Criticizing Israel Does Not Make You A White Supremacist!

The ugly head that conflates the criticism of Israel’s actions towards the dislodged people of Palestine with anti-Semitism, has risen again. And most of it surrounds a few statements from a Muslim-refugee, who wears a head scarf within the Capitol building, representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Rep. Omar is a freshmen Rep who has joined the caucus of new female House members setting the U.S. political and cultural norms on fire. Along with others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rep, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), she supports new progressive proposals like the Green New Deal and the BDS movement. But what really caught the ire of Republicans and most Democratic leaders, are a few comments that Omar made recently criticizing Israel. For example, referring to AIPAC,


“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, Why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby … that is influencing policy


(PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

Statements like these have people screaming anti-Semitism. They say Omar is reinforcing anti-Semitic tropes, such as that Jews have dual-loyalty to both America and Israel, and that Jews are controlling the world with their money. But this couldn’t be more untrue. A criticism of lobbying groups such as AIPAC, and America’s fanatical loyalty to Israel, are true concerns. In the U.S., if you say or do anything out of line regarding Israel’s foreign policy, you are labelled as a bigot towards Jews.

Now, we know that the blind allegiance to Israel is based on three reasons:

  1. Zionism (Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”) is exceptionally strong among American Christians, and especially Evangelicals. They believe that the second-coming of Christ will not take place until Jews return to their homeland in Palestine.
  2. Secondly, according to In These Times, America got mixed up in the Cold War in the region when most Arab states were loyal to the U.S.S.R.
  3. And lastly, according to Chomsky (Who Rules The World, 2016), Israel serves as an available landing station for American forces if their were to be a catastrophic conflict in the Mid-East.

It has nothing to do with all that nonsense about being the only democratic state in the Middle East, or having some sort of special relationship between us and Israel.

In conclusion, another quote from the ITT’s March 4th piece sums it up in one statement:


“…(F)alse accusations of anti-Semitism—usually linked to criticism of Israel or Israel’s supporters in the United States—are on the rise as well. And we need to be clear: It is not anti-Semitic to support Palestinian rights, demand a change in U.S. policy towards Israel, expose the kind of pressure that the pro-Israel lobby brings to bear on elected officials, or call out Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.­­ “


PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

So get out there to support Rep. Omar, support the BDS movement, and form an activist group in your locality to contribute to the cause. And remember, critiques of Israeli crimes against humanity do not equate you with being anti-Semitic. That’s just a convenient and false construction used to silence the cries of the Palestinians. Don’t let it stop you. You are not a white supremacist.

“Pelosi and Democratic Leaders Condemn Omar Statements as Anti-Semitic”: How Criticism is Quashed

nyti.ms/2E4hBlN

Any time someone expresses any criticism of Israel’s criminal actions towards the Palestinians, they are labeled as anti-Semite.

This is how AIPAC wants to keep it, too.

Finally! A US News Organization Analyzes Israeli Crimes

945545_492651977471625_495791703_nI love this Noam Chomsky quote:

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.

And what in the spectrum of acceptable opinion has been so strictly limited regarding American foreign policy? The opinions on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

In America, within those limits the Israeli’s are just defending themselves from rabid savages, infected with Jihad, bent on slaughtering every non-Muslim around the globe. And the acceptable, lively debate is between with what and with how much force should the Israeli’s use.

But maybe something is changing.

The Associated Press (AP) on Friday reported on an investigation they conducted into the homes bombed by Israeli jet-fighters during the Summer’s “50-day” war. The AP investigated the vast majority of home-bombing sites, interviewed witnesses, collected death certificates, and worked with both Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups. And, amazingly, it is a damning report on  Israeli actions so well thought-out and thorough it is impossible not to be struck by the findings.  Here are some:

– Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.

– In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.

– Among those killed were 96 confirmed or suspected militants – or just over 11 percent of the total – though the actual number could be higher since armed groups have not released detailed casualty lists.

– The remainder of the 240 dead were males between the ages of 16 and 59 whose names did not appear in connection with militant groups on searches of websites or on street posters honoring fighters.

Unlike other coverage found in the American mainstream media, the report gives hard numbers and anecdotes from survivors and witnesses explaining the disregard for Gazan life shown by the Israelis. The piece also discusses the nature of the war crimes committed by the Israelis and how they break international law, as did, it seems, Hamas with their rocket attacks.

But that’s beside the point.

The issue here, in this post,  is not the tragic and maddening findings but the fact that a major and extremely respectable American media outlet reported  outside of the spectrum.

Rise up over the study’s findings. Applaud and champion those who exposed them.

 

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Can Palestinians Start to Live on Their Feet?

mag-gaza-4-superJumboOn Dec. 30th, the UN Security Council voted down a proposal submitted by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians that would have:

1) Set a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel;

2) Established targets for Palestinian sovereignty, including a capital in East Jerusalem;

3) Called for the “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017.

Only 8 of the total of 15 nations voted for the resolution when at least 9 supporting members are needed for adoption. Oh, and that is irrelevant for the United States would have vetoed the resolution if it were to get the 9 votes anyways as the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power. Just saying… But the Palestinian Authority, led by Pres. Mahmoud Abbas, says it will apply again when members of the revolving Security Council are more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Also, this past Wednesday Abbas moved to join the International Criminal Court in a symbolic step to put Israel on notice regarding prosecution for violations of international law, e.g., war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. In response the Israelis have frozen $127 million in tax revenue which supports the Palestinian Authority (PA). These funds are provided to the PA under the Oslo Accords agreement to maintain stability. Israel collects $1 billion annually in customs and taxes on behalf of the PA and the money goes to the organization. It would probably collapse without it.

In light of the above actions by the Israeli government, a great analysis in the NYT yesterday explains the momentum is actually on the Palestinians’ side. And according to a couple of quotes from rank-and-file Palestinians in the article shows they may be able to live on their feet instead of their knees.

I hear it from my father for the first time: Even if we will not get our salaries and the economic situation will be worse, at least we can say we will get our rights,” Rula Salameh said of her father, who is 70 and relies on a Palestinian Authority pension.

Ms. Salameh said her sister, who is on the government payroll, “hears it also from her friends, her colleagues — they said even if we will not get our salaries, we need to feel like something is going on, tomorrow will be better than today.

 

 

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Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

latuff3-300x174There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France:

Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over into violence, and earlier this month several hundred protesters sought to storm two synagogues in the French capital during an anti-Israel demonstration in which protesters chanted, “Death to Jews!” and “Hitler was right,” according to Serge Cwajgenbaum, secretary general of the European Jewish Congress, a Brussels-based organization representing European Jewry.

There is nothing sicker that anti-Semitic attitudes or beliefs, much less being a Holocaust-denier. But let us make something clear: Just because one is against Israeli policies or military actions does not mean one is anti-Semitic.

One of my heroes in life, the great MIT Professor Emeritus, political commentator, and activist, Noam Chomsky, is one of the forefront critics of Israeli policies and is, what may be a surprise to you, Jewish. In the collection of published transcripts from Chomsky speaking engagements, “The Indispensable Chomsky,” has provided me with the critical thought needed to interpret the Israeli-Palestinian conflict objectively.

Chomsky contends, with many other critics of Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians, that many pro-Israeli officials and commentators use the accusations of antisemitism to deflect criticism of Israel. If you do not support Israel in any form or fashion, you hate Jews.

Nothing could be further from the truth in my case and the majority of others.

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Israel Targets Hamas in Further Raids

Hebron checkpointIsrael has now detained 240 Palestinians in West Bank raids (including 65 freed prisoners from the Gilad Shilat prisoner exchange) in an effort to locate and free three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Yet the Israelis are also openly claiming that these actions are also an attempt to hurt Hamas.

Now I am not condoning the kidnappings by whom or whoever is behind these actions, and Palestinian Authority (P.A.) Pres. Mahmoud Abbas has come out publicly against them. But the Israeli government is using these raids as an excuse to target and intimidate Hamas members, also.

From The Guardian today:

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said the re-arrest of the prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit exchange “sent an important message” that the purpose of Israel‘s military campaign was both to return the teenagers and damage Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank.

And…

As well as the arrests, the IDF said on Wednesday that it had carried out about 800 searches since Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-ad Sha’er and Naftali Frankel, both 16, went missing on Thursday. These included raids on Hamas’s charity arm, Dawa, which Israel claims is used to recruit operatives, disseminate information and raise funds.

This was from The Guardian yesterday:

“We are turning Hamas membership into a ticket to hell,” Naftali Bennett, a far-right member of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told army radio on Tuesday.

Should not the Israelis be trying to focus on the humanitarian issue here instead of having ulterior motives? Should they not be trying to cooperate with the new unity government and Abbas in that he has publicly announced his abhorrence regarding these kidnappings?

They do not for this is how the Israeli’s deal with the Palestinians. They act with over-aggression and with disregard for the so-called “peace process.” They do not want a two-state solution, they just want the Palestinians to just disappear.

 

 

 

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Academic Body Boycotts Israel

Stephen HawkingThe American Studies Association (ASA), which has more than 5,000 members, has joined a growing movement to boycott Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians. Good news.

Read Here.

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Netanyahu: A Character Study

12netanyahu_337-articleLargeA good character study in the NYT on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with a concentration of his near obsession with preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Notice there is no mention of his policies on the Palestinians and the growth of settlements in the Palestinian territories. Excellent read.

Read Here.

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Palestinian Boys Imprisoned for Throwing Stones

20130805-STONES-slide-C5BD-thumbWideA very troubling and sad story in the NYT about how stone-throwing boys are spending long time periods in prison for this ridiculously over-blown charge. It is filled with tons of detail, and the pics and vids are terrific. A must-read that encapsulates the bigger picture of occupation in Palestine.

Read Here.

israel_pol01I have yet to write about this issue because it seemed so unlikely to occur, but it looks like Palestinian/Israeli preliminary peace talks will begin on Tuesday thanks to a strong effort by Sec. of State John Kerry and the Obama administration. The Obama administration looks as if it wants to pad it’s legacy here, and it may actually succeed a little.

According to this report in The Guardian, Israeli P.M. Netanyahu has agreed to go against his own party leadership and the majority of Israeli citizens and release 104 Palestinian prisoners as a good faith offering before the planned talks.

Now, this is not a return to the 1967 borders or anything that monumental, but it’s a start.

Read Here.