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The past 7 weeks have been very difficult for me; both personally and in general. You see, in addition to being a "Black liberal", I'm also Jewish. And I saw the news on 6/12/14 about three Israeli teenagers being kidnapped. The Jewish community called for prayers worldwide. However when the news broke that the boys were in fact murdered shortly after their abduction, the tone changed dramatically. We ('we' being the Jewish community), wanted to avenge their deaths.

So in the weeks that followed, there was a flurry of activity; on the behalf of Israel, on the behalf of the Jewish community, on behalf of the liberal community, and on behalf of the US government. It was almost as if these reactions were waiting to be queued up. First was the talk about "Oh boy, what is Bibi (Benyamin Netanyahu) going to do now?". Then Israel's response was vilified by American liberals as being too harsh. Then there were many in the Jewish community who were pissed off about President Obama's reticence on the issue. On a more personal note, all the while, I'm getting updates from friends who have sons and brothers fighting in the IDF. I just took it all in...in silence...and in sadness. What could I really say?

When I first stepped foot in Israel back in 2006, it changed my life; specifically in how I saw myself as a Jew. I could have never anticipated the difference between being and Israel, and being in other large Jewish enclaves....like Brooklyn, NY or my own very Jewish neighborhood back in Miami, FL. This was an entire country. A state created by Jews. A country that follows the rhythms and the intricacies of the Jewish calendar. Are my feelings "etho-centric"? You bet they are! However they aren't any more misplaced or misguided than the feelings that my Jamaican-born father has about his home country of Jamaica; or that my sorority sister has about the country her parents immigrated from...Greece.

I was born in the United States; and I'm proud to be an American. But I do not agree with all of the policies and actions of this country. The exact same thing can be said regarding my feelings towards Israel. Yet Israel (just like the US) has many wonderful qualities and a lot going for it. It is a democracy in a sea of Middle-East dictatorships and power-hungry monarchies. It has achieved amazing things in regards to infrastructure, economy and social development in the first 60 years of its existence. In spite of the issues surrounding the separation of religion and state, Jews can live their lives as Jews without fear of persecution.

It's not that I will not tolerate any criticism of Israel. However so much of the criticism is coming from a flimsy basis, as I blogged about here. People have such strong opinions, yet do not know crucial, basic information regarding Israel, the Palestinians, and their history; or even their current living situations. All they seem to know (or care) about is maps. Maps that show Israel "taking over" Palestinian land.

150 years ago, the map of the United States looked very similar. Bit by bit, this country took over land and territories by deals and fighting (when met with opposition). And what have the Native Americans been left with after it was all said in done. Nothing. I don't say this to justify Israel and its actions. I say this to point out that the political boundaries of countries are often drawn out of conflict.

As a Black woman, I've found that many members of the Black community harbor a lot of dislike for Israel. And many times, it's based off of ignorance and/or a hatred of Jews. Yesterday I found a random Google + post, penned by a Black man, that attacked Israel, and justified that the Israelis were evil because they believed in the racist rhetoric taught by our sages. When I responded with a link to a paper on the subject, which was written by a Black rabbi, showing that the "racist rhetoric" was actually coming from a bad translation taken out of context, he responded that both the rabbi and I have been brainwashed. Nevermind the fact that we know Hebrew while he does not. Nevermind that he didn't even understand that the "racist rhetoric" he quoted was written centuries before Jews were ever in the New World (of course he brought up the fact that Jews were involved in the slave trade), or in any position to subjugate others. Jews, like all people, have evil, racist members among their ranks (even though in this case, his "proof" wasn't racist at all). And yes, plenty of religious Jews believe that Jews have an inherent superior spirituality over non-Jews. However, the last time I checked, most religious doctrines teach something very similar! Again, not a justification. But let's apply the same standard to everyone, shall we?

And what about compassion? Hitler was an evil, racist, twisted man of Austrian/German stock. I don't think that anyone questions that. Yet what fool goes around with vehement blanket hate for the German people and those with German ancestry? If you are German, are you inherently evil? Is anyone calling for Germans to be exiled from Germany and forced to live in diaspora around the planet? There may be those with that sentiment out there. But they are very, very quiet.

And then there are my fellow liberals. Too many believe that Israel is draining too much in regards to money and resources from the U.S. They think that the U.S. endorses Israel's human rights' violations. They believe that the pro-Israel lobby is pushing the needs of a very few to the forefront, when there are plenty of other, larger groups that need the U.S.'s attention. I will not say that they are completely wrong in regards to any of those sentiments. In fact, it is true that Israel gets more foreign aid from the U.S. than any other country! But guess who's right behind them. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Egypt. Wow. So it's not like all the cookies are going to one kid in the room. As for human rights; I would LOVE to see people get 1/2 as riled up about all of the Black incarcerated and poorly defended American men in our prisons and in and out of our "justice" system. Can they get some attention? I mean they live (or did) right among us. Yet they are having their freedom taken away left and right, over petty crimes. I could go on and on...but I won't.

I would rather sit back and watch...and read, some accurate, non-biased news regarding the current conflict in Israel. I would like to see how the civilians (both Palestinians and Israelis) are faring. After all, they are just caught up in the crossfire. And yes, I want to see Israel kick Hamas' but. Last time I checked, Hamas supported terrorism as a means to achieve their goals. And didn't the U.S. declare a "War on Terror" themselves not too long ago? I mean, do we even realize who the enemy is...or even worse, can't we recognize evil when we see it?

(Quite a lot to ponder as we go into Tisha B'Av in a few days)

Originally posted to Signed Shona on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by Elders of Zion.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am not black, but I am Jewish and (19+ / 0-)

    liberal to my conservative friends, and a Blue Dog to my more liberal friends. Where that puts me is, I guess, a matter of opinion.

    I would place myself firmly in the pro-Israel camp. But I don't think being pro-Israel means being pro-everything Israel does. It's difficult to balance the knowledge that Hamas uses civilian sites as weapon depots, with the horror being visited upon innocent Palestinian civilians.

    Unapologetic Obama supporter.

    by Red Sox on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:04:14 AM PDT

    •  Israel's a country of 8 million (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, MsShona

      from all walks of life.  I doubt there's more than a handful of people in any country who are fine with every little thing with their society and institutions.

    •  There's an article I read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, mettle fatigue

      that says pro-Israel and pro-Palestine are meaningless phrases that only keep us from reasonable discussion.

      I am white and Jewish (and one of the founders of this group) and both. I believe that Israel is killing itself with its "Greater Israel" movement, and doesn't even realize what it's doing. I feel like I am watching a loved one commit suicide, and I can't do anything to stop it.

      Here is an article that was written 11 years ago, that both is prophetic of where we are now and yet could have been written yesterday.

      http://www.theguardian.com/...

      I'm Jewish, so I suffer. I find all of this extremely painful.

      And Red Sox, storing weapons in civilian buildings is immoral, but so is bombing civilian buildings and deliberately targeting them. The one thing that has been clear to me for a long time about this conflict is that there are no good guys.

      We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

      by ramara on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 09:50:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very well written diary (18+ / 0-)

    that does not touch any of the hot buttons that have roiled this site for the past  weeks. You are to be commended, hopefully by all sides for an insightful view.

  •  I don't agree with all you said, (20+ / 0-)

    but I like the civil tone and am glad you added your voice to the dialogue here.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:14:07 AM PDT

  •  Yes, The US declared "War on Terror" not long ago. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, YucatanMan, poco, protectspice, quill

    And this site was born precisely out of opposition to that fraudulent campaign.

    For very similar, reality-based reasons - related to the ease with which politicians can pool the wool over the public's eyes once they instilled enough panic in them, and also to basic progressive principles - the vast majority of this site opposes Israel's actions, specifically now and Occupation policies in general.

    I sympathize with your gut-feel solidarity to Israel, and with the unique juncture you find yourself in as a Black Jewish American.

    But please, before you deign to "educate" the rest of Kossacks about Israel-Palestine, try to learn a bit more yourself and to diversify your sources. Your knowledge of the conflict seems to be still in the opening weeks of a 101 course.

    In particular, whatever you are getting through your congregation and Jewish Federation sources, and most of the Israeli press right now, is rather raw unfiltered Israeli government propaganda.

    I will join you in prayer that this needless bloodshed ends today.

    But before anyone "kicks" anymore "butts". There are too many children dying as long as this poorly-aimed "kicking" continues.

    •  Have you read the charter of Hamas? (8+ / 0-)

      The following is a quote (which is a quote itself) from the charter of Hamas:

      "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree."

      The full charter is here.

      Again, you can support who you like. But this religious fundamentalist organization goes against the ideals that most liberals try to champion.

      •  MsShona: Please, don't start. I am Israeli. (12+ / 0-)

        I had spent most of my life in Israel. I grew up in Jerusalem which for me was the most wonderful place in the world. I saw many many people come there wide-eyed just as you described.

        When I was a child, the same voices now waving the charter of Hamas about were waving the PLO charter, or "the 3 No's of Khartoum", or whatever.

        Then I was enlisted and volunteered to serve as an infantry soldier, and found myself enforcing the Occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon. I did what I was told, sometimes with relish.

        In a long painful process, I have learned better.

        I consider myself a political exile of Occupation Israel. Yes, people like me exist. It's definitely an exile of relative luxury, but it is still painful.

        And my 15-year-old son flies to Israel tomorrow to visit family. We decided not to cancel. My in-laws' home is 5 km from where a rocket hit a car and injured people just a couple of hours ago.

        But more than physical rocket risk, I fear his encounter with the current ugly wave of militarism and racism that is washing over Israel, including parts of our extended families. Will he know when to listen? When to speak up and how? When it's best to shut up? Will he learn quickly enough to tune politics out like most Israelis do most of the time in order to enjoy life?

      •  You do know (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, poco, cailloux, quill, JoanMar

        That is derived from eschatology, the "end times", like the book of Revelations is for Christians.  Very dark stuff.   When trees and rocks start talking, then is the time to worry.

        Hamas has made other political manifestos since, much more recently, like their platform in the 2006 elections.   Have you read it?

        I don't think anyone here supports Hamas, period.  But there is little anyone could show me that supporting Israel's military foray in Gaza reflects any of the ideals "most liberals try to champion"

        It is a massacre.  No liberal ideals there.

      •  Ah yes, the infamous Hamas Charter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco

        I know it well. You probably don't recall, but in the 70's, the Chinese were fond of proclaiming, "Death to the Fascist Insect that Preys upon the Life of the People". That Mao could really turn a phrase. The fascist insect was the US, of course. We've kissed and made up since then though. Kruschev in 60's famously raged, "We will bury you". He never kept his promise. Currently, North Korea vows death and destruction upon us once or twice a month. We could annihilate them in about an hour, but thankfully, we don't go to war because of bellicose threats. (We find other kinds of bullshit rationales.)

        In the case of Hamas, the charter was written in 1987. They place such high value on it that they haven't mentioned it in 20 years. However, their most recent statement of principles from 2006 differs significantly. No more railing against the Jews. 20 years will do that. You can read it here to satisfy your craving for Hamasian hermeneutics.

    •  so smarmy and pompous (5+ / 0-)

      "But please, before you deign to "educate" the rest of Kossacks about Israel-Palestine, try to learn a bit more yourself and to diversify your sources. Your knowledge of the conflict seems to be still in the opening weeks of a 101 course."

      Having spent time in Israel, I'm thinking he might have at least equal knowledge to you.  Besides that, he wasn't trying to educate anyone.  Who has ever changed another's mind on a political issue based on message board chatter?

      •  MsShona is she. And no, she doesn't have equal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, JoanMar

        knowledge.

        Please see above.

        •  Actually... (5+ / 0-)

          I have a different perspective. This is NOT the same as saying that I don't have equal knowledge.

          As far as living in a place. My father's family is in Jamaica. The well known joke/fact/whatever is that we are more knowledgeable than they are in regards to what is going on there -- politically, economically, even with the local news! Could be the same...could be different. Ultimately it doesn't matter. One doesn't need to live in a place to have a connection to it.

          •  that's fine (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MsShona

            But the point is that it's smarmy and awful to say you don't have equal knowledge because you disagree.  And sorry for the he/she mixup.

            •  There was no intent to be smarmy. It's the content (9+ / 0-)

              MsShona in the diary's content, was echoing (gently and sweetly, as much as it is possible) the well-known, to the point of nausea, official Israeli propaganda talking points.

              I'm sorry, but over the years I have developed a severe allergy to those. And yes, the diary did indicate that if people only knew those talking points, they'd stop criticizing Israel so much. In fact, nearly everyone active on I-P circles here, from either side, is well aware of them.

              I was responding to that, again in the most respectful way I could. No intent to be smarmy and my apologies if I hurt anyone.

          •  This is unfortunately (8+ / 0-)

            a regular conceit. Hiding behind citizenship as a way of asserting one's superior knowledge is thin gruel. I think there is a unique perspective to be offered by Israeli and Palestinian natives and/or citizens, and we should welcome them. But just as we wouldn't necessarily afford superior weight to a pro-Israel poster who is every bit as Israeli as Assaf, it's equally silly to expect that of someone more critical of Israel.

            Unapologetic Obama supporter.

            by Red Sox on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 12:47:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I explained my response above. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poco, CenPhx

              I won't repeat it here.

            •  Look.. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MsShona, Zornorph, TLS66, buffan

              I wish someone with the temperament of Mrs. Meir was in charge as well, but just like some Pro I people (like me) blame the Gazans for electing Hamas, Israelis can also be blamed for electing Bibi.

              Sidenote--Ms. Livni actually won the 2009 election but had ostracized so many that she couldn't get a coalition, and so now we have Bibi.

              But even leftist politicians like Golda don't simply let things go.  Do you think, Assaf, that she just should have said "no biggie" to Munich in 1972?  

              I'm not going to give you a history lesson because it's not going to change your mind but we can't go back to 1948.  It stinks that the Palestine people (mainly the countries around) weren't happy with the division.  It's too bad that Egypt blocked the Tiran straits leading to 1967 butt-whooping.  You'll not the Jordan joined the war against the request of Israel and if they didn't they'd have half of Jerusalem and there may be a State by now.  And there are other examples.

              But what we're talking about it now.  Should Israel behave a little differently?  Very possibly.  But if Hamas issued a press conference, lead by Mr. Meshall, that said "we are done.  we are sorry.  Israel has a right to exist.  We are going to change our charter and show you where the tunnels are.  We'll help Abu Mazen build a P State" then not one more child would die.  Syria would create peace shortly after this because there would be no other countries without it in the region.  Iran wouldn't have as much help in the region.  And things would be safer.

              My educated opinion only, and not propaganda.

              Thanks for not being smarmy and I apologize for saying that but yes, stop criticizing Israel so much.

              •  I think you meant to reply to Assaf, not me. But (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MsShona

                I have to take issue with your last sentence. Criticism of any country's government is not only imperative, it's a right we're lucky to have. People die for that right, and without it, you get despots and tyrants in public office.

                Unapologetic Obama supporter.

                by Red Sox on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 01:06:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I really wish (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Red Sox, MsShona, A DC Wonk

                either Ms. Livni or Mr. Herzog was in charge.  I was hoping Bibi could be like "Nixon going to China", but no.

                "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

                by TLS66 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 03:29:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You know what? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MsShona

                At some point folks need to get off ridiculously equating Bibi/Likud with Hamas.  I know it feels all progressivy and what not but it's beyond stupid.  Hamas is in a whole other league of crazy.  The sell your wives and daughters into slavery and sell their organs when they run down league of crazy.

              •  Or, the contrapositive (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jmiles1978

                One way to look at it:

                But if Hamas issued a press conference, lead by Mr. Meshall, that said "we are done.  we are sorry.  Israel has a right to exist.  We are going to change our charter and show you where the tunnels are.  We'll help Abu Mazen build a P State" then not one more child would die.  

                The other way to look at it:

                If Hamas unilaterally laid down their arms, today's war would be over.  If all of Israel laid down their arms, millions of Israeli's wold be unilaterally massacred.

                Certainly that does not absolve anyone of what's going on today -- but, imho, it adds some important context of what's going today.

                I trust Bibi like I trust Cheney.  But I trust Hamas like I trust Al Qaeda.

  •  I support Israel. (5+ / 0-)

    When Netanyahu is gone.
    They must stop the killing of civilians immediately.
    Jerusalem should be made into an international city, administered by the UN, not controlled by Israel, Palestinians or anyone else alone.

    Settlers should be moved out of the West Bank.
    Normal lives, utilities, infrastructure, commerce, commodities, etc. in Gaza.

    I'll support Hamas when they renounce violence.

    I don't support any of them beyond their efforts to end the violence.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 12:06:00 PM PDT

  •  I will suggest checking David Sheen, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    The Gatekeepers.
    I love the USA, but I hate the war criminals that start the Iraq war, Chenney, Bush, the racists media that push the war all the way. Not doubt that was a terrorist war.
    I love Bernie Sanders but I hate Ruper Mutdoch, Donnald Sterling and the war criminals every where, yes even the one that are in Israel...

  •  Black and Liberal (22+ / 0-)

    Who would also have at least one Jewish child but for that little rule that didn't allow my eldest to be Jewish because of her Jewish father, only to "convert" as if she was an outsider (who learned everything that excited her about Judaism, of course, from her Protestant mother's commitment.)

    And I respectfully submit that statements like this one in the diary "As a Black woman, I've found that many members of the Black community harbor a lot of dislike for Israel. And many times, it's based off of ignorance and/or a hatred of Jews" are overinclusive, oversimplistic, and fail in the duty you have as a Black person to be fair to both sides.  To be sure, there is a lot of ignorance and anti-Semitism int he Black community, just as there is in the white community. The difference may be that folks have learned in the white community to hide it better.  But the first sentence bothers me more, because I agree with you, but resent that you don't say WHY.

    Which is, if you actually go beyond the "Oh Black folks hate Jews" shibboleth, directly because we as Black folks in America have not been too far out of bondage not to have a far greater empathy for an oppressed-in-their-own-land people.  Which the Palestinians are, at least from the perspective of virtually every Black person I've EVER talked to about Israel. It is not about Judaism, except to the degree that the rhetoric has sloppily allowed the two to be equated and that miniscule handful of haters that really ARE anti-Semitic (but not because they are Black.)

    I realize what you were trying to do, and I know you are just speaking your world view (as we all are) but wanted to provide you some feedback from the perspective of another Black person who truly abhors Israel's historic and present conduct to the Palestinians and wants it to end.  Full stop.  No more excuses.

    At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

    by shanikka on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 12:15:45 PM PDT

    •  I can understand where you are coming from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie

      It is very possible that you have some great foundation and basis for your beliefs. However I'm referring more so to those who have some inaccurate notions regarding Israel, the Jews and Judaism.

      For one, Jews are not a race. The American Jewish community is dominated by Jews of Ashkenazi decent. So that's the picture of Jewry that is painted for Americans. However this isn't the case worldwide...and it isn't the case in Israel. Plus there is a lot of intermarriage between Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jews.

      Your daughter's situation relates to the racism that is present in the Jewish community. And it's perpetuated by Jewish religious fundamentalist. I lived in Orthodox Jewish communities for years...as an Orthodox Jew...so I have intimate knowledge of this. There are those who use Jewish Law as an excuse to deny the Jewishness of others...and often times they have brown skin. However most secular and non-religious Jews are very vocal in their opposition to these attitudes. Which is encouraging to see (non-religious Jews don't fall lock and step in line with the BS spewed by "religious" authorities).

      However the simplistic stance that White/European Jews have come into Israel to subjugate the Brown/Non-White Arabs loses it's foundation with me quickly. Because plenty of Jewish Israelis are not "White" at all.

      •  Agree But (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, poco, quill, JoanMar, Flying Goat

        I agree with your last sentence, but I have to admit that I have never heard anyone Black say that "White Jews ever "[came] into to subjugate Brown/Nonwhite Arabs".  Until 10 years ago I lived in communities that were 80% or more comprised of Black folks, mostly uneducated Black folks at that (the 'Hood.)  I suspect I haven't heard it because, frankly, that's ludicrous.  The history of why Israel came to be and the motivations for it are too obviously well known for folks with even a modicum of information to assert to say such a thing.

        That doesn't mean, however, that the current situation in Israel doesn't effectuate precisely that outcome, when we are talking about the Palestinian people.  It's not about what folks intended, all the time, when it comes to race.  Indeed, racism is rarely about overt intent these days.  And white Jews may not be trying to subjugate a Brown people for racist reasons, but their subjugation of the Palestinians results in that race-based outcome nonetheless.  

        At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

        by shanikka on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 01:13:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "black folk hate Jews"? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsShona, poco

      have I missed a memo?  I had no idea that was a thing.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 11:27:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yes! (0+ / 0-)

        Many Black academicians and the like have taken up the mantle of bashing Israel. Alice Walker made the most waves in the media it seems. She even tried to get other high profile Black people to boycott Israel...like Alicia Keys. Alicia Keys publicly defied her advice.

        Most recently Robin D.G. Kelley,  a professor at UCLA spoke very eloquently about why Blacks need to stand up to Israel. Too bad his interview was riddled with inaccuracies and half-truths.

  •  "I mean, do we even realize who the enemy is... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsShona, Flying Goat, rduran

    or even worse, can't we recognize evil when we see it?"

    Some of us can recognize the evil we see committed both by Hamas and Israel. Others only see evil on one side and turn a blind eye to the other. Sad.

  •  You arent an expert on I-P issues either (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar

    This bogus claim you make.... "People have such strong opinions, yet do not know crucial, basic information regarding Israel, the Palestinians, and their history" may as well apply to yourself!!

    How did you arrive at such an asinine conclusion about people's ignorance as you claim above?

     Just because you visit Israel or claim an adherence to Judaism does not make your "opinions" more valid or true than mine or any other that you disagree with.

    Yours is nothing but an opinion, and its NOT expert opinion.

  •  My mother, bless her, calls me every other day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsShona, Navy Vet Terp, JayinPortland

    wanting to talk about Israel.  She's a church going woman who once told me that she wished Black Americans had a homeland like Israel, a place to gather strength and make the world safe for our communities.  

  •  Fantastic diary, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsShona, Navy Vet Terp, rduran

    Here I type from my home in North Philadelphia, where one of the projects I'm most personally involved with is the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

    As for human rights; I would LOVE to see people get 1/2 as riled up about all of the Black incarcerated and poorly defended American men in our prisons and in and out of our "justice" system.
    Exactly.

    Me, personally, I'm the 110% secular descendant of Jewish and Irish immigrants who came here to America for a better life, and ultimately settled in Scranton, PA and Passaic, NJ.

    Tzom kal, MsShona.

  •  Hope that you do not plan on ever (0+ / 0-)

    living in Israel.  Word is that Israel does not take to kindly to folks of color.  So keep the religion of course, but plan on staying here.  http://www.irinnews.org/...

    Even ole Donald Sterling speaks of this as well.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/...

    •  America doesn't take kindly to folks of color (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsShona

      Come to think of it, what Western nation does?

      Seriously, is this the best you can bring?

    •  Oh, there's racism in Israel? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rduran

      That surely makes it unique among the nations.

      Racism is a scourge anywhere it appears, but for some reason certain folks claim it is somehow just a problem in Israel. Given your vile comment history, I think we can ascertain why, at least in your case.

      Unapologetic Obama supporter.

      by Red Sox on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:04:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you lived there? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rduran

      I do know of Black people who live in Israel. However I do not personally know of any Ethiopians. Yes, Israel has problems with racism. However, I would say it is about the same as what I encounter here in Pennsylvania. It's most definitely better than what my family in Boston, or South Carolina go through.

      In many ways, on a personal level, it would be better. Because although I am Black, I'm also a Jew. I face not outright discrimination, but difficulty in living Jewishly here in the US.

      A friend of mine is a Black woman about 5 years my senior. After a career in the navy, she emigrated to Israel (she's also Jewish). She's loving it there...working in Tel Aviv for a mixed media company, and in a long term relationship with a guy who immigrated to Israel from France. She mentions a lot of difficulties...i.e. the rocket warnings, issues with getting married (it's a nightmare in Israel if you can't prove your Jewishness to the Rabbinic Court to their satisfaction), the heat and the culture shock. But no mentions of blatant racism.

      And why are we listening to anything that Donald Sterling has to say? That guy's a nutcase....

      •  No, I have not lived there (0+ / 0-)

        Good for your friend there and good that she found love.  Is the Frenchman white?  If so, that makes a big difference as you would know.  Proving Jewishness is so apartheid that it gives me the mouth vomit.  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Regarding Donald Sterling, I find nothing that he has to say relevant, but hey, that is me.  The dude is a billionaire and is Jewish.  He was also honored in the past by the NAACP.  In fact, they were just about to bestow another honor on him when the girlfriend spilled the beans.

        So we are clear, I am not knocking your religion, just making you aware that all is not well in the land of milk and honey regarding the treatment of minorities unless you have the moolah to run with the big dogs.

        •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, he is White.

          I completely disagree with that "proving your Jewishness" is "apartheid". The same happens here in the US. There is currently (and will most likely be for a long time) differences in how the various branches of Judaism recognize Jews. However, we have civil marriage in the US. So it's only a severe problem if the couple is dead set on having a religious Jewish wedding ceremony.

          In Israel there is no such thing as a civil marriage. Marriage is a religious institution and the religious establishment in Israel is only of one denomination (Orthodox). What couples do over there is live together (which is what this couple is doing), or hop over to Crete to get married (Israel will recognize your civil marriage obtained elsewhere).

          Also it is not a racial issue. The largest group affected by the "Who Is A Jew" question in Israel, are immigrants from the Former Soviet Union; by far. Almost all of these people are "White".

          •  You may disagree and that is cool (0+ / 0-)

            but the facts are stubborn.  Those facts say that marriage in Israel is in fact apartheid.  Those are not my words, those are the words of folks that are in the know.  So if it is a recognized wedding in Crete and some folks go their for that, why doesn't your friend do that?  Do people just want to do it in Israel for the money?   Also, as a Jewish person of your faith, what do you see when you see a system that is geared towards one religion with all the material needs that can be bestowed and across the fence, a ghetto?  How can you justify the complete and blatant racism that is going on there?

            Do you know that there are Jewish people of faith in Israel that are against this apartheid?  There are many who know full well that if Israel continues to go on the route they are on, they will destroy themselves under their own collapse.  Why should I as an American taxpayer have to shoulder the burden of a country that is hellbent on destroying itself?  When you deal with alcoholics, you have to be able to say that is enough and show them tough love.

  •  You complain about ignorance, but don't really (0+ / 0-)

    go into anything specific on that topic about what people are ignorant about, that I can see.

    The US was formed part by part, and more often than not, not in a moral fashion, but I don't think many here would defend how it was formed.  (On a side note, 150 years ago, a map of the continental US looked pretty similar, actually, in terms of land area, though much of it consisted of large territories rather than states.  Have to go back 250-300 years to much change there.  Not that that's remotely relevant).

    Then you have an anecdote about a single random post that was, no doubt, anti-semitic.  I don't really notice a trend there, myself.  You can certainly find posts on news stories that are anti-semitic, but can find plenty of equally bigoted pro-Israel posts as well.  I haven't noticed a trend, either way.

    What about compassion?  The reason a lot of people on this site aren't fans of Israel is exactly because of compassion.  Look at Israel and the Occupied Territories.  Who's suffering the most?  Israeli's?  No.  They certainly do have real concerns about rockets, some of which occasionally do kill them, but they largely live lives much like those in any industrialized nation.  Hamas?  No.  There's no excuse for firing explosives into civilian areas (This applies to Israel, too, however).  It's Palestinian civilians, many of whom have had to flee their homes (A large number of which have now been destroyed), and quite a few of them have been wounded and killed.  Images of Gaza look like they're right out of a post-apocalyptic movie.  The economy is suffering due to a punitive blockade, they don't have freedom of movement.  Israel is responsible for most of this.

    Then you talk about money - I really don't think anyone here cares about the aid we give to Israel from an economic standpoint.  The fact is aid is not a terribly significant portion of our budget.  The problem some of us have with military aid is that makes us complicit in Israel's military actions.

    Don't think many here would disagree with you about our prisons, but I don't see "Look, that thing over there is really bad, and closer to us than that other thing that bothers you, so focus on that instead!" as much of an argument.  You can always find something that is arguably more important, or more relevant.  Hungry kids, poor schools, toxic dumping, alien abductions (Hey, if you believe in them, seems like they should be a pretty pressing concern).

    •  Oops... (0+ / 0-)

      My math was wrong...US was largely the same as it is now 150 years ago...  But just have to go back a decade or two further to see some interesting changes.

    •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rduran
      go into anything specific on that topic about what people are ignorant about, that I can see.
      The history of the area. For example, the fact that "Palestinian" prior to 1948, referred to anyone living in the country, Jew or Arab. That it was the Arab's who 1st threatened to attack if the Jewish State were to become a reality. It's not like Israel came in, and started killing off the area's original inhabitants and claim the land as theirs. It was a UN vote that created the State of Israel. And that is usually not the norm.
      What about compassion?
      Israel actually warns the civilians in Gaza before attacks are launched (whenever possible). The Israelis have come in and set up hospitals and have offered aid to those who do become injured. Hamas has chosen to place its stash of weapons close to civilian areas, in spite of there being non-civilian areas to utilize.
      The problem some of us have with military aid is that makes us complicit in Israel's military actions.
      This point loses strength when you admit that the US also gives aid to Israel's enemies.

      Top 9 Gaza Media Myths

      •  Hrm... (0+ / 0-)

        I'd be surprised if people here didn't know that this was indeed started by Arabs, since it's trotted out pretty regularly as a defense of Israel..

        The UN vote certainly was a little weird, since people were actually living there at the time.

        I've seen the claim about warnings, though really, where should people go?  It's not like Gaza has a lot of extra shelter, or food.  Certainly the the cases I've read about there doesn't seem to have been any warning.  And given the fact that 75% of the deaths are civilians, I'm extremely skeptical of this practice (It's effectiveness, whether it's done reasonably with plenty of warning, or it's consistently).

        Not sure I'd characterise Egypt as an enemy of Israel, though they aren't on terribly friendly terms.  I'd agree that we really shouldn't be giving military aid to any of those countries, unless perhaps they're in danger of collapse.

    •  Why does Israel have to suffer more (0+ / 0-)

      to be worthy of support?

      I don't think most Americans give a damn about how ethically the country was formed, anymore than most Brits, French, or Russians, Chinese and Nigerians do about their own homelands.

      •  It's inflicting suffering on Palestinians... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco

        They're the ones who are really suffering through all of this, at the hand of Israel.  How does that warrant support of Israel?

        As for the morality of how most countries were formed...MsShona compared Israel's formation with how other countries were formed, with land that belonged to Palestinians, some of whom are still alive, and some of whose children are still alive.  I really don't see this this as much of a defense of the abrogation of property rights.

        •  "Palestinian" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rduran

          Well except for prior to 1948, the term "Palestinian" included the Jews that lived in the land of Palestine as well. That makes things a bit hairy (do they automatically lose their prior claims to the land...simply because they're Jews?).

          •  Erm...I really don't see how that's relevant... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poco

            Of course they don't.  Who said they did?

            That having been said, they certainly don't get the rights to land owned by non-Jewish Palestinians, either.

            Or are you arguing for a single state solution?

  •  what is the point of faith if you do not stand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco

    opposed to oppression and genocide.  i feel for the most part that comments here do not favor one side or another but people are sickened by the loss of life-every life.  how long do you want to watch the endless cycle of violence continue especially when opportunities for peace have been squandered and legitimized by the superpowers, notably our own time and time again?  do you not see the hipocracy of our democracy as it values an israeli life over an arab life? is your faith or heritage, or your history more important than your humanity because if it is, then you are a lost soul.

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