically to talk about how my narrative might be a microcosmic example for how to achieve a national reconciliation.

I suppose I thought that my experience with Palestinian violence would, in turn, reveal how reasonable (and obviously unimpeachable) a preference for nonviolent initiatives is over violent ones. In truth, the opposite has turned out to be the case. Fear has taken over the institutional Jewish community and larger political landscape. Officials fearing the BDS movement, with its implicit vision of a bi-national state, now view Palestinian nonviolence as an existential threat to Israel's very existence, and have thus come to fear me - and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of progressives like me in America.

It is a fear that must be countered by dialogue. And it's a dialogue which will be had, whether communal and political leaders like it or not.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon, Adalah — A Just Middle East, and More and Better Democracies.

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    "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

    by David Harris Gershon on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:16:42 PM PST

  •  What about anti-Zionist Jews? (9+ / 0-)

    I think many equate anti-Zionist with antisemitic.

    •  That's like saying anti-Tea Party is . . . (8+ / 0-)


      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:35:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While not all anti-zionists (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GermanGuy, 43north, gharlane

      are anti-Jewish, many are, and this is the way they express their dislike of Judiasm.  For example Pat Buchanan doesn't care for the religion of Judiasm and has been anti-Israel for years.

      •  And plenty of antisemitic people in the US (35+ / 0-)

        support Israel. The evangelical right has the highest level of support in the US for Israel. Higher than Jews in the US from last I saw. And the evangelical right only supports Israel because they want the end times to happen and they think that Israel has to exist for that to happen.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:35:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And the response is an attempt to muddy the waters (27+ / 0-)


        If I wanted to call republicans Nazis every single day, I'd point out all the instances where the stormfront crowd has come out in vocal support of their policies.

        I don't want Republicans to feel like they're under siege because of me. I want them to feel like they're under siege because of their own damn politics. Let them do this to themselves.

        Hitler built the first interstate highway system. That doesn't make Eisenhower a Nazi. Eisenhower killed Nazis.

        The fact that antisemites will never stop screaming about how they think Jews rule the world doesn't make everyone who disagrees with the policies of the Israeli government an antisemite.

        And so it's a typical political tactic: you find the craziest person who disagrees with you, you highlight their views, and you treat them like the norm.

        That's why everyone thinks radfems are mainstream. That's why the folks that support the Israeli government are parroting these talking points. Because if we can stop the peace process, the government gets to greenlight more settlements. That means that the ultra-right wing of the Knesset is happy and stays in Bibi's coalition, and Bibi gets to keep his job.

        For anyone wondering what I'm talking about, I wrote about them a while ago.

        By the way, Danny Dannon, whom I quote in that post, who wanted to round up all ethnic Africans in Israel and put them in camps? He's now deputy minister for defense. He also invited Glenn Beck to speak to the Knesset, against the wishes of the ADL and Nita Lowey.

        That's the kind of person who's running things in Israel right now.

        An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

        by OllieGarkey on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:41:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am simply pointing out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Al Abama, Andrew Lazarus

          that for some anti-zionists, who are politically on the right or center or left, their motivation is they don't like the Jewish religion. Ergo they don't like Israel. Why is that so hard to accept?

          •  Maybe because (6+ / 0-)

            some anti-zionists, and non zionists, are proudly Jewish themselves?

            •  Maybe they are, but I doubt it. (1+ / 0-)
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              Think about it. Of all the causes and inequities in the world--like the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Turks surpressing the Kurds, the horrors of Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic and on and on--but these proud anti-zionists Jews only care about Israeli continuing to exist as a zionist nation.

              •  I find (10+ / 0-)

                a lot of pro-Tibet independence, ending the exploitation of labor in Africa and Asia, and activism to support a cease fire in the CAR in the community I mention, how can you say:

                but these proud anti-zionists Jews only care about Israeli continuing to exist as a zionist nation.
                I don't see any singling out.

                Only?  That certainly is not my experience.  Civil and human rights struggles seem to capture the imaginations of the young activist community.

                The proudly Jewish anti-zionists are only anti-zionist to the extent that they are anti occupation.  Many are zionist, in the sense they support a free and just and secure state of Israel within internationally recognized borders, and they see the occupation as inconsistent with that.  Others are simply non-zionist, proud Jews, but they don't feel the nationalist imperative as relevant to them.  

              •  Everyone Else Is Doing It Too™ (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                caul, JesseCW


              •  I think you should organize (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poco, AoT, Flyswatterbanjo, caul, JesseCW

                against some of the oppressions that you're pointing out in this comment of yours.

              •  BULL. AND I AM SO TIRED OF THIS (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poco, caul

                First of all, there are those of us who DO protest the treatment of North Koreans, the central Africans (not just Zimbabwe & Central African Republic), Turks, Rohingyas, etc.

                That's probably almost all the people who are member of this website with an opinion on Israel-Palestine.

                It begs several questions:

                1. Why are you trying to distract away from the Israeli apartheid state's human rights abuses?  Because that's the same technique - distraction - the current government there uses to perpetrate its human rights abuses.   It claims to be a "democracy" in presentations of itself to the world  but at the same time uses the force of state against those trying to keep their land who aren't Jewish.  It even attempts to erase the history of the theft of land from its school history books.

                2.  Given the existence of folks like me who think human rights should apply uniformly around the world, why do folks who make this argument wish to put Israel in the same class as Burma, Turkey, Zimbabwe, and North Korea, as a human rights violating state?

              •  Hey! Look over there!!! (1+ / 0-)
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                "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                by JesseCW on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:50:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Similarly, for some Zionists, (10+ / 0-)

            Muslims are scum and deserve to all be murdered, man, woman, and child....  Admittedly, it's a rather small number of Zionists.  Now...  What does saying that achieve?

          •  That's not hard to accept at all. (8+ / 0-)

            In fact, I thought I agreed that these people exist, though I think I could have been clearer.

            That's my fault for posting while decaffeinated.

            I fully accept without question that there are people who disagree with the Jewish religion. And I'll go further. There are people who disagree with the very existence of Jewish people.

            I write about them.

            I study them.

            I even post entries about my suspicions of the catholic church's recent whitewashing of their support of fascism.

            No one can deny that in America, and in every single European and Middle Eastern nation, and even in Asia, there are people who want the Jewish people to cease to exist.

            I will never deny their existence, and I will never deny that they are dangerous.

            My ethnic group was expelled from our homeland, from the Gaidhealtachd, and our language was taken from us. But our right to exist, was not questioned. Our right to exist as Gaels, instead of Anglophone brits, that was questioned. But no one has ever questioned our right to exist at all, just the form and location of that existence. As a Gael, I'm part of a multinational diaspora, and have cultural links with not only the Scots, but the Irish, Welsh, Manx, Galician, and Breizh immigrants here in the US. I have links to the diaspora in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and even India and South Africa.

            So I'm incredibly empathetic when it comes to the Jewish people, because like Gaels and Celts, we've both become nations without borders. Of the seven celtic countries that once existed, only one part of one nation is independent of the people who conquered us, whether it be by fire and sword, or god and gold.

            I'm very worried about anti-Jewish sentiment because history tells me that if they come for the Jews today, they'll be coming for the Gael tomorrow. And the Blacks, and the First Nations. And those of us who like me are queer. And all of us who don't fit neatly into their Aryan model of regimented white-bread humanity.

            But all of that being said, I know for a fact because I write about them, and study them, that these people do not represent a majority of the people who are critical of Likud. Definitely not in the American context. Things get unfortunately muddier in Europe, but that's why America needs to lead the way on Israel policy internationally.

            We are critical of Likud for many of the same reasons we are critical of ethnototalitarian worldviews.

            We're critical of Likud because there are portions of Likud that are unquestionably neofascist:

            Danny Dannon, a member of Bibi's cabinet, called for the government to build internment camps and round up the African population of Israel:

            "The infiltrators must be distanced immediately," he said. "We must expedite the construction of temporary detention facilities and remove Africans from population centers."
            That's from Haaretz.

            And WHY did the Africans need to be rounded up? Because a bunch of Likud supporters smashed the windows of their shops, beat them in the streets, and waved the Israeli Flag while marching through broken glass. Dannon said that the only way to stop Likud members' violence against African Immigrants was to round them up and put them in camps.

            The Israeli Left, as I quoted, referred to it as an "Israeli Kristallnacht," and "Kristallnacht 2012."

            And I agree, completely, with the Israelis who flooded the streets and shut down the roads around Likud's headquarters in response to the Likud-led violence against African immigrants.

            We don't hate Israel. We don't disagree with Israel, because that would mean disagreeing with our allies in the Israeli left. We don't agree with the people who don't want Israel to exist. How someone disagrees with an entire nation of people who don't even agree with themselves is beyond me.

            For the sake of Israel's very survival we need to find some way to prevent Likud from continuing to make the middle east a more dangerous place. We need to find some kind of appropriate economic consequence for shutting down the peace process. We've got to let Likud know that we're not going to let them play games with Israel's future.

            My position is this: for the sake if Israel's very survival, for the sake of it's continued existence, we need to find some way to contain Likud. Before Europeans start acting on their  economic and political threats. Before the entire world sees the Palestinians as innocent victims rather than cobelligerent perpetrators of a complex cycle of violence.

            The EU is going to be a serious power in the next century. It's having a tough start, but it has a bigger economy than ours, and it has a growing military industrial complex that will likely continue to grow, especially now that the French and other pro-military nations are having a voice in EU military policy. And if Turkey gets their wish and Joins the EU this century?

            We have a window, right now, to act. We've got a few years. But if the Israeli democracy doesn't self correct, and if we don't do anything to tell our friends "no" when they're making incredibly destructive decisions...

            Agriculture is tiny, but financial services and exporting industry are fairly huge chunks of Israel's economy.

            If there's European economic sanctions? 15-30% of Israel's economy goes up in smoke. And that's just trade, financial services like international banking, exports. The Israeli service sector is 60% of the economy.

            When the exports, trade, and international financial services go up in smoke, and European companies are forced to pull out? The Service sector collapses, because the system supporting it has collapsed. We're looking to a situation quite similar to Greece in that scenario.

            That's the nightmare scenario: A combination of Boycotts and official sanctions from an EU that doesn't care what the Americans have to say about Israel, just like they don't care what we have to say about Cuba.

            Antisemitism is growing in Europe. The combination of immigration from majority Muslim nations, and a new rise of far-right old style nationalist parties like UKIP, the BNP, and the EDL, in Britain, and their partners in other nations is leading to a place where you have a not-insignificant Far-Right anti-Jewish (not anti-Israel, but anti-Jewish) lobby in the European parliament. Conservative parties that need an in with the pro-Palestinian recent immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East are going to end up in coalitions with those very same far-right parties.

            You know what they can do to make the Anti-Jewish far right, and the Anti-Israel left happy? An EU-Wide sanction of Israel in retaliation for the illegal occupation. For a conservative party, that's a coup. They get wide support from the pro-Palestine lobby, from the far right that hates the Jews, and if they throw in some anti-gay rhetoric with the mix, then they've begun playing the margins game like Karl Rove. Contacts I have in Britain say that the back-benches of the conservative party are already considering this as a potential strategy, and the only reason they aren't already jumping for it is because they're suspicious of the EU and they like the US too much. But if it looks like they're going to lose power, or if it looks like some other major European conservative party is about to lose power, this is exactly the kind of tactic I'm worried about them employing in the coming decades.

            And as long as Likud continues to act the way it's acting, when they expand settlements because they're pissed at the UN, when they thumb their noses at the US and Europe, they're creating a very, very dangerous future for Israel.

            For the sake of the Israeli people, we've got to find some way to intervene, as soon as possible. Before things get out of hand, and we end up in a place where there's very little the US can do for Israel.

            Do you think for a second that America is going to bail out the Israeli economy when our own bailouts led to OWS, the Tea Party Movement, and as much unrest as we've seen because of our own economic downturn?

            Do you get where I'm coming from, now?

            Do you get how I can have a great deal of love for, and empathy with the Jewish people inside and outside of Israel, while being very, very worried about the consequences for Likud's actions?

            I'm sorry this is such a long comment. But this issue is way, way too important and complicated for your typical, short, back-and-forth.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:03:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your insightful comment is a delight (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I slightly disagree with some of your points: I do not think this whole boycott issue does or would achieve anything good, rather harden attitudes of everybody involved, and my idea is that one should alleviate the impression of a siege with eliminatory intent that made Israeli politics turn to the right since the second intifada. And further down the road I do not see a comprehensive economic boycott of Israel from Europe in any case, in particular in Germany it would be anathema at least for historic reasons. But short of that: Your authentic and insightful comment is a delight to read.

              One remark, off topic to this diary, as you spoke about your Gaelic heritage ... In 2011, I met a wonderful lady of Irish-Scottish descent, Noreena by name, who was raised by an aunt in Germany because her family had lost a son in Northern Ireland and wanted their daughter to grow up safe. We talked a lot about what her heritage meant to her, and in 2012, she decided to quit her good and easy life in Germany and move to Inverness in order to work on reclaiming her family's former real estate, which had been taken by the English in 1745 because of her ancestor's participation in the Jacobite rising. She contacted her familiy's clan, Lovat/MacShimi, which gave her some support, she spent months researching documents in churches and institutions and was on high spirits. However, on November 29, 2012, she died in a car accident near Inverness. I feel an eternal bond with this wonderful lady and daughter of the Highlands, and I deeply wish that her dream of an independent Scotland will become true in September ...

            •  I apprecate your thoughtful (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              varro, GermanGuy

              comment and concern for Israel and the Jewish people. However, as I'm sure you can see from the many comments on this blog, there's alot of folks here who don't like Israel at all, even if Israel gives back the West Bank.

              Several responses:

              Despite what you say about the far right resurgence in Europe, I've come to see the far left--in alliance with the the Islamists--as more anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.  As I'm sure you are aware, the boycott threats and harassment of Israeli scholars at Western Universities are coming from the far left.

              I think you're getting carried away with demonizing the Likud party, as though the Israeli electorate is too stupid to figure out what's in their best interest.  The majority of Israeli's are not in favor of expanding settlements.  Their issue re the West Bank is military.  If Israeli military leaves West Bank, then they are afraid Hamas or others will move into the area and start shooting missiles at Israel from the East.  Which cannot be allowed.  

      •  Zionism is to Jewish as Fascism is to Christian (0+ / 0-)

        State coercision defending a religion makes that religion itself oppressive.

        •  Zionism is to Jewish as "Free Tibet" is to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hokieduck13, animator9

          Tibetan Buddhism. The Jewish People is an ethnic-national group that historically has practiced one religion. It is also united by a common language, alphabet, literature, history, etc.

          Zionism is about re-establishing the historic homeland of the Jewish People. Previously, the Jews were in a position very similar to that of the Roma in Europe -- frequently non-citizens, occupying a tenuous position in countries ruled by others, and often under pressure to abandon their distinctive national character. The modern American idea that being Jewish is simply about practicing the religion of Judaism is not in keeping with the traditional Jewish self-understanding.

    •  How do you define "anti-Zionist"? (6+ / 0-)

      Seems like you could call anyone who believes in a one-state solution anti-Zionist, and calling people antisemitic for that strikes me as pretty crazy.

      •  An anti-zionist (37+ / 0-)

        is anyone who doesn't think Israel should be a Jewish (ethnic-religious) state. Zionism is inherently discriminatory and exclusive. It amounts to Jewish supremacy. In Israel non-Jews are second class citizens by law. Sure, anti-Semites oppose Zionism and so do liberals who like to be consistent. David -- whom I respect but disagree with -- is one of those liberals who tries futilely to square his liberalism with Zionism.

        •  David's correct on two fronts: (32+ / 0-)

          1. Squaring my progressivism and Zionism is not an easy task, partially due to the inherent contradictions in "Jewish" and "democracy"

          2. Ant- or post-Zionism is not inherently anti-Semitic. There are many Jews who care about the full rights of all peoples in Israel/Palestine. They just want to see a post-ethnic democracy. As David notes, those who are actually anti-Semitic are also going to be anti-Zionist by default.

          "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

          by David Harris Gershon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:44:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How do you achieve #1? (10+ / 0-)

            Either Jews are privileged over non-Jews or they're not. In theory, it might be possible. In practice it's a pipe dream given the nature of Israeli society as it actually exists.

            I don't see this as a specifically Israeli fault, btw. Any nation so constituted must fail in this respect.

          •  In your view, what are the "inherent (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leftynyc, JNEREBEL, livosh1

            contradictions in 'Jewish' and 'democracy'"?

            Before getting to Israel, which I take to be the focus of your remark, let me note your looseness of expression. Have you observed some "inherent contradiction" between American citizens who identify as "Jewish" and "democracy" in America? I didn't think so.

            With that said, let's proceed.

            Formally, all Israel's citizens are accorded equal rights.
            Formally, all U.S. citizens are accorded equal rights.

            Israeli practice, in some respects, departs from that ideal.
            American practice, in some respects, departs from that ideal.

            A majority of Israeli citizens are Jews, at least nominally.
            A majority of American citizens are Christian, at least nominally.
            (Note, however, that while "Christian," in principle, is purely a religious signifier, "Jewish" is a signifier that includes people without religion.)

            Is there an inherent contradiction between "Christian" and "democracy"?

            Speaking as a non-Christian, I don't think so.

            Turning to Israel, I suggest that the most serious departures from equal rights arise because many Jewish Israelis, the great majority of the population, feel existentially threatened by their Arab neighbors and, in that conflict, they are uncertain of the loyalties of Palestinian Israelis. Recall the treatment by the U.S. government during World War II, with much less justification, of Japanese Americans.

            Of course, understanding this phenomenon does not excuse it. Nor should it detract from supporting ongoing efforts to bring everyday practice closer to the ideal. But it both gives hope for the future and argues against seeing an "inherent contradiction" between "Jewish" and "democracy."

            Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

            by another American on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:41:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The contradiction is not in a person being (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              stargaze, poco, JesseCW

              Jewish and supporting democracy, the contradiction is in a country declaring itself both a democracy and having one ethnic group being supreme. Democracies are based on equality, and Israel has inequality built into it explicitly.

              And yes, the US has it's problems with racism, we fight against that here. Israel is founded on ethnic cleansing and if that ethnic cleansing was reversed then the country would disappear. This fact s shown by the fact that "right of return" is presented as being "Wanting to destroy Israel" even here at DKos.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:03:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're not the diarist. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GermanGuy, JNEREBEL, livosh1

                Ah well, neither Israel's Declaration of Independence nor its Basic Laws declare "one ethnic group being supreme."

                That said, is there an "inherent contradiction" between "Greek" and "democracy"? between "Irish" and "democracy"? between "Tibetan" and "democracy"?

                Inquiring minds want to know why "Jewish" and "democracy" are singled out.

                Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

                by another American on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:14:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Jewish and Democratic" are singled out because (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT, JesseCW, poco, stargaze

                  it is the current formulation that Israeli leaders are relentlessly promulgating in an attempt to convince the world that the Palestinians must recognize "the Jewish State of Israel." This while 20% of Israeli citizenry are not Jewish. You say cultural zionism is dead. So then what exactly does "Jewish State" mean? What does it mean to the 20% who are not Jewish?

                  I don't hear Edna Kenny declaring Ireland to be Irish and democratic every other day.

                  If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

                  by Flyswatterbanjo on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:05:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well the difference is that (0+ / 0-)

                    other "ethnic" countries, like Germany or Greece, allow non-Germans and non-Greeks to become full citizens. Israel doesn't. (In this, Israel is like states that don't allow non-Muslims to become full citizens."

                •  There is an inherent contradiction (0+ / 0-)

                  between any ethnic state and democracy, period. I would add France and Russia to that list. Ethno-nationalism and democracy are incompatible, period.

                  Inquiring minds want to know why "Jewish" and "democracy" are singled out.
                  I would guess the answer is two fold, first because we are seeing a nation-state being created and the creation of a nation state is an ugly thing. European nation-states were created quite a while ago so most people have forgotten about the violence that's gone into making them.

                  The second reason is that Israel is the only place I know of that has an entire group of people who they are making stateless. Israel has ethnically cleansed a huge number of Palestinians from it's lands and then refused to consider them a state in the lands they've been purged to. And there's the fact that they're one of America's closest allies.

                  Or course, you'd like to ignore all that and imply it's anti-semitism because none of that fits your narrative.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:12:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Until extremely recently, being born in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  callmecassandra, poco

                  the Republic of Ireland meant you were Irish.

                  Same rights as any other citizen, regardless of your confessional status or skin color.  While that may not be reflected in your treatment in society, it is the law.

                  Being born in Israel doesn't make you a full citizen of a democracy unless you're Jewish.  Your rights, including the right to purchase or lease property owned by the state on an equal footing, are limited by law.

                  "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:57:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  While I think that's largely representative (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I will point out that some people who define themselves as Zionists are fully supportive of a pluralistic secular and democratic state in the Levant in which Jewish people are equal citizens with people of all faiths and none, and truly wish nothing more than a nation in which Jews can exist in their historic homeland peacefully alongside cousins who have adopted other faiths.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:53:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Zionism (4+ / 0-)

        is the national movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the creation of a Jewish country in the their ancestral homeland of Israel.  Since the one-state solution seeks to eliminate the Jewish identity of Israel and, possibly, make Jews a minority in the country, it is therefore anti-zionist.

        •  Not sure of that logic (14+ / 0-)
          Since the one-state solution seeks to eliminate the Jewish identity of Israel and, possibly, make Jews a minority in the country, it is therefore anti-zionist.
          Judah Magnes, Henrietta Szold, Albert Einstein, Arthur Ruppin, Martin Buber, shared a vision that was Zionist, but also inclusive, seeking a bi-National State, even if it meant being a minority.  
          “Magnes believed that democracy required equal opportunity for all and that once special privileges are granted, democracy ceases to exist …. Magnes wanted Jews to have the opportunity to migrate to Palestine and develop their culture there. As proclaimed democrats, he argued that Zionists can ask for ‘equal rights’ in Palestine just as Jews have the right to ask for equal rights ‘in all lands’ where they live. To ask for more than this … ‘is to make an exception for Palestine in the formulation of a political program for the Jewish people.’ According to democratic principles, Magnes maintained, Zionists can only request from the Ottoman Empire that Jews in Palestine be given the same rights as other groups living there. He believed that Zionists needed to accept the existence of a large Arab population living in Palestine.”  
          American Council for Judaism
        •  The one-state solution is rights-based (25+ / 0-)

          and is premised upon the notion that a state should be a state of all its citizens, Jewish or non-Jewish.

          Whether one agrees with that or not is something else, but it does not seek to take any rights away from anyone who is a citizen.

          •  But how could that ever work? (4+ / 0-)

            So, after decades of bitter warfare, Israelis and Palestinians could suddenly discover the will to live in a state with a rouhly 50-50 split, and not have any issues? Multiethnic states, even some without history of armed conflict, have collapsed one after the other. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union all imploded almost overnight. Even Western democracies like Belgium or Spain are finding it difficult to manage a multinational population?

            •  WELL, FOR ONE, (18+ / 0-)

              they are already living in one state. Israel controls everything from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river. They're living together now. So what would be the problem if everyone had equal rights?

              You know that Jews living in the West Bank are allowed to vote for the government that rules over them and are subjected to Israeli civil law, while non-Jews living in the West Bank cannot vote for the government that rules over them and are subject to Israeli military law.

              Again, what would be the problem with everyone having equal rights? The problem would be that the privileged group would be very upset. So I guess we shouldn't advocate for equal rights, then.

              If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

              by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:21:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Two-state solution is better. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JNEREBEL, GermanGuy, varro

                Israel is a mix of being a democracy with some flaws (west of the Green line) and an ethnocracy east of it, where as you mention settlers vote in Israeli elections, Palestinians don't, different legal systems apply etc. A two-state solution would remove most if not all settlements and give the Palestinians a state of their own. I don't see it possible for the Palestinians and Israelis to ever live in one state, because they are two peoples, not one. We can just look at Syria, Iraq, or even many European nations and see how multinational states with populations lacking a common identity work. Take a look at Ukraine, which has a European-leaning western part and a Russian-leaning eastern part, and see how the cooperation and equal rights work out. It is simply not possible to combine the Israel and Palestine and expect to get a functioning state.

                •  We have some common ground. In both cases, (9+ / 0-)

                  I think we can agree that the occupation has to end. I believe BDS can help achieve that. It has made some significant gains recently; the giant Dutch pension fund PGGM recently divested from five Israeli banks for providing financing for settlement building, and settlers in the Jordan Valley have complained that their sales are way down due to boycott. These have gotten mainstream media attention.

                  I think this pressure is what is making Israel take this current round of talks seriously. That's why they're upset, really. There might actually be a solutions down the road, which means Israel will have to make compromises.

                  If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

                  by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:27:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What does BDS stand for? (0+ / 0-)

                    Does it represent boycotting every product with a "made in Israel" tag or is it primarily focused on targeting organizations and companies which benefit from the occupation? On the one hand BDS in theory targets Israel as a whole, but at the same time almost all cases where someone chose to boycott dealt with settlements only.
                    IMO I think that companies like Ahava or the banks you mentioned should be targeted, that way they might change their policies regarding investing in the settlements. At the same time, I don't think it makes much sense to ban academic relations with Israeli universities and shut down dialogue.

                    •  BDS asks that you do what you can do. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT, poco, JesseCW, bananapouch1

                      Formally, they believe that to achieve their goals of rights for all Palestinians (citizens, those under occupation, and the refugees), all of Israel should be boycotted, because Israel is the agent. Israel gives subsidies to businesses that are located in the settlements. Israel builds the infrastructure for those businesses and settlements.

                      The banks are in Israel, yet you can see how boycotting them could be helpful.

                      As far as the academic boycott goes, as I said elsewhere in this thread, it is a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, not individual Israeli academics:

                      Unlike the South African academic boycott, which was a “blanket” boycott of academics and institutions, the PACBI call explicitly targets Israeli academic institutions because of their complicity, to varying degrees, in planning, implementing, justifying or whitewashing aspects of Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights. This collusion takes many forms, from systematically providing the military-intelligence establishment with indispensable research—on demography, geography, hydrology, and psychology, among other disciplines—to tolerating and often rewarding racist speech, theories and “scientific” research. It also includes institutionalizing discrimination against Palestinian Arab citizens, among them scholars and students; suppressing Israeli academic research on Zionism and the Nakba; and the construction of campus facilities and dormitories in the occupied Palestinian territory, as Hebrew University has done in East Jerusalem, for instance.

                      If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

                      by Flyswatterbanjo on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:18:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I disagree with this though. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I think it's unfair to penalize an entire nation for the actions of their government. If so, then I should stop writing my post from a Chinese-produced laptop. We would literally need to boycott most of the world using this logic. Boycotting businesses that directly profit from the occupation of the West Bank (or Kashmir, Northern Cyprus, Tibet, and other areas) is a great idea though.

                        •  So you oppose sanctions on Iran? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          And every other country?

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:47:09 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Iran is different. (0+ / 0-)

                            The country is trying to produce nuclear weapons which would threaten the entire world. If it gives up its nuclear program, sanctions will be loosened. It will not need to give up its theocratic dictatorship.

                          •  The sanctions punish the people there (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Because of the actions of the government. You said you opposed that. Are there any sanctions you oppose, or is it just boycotts? Did you oppose the boycott of South Africa, because again, that was punishing a country for the actions of their government.

                            And let's not forget that this is a government that Israeli's chose. They are, as we are so often reminded, a democracy. At what point are the citizen's of a democracy responsible for the actions of their government?

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 11:25:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  depends what sanctions you're proposing. (0+ / 0-)

                            If you're trying to label settlement goods (like half the EU wants to do) then that's a great idea. If you're encouraging artists to not perform in Israel, then that has nothing to do with the occupation, and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel. Although I will agree with you that in a democracy, elections have consequences, so maybe the Israelis could learn that and stop supporting warmongers.

                          •  The sanctions on Iran are in no way limited (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            to nuclear weapons. They are economic, scientific, all kinds of things. Ditto with sanctions on pretty much every other place that we put sanctions on. Or the boycott of South Africa.

                            And at what point should the consequences of elections include a boycott? That's the question here.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:52:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  let's go step by step (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            First, start labeling settlement products (there is a growing international consensus in that direction). If that doesn't work, impose sanctions on the Ahavas, Sodastreams etc. And on and on until Israel starts obeyibg international law in the occupied territories.

                          •  This is a thing I can get behind (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            As it is I boycott Israeli goods. But I'm poor, so it doesn't mean much. I think Hasbra hummus is the only thing I choose not to buy.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:23:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What other countries do you boycott? (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you use Chinese-made phones, laptops, etc? How about watching the Olympics in Sochi?

                          •  I totally refuse to watch the Olympics (0+ / 0-)

                            I also refuse to eat at McDonalds, and when possible I refuse to buy Nestle products, and Coke. I would refuse to buy Chinese made computers but I need a computer to make my living and I'm not sure where you can find electronics that aren't made in China at this point. Certainly not any that I can afford. I'd bet that some of the electronics I have bought were developed in part in Israel as well given the breadth of their tech industry.

                            Honestly, I try to buy as little as I possibly can in general so to some extent saying I'm going to boycott something doesn't mean a whole ton.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:54:08 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Every state is multi-national (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aunt Martha, JesseCW

                  It is inevitable and the reality of the world.  The problems arise when states try to deny that fact and strive to represent one nation only.

                  We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

                  by RageKage on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:48:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The nation state is the norm in Europe and Asia (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Most states in Europe and in Asia are nation states in the sense that they define themselves as the state of one particular ethnicity that has evolved into a nation. Of course there are ethnic minorities to be found in all of these nation states, sometimes these ethnic minorities of one state constitute the nation of another nation state and sometimes not, and these diverse ethnic minorities in every nation state may be bigger or smaller, but the fact stands as it is.

                    There has been and there is much discussion in Europe about the concept of the nation state. From a liberal and progressive perspective, acclaim for the concept in particular stems from the fact that the unitary narrative and public discourse within such a nation state enables and furthers social interaction, government responsibility and progressive development. This does not deny people who self-identify as members of an ethnic minority any rights as equal citizens (with one single exception, namely that in many of these nation states immigration laws give a favourable treatment to people who can demonstrate an ancestor of the ethnicity that constitutes the nation of the nation state). What is unusual in the case of Israel is the one point that ethnic minorities are exempt from compulsory enlistment in the military.

            •  Who said there would not be any issues? (9+ / 0-)

              There's no question that it would be difficult. Obtaining and maintaining equal rights for all citizens in the USA is difficult, but I don't see anyone, except for right-wingers, saying that we should not aim for that.

              So why should the rights of citizens elsewhere be any different?

              Reconciliation is a long, painful process that requires commitment from people of good will on all sides.

              •  at minimum, good will means stop expansion (5+ / 0-)

                stop expanding settlements, stop stealing water, stop and prosecute west bank settlers who attack Palestinians, houses, wells, etc.

                The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

                by stargaze on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:46:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Everyone was American in the U.S. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                At least after the Civil War, there was not much of a debate that anyone born on U.S. soil was American, as difficult as the struggles against segregation, for women's rights, LGBT rights etc were. Will the Israelis and Palestinians ever consider themselves one people? Probably not. Just like Czechs and Slovaks didn't consider themselves Czechoslovaks, Croats and Serbs didn't consider themselves Yugoslavs and even how many Catalonians don't consider themselves Spaniards. This is why one state is virtually impossible.

                •  anyone born on US soil? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aunt Martha, caul

                  Do you know anything about the history of Native Americans in this county? Of Latinos living in the southwest? Puerto Ricans?

                  Of African Americans to this day who are excluded from the vote in all too many states by all too many devious devices? If you need an update on slave history and its bitter tailings, you could start with Denise's diary today.

                  And those are only the groups most obviously discriminated against.

                  Doesn't mean coexistence can't happen, but it's surely not a given, despite what the elementary American history texts "teach".

                  "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

                  by fhcec on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:00:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It can't. It is a fantasy of some but it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              would only come about anytime in the near future from violence.

              "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

              by JNEREBEL on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:07:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You need four nationalities or ethnic groups (3+ / 0-)

              of comparable size and influence, as in Switzerland, to avoid the crude tyranny of the majority. With two, one is necessarily larger, and with three, it is easy for two to gang up on the third. With four, everybody can begin to see that they are all better off cooperating.

              Not that that is a sufficient condition. Yugoslavia was bitterly torn between Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and everybody else, exacerbated by tensions between the Turkish and Austrian empires, and later the Nazis and the Soviets.

              South Africa, with 11 official languages, is well-launched on the process, helped by such things as their Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

              Having hundreds of minorities within an empire, as in the old Soviet Union and China, doesn't cut it.

              Having separate Jewish and Muslim states is much simpler to achieve than a functioning single state. We can discuss tolerance and respect for all human rights in both countries after we put an end to the violence and allow Palestinians to have a functioning economy. Among other things.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:29:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How did the vote today in Switzerland (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                against immigrants turn out ?

                "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

                by fhcec on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:02:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Swiss immigration vote (0+ / 0-)
                  How did the vote today in Switzerland against immigrants turn out ?
                  According to this article, 50.3% voted for the measure. Just barely enough to pass it.

                  Which means it may well come up again.

                  "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

                  by thanatokephaloides on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:30:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Switzerland did not "vote against immigrants" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The resolution the Swiss adopted today constitutes an immigration regime pretty similiar to what is in place in the US, Canada and Australia. The measure opposed unlimited immigration from EU member countries (but due to bad legal texting will probably fail to achieve that aim).

        •  The one state solution seeks to eliminate the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, caul

          Jewish identity of Israel?  While I don't think the one state solution is workable, I'd hardly say that's the purpose of the one state solution.

          Seems like if, for whatever reason, one thinks the two state solution is untenable, that only leaves one other option.

          •  Menachem Begin supported a 1-state solution (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thanatokephaloides, whizdom, caul

            with Palestinians being offered a choice of full Israeli or Jordanian citizenship. You can look it up. He figured that resolution of the Palestinian issue would rekindle aliyah from Western Europe and the Americas in numbers that would retain a Jewish majority. We'll never know on that. But most of his supporters wanted Palestine free of Palestinians. Instead, they get Israel heading for pariah status, full speed ahead.

          •  Whether or not it is the purpose is less (0+ / 0-)

            important as understanding it is the end result of the policy.

            Whether or not someone believes by supporting BDS they are supporting people who's goal is the destruction of the current state of Israel is less important than knowing that said support will effectively end the state as it has existing from its founding.

            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

            by JNEREBEL on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:18:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There's a huge difference between claiming (0+ / 0-)

              something is it's purpose, and claiming something is the end result.  In the former, all supporters are out to get you.  In the latter, well meaning people may (In your opinion) have come to the absolute wrong conclusion.

              •  The difference exists but is it meaningful? (0+ / 0-)

                If the results mean the end of your country, whether or not the results were those that were intended, then they are likely to be inconsequential to the citizens that have lost their nation.

                "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                by JNEREBEL on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:48:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Does separation of church and state (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, AoT, stargaze

          in the United States make Christians weaker or stronger?  State supported religion in Europe has made the Church empty buildings.  

          State supported Judaism in Isreal is making a Isreal as warlike, secular state, Jews who keep nothing of their religion are ????  In a generation?  two?   How will they be Jewish?

    •  By Atacking Jewish BDS Supporters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, stargaze

      You show the anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism meme is false. For people who are against anti-Semitism AND for peace and justice it's becoming increasing clear that Zionism itself is is an integral part of the problem. We won't be cowed by false charges of anti-Semitism due to the bravery of people like David.

      In 2012 the General Assembly of the Presbytwrian Church barely voted against a divestment motion. We were heavily lobbied by Jewish groups to do so because supposedly divestment was anti-Semitic. The youth advisory delegates voted overwhelmingly for divestment, though.

      I predict divestment will pass this Summer at our upcoming General Assembly in Detroit. While the study Zionism Unsettled does not officially speak for the PCUSA it does represent a significant opinion within the church. We shall see if it is a majority this Summer.

    •  Can't rec this comment for some reason (0+ / 0-)

      Some comments on this thread are missing rec/hide buttons.

      Can't anyone explain?

      Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

      by msirt on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:05:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many anti-Zionists are antisemitic (0+ / 0-)

      I was arguing with someone over at Huff over the AIPAC about-face who was expressing his anti-Zionist views, but also concluded one of his comments with: "All Israelis are deceitful."

      No question in my mind that he was anti-Jewish, just using Zionism as a foil for that.  That's way too close to the old "All Jews are deceitful" canard.

      Kinda like how Tea Partiers mask their racism.

      Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

      by msirt on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:13:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thoroughly enjoyed your book, David. (29+ / 0-)

    It's a very moving and vivid work.


    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." -- Groucho Marx

    by Gordon20024 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:42:59 PM PST

  •  Hi David, (40+ / 0-)

    I've sent this link to my Rabbi. Are you planning on coming to CA this year? My synagogue is quite progressive and I think the  congregation would be very receptive to you.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne Shop Kos Katalogue!

    by remembrance on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:43:25 PM PST

  •  Do you think that boycotting (6+ / 0-)

    is the only legitimate method of nonviolent opposition to Israeli policies and West Bank settlements? You appear to conflate them into one thing.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:15:29 PM PST

  •  David, time to hear the public facts of life. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, mattoqp, buffan, Al Abama, JNEREBEL

    When people or organizations don't like what you have to say, they either don't invite you to speak in the first place or disinvite you upon rethinking an extended invitation. Surprised? Rethink your message.

      •  Good (13+ / 0-)


        'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

        by janis b on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:06:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Probably both, because (7+ / 0-)

        when an organization puts on bold and controversial programming such as this, and does so despite the existence of intense community pressure to cancel it, it is clear that the organization is not afraid of controversy or criticism of Israel. It is also clear that, when it does cancel a program, it does not do so lightly. Thus, the  cancellation of the speaking events can't be chalked up to a knee-jerk refusal to consider complex and controversial issues concerning Israel. One might want to consider why his endorsement of BDS advocacy crossed a line that presentation and discussion of Motti Lerner's "The Admission" did not.

        •  One might want to do that. (13+ / 0-)

          And one might want to be open to all sorts of possible answers, including the possibility that Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli policies and actions is terrifying to some.

        •  This may not have been a decision that was (3+ / 0-)

          arrived at lightly.  That's not the question - the question is, was it the correct decision?

          My personal opinion is that it is not.

        •  Perhaps what Paul Schram,... (6+ / 0-)

          ...professor of Israel Studies at the U. of Maryland, said about the handling of "The Admission." What happened:

          Theater J and the DCJCC announced today that they will not be producing the controversial play “The Admission”, by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner. Rather, Theater J will present it as a workshop, inviting audience members to give feedback allowing the playwright and director to adjust the script or staging. In addition, the play, even in workshop form, will not be shown 35 times as originally advertised, but will be presented 16 times and now as part of a larger symposium on Israel and conversations about Israel.

          “The DCJCC is committed to presenting the work of Motti Lerner and “The Admission” and has heard many thoughtful voices in the community,” said DCJCC CEO Carole Zawatsky. “Written by celebrated Israeli playwright, Motti Lerner, the decision today is to give the work the context that the work and the audience deserve.” [...]

          For her part, Zawatsky maintained, “I don’t believe a small group of people with very passionate ideas have the right to hold a community to their particular perspective. I do believe they have the right to be heard.There are lines we don’t cross and they are around BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel).”

          Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, Paul L. Scham, who teaches the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lived in Israel and worked at Hebrew University when the Tantura controversy was major news in Israel, read a draft of the play as well as COPMA’s letter of October 2 about the play and responded, “COPMA is certainly right that the play loosely follows the Tantura controversy.” But, he added, “COPMA’s letter of Oct. 2 gives a sense of the chronology of the controversy but ignores or misrepresents some crucial facts, thus presenting a seemingly seamless narrative in which everyone dealing with the issue considers it fabricated. That is emphatically not true.”

          He goes on to write, “To say that massacres occur in war is, unfortunately, a commonplace, as we Americans know all too well. Israel is not so fragile that such allegations, even if proven, can have any bearing on its right to exist.

          “’The Admission’ raises serious issues that are well-known in Israel. Many of us feel strongly that Israel’s fate is bound up with our own as Jews. To censor and prevent a full understanding of the good and the bad in Israel does a disservice to truth, to art, and to Israel, because supporting Israel should never be based on suppressing either truth or art.”

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:39:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            whizdom, leftynyc, JNEREBEL

            the change to a workshop presentation -- 16 performances with panel discussions after -- is even more daring and dialogue-inducing than the original production that was planned. Doesn't seem to be consistent with the diarist's suggestion of a community committed to shutting down progressive perspectives.

            •  What? (0+ / 0-)

              I don't think the diarist is critical of the DCJCC on the basis of shutting down all progressive perspectives, heck, look at their past programs, very progressive.  But this one-failing to condemn adequately BDS, as a bar to dialogue, merits note.

              •  I don't want to speak for the dcjcc, but (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leftynyc, JNEREBEL

                I don't think the problem was a failure to condemn adequately, but rather the formal endorsement of BDS.

                •  Not exactly an endorsement, as I read it (0+ / 0-)

                  I may be misreading the O.P., but I don't think he endorses BDS, e.g., by signing its petitions. I think he is stating that it is a legitimate arrow in the Palestinian quiver, unlike, say, suicide bombs. I would agree with that. For that matter, if Al Qaeda wants to renounce terrorism and go with a call to boycott the United States, it is their right to do so.

                  Have the BDS people renounced their phone bills (Israeli software prints about 1 in 3 worldwide, last I looked) or their Intel chips (major research center)? Pushing such a well-integrated economy out of the global marketplace is a tall order. It is likely, though, that the threat applied to smaller companies (Sodastream, Ahava) may get some results.

                  •  I guess the dcjcc thinks that (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Andrew Lazarus, leftynyc, JNEREBEL

                    "I formally endorse BDS" means just that.

                  •  The boycott of South Africa began (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poco, lotlizard, AoT, stargaze

                    with Black employees of Polaroid bringing to the attention of management that Polaroid cameras were being used in the production of internal passbooks in South Africa. The company stopped selling cameras to the government, and selling cameras in South Africa at all. The ANC had turned to sabotage after the Sharpeville Massacre and then terrorism after the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders.

                    What would the opponents of BDS think of this?

                    Was Polaroid thus a sponsor of terrorism?

                    Were supporters of Catholics in Northern Ireland thus sponsors of the IRA bombings?

                    Were supporters of Gandhi thus sponsors of the Indians who went in with the Japanese in World War II?

                    Were supporters of Martin Luther King sponsors of Black nationalist violence?

                    In every one of these cases, that argument was made, and attempts were made to silence those supporters. And here we are again.

                    Not now.

                    Not this way.

                    Don't rock the boat.

                    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                    by Mokurai on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:37:37 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  It's important to expose closed-minded behavior. (22+ / 0-)

      He's not disputing that they have every right to disinvite him, he's exposing what they really stand for, or fail to stand for.

    •  Darned straight. Just like those 'women's (28+ / 0-)

      suffragettes' should have 'rethought their message' because people didn't like what they had to say!  And those abolitionists!

    •  Rethink his "message"??? (15+ / 0-)

      His "message" is one of peace, of reconciliation, of holding out one's hand to "the other" and seeing them as human beings with needs and opinions and families and being just like you in a different package.  That lasting peace can be achieved in this way.

      You want him to rethink that message???  Who the F*CK are you to suggest that he rethink that message?

      You sound like Naftali "I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state." Bennett, or Netanyahu himself.

      You clearly don't know what David's message is, you're just taking your turn at attacking a man you know nothing about.  You've not even bothered to read his book.

      Rethink his "message".  What a truckload of bullshit.

      Celtic Merlin

      Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

      by Celtic Merlin on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:32:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reconciliation is so important (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whizdom, linkage, Smoh, Mokurai, poco, lotlizard

        Israel's start, it was colonization ... which, in the early 20th c typical behavior. England tried to hold onto India after WWII, etc. That's bad & theft. And more bad when current people try to say it wasn't colonialism.

        But people born in Israel or brought there as children, that's their home. The nonviolent noncooperation would be much less, I think, if the israel gvt wasn't still colonizing: land grabs, stealing water, ignoring settlers poisoning water sources, etc.

        If reconciliation can happen -- stop taking more, give building permits to existing "illegal" homes, share water equitably, one person one vote, etc -- progress could happen.

        Same thing is happening in USA, not honoring treaties and stealing resources from tribal lands.

        The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

        by stargaze on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:12:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reconciliation (0+ / 0-)

          Since you deem reconciliation important, and i do as well, A good place to start is the truth.

          The truth is Israel's start was Immigration.
          Perfectly legal immigration, with full permission of existing governments. Immigration and land purchases are very well recorded in the archives of both the Turkish and the British governments. It's not even disputable.

          This isn't to whitewash the current Israeli wrongs, or to point the finger at Arab/Palestinian wrongs, It's to correct, for the purpose of reconciliation, the historical record.

          You seem to draw a line between the original immigrants and the people who were born there saying one is legitimate and the other is not. This act of delegitimization, which you are casually displaying is not in the spirit of reconciliation.

          One can't expect reconciliation while delegitimatizing one side with historical untruths.

          •  I understand the first intifada was in 1930s (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            because the increasing jewish immigration, and tenants pushed off lands, and other economic disagreements that lead to general strike by arabs.

            I know there's a lot of abuse by absentee landlords in USA and cheating; I think the same thing was happening with Turkish and British absentee landlords. Certainly the project was seen as colonizing by the people doing the colonizing. There are late 19th c & early 20th c quotes about intent to replace the population, denying employment. And discussions at the time about what to do with people who would naturally object.

            The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

            by stargaze on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:09:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

              What absentee landlord cheating are you referring to, and what's this you "think"? Try "knowing". it's better than your "understanding" too.

              The first large scale Arab riot was the 1920 Nebi Musa riots:

              "Among the slogans used to incite the riots were the implications of Zionist immigration and the previous tensions which coincided with attacks on outlying Jewish villages in the Galilee. Speeches by Arab religious leaders during the festival, in which traditionally large numbers of Muslims gathered for a religious procession, led to a serious outbreak of violent assaults on the city's Jews. Five Jews and four Arabs were killed and several hundreds were injured.[1] In its wake, sheikhs of 82 villages round the city and Jaffa, claiming to represent 70% of the population, issued a document protesting the violence against the Jews.[2]"

              There is a difference between colonization vs Colonialism.  And waving some vague quotes about people being "replaced".  Really?

              I bought a house and moved in so i "replaced" the guy who lived here previously. So what? nothing wrong or immoral about that. Immigration and gentrification has been going on forever it's not illegal or immoral. It's life: new groups move in old groups move out. it happens all over the US continuously. Neighborhoods move down and up on the socioeconomic scale.

              Stop tying to vilify it. It's just more historic delegitimization.

              •  "Think" "understand" vs "know" (0+ / 0-)
                What absentee landlord cheating are you referring to, and what's this you "think"? Try "knowing". it's better than your "understanding" too.
                I write "think" and "understand" because I am going by articles and talks. I spend more time with local police bullying & politics. I'm not going to pretend to "know" more than I do. I do know my tax money gets spent on imperialism. I found the article I was remembering (Ilan Pappe):


                I think it is important to go back even earlier than 1936 to make sense of this. You have to go back to the late 19th century when Zionism appeared as a movement. It had two noble objectives: one was to find a safe place for Jews who felt threatened by the rising tide of anti-Semitism, and the other was that some Jews wanted to redefine themselves as a national group and not just as a religion.

                The problem started when they chose Palestine as a territory in which to implement these two impulses. It was clear that because the land was inhabited, this would have to be accomplished by force, and thus it was unavoidable to contemplate the depopulation of Palestine's indigenous people.

                It took time for the Palestinian community to realize that this was the plan. Even the 1917 Balfour declaration did not awaken the people; it did not bring the Palestinians to revolt against the British policy or the Zionist strategy. But by 1936, you could already see the beginning of the real result of this strategy. Palestinians were evicted from land purchased by the Zionist movement, and Palestinians lost their jobs because of the Zionist strategy of taking over the labor market.

                It was very clear that the European Jewish problem was going to be "solved" in Palestine. All three of these factors pushed Palestinians for the first time to say, "We are going to do something about this," and they tried to revolt. You needed all the might of the British Empire to crush that revolt. It took them three years.

                The other thing I was remembering is a conversation when I was complaining about grandchildren and great-grandchildren being forced to leave a generational home when the grandfather died of old age. The other person to wave away my outrage saying that the eviction could have been legal, handwaving something about she "didn't know how the Turkish (Ottoman?) leases were worded".
                There is a difference between colonization vs Colonialism.
                My impression is as the early Zionists were not a country with a standing army they were trying to colonize covertly. I believe their intent was settler colonialism.
                And waving some vague quotes about people being "replaced".  Really?

                I bought a house and moved in so i "replaced" the guy who lived here previously. So what? nothing wrong or immoral about that. Immigration and gentrification has been going on forever it's not illegal or immoral. It's life: new groups move in old groups move out. it happens all over the US continuously. Neighborhoods move down and up on the socioeconomic scale.

                Just one person, no. Block busting and a group effort, yes. I have attempted gentrification happening in a neighborhood a few miles from me and it may  be "legal", it's being contested. It's political corruption when powerful developers are able to buy favorable outcomes. Just because something is typical doesn't mean it's fair. When power tries to take advantage of someone else's weakness, pushback is appropriate.
                Stop tying to vilify it. It's just more historic delegitimization.
                I think, for instance, laws about using the word "nakba" is attempt at historic delegitimization.

                I do not think it is delegitimization to want Israel to be a country of all it's citizens. Since much of my tax money spent on "defense" goes to IDF I'm making my opinion known.

                The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

                by stargaze on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:49:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  again (0+ / 0-)

                  Instead of relying on talks and articles maybe you should try  a good history book. While i'm sure the socialistworker website is very informative, you obvoiusly need a history lesson more than you need more propaganda.

                  •  Your non-answer is noted. To repeat myself: (0+ / 0-)
                    It's political corruption when powerful developers are able to buy favorable outcomes. Just because something is typical doesn't mean it's fair. When power tries to take advantage of someone else's weakness, pushback is appropriate.
                    I note from your discussion that you consider the 1930s actions of zionism was merely typical gentrification that shouldn't be objectionable.

                    Well, I think it says a lot about you that not only have you not posted any links but you support aggressive gentrification. Normally progressives don't side with the landlord class.  

                    The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

                    by stargaze on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:29:31 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK (0+ / 0-)

                      You realy need a history lesson, perhaps you can show me some historical evidence of your claims of this:
                      "political corruption when powerful developers are able to buy favorable outcomes."
                      In relation to zionist immigration of the 30s. An accepted historical record. You've been demonstablly wrong about your 1930s "intifada", blaming the victim, grossly conflating a reprehensible pogrom with some sort of justifiable uprising. You accuse me of not posting links, but you ignored the one i posted showing your error about Nebi Musa riots. based on that, who knows how wrong you are about the 1930s actions of zionism.

                      On to more about settler colonialism. as though refugees escaping european hostility were an advance guard of some empire bent on extension. Grow up, history says no such thing. Still at it, now it's "agressive gentrification", whatever, still no acknowledgment that maybe the simplist explination is most likely faithful to the time. Jews filled the immigration quotas legally and with no help of any imperial power. Natives don't like immigrants moving in, find reasons to harm them. The last part is right in the link i provided. The others are in history books.

                      Finally this isn't about Class or simplistic docotomus options about which Class i support. Nice ad-hom, by the way. I guess looking at it strictly through a class based lens allows you to justify "pushback" aka violence, like you did upthread.

                      •  Thank you for a more complete answer (0+ / 0-)

                        Sorry I was not more clear above. I believe your position is that people shouldn’t complain about immigration and typical gentrification. From what I’ve read I think it was more than that, and you have not convinced me otherwise.

                        However, even if what happened in 1920s/1930s was only immigration/gentrification then I still consider that problematical when evictions occur. I consider evictions the difference between OK gentrification and aggressive gentrification. Planning for evictions to happen would also happen as part of a colonization effort.

                        In a reconciliation process, those who think it was colonialism and those who think it was unobjectionable immigration can explain to each other and better understand each other. I hope this would also facilitate stopping the current land and water thefts.

                        There’s an eminent domain fight happening a few miles from where I live, and it looks like “class warfare” to me, which is one reason why I brought up the topic “class warfare”. The local eminent domain project may be “legal”, but only because of corruption. So it is easy for me to believe more than “immigration” was happening in 1920s-1930s Palestine. If there was enough evictions and so on that there was a general revolt across Palestine in 1936-39, then I think it very likely that corruption and class warfare where involved. The mere facts of evictions and revolt are enough of a “smoking gun” for me to make that conclusion; a reconciliation process would make history more clear. Again, “legal” does not preclude class warfare.

                        If “Jews filled the immigration quotas legally” but the level of immigration was not set with sufficient agreement of the local populous, then I would call that “help [from an] imperial power”.

                        When I wrote “first intifada” above, I meant that as a general mass action that Ilan Pappe refers to & your link was to a incident in a single city, which wasn’t part of the multi-year revolt I was referencing. I thought there was also a general strike, but I can't remember where I read that. I’m sorry I neglected to respond to the link. In the Wikipedia entry for “1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine” (which is what Ilan Pappe was referring to), has this summary:

                        World War I left Palestine, especially the countryside, deeply impoverished. The Ottoman and then the Mandate authorities levied high taxes on farming and agricultural produce and during the 1920s and 1930s this together with a fall in prices, cheap imports, natural disasters and paltry harvests all contributed to the increasing indebtedness of the fellahin. The rents paid by tenant fellah increased sharply, owing to increased population density, and transfer of land from Arabs to the Jewish settlement agencies, such as the Jewish National Fund, increased the number of fellahin evicted while also removing the land as a future source of livelihood
                        --which reads like more than “immigration” to me. Also, losing farms due to rising rents and taxation reads like “class warfare”, and a reason why the revolt happened.

                        The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

                        by stargaze on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:42:19 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  I think that's called "epistemic closure" (3+ / 0-)

      Organizations usually invite some range of opinion. What I find remarkable is not that the DC JCC disagrees with Gershon, but that they find his views that far out in left field. I think they are in for a rocky future, because the romantic Pioneer Settler narrative doesn't reconcile well with the situation on the ground. If they aren't careful, BDS is going to be the next decade's Legal Gay Marriage—whether it is a good idea or not!

    •  Oh, yes (4+ / 0-)
      Not now.

      Not this way.

      Don't rock the boat.

      No, it is time for you to rethink the message of the oppressors. The prophets told us that this would be the response when speaking truth to power. Why would anybody be surprised that it is happening again?

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:40:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so sorry (14+ / 0-)

    that your opportunities to present such reasonable thinking are being thwarted.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:52:40 PM PST

  •  The Constitution and the Amendments (4+ / 0-)

    are only addressed to agents of government, the people to whom we also assign the use of force, when necessary. Establishments of religion are specifically exempt from state supervision because the founders knew them to be partisan and exclusive and tempted to rely on the use of force to coerce the non-compliant.
    That's why religious states are problematic.

    People who are convinced that humans act according to what they think are, of course, inclined to control what people think. Propaganda is presumably painless and particularly suited to the lazy.

    Exclusivity and exclusion seem to be universal temptations. I suppose it's because they make people feel more important.

    by hannah on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:01:36 PM PST

  •  drink it in - all is well (16+ / 0-)

    You are an effective messenger with a powerful unique voice. Remember the crap people gave Nate Silver about being an Obama shill trying to discourage voters from contributing to Romney's upcoming victory. Israel/Palestine makes this a more painful and personal area, but your thought leadership is needed and you are ready to go. Be brave and be heartened. And remember all the other things you have to say that we love listening to. God bless your voice in our midst.

  •  Obviously Palestinians shouldn't protest violently (37+ / 0-)

    But if they're not so to protest nonviolently, what are they supposed to do? Just suffer in silence and wait for the rest of the world to do nothing?

    Is that really what they're advocating?


    •  Good Governance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I do not know what the DCJCC would advocate Palestinian Arabs without Israeli citizenship to do, but a reasonable suggestion to begin with would be to stop faulting Israel for everything and demand good governance from the Palestinian Authority (where the administration of Mr. Abbas currently is in the 10th year of his 4-year-term) ...

      •  Does USA congress represent Banks or Main St? (9+ / 0-)

        The way Israel gvt keep landgrabbing I don't think it's good governance. IDF allowing settlers in the west bank attacking palestinians, their houses, their water supply is not good governance.

        There's mountains of evidence of corruption in USA federal/state/local. To the extent that USA legislators actually do good governance it's public pressure.

        From what I can see, Israel gvt is pressuring PA in many ways to keep "peace". While settlements keep expanding.

        Since IDF suppresses protest, it's hard for the main st equivalent of palestinians to hold gvt to account in the way USA citizens sometimes can.

        The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

        by stargaze on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:18:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good governance my ass (7+ / 0-)

        Given the choice between a deeply corrupt but complacent Palestinian government, and a squeaky-clean one peacefully and effectively advocating for Palestinian national interests, it wouldn't take Likud six seconds to choose the former.

        Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:13:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why let others define the discourse? (0+ / 0-)

          I do not disagree. But why let (opposition to) Likud frame one's own perspective and advocacy of the right thing to do?

          In my humble opinion, a liberal focus on the interest of Palestinian Arab people should at least primarily be on the interest of the human beings in question, not a however constructed "Palestinian Arab national interest". What strikes me in the discussion here is that a lot of people appear to one the one hand vigorously deconstruct and denounce any idea of a "Israeli Jewish national interest" ("zionism") and on the other hand construct and cherish a "Palestinian Arab national interest" ... as an above comment of mine has been hidden with much participation by the community, probably somewhat in that context (and/or because some pointed argument was perceived as offensive, I cannot read a reported number of no less than seven replies to date), I can only take note of that ...

    •  As long as Palestinians use terrorism (16+ / 0-)

      Israel's government can use it as an excuse for whatever repressive policies they care to employ. Security!

      Take away that excuse and it become very risky politically for the Israeli government. That's why the pushback against the idea of boycott is so harsh.

      •  I Am So Frustrated..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole, Al Abama

        over this whole issue and I would like to take both the Israeli's and Palestinian's to the woodshed because both sides are dancing toe to toe in this whole mess and both sides are committing horrific acts and atrocities against each other - do we really need a score card to declare a winner?

        I struggle with being a strong supporter of Israels right to exist and a supporter of a Palestinian state.

        I'm irritated with the constant expansion of Israeli settlements in the west bank and their treatment of Palestinian's within Israel and their military raids into the Gaza Strip, etc., killing innocent civilians.  I am also so frustrated that the Labor Party cannot get its act together in Israel and nominate a candidate for Prime Minister who can actually win an election and finally, once and for all, negotiate a peace plan with the Palestinian's.    

        I'm as equally irritated with the Palestinian's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, the Palestinian peoples choice of Hamas as their ELECTED governing body, Hamas' inability to negotiate a peace settlement and Palestinian's firing of rockets into Israel, killing innocent civilians.    

        "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

        by unapologeticliberal777 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:28:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your voice here (19+ / 0-)

    has been a much appreciated ray of sunshine and wisdom.

    To bad that there are those to narrow minded to listen. I've encountered it all too often myself. Don't ever give up or give in.

    Thank you and shalom

    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

    by TheMomCat on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:37:00 PM PST

  •  So glad Haaretz put you out there like that... (11+ / 0-)

    Watching you slowly deal with "The Media" over the years with this book has been fascinating to say the least.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:38:30 PM PST

  •  Shalom, friend. (12+ / 0-)

    I've read your book. They should leave you alone. You and your wife are heroes.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:20:39 AM PST

  •  William Daroff? (3+ / 0-)

    I'm unqualified to address the political and emotional state of Israeli thought. With that disclaimer in mind, is it possible that William Daroff is influenced by his role as a Republican operative?

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:30:53 AM PST

    •  Of course. His politics are very conservative. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, Just Bob

      He also has much influence in the DC Jewish institutional community, with funding from Federation and such.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:57:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just going to throw this out here from 3000 (4+ / 0-)

    feet. It looks to me like the Jewish community has/is becoming as polarized as the R/D community. This cannot be good. It isn't working there either. The only thing that brought me hope today was reading the comments today on the WRAL site after the #moralmarch - I think there are a lot of folks who realize how polarized we have become and are trying to dial it back. We need a lot more of this everywhere.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:38:36 AM PST

    •  I do think that general political polarization (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, AaronInSanDiego, mrsgoo

      trends are being seen in the Jewish community.

      That said, there is also a growing 'liberal' trend in the Jewish community in terms of our religious affiliation (reform, conservative, orthodox ...), and that translates to political leanings as well.

      In other words: Jewish institutions, with their 'pro-Israel' guidelines, are moving farther away from the pulse of the larger Jewish community in America.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Jewish community has actually been this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrsgoo, whizdom, stargaze

      polarized over Israel for more than a century, since Herzl first proposed the idea in 1896. It takes different forms at different times.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:12:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really have not much to say about this, but I am (14+ / 0-)

    an advocate of the non-violent Palestinians trying to survive on their lands. My sweet hubby was a firm Israel supporter. I worked on him and showed him what was really going on there. He woke up!
    I will get your book and read it. I do admire you and yours and have enjoyed your posts.
    Blessed Be

    Please call me Scotia. "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris

    by TX Scotia on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:59:29 AM PST

  •  Another victim of the long arm of radical Zionism (8+ / 0-)

    which is aided and abetted by a large number of American legislators and leaders.  A government destroying and taking over property and land of an underclass of its citizens -- that stirs unpleasant echoes of the past.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:17:27 AM PST

  •  there are powerful forces arrayed on all sides (11+ / 0-)

    which have a vested interest in maintaining the present status quo despite the suffering it inflicts upon innocent people.  The fear that peace may break out in the ME informs their every action.

    At several points in the past, I have been heartened by various apparent small steps in the process towards peace only to be disappointed at every turn.  While peace must be the goal for the region, the forces that feed and fatten off discord will fight this eventuality with every bit of influence and money at their disposal.

  •  It's obvious that "BDS" is considered a threat. (12+ / 0-)

    Probably anything written on the internet now using those words are being vacuumed up.

    Everyone talking about Boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the right wing Israeli government is being put on a list.

    I'm assuming.

    That means it is powerful.

    Thanks for the diary. I think it's about treating the Palestinians like human beings. We can't even begin to make progress until that happens on both sides.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:52:14 AM PST

  •  You're winning if thats the best the can do. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:15:18 AM PST

  •  For any thinking person who purports (8+ / 0-)

    to "Support" Israel, and doesn't realize that Israel has more to gain by ending the statelessness of the Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves, isn't thinking clearly.

  •  Old Testament full of errors - historical claims? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    anthropologists look at records

    Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors

    here are a couple of comments posted to this article by Juan Cole

    lizzy 02/07/2014 at 8:04 am

    Science MUST be discredited by those who profess and teach " faith" in myths and magic. Politicians and con artists will be disempowered by science once "faith" is sufficiently exposed for the trickery that it is. Given the power of the tricksters in today's societies, it is critical that archeology and anthropology, geography and geology must be taught to young people in this now-globally-connected world. Maths, for instance, should include the historical (archeological) evidence of the development of maths as a tool of the development of societies -- the key word being EVIDENCE. Humans will use their brains when the tricksters are sufficiently exposed. This archeological evidence has been known for several years, but archeologists don't tend to be "evangelical" as are the myth-dogma tricksters are. This Real Bible Story cannot be told too often. Thanks Juan. The stories of human development were relegated to myths and magic in ancient times. Allowing the politicians and con artist tricksters to ignore and evangelically discredit science has been a big mistake. When Bill Nye challenges the creation museum, he deserves a LOT of backup.

    John Shklov   2014.02.07 12:24

    Good reference. I am now reading “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman which discusses related research. Considering all the great and substantial religions of the world and the provable time they have been in existence, it always strikes me as laughable the sway that Judeo-Chrisitian religions have on the planet. Really, it would be just as reasonable to believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or an honest politician. Just sayin’.

  •  You can't take reprisal v nonviolence, that is why (11+ / 0-)

    it is more dangerous.

    Or you can, but then you really look like a schmuck.

  •  US has a long history of persecuting minorities. (6+ / 0-)

    The Montgomery bus boycott is considered a victory for human rights. The moral blockade of slavery divided church congregations in the 1840's. The Vietnam War divided families in a generation gap. The morality of the occupation of Palestine is an issue that can be expected to divide the public, but this is a positive outcome for world peace and international law.

  •  Thanks for yet another interesting diary. (14+ / 0-)

    I'm curious if you have looked at Europe (or even South Africa) as a market for your book and talks. I suspect the reception would be different...but within the community maybe not...hence my curiosity... Regardless, I'm so glad to hear that you have seen a swell of unexpected support. Your voice and perspective are so important to the discussion.

    I find myself very angry about all of this. The gall of saying that BDS isn't a legitimate form of protest reeks of such twisted entitlement. Each time I hear it, I become more committed to supporting the BDS movement.

  •  BDS takes a one-sided approach (5+ / 0-)

    I don't agree with the BDS strategy because it takes a one-sided approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It calls only for punitive action against Israel, not Palestinians, and therefore reflects the view that Israel, and Israel alone, is responsible for the continued conflict.

    I think that the expansion of settlements is foolish and counterproductive and Netanyahu is too supportive of the expansion of settlements. But the BDS movement, which focuses solely on settlements, ignores other huge obstacles to a two-state solution -- most notably, Palestinians' support for Hamas, which stilll supports the destruction of the state of Israel.

    By focusing solely on Israel's faults, the BDS movement implicitly promotes the view that Palestinians are blameless in this conflict, and therefore encourages the Palestinian government to make no concessions towards peace. I don't see that as productive for working toward a real two-state solution.

    •  You're right. (17+ / 0-)

      The BDS movement, as a movement, is focused on the violation of the rights of Palestinians by Israel. I'm sorry that that distresses you.

    •  Why would the Palestinians call for punitive (10+ / 0-)

      actions against themselves? BDS is a movement started by Palestinian civil society in order to 1) gain full civil rights for Palestinian Israelis; 2) gain civil rights/freedom for Palestinians living under occupation; 3) gain the internationally recognized right of return for Palestinian refugees, which is accorded to ALL refugees around the world.

      BTW, the expansion of the settlements is not only "foolish" and "counterproductive," but also a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

      If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

      by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:06:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Moving the Overton Window (3+ / 0-)

      I have some disagreements with BDS. For example, I didn't support the so-called academic boycott of South Africans (who as a rule were anti-apartheid activists themselves), so, qal v'homer, I don't support it here. However, I think BDS strengthens the voices for other criticism of Greater Israel, and we have had too little stick and way too much carrot in our dealings with the Likud.

      •  The South African academic boycott was a blanket (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Martha, skohayes, Lefty Coaster

        boycott on academics and institutions. This one only targets Israeli academic institutions, for their complicity in the occupation, not individual Israeli academics. Individuals are free to work with anyone. Here's something from an editorial from Omar Barghouti that explains it:

        Unlike the South African academic boycott, which was a “blanket” boycott of academics and institutions, the PACBI call explicitly targets Israeli academic institutions because of their complicity, to varying degrees, in planning, implementing, justifying or whitewashing aspects of Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights. This collusion takes many forms, from systematically providing the military-intelligence establishment with indispensable research—on demography, geography, hydrology, and psychology, among other disciplines—to tolerating and often rewarding racist speech, theories and “scientific” research. It also includes institutionalizing discrimination against Palestinian Arab citizens, among them scholars and students; suppressing Israeli academic research on Zionism and the Nakba; and the construction of campus facilities and dormitories in the occupied Palestinian territory, as Hebrew University has done in East Jerusalem, for instance.

        If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

        by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:15:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, just like the Montgomery Bus Boycott (5+ / 0-)

      also took a one-sided approach.

      To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

      by Indiana Bob on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:48:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But BDS does NOT focus solely on settlements. If (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GermanGuy, JNEREBEL

      it did, it would implicitly or explicitly affirm Israel within the Green Line (subject to land swaps as part of a two-states-for-two-peoples peace settlement with the Palestinians). That, indeed, is the kind of boycott supported by many patriotic, Zionist Israelis, like Amos Oz and David Grossman, as well as bu American Jewish organizations devoted to Israel's well-being, like Americans for Peace Now, and by individual pro-Israel, pro-Zionist, pro-peace American Jews.

      Unfortunately, the BDS movement targets all of Israel and all Israelis, except, perhaps, if one is not a Jewish Israeli or has distanced oneself from even critical support for Israel's continued existence as a democratic Jewish state. Its guiding principles are inconsistent with a two-states-for-two-peoples peace settlement--in which Palestine is the state of the Palestinian people and all its citizens, and Israel is the state of the Jewish people and all its citizens--because they are inconsistent with the continued existence of the state of Israel in any recognizable form.

      I suspect that the diarist has gotten in trouble with centrist, not to speak of right wing, elements of the American Jewish community because he has endorsed the BDS movement, even as he also has tried to come up with a form of words that distances himself from the movement's no-more-Israel goal.

      It's unclear whether the diarist's failure to deal squarely with this point reflects his lack of understanding, mistakenly attributing to the BDS movement the goal of a binational state, or whether he is simply too clever by half.

      All of this having been said, as an outsider to the various deliberations that have resulted in the diarist having been disinvited from various venues, those decisions strike me as misguided and self-defeating.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:12:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BDS is focused on Palestinian rights. (4+ / 0-)

        Israel's existence or nonexistence has nothing to do with that, so why should BDS address it?

        •  The BDS movement is making demands on Israel. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          livosh1, GermanGuy, JNEREBEL

          Israel's continued existence has everything to do with it. Otherwise, why call for boycotting, divestment from, and sanctions against . . . . Israel?

          Nor does calling something a "right" make it so. But that's a different conversation.

          Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

          by another American on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:49:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your original comment stated that (5+ / 0-)

            BDS does not focus specifically on the Israeli settlements, because if it did it would "it would implicitly or explicitly affirm Israel." Now you're simply trying to change the subject.

            I'll repeat: BDS is focused on Palestinian rights. Israel's existence or nonexistence has nothing to do with that, so why should BDS address it.

            As for your snarky comment about rights, either everyone has same rights or they are not rights.  So do you think that everyone has the same rights?

            •  You're question misleads, I'm sure unintentionally (4+ / 0-)

              The State of Palestine will have the right to determine its immigration policies. The State of Israel already has that right. If the State of Palestine wants to create, it may choose to say "acknowledge," a right of Palestinians to immigrate to the State of Palestine, that's its business, just as it's the State of Israel's business to have decided on its own immigration laws.

              So far as I know, the international community recognizes Israel as a state actor. Like other states, as a matter of international law, Israel is recognized as a sovereign within its territory. (The Occupied Palestinian Territories, of course, are outside that internationally-recognized territory.) The people on whose behalf a Palestinian right of return is asserted, do not, to my understanding, have an internationally-recognized, legal right to emigrate to Israel.

              For example, you'll find no mention of a Palestinian right of return to the State of Israel in the international, UN-supported Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

              Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

              by another American on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:29:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Once again you're trying to change the subject. (4+ / 0-)

                BDS is focused on Palestinian rights.  Palestine's existence or nonexistence has nothing to do with that, any more than Israel's does.

                But I thank you for making it clear that you believe that Palestinians do not deserve certain rights. It's always good to know who believes in a two-tiered system of rights. Apparently, you're one of those people.

                •  That's right (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  livosh1, JNEREBEL

                  He seems to assert that, in general, Diaspora Palestinians will not have a right to settle within Israel, although they will be welcome to settle in Palestine.

                  Since the contrary belief is an obvious deal-breaker from the Israeli point of view, that isn't surprising. I agree that it makes little sense for BDS to disclaim their bargaining chips, but neither should they raise unrealistic expectations.

                  •  No one is talking about raising expectations, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    callmecassandra, poco

                    realistic or unrealistic.  

                    But either all people who have been exiled have a right to return to their homelands or it's not a right of return, it's a privilege of return. aA appears to be arguing for the latter.

                    •  Do you practice law? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Between 1945 and 1950, around 100,000,000 people have been more or less unvoluntarily displaced around the world (both my own parents among them). Using the definition of the UNRWA that all of these are "refugees", and that all of their descendants inherit the status as "refugees", I would estimate the number of those "refugees" to be around 1,000,000,000 today (me included). I was not aware that I and my one billion peers have a "right to return". Could you tell me how to argue that right unter international law, and where to sue?

                      •  Wow, you and your family have not accepted (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        poco, whizdom, Aunt Martha

                        citizenship anywhere? In that case you ARE refugees.

                        But if you and your family (and other refugees) have accepted citizenship elsewhere, then you're no longer refugees.

                        Somehow I doubt you're stateless. But I could be wrong.

                        If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

                        by Flyswatterbanjo on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:21:47 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Thank you for your legal advice (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          Oh, this alleged "right of return" shall be available only to those among us 1,000,000,000 potential plaintiffs who hold no citizenship of any country? Bad for me (or can one waive an existing citizenship to become eligible?).

                          Anyway, I am still extremely curious to learn how to argue that alleged right unter international law, and where to sue. Can you help me, please? I never heard of such a right before, and I am very excited to learn about it.

              •  Returning to the land from which you were (5+ / 0-)

                ethnically cleansed is not "immigration." Thus, Israel's immigration policy is completely irrelevant.

                The right that Palestinian refugees have is the same one that any refugee has under international law: the right to return to your home.

                It's a problem, isn't it?

                If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

                by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:28:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  You know that I've read your book, David. (16+ / 0-)

    I have this to tell you about those who wish to silence your voice and seek to accomplish this by cancelling your appearances or attacking you here and elsewhere on the web:

    They know only fear.  They fear violent attacks upon Israel, but they fear reconciliation, peace, and a viable Palestinian state just as much.  They have been led to believe that the only way for Israel to exist is by maintaining the unsustainable status quo of The Occupation.  They fear BDS because it is a form of resistance TO that status quo and it threatens the continuation of The Occupation.

    What they DO NOT know is the power of reconciliation.  Its power to heal, to bring peaceful resolution to a 65-year-old problem.

    You found that power during your visit with the bomber's family.  You know that the Palestinian People ARE people - not mindless and violent animals.

    Your attempt to shine a big, bright light onto the facts you discovered - of the power of reconciliation and the recognition of "the other" as being human - threatens the standard narrative of fear, fear, and more fear that the right-wing cabal which rules Israel likes to push upon Israelis and the rest of the world.  This makes you a threat.  This is why you get events cancelled and your writings attacked on the web.

    The support you got from the good folks in DC shows that many people need you to be the light which shows the path to peace.  I can only repeat something we old hippies used to say to each other back in the '60s and '70s:

    "Keep on keepin' on, my brother!"

    Celtic Merlin

    Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

    by Celtic Merlin on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:47:03 AM PST

  •  Damn. (7+ / 0-)

    Guess we'll have to grab that beer some other time. Maybe I should look at getting DC Area Kossacks together. If we get big enough, we can set up our own damned event for you.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:51:55 AM PST

  •  Just like Blumenthal's Book Goliath (7+ / 0-)

    Max ran into the same thing trying to promote his book Goliath. There were attempts to have the Clintons repudiate his father for having a book promotion in his house. See this video starting at 3:30. People interested in peace and justice are winning due to the efforts of people like Max and David. Thank you.

  •  Compensation (6+ / 0-)

    When I purchase, which earns you more, the kindle format or the dead tree?

  •  What these people are insisting on (5+ / 0-)

    is that there are no legitimate means of protest.

    There aren't enough derisive words in the English language to describe my opinion of that position.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:59:51 AM PST

  •  Judah Magnes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, skohayes
    Judah Magnes, Chancellor of Hebrew University, “If we cannot find ways of peace and understanding (with the
    indigenous population), if we can only establish ourselves upon the force of bayonets, then our whole enterprise is not worthwhile and it is better that the eternal people should remain patient and wait.”
  •  In this diary, (0+ / 0-)

    you not only describe an outrageous situation--to wit, cancellations by Jewish venues because you endorse "nonviolent protest" by Palestinians--you hint at intriguing background.

    Again, we have to ask, who's benefiting by keeping the I/P conflict going? How?

    This passage here:

    While saddened by the lost opportunity for dialogue in DC, what most upset me was how this cancellation fit into a larger crisis within the American political landscape and, more specifically, the American Jewish community, where honest discourse on Israel is being constricted by high-profile politicians and Jewish institutional leaders alike.
    could easily be expanded into a book, much less a full diary.

    Tipped and recommended.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:50:02 AM PST

  •  Wow, seems your Zen approach to the Alte Kakers (6+ / 0-)

    is being vindicated :)


  •  Opposing the occupation (6+ / 0-)

    is only tolerated in Israel. Not in America.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:47:16 AM PST

    •  Hardly. Indeed, my local JCC is hosting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whizdom, Andrew Lazarus, JNEREBEL

      three opponents of the occupation in an event moderated by a fourth opponent of the occupation.

      The back and forth in Israel on matters both weighty and trivial is virtually endless.  Ability to challenge the status quo is the bedrock of democracy. But at what price? Three gifted “challengers” of Israel join together for this provocative conversation.  Moderated by columnist and Moment Magazine founding editor Leonard Fein.

      Admiral Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet - Israel’s domestic intelligence service - criticized Prime Minister Ehud Barak when peace treaty negotiations with Yassar Arafat collapsed in 2000. Ayalon is featured in the film, The Gatekeepers;

      Gershom Gorenberg, Israeli journalist and historian, visiting professor at Columbia University, and author of The Unmaking of Israel(2011), a provocative history that describes the crisis of Israeli democracy and lays out a vision for the country's future.

      Talia Sasson, former Israeli senior attorney in the State Attorney Office, and special legal adviser to Sharon's government, wrote at his request "The Sasson Report" in 2005 that concluded that Israel had discretely diverted money to build West Bank settlements that were illegal under Israeli law

      Part of the Ryna Greenbaum JCC Center for the Arts. A Jonathan Samen Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations Discussion Series event. Underwritten by generous donor support.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:21:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You know you're getting them. (0+ / 0-)

    Continue on your path. When they're acting reactionary, they're losing.

    The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

    by Tony Stark on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:04:42 AM PST

  •  Not the attack, but the living in Israel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't give your book more authority because of the attack at the Sinatra cafeteria (which killed someone I knew, maybe the same person your wife was to meet), but because it came as part of living in Israel. Too many American Jews go for a six-week dog-and-pony show, conducted in English, and get very little idea of how Israel differs from the United States.

    The Major Jewish Organizations are on the wrong side of the argument—not just their support for expansionist settlement policies, either overt or by refusing to do anything meaningful against them, but also their hope that if they can just keep a lid on it, more radical (so to speak) voices will disappear.

  •  I may have missed this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and, if so, my apologies.

    I think BDS makes some excellent points, and the nuanced version that you, David, write about would be fine.

    Bu I also follow many other (many not Israeli or even Jewish) sources and it seems in recent declarations that from the Palestinian viewpoint BDS includes  the full and total right of return to all displaced Palestinians and all their descendents of the last 60 years or so. Say 5.5 to 6 million total people. All going back into Green Line Israel. Not the Occupied Territories, but Green Line Israel.  Abbas and others have made that an absolute condition in recent pronouncements.

    I have only one question for you, David. What is your non-nuanced view on the right of return?

    Other than that I think your cancellations  for political reasons are despicable and not to be tolerated. And a book and magazine publishing guy  from way back, I'd have given both arms (and more) for author with promotional skills like yours. No snark, no sarcasm; you do one hell of a job. Keep it going.

  •   Imagine if Gandhi and King had not been able (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    to make effective use of non-violent protests.

    The results would have been horrific.

    Violence is what's left when reasonable means disappear.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:22:01 PM PST

    •  Don't compare Gershon to Ghandi (0+ / 0-)

      Gershon has systematically cut himself off from the Jewish community from both the right and left. People don't want to hear him anymore. So he comes here and cries about his failures and DEMANDS!! to be heard. He can post all he likes at DailyKos, so I don't know what's bothering him.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:22:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think I've done that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, whizdom, Johnny Q

        Gershon is the offer of the diary, but he refers to non-violent protest by the Palestinian people.  In that sense,  I would be comparing unnamed leaders of non-violent Palestinian protest to Gandhi and Kind, if such leaders exist.

        Like the messenger or not, non-violent protest and economic actions are far preferable to shooting wars.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:39:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Methinks you're doing some projection here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, Johnny Q
      •  It must be a very difficult thing (0+ / 0-)

        To break from the powerful norming influence of your very own community. Not lightly undertaken.  We might evaluate his position on the merits of his arguments, rather than the imputed, projected and ad hominem constructs of his character.  

        •  Let me clary this. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mets102, leftynyc, livosh1, JNEREBEL

          When you are in a community, you either understand the normative influence of the community, or you are not part of the community. Now, when it comes to the current political climate in Israel, there is plenty of room for debate. Mr Gershon publishes endless, grinding denunciations of Israel, and he doesn't just keep it inside the community, but spreads it wherever he can. It would be no different from me endlessly slamming Pres. Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democratic Party as if I was writing for a right wing magazine, and finally being asked to leave DailyKos. My arguments may have merit, I may say it is for the good of the Democratic Party (like Gershon's claim that he is a "committed Zionist"), but my continuous denunciations are tedious and no one want to hear them after awhile. To those whom Israel really matters the most, to those with so much invested, whose families and history are inextricably tied to Israel, whether they are on the "left" or "right," whether they support or have significant disagreements with the Natanyahu government policies, Gershon has ruined his credibility. People do not want to hear him. He has excluded himself from the debate and now comes to cry at DailyKos about how unfair it all is and about how he is being censored. He takes no personal responsibility, but it is from his own actions and his own lack of self-awareness as to the politics that are involved in being part of a community. It is not strictly from his positions, but it extends to the kind of rancor in his tone, which is so bad that he has to make statements like "I am a committed Zionist."

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:44:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Woody Allen anti-Israel sentiment is anti-Semitism (0+ / 0-)

    Woody Allen believes that anti-Israel sentiment is often anti-Semitism... At least that douchebag is telling the truth about something.  

    •  I would paraphrase Arundhati Roy's question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of the early 2000s, when she asked whether to be anti-American was to be anti-jazz, anti-Toni Morrison, anti-all the great American critics of American policy.

      Conflating criticism of a particular government with criticism of the people or the country itself is a deceptive practice.

      It was in regards to America under Bush.  It is in this case as well.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:16:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A boycotter whom the Jewish community honors. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, JNEREBEL

    Today, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action honored Leonard "Leibel" Fein, a social justice legend. Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP) supported the event and had an advertisement in the program book lauding Fein.

    In an op-ed article in The Jewish Daily Forward for August 30, 2013, Fein, fully aware of Israel's anti-boycott law, called for a boycott of the West Bank settlement of Ariel:

    Upon reflection, Israel’s anti-boycott law notwithstanding, I call for a boycott of Ariel. Specifically, I believe American Jews visiting Israel should stay away from the city, treat it as an offense against peace.
    Fein added:
    In this light, we cannot dismiss calls for a boycott of products made in the territories Israel occupies as inherently wicked, nor for that matter can we automatically condemn Israelis or tourists for boycotting the West Bank itself.

    Ariel is not the issue; conscience is the issue. Conscience, and the chance to be effective.  A sightseeing drive through Bethlehem, no; a tour of Bethlehem organized by Encounter, a terrific organization that goes very far beyond mere sightseeing, for sure.

    And a boycott of Ariel? Yes, indeed.

    The usual suspects screamed bloody murder. Charles Jacobs, founder of the Orwellianly-named Americans for Peace and Tolerance, cried out:
    “The CJP-certified Leonard Fein is now one more slip down the slope,” Jacobs told “Leonard Fein, who in the midst of Middle East madness, where Arabs are murdering and gassing and torturing each other—and each others’ wives and children, from Cairo to Damascus to Baghdad—Fein blames Israelis for the lack of peace in the region.”

    “Beholden to major donors, many of them on the left, it seems that some federations have become disconnected from the larger Jewish community,” Jacobs said. “So if CJP does not excommunicate Fein—if it has no red lines—it will show just how disconnected it has become.”

    CJP President Barry Shrage refused to take the bait. As the news service reported:
    Fein has been a guest speaker for CJP and has a long-term relationship with that federation’s leadership groups. Asked if that relationship would change due to Fein’s stance on Ariel, CJP Executive Director Barry Shrage said it would not, and regarding whether CJP is willing to continue to invite Fein as a speaker, Shrage said, “Sure.”

    “Certainly an argument about settlements, and how to protest settlements and how to support settlements, is part of the daily life of the Jewish community that has a healthy ongoing debate about important issues,” Shrage told

    While Shrage believes Fein’s call for a boycott of Ariel was “a very poor tactic,” he stressed that Fein is “a highly respected member of our community.”

    “We’d be so much poorer a community if we drive out people like Leonard Fein,” Shrage said. “The future of the community is about binding people together.”

    The diarist's problem may be that he is not known within the American Jewish community the way Leibel Fein is. Maybe, the diarist's problem is that he has endorsed, or at least has given a strong appearance of endorsing, the  BDS movement, whose goals are inconsistent with Israel's continued existence. On this fundamental issue, equivocation won't do. One can't get away with saying I support the BDS movement but I don't support its goal.

    That said, it's one thing to honor a person and something rather different to invite a person to speak. Put otherwise, it's one thing to invite a person to keynote an event or appear to be speaking for or endorsed by an organization. It's something else to be considered a voice worth hearing. If the diarist was worth hearing before his muddled endorsement of BDS, he's probably still worth hearing. But the more he obfuscates his position regarding BDS and refuses or fails to acknowledge why his support of BDS, and not his opposition to the occupation, may be the source of his disinvitations, the less profitable listening to him begins to seem.

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:46:36 PM PST

  •  Could it be that AIPAC’s right wing views (0+ / 0-)

    on this have permeated the narrative and that is why there is this knee jerk, mindless, reaction to your well founded position on nonviolent protest?


    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:49:18 PM PST

  •  When a group of Israeli Rabbis warns John Kerry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    “Your incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to Abbas’ terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe. For G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time,”

    its apparent that they've pulled out all the stops to demean Secretary Kerry's effort to make peace, because you just can't oppose the eternal will of the almighty, right?

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:40:06 PM PST

  •  I am reading Max Blumenthal's "Goliath," (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco, Situational Lefty

    And I not only support Boycott, Divestiture and Sanctions, but I favor an immediate embargo of that government.  

    Really, we as Americans can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that we have become accomplices in propping up this apartheid state.

  •  I concur with David's view of BDS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Flyswatterbanjo, whizdom

    First of all, thank you David for “keeping the drive alive” with your posts on your experiences with the Jewish community in the US and with I/P issues . I am an avid Daily Kos lurker and hardly post, but I have really enjoyed the discussion in today’s thread, so thank you posters as well; so many thoughtful comments and different points of view.

    I am Jewish and progressive, and I can relate to David’s point of view on BDS. I think that there is a need to protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians and the settlement enterprise. The choices for protest are either violent or non-violent. I don’t think that violence helps; therefore non-violent protest is the way to go.  Do I like BDS? Only in the way that one likes intervention to hopefully save the life of a drug addict: the whole circumstance is extreme and sad, but what other choice is there?

    I lived in Israel for several years and my impression is that the society is inured to a perpetual state of low-level war and to conflict with the Palestinians. People feel annoyed with it, but experience it  in the way that Americans feel about bad rush hour traffic – it’s irritating, but people are willing to endure it. And the I/P conflict is so complicated, on so many levels… people tune out, just want to deal with their own lives. But this is not OK! I think that if BDS provokes Israeli society to pay attention and not just accept the status quo, then it is doing something beneficial.

    I remember when Oslo brought real hope to the I/P conflict. I blame Bush and his cronies for killing that potential for peace! Eight years of Bush’s uncritical support for Sharon and then Netanyahu and his ilk enabled them to really believe that they could steal Palestinian lands and get away with it. BDS is a sign that they can’t get away with it, and what’s left after other forms of non-violent protest were squelched?

    For me, my time in Israel was a powerful experience. I was moved by being in a society where my culture was the majority culture; I had never felt that. For example, in the US, Jewish holidays are just another day for most people. In Israel, the country participates. I hope for a peaceful future for Israel and I hope that Israel reaches a just peace with the Palestinians. I encourage Kossacks to support progressive Israeli organizations like Peace Now and B’Tselem that work to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The Israelis in these groups need support from progressive people elsewhere in the world. I hope that the status quo can break in favor of peace and that the world can one day move to Support and Invest because we would be investing in peace.

    Long comment - thanks for your patience!

  •  Israel Defeated the Arab armies for 3 decades (0+ / 0-)

    and has withstood the Intifada for an equal period
    of time,  but, India and South Africa were
    both dramatically changed by non-violent

    The Israeli Government knows how to lead offensives
    of some success and some very marginal results.
    The Government knows how to run border security
    and set up concrete walls and x ray every person and package.

    They are very uncertain how to deal with a Boycott,

  •  BDS is illegitimate... (0+ / 0-)

    ....similar to the Nuremberg Laws.

    I don't see anyone advocating BDS against China for occupying Uighurstan, or against Turkey and Iran for denying the Kurds a homeland.

    You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

    by varro on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:53:04 AM PST

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