The ‘Progressive Except Palestine’ Problem

The Jewish community has a special responsibility to fight Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, says Marjorie Cohn.

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

As a progressive Jew, I find that many of my family members and friends are still what we call “PEP,” progressive except Palestine. Amid ever-worsening injustices created by the Israeli system of apartheid and Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, it is past time for this to change.

I am hopeful that the firestorm sparked by Michelle Alexander’s recent New York Times column, “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine,” will finally generate the heat necessary to force more people and groups on the left to overcome the fundamental hypocrisy of the “progressive except Palestine” approach.

I was deeply inspired by Alexander’s column and her decision to speak so honestly about the difficulty of overcoming the fear of backlash over taking a public stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Michelle Alexander speaks at the Miller Center Forum, 2011. (Wikimedia)

Michelle Alexander: Confronting the fear of backlash.  (Wikimedia)

Striking a comparison between the risk taken by prominent critics of Israel and the risk Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took by publicly criticizing the Vietnam War, Alexander observes, “Those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash.”

Invoking Dr. King’s exhortation that “a time comes when silence is betrayal,” Alexander reflects on “the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.”

Alexander’s words resonated with me, a Jew who uncritically supported Israel for many years until I saw the parallels between U.S. policy in Vietnam and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. My activism and critical writings have followed a trajectory from Vietnam to South Africa to Israel to Iraq to Afghanistan and other countries where the United States continues its imperial military actions.

Although many of my articles are controversial as they criticize the actions of the U.S. government — under both Democratic and Republican regimes — I get the most pushback from my writings about Israel-Palestine. When I analyze Israel’s illegal occupation and crimes against the Palestinians, I am often called a “self-hating” Jew.

My Own Path

I was born in 1948, the year Israel was created out of whole Palestinian cloth. When tasked with finding a destination for Jews displaced by the Holocaust, the United Nations chose Palestine. Thus began a brutal and illegal occupation that continues to this day.

Miko Peled. (Wikimedia)

Miko Peled. (Wikimedia)

In his book, Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” Israeli-American Miko Peled describes the 1948 “ethnic cleansing campaign that was sweeping through Palestine like wildfire, destroying everything in its path.” Palestinians call it the “Nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe.”

My family was not religious but we were proud of our Jewish heritage. My father fought the Nazis in World War II and relatives perished in the Holocaust. My paternal grandmother was an activist against the Tsar during the Russian pogroms. On her way to a Siberian prison, she escaped and, at the age of 18, boarded a ship bound for the United States.

We revered Israel as the homeland of the Jews. At the Passover Seder, we would raise our glasses and intone, “Next year in Jerusalem!” At Sunday School, we gathered coins to plant trees in the Holy Land. It wasn’t until I left home that I learned the truth about Israel and became an outspoken critic of its policies.

In 1967, during my freshman year at Stanford, I came to oppose the war in Vietnam and joined The Resistance, a group of draft resisters and their allies. The following year, I signed up for Students for a Democratic Society, where I learned the war was not an isolated event, but rather part of a long history of U.S. imperialism. But I was still unaware that the war Israel launched in 1967 “completed its occupation of Palestine,” in the words of Peled.

The anti-Vietnam War movement at Stanford challenged my long-held assumptions about U.S. foreign policy. My commitment to ending an unjust war against a people fighting for liberation eventually opened my eyes to the plight of the Palestinian people and Israel’s role in repressing them.

After college, I went to law school and became a peoples’ lawyer. I joined the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive political-legal organization which I later served as president. The NLG’s guiding motto is, “Human rights are more sacred than property interests.” In the NLG, I met many people who criticized Israel’s illegal policies and U.S. complicity in them.

In 1977, the NLG sent a delegation to Israel and Palestine. The report they issued was the first comprehensive analysis of Israel’s practices published by a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the protection of human rights. It documented violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions by Israel as a belligerent occupant of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Idris family in 2014, collecting their belongings after the demolition of their home in Beit Hanina. (Wikimedia)

The Idris family in 2014, collecting their belongings after the demolition of their home in Beit Hanina. (Wikimedia)

The allegations in the report disturbed me greatly. They described Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians, including house demolitions, administrative detention and torture. The report documented beatings, burning with cigarettes, forced standing while naked for long periods exposed to heat or cold, dousing with hot or cold water, cutting the body with razor blades, biting by dogs, sensory deprivation, sodomizing with bottles or sticks, inserting wires into the penis, electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, and suspension from the floor with hands or feet tied to a pulley device. Reading the case studies made me physically ill.

Apartheid, from South Africa to Palestine

Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration the Age of Colorblindness, wrote that some of Israel’s practices are “reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.”

After the Palestinians launched the second intifada, or uprising, NLG members went to the region and published a report in 2001. It documented a system of apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the United States’ uncritical support of Israel.

That report describes illegal settlements and bypass roads, restricted movement of Palestinians, discriminatory land policies, differential treatment of Jews and Palestinian non-Jews, and Israeli policing of Palestinian political expression. It also analyzed indiscriminate and excessive use of lethal force against Palestinians, indiscriminate and excessive use of force against Palestinian property, delay and prevention of medical treatment, and collective punishment against the Palestinians.

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, pointed to similarities between apartheid in his country and Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. “My voice will always be raised in support of Christian-Jewish ties and against the anti-Semitism that all sensible people fear and detest. But this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing and for standing aside as successive Israeli governments colonize the West Bank and advance racist laws,” Tutu wrote in a Tampa Bay Times article. He noted “Israel’s theft of Palestinian land,” and “Jewish-only colonies built on Palestinian land in violation of international law.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (Dale Frost via Flickr)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Spotting apartheid. (Dale Frost via Flickr)

Tutu cited a 2010 Human Rights Watch report that “describes the two-tier system of laws, rules, and services that Israel operates for the two populations in areas in the West Bank under its exclusive control, which provide preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians.” Tutu wrote, “This, in my book, is apartheid. It is untenable.”

On July 19, 2018, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that illegally enshrines a system of apartheid. The legislation, which has the force of a constitutional amendment, says, “The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.” It continues, “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” There is no guarantee of self-determination for the 1.8 million Arabs who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population.

Tutu called on “people and organizations of conscience to divest from . . . Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard,” which profit “from the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians.” He was advocating participation in the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which Alexander also mentions in her column.

When representatives of Palestinian civil society launched BDS in 2005, they called upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

Israel continues to attack Gaza, described as the world’s largest “open air prison” as Israel maintains a tight blockade, restricting all ingress and egress. Headlines in the mainstream media falsely portray an equivalence of firepower between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. But Israel’s use of force greatly exceeds that of the Palestinians, and the asymmetric warfare continues to escalate.

In 2014, Israel mounted an offensive called Operation Protective Edge,” relentlessly bombing Gaza for nearly two months, killing 2,251 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians. The number of Palestinians wounded was 11,231, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children. On the Israeli side, six civilians and 67 soldiers were killed and 1,600 were injured. Tens of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes and the infrastructure was severely damaged. Israel targeted numerous schools, UN-sanctioned places of refuge, hospitals, ambulances and mosques.

Town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 5, 2014, in the course of the ceasefire. (Muhammad Sabah, B’Tselem field researcher, via Wikimedia)

Town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 5, 2014, in the course of the ceasefire. (Muhammad Sabah, B’Tselem field researcher, via Wikimedia)

As Operation Protective Edge was winding down, the NLG and other legal organizations sent a letter to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, urging her to investigate war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Gaza committed by Israel and aided and abetted by US leaders. The letter was based on an article I wrote documenting those crimes.

Criticizing Israel is Not Anti-Semitic

I have become sharply critical of Israel. An active member of the NLG’s Palestine Subcommittee, I write frequent articles and do media commentary about Israel’s violations of international law. I am also a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and I work in support of BDS.

Years after I first read the 1977 NLG delegation report, I visited Ellis Island, where my grandparents arrived in the United States. It is now a museum. As I walked the route they traveled, I felt very emotional about what they endured. But my deep feelings about the suffering of my ancestors during the Holocaust are not inconsistent with my criticisms of Israel for subjecting the Palestinians to a different kind of oppression.

As stories continue to emerge about Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters at the Gaza border during the Great March of Return, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the facts. Yet even those who see the truth about Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians worry about reprisals for speaking out.

Alexander describes the silence of many civil rights activists and groups, “not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism.” She mentioned the case of Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, who lost her Texas elementary school job last year after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the BDS movement. On Twitter, journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech.

There is a false equivalency between criticizing Israel and being anti-Semitic. Any criticism of Israeli policy is labeled anti-Semitism, even though many Jews—including members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Jewish Center for Nonviolence and IfNotNow—oppose the occupation.

The BDS movement is not anti-Israeli, as it targets the policies, not the people, of Israel. And actions against Israel’s policies, including BDS, do not equate to anti-Semitism. Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, says, “As a matter of principle, the BDS movement has consistently and categorically opposed all forms of racism, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia.”

Kalandia checkpoint into Jerusalem/Al-Quds. (Joe Lauria)

Palestinian human rights activist Omar Barghouti wrote in the The New York Times in 2014, “Arguing that boycotting Israel is intrinsically anti-Semitic is not only false, but it also presumes that Israel and ‘the Jews’ are one and the same. This is as absurd and bigoted as claiming that a boycott of a self-defined Islamic state like Saudi Arabia, say, because of its horrific human rights record, would of necessity be Islamophobic.”

Even though many persist in equating condemnation of Israel with anti-Semitism, groups like Jewish Voice for Peace continue to gain traction. Jews are increasingly willing to examine the facts on the ground in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

And although Congress, dominated by the powerful Israel lobby, continues to give more money to Israel than any other country, two new members of Congress — Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) — support BDS.

Alexander is optimistic: “There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic.”

We in the Jewish community have a special responsibility to fight against the Israeli system of apartheid and its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. The BDS movement is an effective weapon in this struggle. I urge my fellow Jews to join BDS and oppose Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies in whatever way they can.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. Her most recent book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” contains a chapter analyzing Israel’s targeted killing case.

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78 comments for “The ‘Progressive Except Palestine’ Problem

  1. F
    February 18, 2019 at 01:21

    Alexander Cohn: Our grandparents, and in many cases parents also, have experienced similar fates going back to the early days of the 20th century revolution in Russia; also, myself as a child with vivid memories of occupation in WWII and later during the civil war in China. Those of us living through uncertain times with fear, namely, White Russians, Jews, Tatars, and others of different faiths and color, had – and still possess – “warmth, humanity, humility, humor, honesty” toward each other as humans and as banished peoples experiencing plight and injustice first hand.

    The following article by Bradley Burston
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-they-re-not-jews-they-re-maga-people-and-they-run-israel-1.6908864
    states “The word ‘Jewish’ has positive connotations for me. I think of warmth, humanity, humility, humor, honesty. …. .“ From my own life’s experience the “positive connotations” are true and apply to other religious groups also, unless hijacked.

    In my adulthood years, I worked and lived in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Africa (including in Rep. of S. Africa where, to my horror, plight and injustice was served systematically under Apartheid rule in the 20th century!), Asia, S.E. Asia, – countries with different faiths and color. As I have, perhaps most of the older generation true Jews everywhere could relate with your and Bradley Burston’s views. Unfortunately, some (not all) of the younger generation, especially since the last one to two decades, appear to have disowned their true faith .. or as you aptly state “ .. the silence of many civil rights activists and groups, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism.”

    Besides, “anti-Semitism” used as a cliché is getting old, inaccurate, and is confusing to the educated masses given that Arabs are also Semitic people. Can’t another cliché be invented?

  2. George Collins
    February 13, 2019 at 09:27

    I read Professor Cohn whenever I see the opportunity. Occasionally I become mindful that her surname is “Jewish”. Her reminder today that it’s not a piece of cake to be true to principle and not offend perhaps the majority of one’s clan or tribe. I’m not learned enough to surmise, without more, that Marjorie may also be an Anti Zionist Jew.

    Marjorie’s forte, perhaps, is writing elegant common sense. What would possess a person to surmise, except for deviltry or propaganda, that criticizing what some Jews do/have done merit the label Anti-Semitic? Nonetheless, common sense is, in this case, uncommonly welcome.

    Last note: as a contented atheist, perhaps it’s wiser to say nothing of religious figures. But I’m taken with Marjorie’s reference to Archbishop, I think that’s his title, Desmond Tutu. religious leadeDesmond Tutu has been, IMO, a rock of benevolence and reliable carrier of the Golden Rule.

  3. February 11, 2019 at 18:11

    How can a so-called bi-partisan undemocratic congress politically and economically support an apartheid and racist government in
    Israel thieving Palestinian land? Rep. Ilhan Omer is right — money.

  4. ATM
    February 11, 2019 at 14:16

    As a person of Jewish decent who lives outside of Israel I find some of the Israeli governments policies suicidal. Some of it´s policies vis a vi Palestinian people are creating hatred of Jews world wide and it is is hard to believe how short sited the are. That said I think we should be critical of Israeli policies in a way that does not promote antisemitism, being mindful that what we say about Israel can reflect poorly on Jews world wide. For our own survival, Jews in diaspora must target Israeli policies that are enabling antisemitism. It seems that some political parties could not care less if another holicoust took place outside of Israel, all they care about is today´s vote count. They should be made aware that in the long run these same policies will lead to the destruction of the modern state of Israel and no amount of finagling will help. Besides promoting tremendous injustice to Palestinian people, our silence on these issues will be Israel´s death. In the end no nation stands alone, especially a small one , we all depend on good will and trust of others.

  5. harry
    February 11, 2019 at 13:54

    Go to the BDS site. They go beyond a Palestinian homeland on the West Bank. They have no plan for sharing Jerusalem. They speak of the right of return-in other words, ultimately gaining control of Israel proper In 1948. The Arabs rejected the UN mandate,attacked their Jewish neighbors, and lost the war they started. No one in Israelis going to give up their homes for anyone elses guilt or ideology of the moment. The

  6. Roy Booher
    February 11, 2019 at 03:23

    You didn’t mention that often called anti-Semitic newspaper Haartz? LOL

  7. jacobo
    February 10, 2019 at 22:17

    Since Zionism does not = Judaism,

    anti-Zionism can not be equated with antisemitism.

    Instead, because Zionism is a form of settler-colonialism, Israel (its offspring) has to be looked upon as nothing but another European settler entity.

    Therefore. just as we opposed European colonialism in South Africa & elsewhere, those of us who truly oppose settler-colonialism must oppose Israel and support justice for the Palestinian people.

    Regardless of our individual nationality, ethnicity or religion.

    • Roy Booher
      February 11, 2019 at 03:45

      Europe really had almost nothing to do with it. The whole second world war was little more than an American con game, In the early years of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, their primary financial backer was a wealthy American, who, through his many financial interests supplied the Germans with not only the technology to carry out the genocide, but also the oil to operate it’s war machine. That this could have been accomplished without the resident’s knowledge is very doubtful, and in hindsight of the then resident’s apparent enthusiastism for unnecessary bloodshed, we are pretty much left with the conclusion that a small number of American sociopaths enjoyed both profit and others deaths for their sport.

  8. February 10, 2019 at 17:31

    Welcome to the American police-State, predicted 12 years ago by Brother Nathanial. Efforts to commend Consortium for publishing Marjorie Cohn expose’ of Zionist criminality against the defenseless Palestinian population of Gaza in 2008 and 2014, were censored repeatedly by the thought-control Nazionist agents at NSA. Marjorie Cohn speaks for the countless thousands of educated Jewish professional workers in mental health centers, education establishments, hospitals, and journalism who share her commitment to historic, ethical Judaism’s emphasis on JUSTICE. Her courageously comprehensive analysis, and her scrupulously honest commentary on the issue of the suffering endured by Palestinians for the past 70 years, stands in sharp contrast to the craven cowardice of millions of “Christian—Zionists”. Their silence shouts out their moral emptiness.

    • Roy Booher
      February 11, 2019 at 03:55

      Yeah! I’m pretty sure I read where Jesus said, ” No one is going to heaven unless they murder a few thousand, essentially defenseless humans”, so sayth the Lord, LOL But, then we have centuries of Inquisitions, and more of that idiot, “We’ll have some other religious group carry out the crimes, so it’s not like it’s really us, because our all knowing God is, after all even more dumb than us”.

  9. AndrewX
    February 9, 2019 at 19:01

    “and the asymmetric warfare continues to escalate.” I don’t really understand this argument. Since the Palestinians in Gaza don’t have fighter jets, then, in order to make the warfare symmetric and fair, they should be given a squadron. Would this then make it all right for Israel to fight for it’s survival? Back in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s, when Israel was fighting against huge odds, wars against multiple large Arab armies, most Jews were happy to see that Israel survived and took land that they needed in order to protect themselves. The West Bank before ’67 was controlled not by the Palestinians, but by a belligerent state, Jordan. Gaza was in the hands of Egypt.
    In 2005, Gaza was handed over to the Palestinians. It is now the source of that warfare you consider asymmetric. Too bad that the Palestinian leadership couldn’t create a base for a Palestinian people to become independent, educated, and strong in order to deal with their difficult situation where they are not even accepted by their Arab neighbors. Unfortunately, the leadership has chosen violence toward Israel, repression of their own people, and theft of their people’s resources.

    • JoeSixPack
      February 11, 2019 at 11:12

      Gaza was handed over the Palestinians? And yet Israel maintains a sea blockade. Israel continues to build Jewish only settlements in Gaza.

      You understand you chose to be ignorant.

    • richard le sarcophage
      February 12, 2019 at 03:55

      Ludicrous Zionazi lies. No regard for the truth,plus boundless chutzpah.

  10. DH Fabian
    February 8, 2019 at 18:33

    Today’s Israel, restored in 1948, is a fraction of the former Jewish nation of Palestine. Jews are indigenous to that bit of land. Israel a tiny country, roughly the size of New Jersey, some 1% of the Mideast. The rest of the region consists of the various Arab states. Those called Palestinians today are Arabs who seek to establish yet another Arab country by eliminating the one Jewish country. Regardless of whether one is to the right or left, we don’t all agree that a “fair partitioning” of Israel would be: 100% for the Arabs, 0% for the Jews.

    • Michael Weddington
      February 9, 2019 at 00:26

      Why can’t it just be a country where Arabs and Jews live?

    • Idi Malink
      February 9, 2019 at 15:36

      Jews all over the world rejoiced in 1948 when the UN established Israel’s legal borders. That joy was quickly replaced by the violent, acquisitive ethnic nationalism of Zionism. The UN, the US, and the rest of the West should have defended both sides of the borers the UN created, but instead they armed Israeli nationalists and supported their racial aggression. The result has been the obliteration of Palestine to expand Israeli territory.

      • WAM
        February 10, 2019 at 11:29

        Few days after the announcement of the creation of 2-nations, federal state of Israel, a first war has started: armies of 5 Arab countries against a basically non-existent army of a new Israel. The objective was to erase this new abomination and finish off all non-Arabic inhabitants. Somehow did not work according to plans, but this is the origin of Nakhaba. Then, none of the 5 countries gave nationality and passports to refugees. It is deplorable to maintain this staus-quo up to the present day (only Kuwait gave passports to Palestinians – and Mr. Arafat gracefully thanked Kuwaitis by greeting Saddam’s annexation of Kuwait), no hope, no life, keeping people in camps – please compare it to the situation after 2nd world war in Europe, where few millions of people were forced to move across borders as a result of Yalta agreements on new borders – but they were accepted by their compatriots and allowed to embed in new societies; in the case of Palestine I heard numerous time about Arab unity and solidarity with Palestinians – but the camps with locked-up people (Arabs) still operate.
        I dare to say I studied a bit about the history of the middle east – and there are no NATIONS of Jordan, Palestine, or Saudi Arabia, I could go further with enumerating. Colonial powers of England and France created “states” – to fight Ottomans and to fight interests of each other (England and France) – borders, “national flags”, names. In fact, the Pan-Arabism was something working against these plans. A lot of things happening in this region is driven by oil, protection of trade routes and global politics. Israel was far from being a favorite of US (neither USRR), things changed only during Sadat.
        Unfortunately, the Oslo agreement was deep-sixed by Arab side plus corresponding forces in Israel. Gaza Strip is closed on the Israeli side – but also on Egypt side; simple question – if Egypt gave passports to Gazan people how many would accept them and start their lives in other places? Corrupted administration in West Bank serves both sides (Israel and PA) – again – offering passports to West Bank inhabitants – this could be a solution of the unsolvable problem.

        • Peter Dahu
          February 11, 2019 at 01:13

          Actually it was far from a non-existent army.

          Hasbara trolls need to be smarter than this.

    • Skip Scott
      February 9, 2019 at 15:42

      I am a firm believer in separation of church and state, and equal rights for all citizens. That is not possible under zionism. I don’t believe the USA should be doing business with a country that doesn’t share our fundamental values. BDS against Israel should be US law until Israel grants full rights to all its peoples.

      • John Kauai
        February 10, 2019 at 04:35

        Skip, Israel shares the “real” values of the USA. I think you need to reevaluate what our country stands for. “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” sounds great as an intro to “Superman”, but we should all know by now that Truth does not benefit the Oligarchy. Justice only means another tax cut for the Oligarchy. “The American Way” means, make money any way possible. If you make money, God loves you, no matter how you acquire it.

      • Josep
        February 13, 2019 at 04:05

        And BDS will also mean moving Intel’s chip production to some other country, hopefully the US. We don’t want to look like we’re biting the hand that feeds us.

    • BrightJ
      February 9, 2019 at 20:20

      Stop making this about Arabs vs Jews. The fact is, Palestinians (Arabs) had been tied to the land of Palestine for 2,000 years and were the majority until 50’s-60’s. You can just simply claim that people who have lived on that land for 2,000 plus years don’t deserve it because there are other countries filled with people like them. That is ridiculous and shows a lack of maturity. Furthermore, most of the Israelis have European ancestry, so maybe they should back to Europe.

      • WAM
        February 10, 2019 at 11:39

        No need to be so sure and so anchored in stereotypes. You might read 2 books by prof. Patricia Crone, where she studies the emerging of Islam among people living in the area which today is Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. You would be surprised that in 6th and 7th-century Jewish communities were common there, including the community in Jerusalem; the dominant composition was Christians. The Arabs conquered the middle east in 7th century, and they were in fact in minority at the beginning of this process. The conquest was followed by conversions to Islam.

        You must feel unhappy that you could not advise Messrs. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in Yalta about borders in Europe after 2nd WW and about moving people around.

    • Roy Booher
      February 11, 2019 at 04:06

      LOL, You’re so right! And by the same reasoning we should give back the Roman Empire to Italy, and all of the Americas back to the inhabitants who were here before the the Spanish Inquisition sent it’s mercenaries fleeing in search of new peoples to slaughter, after not even getting paid for a job well done, in the annihilation of the Muslims that putrified that Holy Christian nation. (sic)

    • Sally Roberts
      February 11, 2019 at 04:34

      They are not interested in establishing a country. What they want is the same rights as the immigrants were granted by the British Government during its illegal civilian rule between the 1920-23. Illegal because no peace treaty had been signed with Turkey. Not even the Germans tried to commit that war crime when they occupied Belgium WWI..

      A Palestinian could not even install electric wiring in his home once the Ruttinger concession was awarded by Great Britain. Athough only the PM and a few hardcore zionists were responsible. The country and most politicians knew nothing about it until it had been established.

    • JoeSixPack
      February 11, 2019 at 11:16

      I believe the Sumerians would have something to day about that. Sorry but the Jewish people were not indigenous to Palestine and do not have hereditary rights to that Territory. The cold hard fact was Jewish settlers stole the land from the Palestinian people.

      • WAM
        February 14, 2019 at 12:54

        Could you please show research that confirms the existence of “Palestinians” as an ethnic entity? And possibly as a political entity? – but addressing the period before 1948? Even in literature -“Seven pillars of wisdom” – there is no such a nation, there are Arabic people and Pan-Arabic political ideas. Jews were present in this area for a long time, even during the end of the Ottoman Empire; not all Jews were expulsed or fled during Roman quenching of uprisals in Judea -they stayed and witnessed the conquer of the Near East by Arabs in the 7th century. Saladin – Arab leader, same with people after him. The center of Araban world was in Damascus then. Show me the Palestinians. Even in 50ties – 70ties of XX century you got a state called United Arab Republic – no one mentioned Palestine of Palestinians then. What about Arab League and Transjordan in particular – again no mention of Palestinians or Palestine.
        No one – except Kuwait – ever released refugees from camps around Israel (including Gaza Strip); all these people are locked now – 3rd generation – without passports, citizenship and right to have a decent life in Near East Arabian countries or in other places of the world. And the possibility of changing their lives lies in the hand of Arabian states governments. Declared solidarity is one thing, giving real chances is quite another.

  11. Chris Cosmos
    February 8, 2019 at 12:51

    I appreciate your efforts but I’m not optimistic in this. We have moved intona post-rational and tribal historical moment. Anti-Jewish propaganda used to hurl the accusation of “cosmopolitanism” at Jews but it appears to me that Israeli and pro-Israeli Jews are going vigorously in the opposite direction.

  12. William Benedeck
    February 8, 2019 at 09:58

    Thank you for having the courage to speak on behalf of the Palestinians, who have no voice.

    • AndrewX
      February 9, 2019 at 18:50

      Really? The UN is their voice and every country with a Muslim majority is their voice.

      • WAM
        February 10, 2019 at 11:45

        All their neighbors keep refugees locked in camps for 70 years now – 3rd generation of people within hope. No one offers them passports and citizenship. This is something very sad, let’s put it mildly. The peace would be there a long time ago.

      • JoeSixPack
        February 11, 2019 at 11:19

        The Palestinians do not have voice in the UN. Any time Palestinians try to have voice, Israel complains and the U.S. backs Israel and the Palestinian voice is silences.

        Move along troll.

        • WAM
          February 14, 2019 at 13:16

          Arab League stands for them. In 1965 it prohibited Arab countries from granting refugees citizenships in one of the member countries. So, it is the Arabs politics that keeps them locked in the refugee camps.

  13. Pat Mc Ginley
    February 8, 2019 at 05:38

    Much respect! Many Jews rightly condemn Zionism as a political movement which uses Judaism as a front, as all major religious institutions are firmly embedded with the ruling elites in every religious country. Tragic for truth, justice and humanity.

    • Roy Booher
      February 11, 2019 at 04:19

      Yes, and that is the worse of it, if it weren’t for these things that claim to have a special relationship to whatever local God, us Westerners might actually have obtained a sort of heavenly reward, without any heavenly interference even being necessary to accomplish it. But, instead we have this, and our final reward will obviously be our total non existance.

  14. zoref
    February 8, 2019 at 00:53

    I respect and admire your courage. Be sure God sees it too.

  15. February 7, 2019 at 23:50

    @ “On July 19, 2018, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that illegally enshrines a system of apartheid. The legislation, which has the force of a constitutional amendment, says, ‘The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.’ It continues, ‘The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.’ There is no guarantee of self-determination for the 1.8 million Arabs who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population.'”

    Sounds impressive, but there’s a fatal flaw in the reasoning: The Jewish people have no right of national self-determination.

    “Self-determination,” the right of a people to determine their own form of government, is a right that is defined by international law.[1] As such, the claim of a right to self-determination presents a question of law that cannot be established by mere rhetoric.

    In the aftermath of World War II, the nations of Europe were largely destroyed economically and were unable to continue maintaining their extensive colonial empires around the world. In that new power vacuum, waves of nationalism erupted in the former colonies and mandate territories, flying the flag of the right of self-determination. Without the means to continue their colonial rule, the European powers were in no position to resist. And so it came to pass that the right of self-determination (self government) was recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, Article Article 73, governing the former colonial powers’ responsibilities in regard to their colonies and mandate territories.

    Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

    a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;

    b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement[.][4]

    The provision, by its plain language, grants the right of self-determination to the “people” of a former colony or mandate territory, not to any subset of such a “people.” We can then see that, prima facie, it is all of the “people” of the former English Mandate Territory of Palestine who collectively hold that right, not a Jewish subset of those “people.”

    “The principle of self-determination prevails only under the condition that the term ‘a people’ means the entire population of non-self-governing territory. … ethnic groups within non-self-governing territories [cannot be]considered as “peoples”. [2]

    So it is all of the people of the former Mandate Territory of Palestine that hold the right of self-determination, not just Jews.

    That is why the U.N. Security Council never acted on the General Assembly’s partition plan for Palestine that would have seen a two-state solution. The Arab states strenuously objected that to impose a two-state solution would violate the Charter’s guarantee of the right of self-determination to all the people of Mandate Palestine.

    But to repeat: there is no Jewish right of self-determination.

    [1] For a good overview see the discussion at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-determination.

    [2] V. Gudeleviciute, Does the Principle of Self-Determination Prevail over the Principle of Territorial Integrity?, 2:2 Int. J. Baltic Law (2005), pp. 57-58.

    • robjira
      February 8, 2019 at 11:52

      Excellent comment.

    • Steve Naidamast
      February 8, 2019 at 13:30

      Excellent clarification… However, the UN vote in 1948 on the establishment of Israel as a nation was rejected by the UN Assembly thereby failing to provide the necessary support for the formation of the Israeli nation state. Israeli Zionists simply ignored this and began what is now called the “1948 War for Independence”, which was a misnomer since the Israeli Zionist elite had nothing to be independent of considering by that point the British had already packed up and left thereby giving their Mandate over to the US as a result of years of horrific terrorism by Jewish partisan groups (see Thomas Suarez’s, “State of Terror”, as one primary source for this period).

      Seeing what was going to happen as a result of the rejection by the UN of the formation of the Israeli state, Arab armies invaded Palestine to only recoup what the UN agreement was supposed to provide for the Palestinians. This was not the full-on invasion as popular media sources have touted for decades…

      • February 9, 2019 at 08:45

        @ “However, the UN vote in 1948 on the establishment of Israel as a nation was rejected by the UN Assembly thereby failing to provide the necessary support for the formation of the Israeli nation state.”

        Correction: There was no 1948 vote on the establishment of Israel as a nation. There was a partition plan developed and adopted by the General Assembly in 1947. But it required implementation by the Security Council. See UNGA RES/181(II) (29 November 1947), https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/7F0AF2BD897689B785256C330061D253 (“The General Assembly … Requests that … The Security Council take the necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation”).

        The Security Council never took up that resolution because of the Arab states’ objections that to implement it would violate the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, guaranteed by the U.N. Charter Article 73.

  16. Tim OConnor
    February 7, 2019 at 22:29

    This is a very educational and enlightened article that goes a very long way of explaining exactly what is transpiring in Israel today. Thank you for publishing this excellent writer.

  17. Zenobia van Dongen
    February 7, 2019 at 19:32

    I find it comical to call the Palestinian cause “progressive”.
    The Supreme Shari’ah Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who is also Mahmoud Abbas’ personal advisor on Islam, has stated that the conflict between Palestinians and Israel is “between Islam and the enemies of Islam”.
    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=26477
    in 2015 Abbas made a speech in Ramallah saying, “Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shaheed [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by Allah.”
    “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet, we won’t allow them to do that,” said Abbas.
    Abbas: Blood of ‘martyrs’ spilled on Temple Mount is ‘pure’. Palestinian Authority president praises rioters, says Jews have ‘no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet’, Times of Israel, 17 September 2015
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-blood-of-martyrs-spilled-on-temple-mount-is-pure/
    What exactly is so progressive about fighting for Islam?

  18. Caitlin Ni Chonaill
    February 7, 2019 at 17:43

    Israel was not established because of the Holocaust. The roots of its foundation can be traced to British colonial policy in the Middle East. See ‘The Iron Cage’ by Rashid Khalidi. His meticulously researched book provides a detailed account of how Britain, mandated to govern Palestine following the First World War, sought ‘to create a little loyal Ulster’ in the ME. [quote from Ronald Storrs]; that is, to establish a colonial-settler state which would serve imperial interests.

  19. Tom
    February 7, 2019 at 15:58

    People whine about Russia interference in the USA elections?

    Chris Hedges: The Censorship and Blocking of “The Lobby – USA” Documentary, Part 1

    https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/chris-hedges-the-censorship-and-blocking-of-the-lobby-usa-documentary-part-1/

  20. Ma Laoshi
    February 7, 2019 at 11:36

    To play a bit the devil’s advocate: is there perhaps less in Ms. Alexander’s stand than meets the eye? Now that the Donald wraps himself in the Star of David so ostentatiously, it’s only the usual game that the Democratic party and its surrogates flirt with the opposite position. At the hour of truth, they’ll no doubt remember which side their bread is buttered, or they’d be harshly reminded. It’s not like the Dems have left themselves political space to solicit Russian donations to pick up the slack. :-)

    And what does it say of the liberal classes that they wait for permission from the NYT to notice what has been blindingly obvious for over a generation already.

    P.S.: and let’s call out PEP for what it really is. “In the USA, where we are in the minority, we want the gentiles to be nice and nondiscriminatory to us. But in Israel, where we have all the power, we can show those goyim what we really think of them.” It’s just the old Talmudic doublethink with liberal mood music. Good for Ms. Cohn if she parts with that bigotry.

  21. Jeff Harrison
    February 7, 2019 at 11:00

    Hmmm. Yes but Israel has just proclaimed that Israel is Judaism. That’s good because it puts the lie to the “Israel is a democracy” bullsh*t and puts it’s theocracy front and center.

    • willow
      February 7, 2019 at 21:12

      Israel proclaimed that Israel is Judaism was a strategy to outlaw criticism of Israel as being anti-semetic
      26 states have outlawed BDS

  22. Glenn Goodman
    February 7, 2019 at 10:56

    We are doing the cause of justice a huge disservice by not framing this issue correctly. The Palestinians are the Semites, plus since there was no diaspora they are the descendants of the Biblical prophets and the family of Jesus. These facts were documented by the scholarship of Dr Slolmo Sand in his Book The Invention of the Jewish People. Sand is a Jewish Scholar from Tel Aviv University, and said that these facts are well known to Jewish scholars as well as Israeli leaders. If we want to go along with an incorrect framing of these crucial issues in a way that greatly advantages them, why should they object?

  23. Alan Ross
    February 7, 2019 at 10:23

    “I was born in 1948, the year Israel was created out of whole Palestinian cloth. When tasked with finding a destination for Jews displaced by the Holocaust, the United Nations chose Palestine. Thus began a brutal and illegal occupation that continues to this day.” (emphasis added)

    Dear Marjorie Cohn:
    Please read all of what I have to say before just defending yourself or nitpicking the flaws in what I have written below.

    For years I have been very critical of what Netanyahu and his band of right-wing gangsters have been doing in the Middle East and find it hard to even read about Israel because of what their “democratically” elected government has been doing, especially recently. Only what we are doing now in Venezuela is more abhorrent to me. It SEEMS to me that that the above statement, while having some courage to make, is also self-righteously either quite sloppy or worse, very one-sided, unrealistic and inaccurate. It implies that Israel does not even have a right to exist! The UN was looking at a solution to the Holocaust, one of the worst, if not the worst, part of the greatest organized evil in human history, the Nazi attempt to take over the world.

    Wanting a homeland is not a good or bad thing by itself, but what matters is in how it is implemented – whether it is with respect for others’ rights. What is your solution now!!?? If you really believe in equality that means seeing human evil is present (along with the best thing) on every side, and in every breast, including in yours and mine. It seems to me that the Palestinians are much more sinned against than sinning, but what is your solution? The tendency to see oppressed peoples as just good is not accurate!! There is some truth to the statement that oppressed people are oppressors who didn’t get their chance. The only true and sincere solution is against evil all over not just in one group. We all need encouragement and criticism. We should be on the side of respect for everyone’s human rights and be completely against anyone having the pleasure of looking down on other people. I do not see that in your article.

    I do not believe that a homeland for the Jews is an integral part of Judaism, but what solution would you recommend to the long history of anti-Semitism in the Western world? The Holocaust is only one of many genocides carried out in human history, but it was the worst. Your statement implies that Israel’s very existence is illegal – do you want to dissolve it? How about us? Should all of us of European descent just get up and leave this country to Native Americans who were murdered in massive numbers as part of a genocide? There must be some reparations but it must take in the interests of both sides in a fair way. So what would be fair to both Palestinians and Israelis?

    I feel there must be a great change in Israel if it is to deserve any support. The human rights of Israeli Jews and Palestinians must both be respected. Challenging the very existence, as you seem to do, will not solve the problem but make it worse. I also think it is unjust. Maybe BDS will have a good effect and be an agent of that change. You are dealing with a people still traumatized by the mass slaughter that went on in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the great indifference of the rest of the world at that time. That does not justify one iota disrespecting, hurting and killing innocent Palestinians.

    One solution that I think is one of the greatest advances in human history is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as there has been in South Africa. Then maybe the political solution would work. Electing a President who would be an honest broker in the Middle East might be the best way to start this process. That means not supporting Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand et al as the “practical” candidates, but rather Sanders. Pardon me, but I think supporting those in the first group is akin to supporting Netanyahu, especially as one of them had the courage as Sanders did in calling for an evenhanded policy in the Middle East.

    • Skip Scott
      February 7, 2019 at 12:37

      Sanders also said it was time for the Saudi’s to “get their hands dirty” fighting terrorism. That is ridiculous on its face, since those self same Saudi’s hands are blood-soaked funding the terrorists. I don’t trust sheep dog Bernie on foreign policy. Time for a fresh face for the progressives. I think Bernie’s gone senile. We need a genuine peace candidate for 2020.

      • willow
        February 7, 2019 at 21:16

        We have a genuine peace candidate. Tulsi Gabbard. The MSM smears began as soon as she announced her candidacy and the establishment dems hate her. That’s all the bona fides we need

        • Skip Scott
          February 8, 2019 at 07:45

          I like Tulsi so far, but I remember hearing a while back that she was friends with Sheldon Adelson. I find that hard to square with her position on Syria. Also I think if she has any sense she will make a dramatic exit to the Green Party and seek their nomination. She will get “Berned” by the DNC otherwise. I would love to see her make it to the TV debates so America could hear that we can do better than waste our money and human resources on endless war.

          • Bill Colohan
            February 8, 2019 at 10:04

            Agreed, Gabbard right on many points. As an independent I would vote for her.

        • Idi Malink
          February 9, 2019 at 15:42

          Gabbard volunteered to kill for the American ruling class, and obeyed commands to deploy to Iraq. Gabbard’s promotion as a peacenik is designed to lead Americans to war, and probably against Muslims, which ethnic nationalist Hindus, with whom Gabbard associates, agitate for.

          • Skip Scott
            February 10, 2019 at 11:36

            I think you are jumping to conclusions. Everybody learns lessons in life as they go along. I am willing to give her the same consideration I hope others would give me, and judge her by her policy positions today.

    • Anne Jaclard
      February 7, 2019 at 14:27

      Saying any individual state has a “right to exist” is a problematic notion that criminalises, among other things, the political ideologies of anarchism as well as world government. It’s intellectually lazy and is based on a flawed understanding of history. Aside from the Holocaust, which no-one would doubt as the most sinister genocide in human history, African peoples have been subjected to oppression everywhere, yet genocide has been avoided in states where they are given equal rights (all of them these days, I believe). Even the USA today, where anti-black racism is deeply ingrained, there is no plan in any quarters for the social murder or expulsion of African-Americans. I would also add that all but Nazis today have to at least in public acknowledge the horrors of the Holocaust, and rightly so (99.9% of the world population or more). Do you actually believe that such an event would be allowed to take place again?

      • Alan Ross
        February 11, 2019 at 08:02

        There is the saying: Evil never rests. Look around and you will see the millions of innocent people who are being made to suffer and even die by others. It starts with each one of us. Until mankind learns that the desire to look down on others is where the evil begins AND that it makes us weaker and ashamed, the evil will go on. Unreasoning hate is still having its way. Right now we have one of the most openly hateful people as President – racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, anyone who is not a Trump, anyone who isn’t Donald Trump. You even have a leader in the intelligence community who talks about Russians as genetically inferior and was not immediately fired. Yes. There could be another Holocaust, or semi-Holocaust, or just mass murder. Some evidence of that is that it is going on right now to other peoples in different parts of the world.

    • Anne Jaclard
      February 7, 2019 at 14:28

      Shut up, Nazi.

    • February 8, 2019 at 00:10

      @ “There must be some reparations but it must take in the interests of both sides in a fair way. So what would be fair to both Palestinians and Israelis? ”

      On which sub-issue? The Palestinian right of return is cast in stone by the 4th Geneva Convention. It is not something that can be bargained away:

      Article 7 (“No special agreement shall adversely affect the situation of protected persons, as defined by the present Convention, nor restrict the rights which it confers upon them”).

      Article 8 (“Protected persons may in no circumstances renounce in part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention, and by the special agreements referred to in the foregoing Article, if such there be”).

      Article 47 (“Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory. The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”).

      Article 49 (“Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased”).

      As to the Israelis occupying stolen homes and lands and appropriating water rights held by Palestinians, the law of trespass is clear: they are trespassers and have no right to remain. The Israeli Supreme Court agreed in a case brought by Jewish settlers in Gaza who were removed by the Israeli government. It said that the Israeli government could convey no title to the land in Gaza that was better than what it held. Since the Israeli government held no title to any of Gaza, the settlers could not recover damages from the government for their eviction.

      “Fairness” is in my opinion the incorrect measure of what is to be done. We must first sort through what the law requires, then see what is left to be resolved.

      • Alan Ross
        February 10, 2019 at 09:47

        As a lawyer who cares for the law very much I have learned how much law can be a means of justice AND injustice. The law is supposed to be an attempt to do justice, another word for fairness. When people put law ahead of fairness, we should object.

    • Peter Dahu
      February 11, 2019 at 01:21

      One state equal rights for all. It is not that hard. Even if it is not called Israel, if the states provide human rights and equality then it will provide safety for the Jewish and Palestinian populations.

  24. February 7, 2019 at 07:35

    From the article:

    Alexander is optimistic:

    “There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic.”

    Noble words but lacking, as in most articles I have read, a plausible path to removing apartheid, even a clear description of the problem that suggests a path to removal.

    Apartheid in South Africa was addressed by removing Bantustan and thereby granting all citizens equal right. We need to talk about apartheid in the same way for Israel/Palestine, one country with equal rights for all. Not two states, no suggestion of special rights for anyone except that all rights are special.

    • Skip Scott
      February 7, 2019 at 12:46

      That’s the last thing the Zionists want. They would quickly be outnumbered and lose control of the government. Israel would no longer be a “jewish” state. Their current policy of land grabs and occasionally “mowing the grass” will continue until the rest of the world demands change. Then they need to start prosecuting the perpetrators for war crimes.

      • February 8, 2019 at 07:52

        Skip, I agree with you. The thing I hope opponents of Palestinian injustice continue to propose and support is equal rights for all peoples in what is Israel/Palestine. Yes, Zionists want to keep one state off the table, but that should be the only proposal on the table to reject or accept. Mr. Merrell did a great job explaining what the Palestinians have a right to. which are rights equal to the Jews. It’s what America should stand for. I know we don’t but we should.

      • michael
        February 8, 2019 at 08:26

        Was the last thing most white South Africans wanted as well. Unless the US joins the rest of the world in calling for an end to apartheid, which seems really unlikely given the politicians’ anti-BDS legislation attempts at both the states and federal level, it will never happen. And the Israelis are shameless and “special” as are the “exceptional” Americans.

    • William Benedeck
      February 8, 2019 at 10:06

      Yes!

  25. February 7, 2019 at 06:56

    “The Jewish community has a special responsibility to fight Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands”

    Yes, it does.

    And to fight more than occupation. How about fighting savage acts like Israeli snipers squatting behind a fence regularly to shoot people demonstrating for their rights?

    About 250 so far killed in cold blood.

    Literally thousands wounded, with a substantial number crippled for life by the terrifying use of illegal “butterfly” bullets.

    But we hardly hear a word.

  26. Matthew Beshara
    February 7, 2019 at 06:23

    Ms. Cohn,
    Thank you for your discussion and willingness to highlight the “PEP” phenomenon. As a progressive Palestinian-American I am confident that having other voices heard, like yours and mine will help our two people intrinsically find the common path of our ancestors and peaceful coexistence. Every article that does not demonize the Palestinians as the “other'”, helps to humanize them to other progressives and hopefully the brave words of people like you and Ms. Armstrong will allow others to stand up for justice and human dignity with the Palestinian people. I feel the tide is turning and people like you are helping that to happen.

  27. TFS
    February 7, 2019 at 05:06

    Its my understanding the Senator Rubio has had a bill passed that curtails BDS?

    If this is correct, maybe BDS was targeted at the wrong country? Maybe, people should be targetting Israels Sugar Daddy, SpartUSA?

    SpartUSA is currently making a grab for Venzualan oil, Julian Assange is targeted by SpartUSA because he truth bombed them and now BDS is being targetted. They are all symptons of Democracy being subverted.

    Talk to SpartUSA in the language of the $; a non violent protest.
    Change your search settings in your web browser to DuckDuckGo.

    Digital Butterflies across the planet can make them situp and listen.

  28. Ma Laoshi
    February 7, 2019 at 01:31

    What do we have here: a widening of permissible debate, and an awareness that Jewish behavior and Jewish doublethink are a big part of the problem. All great! Still, it may be helpful to place these in context. As the author also acknowledges with her Vietnam reference, American crimes are every bit as heinous as, and on a much bigger scale than, Israel’s. Seen from a distance, the identity politics of the Democratic party have birthed a cruise-missile liberalism (Wall-Street liberalism) that is: “Progressive except for all issues that actually matter.” As long as one reasons and lives within a framework that’s designed to be toothless, I don’t see how any progress is possible.

  29. Tennegon
    February 7, 2019 at 00:31

    An interesting fact, that puts into question the ubiquitous use of the term ‘anti-semitic’.

    From the Oxford dictionary:

    Semitic

    ADJECTIVE

    1. Relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family.

    2. Relating to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.

  30. Jun
    February 7, 2019 at 00:30

    When tasked with finding a destination for Jews displaced by the Holocaust, the United Nations chose Palestine.

    United Nations had nothing to do with “cho[osing] Palestine”. The UN was hobbled, permanently, at birth by the the same killers who were systematically ethnically cleansing Palestine.

    In 1977, the NLG sent a delegation to Israel and Palestine. The report they issued was the first comprehensive analysis of Israel’s practices published by a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the protection of human rights. It documented violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions by Israel as a belligerent occupant of the West Bank and Gaza.

    “Organization[s] dedicated to the protection of human rights” are themselves dyed in the wool “Progressive[s] except for Palestine”. Amnesty International’s shameful record is recounted in this link. HRW under the 25-year leadership of Kenneth Roth isn’t going to rock the boat either. In fact, Roth is an unofficial adviser to Israeli government on its image, offering advice and penning op-eds for Israeli newspapers from his high-rise Manhattan corner office.

    There was no great mystery about what happened in Palestine in 1948. Anyone can go to the archives of a European newspaper (Longtime Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk did just that with a Scottish newspaper iirc), just so they won’t have to feign ignorance and incomprehension about the “Arab/Israeli conflict”. Here is an account of a Jewish-American who saw through the “dangerous sham” that was the Zionist project.

  31. February 7, 2019 at 00:15

    Thank you Marjorie. A well reasoned and well written call to action for all of us who care about a humane world.

  32. Michael Davidson
    February 6, 2019 at 23:58

    Thank you Marjorie for your courage and selfless commitment to human right not only in Palestine but thruout the globe! You have provided a great model for all of who care about the dispossessed to find our ideal!

  33. JWalters
    February 6, 2019 at 23:44

    Thanks for describing your personal journey to the truth through this emotional terrain. It can only help others make that same journey.

    I’m reminded of a parallel memoir by Israel-born, Jewish therapist Avigail Abarbanel, “Why I left the cult”
    https://mondoweiss.net/2016/10/why-i-left-the-cult

  34. Tom Kath
    February 6, 2019 at 23:02

    Excellent article from a credible and relevant source. It is always easier to rile against and find fault with others than ourselves, and I congratulate Marjorie for her courage and honesty. There is far too much confusion and conflation with the terms Jew, Semite, Zion, Israel. We should understand that certain objectionable policies are not universally supported by any population. I firmly maintain that bombing Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, and Venezuela, or exterminating Jews or Palestinians, have all never been universal public policy by the various populations. I fact I sincerely believe these unnatural behaviours are always only the policy of a minority. Unfortunately, the fear of reprisal from such a brutal minority, makes a majority complicit. However, being complicit with a gun to your head, is not the crime we should be exposing.

  35. Anne Jaclard
    February 6, 2019 at 22:36

    Disappointingly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed herself to be a member of the PEFP group after she retweeted a pro-Apartheid figure attacking the good name of Jeremy Corbyn and using the usual smears. It’s worth noting that frothing support for Israel has been the no. 1 predictor of a neo conservative turn by left wing people.

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