Testing Out Repression in Israel

Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, sees the brutal practice of destroying Palestinian homes and similar tactics as part of an experiment in social repression that can have broader implications as income inequality spreads across the globe, as he told Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

Israeli author and human rights activist Jeff Halper who has challenged the Israeli practice of destroying Palestinian homes (usually for simply building after being denied a permit) attempts to answer the question why the world continues to accept such repeated brutalities perpetrated by the Israelis against a million-plus locked-down, very poor Palestinians.

Halper detects a quid pro quo, a violent marriage of convenience in which “Israel offers its expertise in helping governments pursue their various wars against the people and, in return, they permit it to expand its settlements and control throughout the Palestinian territory.”

Peace and human rights activist Jeff Halper.

Peace and human rights activist Jeff Halper.

Halper’s latest book, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, focuses on “global Palestine,” and “how Israel exports its Occupation, its weaponry, its models and tactics of control and its security and surveillance systems, all developed and perfected on the Palestinians, to countries around the world engaged in asymmetrical warfare, or domestic securitization, both forms of “war against the people.”

He contextualizes Israel’s globalization of Palestine within the capitalist world system. Inherently unequal, exploitative, violent and increasingly unsustainable, Capitalism must pursue innumerable wars against the people if it is to enforce its global hegemony. These are precisely the types of wars, counterinsurgency, asymmetrical warfare, counter-terrorism, urban warfare and the overall securitization of societies, including those of the Global North, in which Israel specializes.

Halper, whose activism also includes work for over a decade as a community organizer in the working-class Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, is a coordinator of the Wars Against the People project of The People Yes! Network; he has served as the Chairman of the Israeli Committee for Ethiopian Jews; he was an active participant in the first attempt of the Free Gaza Movement to break Israel’s crippling economic siege on the Gaza Strip by sailing into Gaza in 2008; he’s an active member of the international support committee of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine; and he was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni.

Halper spoke recently with Dennis J Bernstein.

DB: Let’s talk a little bit about house demolitions, before we get into this book and what you’re talking about in terms of the way in which Israel perfects and then exports oppression. Talk a little bit about your work with the houses.

JH: Well, I’m an Israeli activist. I grew up in the States, actually, in Minnesota, but I’ve lived in Israel now for more than 40 years. I’ve been involved all those years with the Israeli peace movement. And for the last 20 years I’ve been the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, as you mentioned. We call ourselves ICAHD.

And that’s a political organization that’s trying to fight the Israeli occupation, and achieve a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But [we also operate] in order to give people an idea of what occupation means, which is kind of an abstract term sometimes, and how it works, and what Israel’s intentions are.

Now, as an anthropologist, I tried to read political intentions from what the powers are doing on the ground, not from what they’re saying. We took the issue of house demolitions as our focal point. Israel has demolished 47,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967, since the occupation began. [T]hat’s on the background of about 60,000 homes that were demolished in 1948, in what the Palestinians call the Nakba. Thousands and more are demolished inside Israel all the time, of Israeli citizens, all of whom are Arabs. For example, there is one Bedouin community in the Negev that’s been demolished now 90 times, and rebuilt.

DB: Same community.

JH: The same community. And we’ve all gone out and rebuilt with them, and it’s been re-demolished. Because they want to build a military settlement on top. And this is inside Israel. And a lot of these Bedouin men serve in the Israeli army. So one of the points of house demolitions is that we can’t really separate the occupation from Israel itself.

We think the two state solution is gone, it’s over. And basically Israel has created already one state which is an apartheid state. I mean, there’s only one government, one army, one water system, one currency between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, in the entire country. We don’t even call the occupied territories, “occupied,” we call them Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, the Palestinian side has been annexed.

So there is one country today. And what the house demolition issue shows is that, yes, in fact Israel is still demolishing homes, still ethnically cleansing the Palestinian population, after 70 years. And so what we do is we … first of all, we resist demolitions. I get in front of bulldozers, we resist. We also rebuild homes. We built 189 homes, which takes quite a bit of resources, activists coming from all over the world.

So if you think of it in political terms, 189 political acts of resistance, of Israelis and Palestinians, and Internationals together. I think that is meaningful. And then we take what we learn on the ground, our analysis is genuinely grounded, and we go abroad, like I am now here in the Bay Area, to try to work with the activists. First of all, to update them on what’s happening and to give them focus.

But in general, as you are saying, to raise this issue that’s so difficult to raise in the mainstream American media, or even in universities. You can get fired for raising this issue.

DB: And you do.

JH: And people have been, that’s right. So we’re trying to go from the micro to the macro. From actually resisting demolitions on the ground, but really from there with our pictures and our maps and our analyses, to say “Why is Israel demolishing these homes? Where is it going with this whole thing?” And then bringing that analysis forward to try to mobilize the international community to finally end the occupation.

DB: Before we jump into the bigger picture, I want you to paint a little bit more of a picture of the nature of house demolition. So, what happens? Somebody shows up at your house? How’s that work?

JH: Well, there are three kinds of demolitions, actually. Just briefly, you know if you think of demolition, you think well, these must be homes of terrorists. That’s what Israel leads you to think, but it’s not true. Of the 47,000 homes in the occupied territories that have been demolished, about 1 percent were demolished for security reasons. It has nothing to do with security or terrorism or anything like that. Those are what we call punitive demolitions. In fact, Israel demolishes most homes in military incursions.

For example, last summer, the summer of 2014, in the assault on Gaza, 18,000 homes were demolished, and not targeted. It’s kind of collateral damage that have not been rebuilt. And you think, “It’s the Middle East,” but it can be pretty freezing in Gaza in the winter. And these homes have not been rebuilt. The third way of demolishing, that we work most on, is that Israel simply has zoned … it uses very dry-grade, Kafkaesque mechanisms to control Palestinians.

So it zoned the whole of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as agricultural land. So, although most of it is desert, the Aegean Desert, when a Palestinian who owns land comes to the Israeli authorities and says, “I want to build a home,” their answer is, “Sorry, but this is agricultural land.” Of course, if you want to build an Israeli settlement … I mean there are 600,000 Israelis. They live on that same land in the occupied territory. But, of course, Israelis sit on the planning councils.

So if you want to rezone from agriculture to residential, it takes you a second. So it’s really the manipulation of law and planning. And so that’s the point. Palestinians since 1967, we’re talking about 50 years now, have not been allowed to build new homes. You have children, and your children have children, and you have nowhere to live. And if you build a home, you are building illegally, right, because … you don’t have a building permit. And so immediately you get a demolition order from the Israeli army and they can come any time. They can come tomorrow morning, they can come next week, they can come in five years, maybe you’ll win the lottery [and] they’ll never come. Who knows? So even if you’re living in your home, year after year, you are not living as securely, relaxed. Your home is not your castle.

DB: Because there always could be that knock on the door.

JH: I talked to many Palestinian women that say to me, “The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I look out the window, to see if there are bulldozers, the army, police. And if the coast is clear, I get dressed and wake up the kids and start making breakfast.” That’s the psychological state that Palestinians are living in.

DB: Let’s talk about this book. Let’s talk about how you say Israel uses the occupied territories as a training ground, a weapons and control of people training ground, which is then exported. It’s sort of Israel’s front line, forward trade. This concept, and these weapons, and this technology, and these techniques, are then sold to the rest of the world. Set that up for us.

JH: Over all the years of my activism, it was kind of a question that was in the back of my mind, nagging me all the time. And that was, “How does Israel get away with this?” After all, we’re in the Twenty-first Century, we’re well after the period of colonialism. Human rights [and] international law have entered into the public consciousness. I mean, they kind of matter to people.

Here you have a brutal occupation, on T.V. all the time. I mean, this isn’t happening in the Congo or Vietnam. This is in the glare of television cameras, in the Holy Land, no less! How does Israel get away with it? And the usual explanations … you know, AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and Christian fundamentalists and the Israeli lobby, and guilt over the Holocaust … it just doesn’t work. That doesn’t explain why China supports Israel the way it does, and Nigeria, India.

There was some big elephant in the room that we weren’t talking about, that I wasn’t seeing myself, to explain that. And as I sort of looked up at Israel’s place in the world, I suddenly discovered, in a way, that actually, the quid quo pro is that Israel delivers to elites all over the world. Whether you are here in the global north, (the United States or Europe), in the middle, (Brazil, India, China, Turkey, Mexico), or a poor country in the global south, you all have elites, that are struggling for control.

And I put this within the context of the capitalist world system. You have a neoliberal world system. OXFAM came out with a report two weeks ago. Now, 1 percent of the population controls half the resources: most of humanity has been excluded as surplus humanity. You have more and more repression, especially as resources are being extracted from poor people. And they’re excluded. So there’s more and more resistance. … You had the Occupy Movement and you’ve got Black Lives Matter. There’s more and more resistance, so that the capitalist world system, itself, and all the different elites that are dependent upon it, somehow have to start looking more and more towards repression.

In other words, capitalism always tried to have a happy face: Ronald McDonald, and Hollywood and Walt Disney. But the more people are starting to see through it, and are starting to see those inequalities …, the velvet glove over the iron fist has to come [off]. And so the elites are getting more and more insecure. But the kinds of wars they’re fighting are not the wars we think of. You know, Rambo and F16s and tanks … they’re not those kinds of wars. They are what generals actually are calling, “Wars Amongst the People.” I took that to say what that really is, which is, “War Against the People.” In other words, urban warfare, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism. It’s also called asymmetrical wars. There are a million terms.

So, really the elites in every country, and then if you take it within the world system, the capitalist elites certainly, the capitalist part of the corporation, and so on, are looking for, “How do we keep the people under control?” Now, where’s a better place to go for a model than Israel? The United States doesn’t have that experience. Europe hasn’t had colonial wars for 50 years now. So Israel is in the middle of an ongoing century-long war of counterinsurgency against the Palestinian people.

All these years, it has the tactics, it has the methods, it has the weaponry. It has the systems of security, systems of surveillance, all in place to export. And so that’s, I think, how you can explain how Israel gets away with it. It delivers for the elites. “We’ll deliver you the means of repressing your own populations, and in return you let us keep the occupation.”

DB: I’m not sure how to ask this question, but is there evidence of the training ground part of this, in which, say, for instance, weapons are introduced for the first time on the battlefield, or drones, in Palestine? How does this theory [work], in terms of testing the weapons first and then exporting war?

JH: Well, first of all I document it and write about it in my book. There are a thousand footnotes, in the book.

DB: We love footnotes.

JH: But what’s interesting is the Israeli arms dealers, security companies are proud of this. I mean we’re talking now … this could be seen in two ways. This could be seen as being critical of Israel, and the capitalist world. I think people understand that that’s where we’re coming from in this program. But I could be saying the same thing, and I could sound like the Israeli Chamber of Commerce. “Wow, that’s great, I mean Israel developing these effective systems, they’re helping keep the bad people and the terrorists under control, they’re securing us. Wow, that’s great.” And so [on].

DB: And they are training police departments in the U.S.

JH: That’s right, exactly. Especially, not especially, but also in California. So, in other words, the arms companies, and the security companies, (there’s about 500 of them in Israel, alone, which is an old country), think this is a great thing. In other words, they’re not embarrassed by it, and so the best source of information is just their web sites. Because what’s the point of developing a cutting edge surveillance system on Palestinians. You know there are 600 checkpoints in the West Bank. You’ve got millions of Palestinians that you can use as guinea pigs: literally in a laboratory. No wonder Israel is leading in airport security, and runs airports all over the United States.

But there’s no point in developing these systems if you’re not marketing them, if you’re not selling them, if you’re not making a name for yourself. So, in fact, all these 500 companies in Israel that sell this stuff, all have web sites. And they’re all blaring their product. So it’s not hidden. On the contrary, like I’m saying, if you put it within a certain context, this is actually seen as a positive contribution to the world. If you look at the world, from, you know, the way the media that you mentioned, present it, it’s good that Israel is helping us defend ourselves against terrorists.

But putting it in a critical way within the world system, we show that, in fact, security is not a neutral term. There really isn’t security. The security is really defined by the interests of the ruling classes. Writing the book, I’m aware of the fact that that’s language that kind of sounds old fashioned. But it really isn’t. It really is … even more today, it’s truer than it was before.

The ruling classes are much more organized, they have much more fire power, are much more coordinated with each other, and so on. And actually, with scarcer and scarcer resources, they have a much more focused agenda, in terms of extraction and control. So actually, the term “ruling class” should be more in use today. The ruling classes have their interests and they package it under the word “security” because who doesn’t want to be secure? And what I’m saying in the book, and that’s why the subtitle talks about global pacification, is I’m saying, “We’re actually being pacified.”

In other words, we’re being repressed to a point where we can’t resist. So you wanna be secure? Fine. Do you want to be pacified? And once you start using words like “pacification,” that raises questions that the word security doesn’t raise. Who’s pacifying me? How are they pacifying me? Why are they pacifying me? And so my book, I hope, it gives you sort of a window into the way the large world system works. I call it Globalized Palestine. In a sense, Israel over Palestine is a microcosm of the Global North over everybody else. And so I think it is a very useful book for beginning to understand global realities that we live in.

DB: You know, it’s interesting, if you read back some of the literature of the capitalists of the early 50’s, the visionaries among them understood about the problems that would be faced in terms of the shrinking resources. And they talked extensively about the kinds of, sort of, defense and weapon systems, and the way in which our way of life would have to be protected. This is just part of that curve.

JH: That’s right. And to her credit, the only one that really is using the word capitalism, that word up front in her analysis, is Naomi Klein. With The Shock Doctrine and now her new book on climate change and capitalism [This Changes Everything]. But it’s like that joke: One fish asks another fish, “How’s the water?” and the other fish says,”What water?” You know, you are living in this system. And it is so encompassing, and it affects everything that we do. Who our enemies are. How we dress. What our values are. How we talk. What language … everything. What we eat. And it’s an unsustainable system. But it’s a system that we’ve kind of internalized. We don’t even think about it anymore.

And so that’s, I think, the value of critical analysis, and bringing back that language, including language like pacification, is that really shows us that we’re in fact living in a very political water. And not just some normal, everyday reality that is inevitable.

DB: And how would you describe the security relationship, the security sharing relationship, between the United States and Israel?

JH: The United States is the primary global capitalist power. You know, it has a tremendous global reach. American corporations, more than any others, are dependent on the smooth flow of capital coming from what’s called the Third World, or the global south. And of course, you’ve got, with the neoliberalism in the last 50 years, you’ve got again, within the United States the 99 percent/one percent split. Even here there’s a lot of agitation, and people are starting to get it, and so on. And so the United States has a tremendous stake in this. But the United States is locked into the old concept of war.

For example, the Pentagon just spent, I don’t know, a trillion dollars on a new F-35: cutting edge stealth bomber. You know, a great toy. But it has no military use whatsoever. Even the generals say, “We don’t need [it].” [Robert] Gates, when he was Secretary of Defense, tried to cancel it. But you know how Congress works; you have every congressional district putting together pieces of it. So it’s jobs. But you’re locked into these huge, expensive weapon systems. … So that’s where Israel comes in.

And, of course, the United States is a tremendous, tremendous supporter of Israel. And I don’t think it’s just because of shared values. I think it’s because Israel really delivers for the United States. It provides very sophisticated, high-tech components, for weapon systems. For example, this F-35, Israel couldn’t produce that. But a lot of the cockpit, and the electronics and avionics, and the targeting systems are Israeli. And Israel becomes a kind of a surrogate for the United States, especially in countries where it’s hard for America to work. You know, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, the parts of Africa that are rough.

You know, American business people are constrained because there are laws against bribes and giving bribes, and working with the mafias. These countries, a lot of them, are mafia-type countries. Israel doesn’t have any of those constraints.

DB: For instance, if you went through Central America in the 1980’s and you saw the new Salvadoran death squad army or the Guatemalan death squad, if you didn’t look at the main insignia you would think they were wearing Israeli uniforms. They were certainly trained by Israelis.

JH: And they had their Uzis.

DB: And they had their Uzis.

JH: And they were armed. And don’t forget Israel was a key part of the Contra-Iran scandal around the Nicaraguan conflict. Israel is really more than an agent of the United States. I think Israel is really providing that key strategic support in “Wars Amongst the People” in a way that the United States really isn’t geared to doing. It’s too big, the Pentagon is too big, the systems are too fancy. And Israel is supplying that middle- to lower-level type technology that’s the most effective.

DB: What do you think of when you hear, “Is there a chance for peace?” Or the Israeli Prime Minister saying he’s searching desperately for a partner for peace? What goes through your mind? How do you respond to that? Here in the U.S. press, in the New York Times, they simply quote it like stenographers.

JH: That’s right. I think people are getting it. I don’t want to say, “even Americans,” but it’s not easy for you guys, with your media. It’s not too easy for you.

DB: It’s real hard. You have to really look up something.

JH: Obama, for example, two days ago signed into law a bill giving Israel $40 billion in new American arms over a ten-year period, 2018-2028, and basically outlawing BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that people are using like we did with South Africa, to put pressures on Israel, to end the occupation. Now it’s American law, or it’s going through, at least, to be American law, that the United States won’t deal with companies or countries in Europe or other places that support BDS. So it’s very actively supporting Israel. It isn’t just some generalized thing. And as long as that happens, especially Congress, as long as Congress is in Israel’s pocket, uncritically, we have to say here from Bernie Sanders to Trump.

We’re talking across the board Israel has nothing to worry about. And so it can pursue these interests of itself, in terms of keeping the occupation. That is why Israel doesn’t … there’s no pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Because if it has the American Congress on its side, on the one hand, and Germany on its side in Europe, that keeps Europe in line. Nobody can touch us. We’re home free. And they can insult Obama, and they can say terrible things about Kerry. I mean, Netanyahu is a conservative Republican, and he says it.

You know, he can go to Congress, here he gets Republicans to invite him to the American Congress, both sessions of Congress, including the Democrats come. And in his 20-minute talk, this is a number of months ago, his 20-minute talk against making the agreement with Iran.

So here he’s going against the President and American government policy, a foreign head of state, invited by the American Congress including the President’s own party, to speak out against an American government policy. And in his 20-minute talk he was given a standing ovation 42 times! The Israeli press was laughing. The Israeli press said it’s like the North Korean parliament.

So it’s hard, it’s almost hard to explain the degree to which Israel has penetrated into American politics. It’s almost like a domestic American issue, like apple pie, and that’s what makes it very difficult. But I think that Americans aren’t aware of how isolated they’re becoming, in the world, because of this uncritical support for Israel. Because it isn’t only supporting Israel against Palestinians. Palestinians have a special emblematic status among oppressed peoples in the world. Here’s a little people that’s standing up to Israel, the Israeli army, the American neo-colonialism, Europe, and it’s resisting. It hasn’t been defeated. So that gives hope to oppressed peoples.

But beyond that, when you are in the U.N. in repeated votes and it’s the United States, Israel and Micronesia, against everybody else, including your European allies, you know, it sends a message to the world that the United States is completely out of sync, and it’s hostile to human rights. And that I think isolates the United States in a way that the American people don’t really appreciate.

DB: Wow. Well, that is all a mouthful Dr. Jeff Halper. We just have 30 seconds left, but let me just ask you this. You must have been arrested. People don’t love what you’re doing in Israel. Are you afraid to do what you do? Why do you do what you do?

JH: I mean, I always say jokingly, but it’s true, “Israel is a vibrant democracy if you are Jewish.” If you’re Jewish you have that privilege. You have that space to do it. Nobody bothers me.

DB: By the way, that’s what Jeane Kirkpatrick said about South Africa, she said it’s a partial democracy, the whites have a chance to vote.

JH: Exactly. And that’s the situation. But if you’re not Jewish it’s a pretty repressive place to live, pretty violent. And now, of course, there’s legislation going through the parliament to marginalize us as well. If we go to parliament the left groups, just the left groups, are going to have to wear a tag. As if we’re foreign lobbies.

DB: Maybe a yellow star?

JH: We’re playing with what that tag is going to look like. But really it’s true. They’re not even aware of the background, the implications. You know, Israel is becoming so fascistic, really. I mean I’m not just using that as a slogan, that it’s replicating very dark times of other countries. It’s an irony that here Israel would do something like that.

DB: So are you afraid?

JH: No, I’m not afraid. I mean, certainly things could happen. And it’s getting harder and harder to protest in Israel. But I’m not afraid. You know, I just keep plugging on, what can I tell you?

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

20 comments for “Testing Out Repression in Israel

  1. Sara
    March 9, 2016 at 10:32

    The United States was founded on worst genocide in human history. Native Americans still live in the refugee camps they were forced onto and inspected to die. They still consistently have their rights violated and many live in third-world conditions. The US does not need Israel to teach it anything. I always find it interesting how much attention is paid to the Israeli occupation and their wars in comparison to those of the US. All anybody needs to do is look at a map of US military bases to see that America literally occupies the entire world including Israel. Not only that but the US claims it has the right to bomb anybody anywhere in the world anytime they want. Don’t get me wrong there is a sick toxic alliance between the two countries that feeds off itself but I don’t know what makes people think Israel is responsible for US foreign policy. Look at the US itself, then Korea, Bosnia, the Philippines, Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela, Laos, Iraq, and Yemen. In many ways Israel is like a mini America just starting to expand its territory not the other way around.

  2. David Smith
    February 29, 2016 at 16:13

    Reading the comments, I am impressed how everyone is missing ” the elephant in the room” as Jeff Hamper says. This is the important point of the article, and the point most important to Jeff Hamper.It should be the most important point to us. The techniques of a War Against The People are being perfected in The West Bank so they can be used against us, here at home. The emerging climate disaster, that I can see outside my window as I write this, will be the historical condition in which these techniques will be deployed.

  3. Bill Bodden
    February 29, 2016 at 02:11

    The combination of so many racists in a comparatively small nation amplifies the degrading portrait of Israel, but similar racism can be found elsewhere in other nations where it is less obvious because it is in pockets within relatively civilized societies. The American Deep South was every bit as rabid between the end of the Civil War and the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. There are microcosms of similar racism within many of our larger cities such as Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and others. In some cases, white-on-black racism is abetted by class structure among blacks where those who have managed to achieve or seek a good degree of material success are inclined to be negative towards the poorer blacks victimized by whites. This sad factor is exposed at the highest political level where members of the Congressional Black Caucus just aligned themselves with Hillary Clinton despite the Clintons having committed acts – welfare “reform” and justice “reform” – that were punishing and sometimes devastating to the black families these politicians were supposed to represent.

  4. Airbrush2020
    February 29, 2016 at 01:13

    They were forced to live in walled-in areas. They were undesireable in broader society. When the dark days came they were sent to camps. Many died under the hand of cruelty, oppression, and war. A people driven from their homes…without a homeland. A people despised and rejected. This commentary applies to:

    A) Jewish Dispora
    B) Palestinians
    C) Both A & B

  5. February 28, 2016 at 20:31

    When is the media going to get it right and recognize Israel which name was given to Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 48:15-16). Yes, His two sons were also given the names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and Joseph. And thru Abraham, for example, the world was blessed with all the modern inventions (the Industrial Revolution was a manifestation of the blessings bestowed upon Abraham (Manasseh).

    Remember, Manasseh’s inheritance is on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean allegorized by both sides of the Jordan River. See the video which explains much more: https://youtu.be/QAZrsd-1we0?t=1s

    Dana

    • February 29, 2016 at 01:04

      Ah yes. Another religious charlatan claiming to have special esoteric knowledge which he (or she) likes to fancy that he/she has figured out from the Bible (the so-called and so-regarded “Word of God”, which one supposedly had better accept as being such, or else face threat of eternal punishment) and which everyone else is too stupid to have figured out.

  6. Vesuvius
    February 28, 2016 at 18:28

    This interview with Mr Halper confirms what some clearsighted people have been saying for some time: That the U.S.A. has become a colony of Israel. A willing, gullible colony, not really conscious of its Colonial status. The political leaders are willing, but what would ordinary Americans say, if they knew?

    This quotation in the interview says it all: “So here he’s [PM Netanyahu] going against the President and American government policy, a foreign head of state, invited by the American Congress including the President’s own party, to speak out against an American government policy. And in his 20-minute talk he was given a standing ovation 42 times! The Israeli press was laughing. The Israeli press said it’s like the North Korean parliament.”

    And moreover: Projecting the political, economic and military Power of the U.S.A. for their own benefit, the Zionist state is in fact fulfilling the Anti-Semitic canard of yesteryear: The Zionist quest for World dominance, in the three mentioned areas: Politics, Economy/Financing, and Military Power.

    Does any of the Presidential hopefuls of today realize this?

    I recommend visiting http://www.ifamericansknew.org

    • Bill Bodden
      February 28, 2016 at 23:43

      That the U.S.A. has become a colony of Israel.

      Or, one of the Israel Lobby’s courtesans, thanks to politicians selling their souls for reelection.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    February 28, 2016 at 15:08

    I applaud the Jewish who speak out against the Likud policies which effect so many so poorly. Between what these Zionist have done and are still doing to the Palestintians, as to what chaos they are waging in the Middle East, this doesn’t fair well for Jewish public relations. I know as an American citizen I don’t feel our neoconservative government represents me at all, so we should elevate the Jewish voices of dissent to a loud enough level that they are heard above the noise. In fact, I am coming to the opinion that in order to change U.S. policy in the world, we first need to change out the Israeli government, who seem to somehow always be working somewhere within the mix of U.S. decisions on foreign policy. Why, should the United States implement the Yinon Plan? One need only familiarize themselves with the Clean Break strategy, and then study what the U.S. has been doing in the Middle East, to come to the realization that we are Israel’s enforcers of this madness. Now is the time for sane Jewish and American voices to be heard, so let’s hear you loud and clear while there is still time.

    • Jerry
      February 29, 2016 at 00:08

      Joe, I appreciate your many comments. This Jew firmly agrees that Israel is dead wrong in the way it treats the Palestinians. I am also gravely displeased with my American government for its support of Israel’s wrongs and for other Middle East interventions, the Police State, etc. Let me also sadly endorse the comment by Vesuvius below. Mr. Halper’s arguments are spot-on.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 29, 2016 at 12:35

      Jerry, your approval of my comment here, makes me feel comfortable with what I stated. Although, remember this warring coalition has English, French, as well as other nationalities and governments involved in this campaign of destruction. It isn’t just a Jewish thing. There is plenty of blame to go around. A good start for the U.S. would be for Israel to vote out the Likud/Zionist, and see how that might end up making a difference.

  8. Bill Bodden
    February 28, 2016 at 13:34

    Israeli author and human rights activist Jeff Halper (who) has challenged the Israeli practice of destroying Palestinian homes …

    If only “our” political representatives in the White House and Congress had similar integrity and courage, but presumably these are not “our values.”

  9. Tom Welsh
    February 28, 2016 at 13:32

    “But I think that Americans aren’t aware of how isolated they’re becoming, in the world, because of this uncritical support for Israel”.

    I found that remark very surprising. Because, surely Americans expect to be isolated by virtue of their very exceptional, indispensable nature? If the USA is THE exceptional, indispensable nation (as President Obama repeatedly asserts and no one denies) how can it be other than isolated?

    It’s as if a farmer living alone on his farm, surrounded by animals, were to lament his “isolation” from them. He is bound to be isolated because he is human and they are not.

    Perhaps that affords a clue to Americans’ special affection for Israel. Maybe Israelis are the only other people in the world whom Americans regard as equals.

  10. Zachary Smith
    February 28, 2016 at 13:03

    Jeff Halper was a totally new name to me, so he was somebody I decided I needed to look into – to find out if he was a goofball or an “astroturf” sort of fake Palestinian supporter. So far as I can determine, he’s the real thing. His wiki verifies that he is into more than the standard ‘yak-yak’ handwringing.

    Halper supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, saying in a July 2013 article that BDS has “generated meaningful pressure on governments to justly resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    Halper supports the academic boycott against Israel.

    Halper is in favor of doing real things to pressure Israel!

    We think the two state solution is gone, it’s over.

    I’m really impressed with Halper’s realism on this issue. It’s my own view that Israel has no intention of ever going with the 1-state situation. The Palestinians must submit to total slavery, die, or leave Holy Israel. IMO only solutions two and three are really acceptable ones to the overwhelming majority of Israelis.

    JH: No, I’m not afraid. I mean, certainly things could happen. And it’s getting harder and harder to protest in Israel. But I’m not afraid. You know, I just keep plugging on, what can I tell you?

    I wish the man well, and hope he continues to be safe. Given his attitudes and dwelling place, that’s not a slam-dunk ending.

    • John P
      February 28, 2016 at 19:24

      Zachary Smith you should check out Jonathan Cook. I think he’s a Brit and he’s an editorial writer married to a Palestinian Christian living in the Arab area of Nazareth Israel. He writes the most interesting and moving articles for various news sources, and posts them on his web site. Just Google his name. He’s another brave soul. He is also the author of many informative books which the usual publishers won’t publish due to the subject matter.

    • Bill Bodden
      February 29, 2016 at 12:32

      Add to the estimable Jonathan Cook, Gideon Levy, Amira Haas, Uri Avnery and several Israeli, Palestinian and American Jewish writers featured at mondoweiss.net.

    • John P
      February 28, 2016 at 23:26

      If my memory serves me right, I think Jeff Halper was on one of the boats a few years ago, to break the Gaza blockade. A man to admire. May we all live in peace and harmony one day.

  11. Joe L.
    February 28, 2016 at 00:33

    I think the sad thing that is happening now is that the seems to be a concerted effort by western governments to break the BDS movement. I read recently that a motion passed in the Canadian Parliament to condemn any and all attempts to promote the BDS movement in Canada. Our Prime Minister at one time said, “The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a @McGillU alum, I’m disappointed. #EnoughIsEnough”. I also heard that something similar was happening in Britain and I think the US is also moving for something similar. Sad. Personally, I will not buy anything from Israel until a 2 state solution is reached and Israel goes back to 1967 borders so we might finally see peace.

  12. Bob Van Noy
    February 27, 2016 at 18:21

    JH: That’s right. I think people are getting it. I don’t want to say, “even Americans,” but it’s not easy for you guys, with your media. It’s not too easy for you.

    I do too… Thanks in large part to Consortium News. Great essay.

    • Herman
      February 29, 2016 at 11:59

      Finished a first draft of historical fiction centered around the 1936-1939 revolt by the Palestinians against the British policies regarding Jewish immigration and the treatment of the settler by the British. What did I learn?

      One of impressions was the similarity between the oppression of the Palestinians today and their treatment of the Arab Palestinians by the British then. In the battle against the Palestinians, the uses of collective punishment, disappearances, fences, random killings is very similar to the methods being used by the Jewish Israelis today. In the process of fighting the Arabs, the British employed Jewish fighters who they armed and trained to fight the Arabs.

      The Jews that were trained by the British became the core of the Israeli Defense forces today.

      So I think it is fair to say that the Israelis learned how to do what they are doing from the British, who ironically were the target of Jewish terrorists almost immediately after the Arab rebellion ended.

      Another observation is that the British colonial behavior was probably little different from colonial behavior throughout our history, and perhaps the only difference is that the Israelis are simply doing it better. New technology, learning by experience, and how to deal with world opinion.

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