Socialism Art Nature

Many calls for solidarity with Palestine have rung out across the U.S. since the Israeli onslaught on Gaza began—a sign of the turning tide of public opinion. In this statement, the Chicago chapter of Jews for Justice in Palestine describes why expressions of support for all Palestinians are more important than ever.

 … It is important to spread the message that Jewish identity is not synonymous with Zionism. Too often, both in our communities and in the media, the two are conflated. Criticism of Israel is painted as anti-Semitism and support for Israel has become the shibboleth of participation in most Jewish communities. We call for the development of a new approach to Jewish identity, one which mobilizes our histories and our heritage as a source of power in confronting injustice wherever we find it. We stand proudly in the tradition of resistance fighters, ghetto uprisers, partisans, and the long history of Jews who have stood for justice, tolerance and liberation.

In May 1947, the Jewish Anti-Zionist League released a pamphlet in the streets of Cairo. Its words are as important now as they were then:

Jewish men! Jewish women! Zionism wants to throw us into a dangerous and hopeless adventure. Zionism contributes to making Palestine uninhabitable.

Down with Zionism! Long live the brotherhood of Jews and Arabs!

We also write this statement out of a conviction that, as Egyptian Jews wrote over a half-century ago, Israel is engaged in a dangerous adventure that not only risks the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians, but undermines the very safety of Jews across the globe.

Occupation and apartheid are not Jewish values! Solidarity and liberation are!

In solidarity and struggle,
Jews for Justice in Palestine


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The government decided on Friday to stop a march through Paris planned for Saturday [19 July] in support of Gaza. Such bans are extremely rare and have angered those planning to demonstrate. The decision comes on top of French President François Hollande’s support for the Israeli military intervention as well as the increasing role of a small extremist group called the ‘Ligue de défense juive’ (Jewish Defence League).

… Last Sunday [13 July], the march in support of Gaza was largely treated in the media as a collection of attacks on synagogues. Following the AFP dispatch reporting “clashes” at the end of the march, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and SOS Racisme rapidly condemned the “anti-Semitic acts” and the “attempts to import” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (read here and here). Roger Cukierman (President of the French Jews Representative Council (Crif) who was received during the week by François Hollande and then Manuel Valls), and Haïm Korsia (“grand” rabbi of France) both referred to an atmosphere of “Kristallnacht” (read here and here). They added to the two synagogues reported to be attacked another case in Aulnay-sous-Bois (this one victim of a “Molotov can”).

After intense mobilisation on social networks and community blogs concerning the “JDLgate” [Jewish Defense League gate] (such as Al-Kanz), a few media outlets revised their stories so as to include the two versions of the clashes to which no journalist seems to have been an eye witness (including the AFP, as the TV programme Arrêt sur Images shows). The story of events on Sunday seems since then much more complicated. Videos showing clashes between JDL and pro-Palestinian activists, as well as screen shots from messages sent to social networks, disturb the original version portraying a deliberate attack on the synagogue by certain groups part of the march.

According to the organisers, “all along the march we cooperated with our referred police officer and everything went perfectly well”, quoting the example of when “the authorities asked us to put in place a policing service at the entrance of the rue de la Roquette, which we immediately did”. Michèle Sibony, from the French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP) which called out to participate in Sunday’s demo, notes a number of provocations during the procession. For example, at the corner of the rue du Pas de la Mule: “4 or 5 guys from the Jewish Defence League were high up on a bench, completely surrounded and protected by two rows of CRS [frontline police force], and were throwing insults and projectiles into the crowd and the march’s policing services, while those responsible were trying to calm demonstrators: ‘Don’t get angry, don’t answer their provocations, that’s all they’re waiting for’”.

… Serge Benhaïm, President of the synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel, located on rue de la Roquette, testified at length on i-Télé and confirmed that the place of worship had not been attacked, and that the JDL was not the first to attack protesters. “Not one projectile was launched towards the synagogue”. “At no time were we put in danger”. He adds that he did not see any JDL activists provoke demonstrators, at least not after the arrival of the police forces, from an area going from 150m to the right and 150m to the left of the synagogue”. Benhaïm continues, saying that if the people from the JDL are “free and out of control atoms”, the organisation should be dissolved. In his own words, “being Jewish does not authorise them to be uncontrollable or out of control”. The President also noted that the confrontations were not Muslim vs. Jew but they were clashes between “small-time thugs against Jews” (see video on i-Télé website).


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On April 19, 1943, 70 years ago, the first rebellion in occupied Europe broke out–the Jewish rebellion. I wasn’t part of it. As a courier, I had been arrested during resistance operations in Kharkov and had been brought to Auschwitz a number of months earlier.

All of my nearest, most beloved comrades fought from the rooftops, in the fires, from the bunkers. Most of them perished. It hurts me that I can no longer remember all their names. We memorialize only a few. But in my heart, I am not parted from them, from the forgotten…

Continue the rebellion. A different rebellion of the here and now against evil, even the evil befalling our own and only beloved country. Rebel against racism and violence and hatred of those who are different. Against inequality, economic gaps, poverty, greed and corruption…Rebel against the occupation. No—it is forbidden for us to rule over another people, to oppress another.

Chavka Fulman-Raban, one of the last remaining survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by Jews against Nazi occupiers, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

http://socialistworker.org/2014/07/21/israels-terrorist-rampage

 … About a year ago, Chavka Fulman-Raban gave a speech at the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising about the struggle against exploitation and oppression, including Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In the speech [excerpted above], she recalled how the scale of the Nazi’s extermination program became clear to the Jews of Poland—and then the urgency with which the Jewish resistance sought arms to resist them.


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For most Jews, we are no longer a true diaspora, having built homes and lives anchoring us to once-unfamiliar lands generations ago. It is possible to challenge and even reject a concept which defines Jewishness by proximity—politically and physically—to Israel. Let us liberate ourselves from the obligation to support unconscionable acts by a government which we did not elect, from telling ourselves that our security and our identity are threatened by a people whom so many of us have never even met. Let us instead offer our voices in solidarity with the small but persistent political Left, who are being beaten on the streets of Tel-Aviv for their anti-war stance. And then, let us act on the basis that many of us are citizens of countries whose governments support or tolerate, both financially and ideologically, the systematic dehumanization of the Palestinian people.

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Wait. Is the entire Oklahoma legislature actually laughing at a straight-up, unabashed, unambiguous anti-Semitic insult?! These fuckers are so insulated from reality by their own bigotry that it really is nearly unbelievable … 

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The Republican Co-Majority Leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives casually apologized yesterday for casually using an antisemitic slur during a debate on a bill to repeal an old law prohibiting retailers from selling their items at a loss.

The bill in question — SB 550 — overturns a 70-year-old ban on selling products at less than 6% above cost which was aimed at preventing big-box retailers from putting smaller competitors out of business with so-called “loss-leaders.”

In defending the bill, Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan), who is a small business owner himself, asserted that service will always win over price.

"[Customers] might try to Jew me down on the price," Johnson added. "That’s fine. You know what? That’s free market as well."

After it was pointed out to him that the phrase “to Jew down" might be considered offensive by, say, Jewish people, Johnson half-heartedly apologized.

"I apologize to the Jews," he said, to laughter from his colleagues in the House. "They’re good small business men as well."

It’s worth noting that there isn’t a single Jewish member in either house of the Oklahoma Legislature.


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The irony is that even if this were intended as a “joke,” it speaks to a reality at Harvard, with its Bro-culture dominated by wealthy white privileged elite men, its racism, and its prevalence of sexual assault and rape amongst the student body.

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Students in all nine River Houses received sealed invitations under their doors early Friday morning professing to come from “Harvard’s Newest Final Club”.
 
The invitation listed three virtues, each with asterisked notes. The first principle, “Inclusion,” came with the footnote, “Jews need not apply.” The second, “Diversity,” was followed by the words, “Seriously, no fucking Jews. Coloreds OK.” And the third, “Love,” directed readers to the term “Rophynol”—a misspelled rendering of rohypnol, the date rape drug better known as roofies

 … Christopher H. Cleveland ’14, president of the Harvard Black Men’s Forum, wrote in an email that he thought the invitations, regardless of their intent, had gone too far.

“As students of a university with a very peculiar history concerning ethnic and racial relations, we should be working together to build up each other,” Cleveland wrote. The first final club to admit a black member was the Spee, in 1965; the Porcellian had no black members until 1983.

“Publications that alienate specific ethnic and racial groups are not aligned with that goal,” Cleveland added.

The invitations are not the first of their kind. In 2010, a group of undergraduates distributed flyers under doors, in the tradition common to real final clubs, encouraging students to refrain from joining the clubs or attending their parties. Organizers claimed that Harvard’s eight male and five female final clubs, which are not recognized by the University, promote an exclusive and dangerous social environment. And in a similar campaign in 2011, organizers slipped letters under the doors of sophomore men asking them not to participate in punch in part due to the “unequal access to social space” enjoyed by the male clubs over the female ones.


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Now this is legit antisemitism (i.e., the difference between criticizing Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians versus calling for all Jewish citizens of a nation to be registered as “national security risks” and virtually affixed with a yellow Star of David patch).

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A Hungarian far-right politician urged the government to draw up lists of Jews who pose a “national security risk”, stirring outrage among Jewish leaders who saw echoes of fascist policies that led to the Holocaust.

Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of Hungary’s third-strongest political party Jobbik, said the list was necessary because of heightened tensions following the brief conflict in Gaza and should include members of parliament.

Opponents have condemned frequent anti-Semitic slurs and tough rhetoric against the Roma minority by Gyongyosi’s party as populist point scoring ahead of elections in 2014.

Jobbik has never called publicly for lists of Jews.

Gyongyosi’s call came after Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth said Budapest favored a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as benefiting both Israelis with Hungarian ancestry, Hungarian Jews and Palestinians in Hungary.

“I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”


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Who are we?

Who are we? We are Jews. We are inspired by Jewish values in our liturgy and our history to support freedom and dignity for all people.  We believe in the sanctity of all human life, including the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, we oppose Israel’s current military assault Gaza.  We also oppose Israel’s crippling six year siege of Gaza, as well as occupation of Palestine.

Standing up against oppression is never easy. Neither is being critical of our own communities. Still, we continue to publicly oppose the attack on Gaza, because we have been asked by Palestinians to raise awareness about their struggle in our communities. In the past, Jewish silence and complicity with Israeli policy has perpetuated injustice against the Palestinian people. By publicly taking a stand, we can help Palestinians break this cycle and realize their freedom. Increasing numbers of Jews are speaking out everyday. Israelis are protesting in the streets and refusing to serve in the occupied territories. Across the world, Jews are supporting Palestinian calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. By speaking out and taking action, we can reach a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Join us.

This project is for Jews who are hesitant to speak out against Israel’s assault on Gaza. We are here to let you know that we know where you are coming from. Many of us felt alone when we first joined in solidarity with Palestinians. But we’re not. Together, we can make a powerful statement and challenge the violence carried out in our names. Join us in actively standing up against oppression and support Palestinian struggles for human rights and freedom.


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Way to ignore my ask and continue your pejorative and intentionally vilifying use of "Zionist." You're a coward and a bigot.
Anonymous

I thought you were joking. “Zionist” is a term that Israelis use to describe themselves. It is not an anti-Jewish epithet. It’s a political ideology.

Even the current Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, publicly refers to himself as a Zionist and sees the strengthening of Israel as a “Zionist” project. (Cf., http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=253911)

Indeed, the Israeli government and its apologists often talk about how their main enemies in the world are ‘anti-Zionists.’

Moreover, the very “father” of the modern state of Israel, Theodor Herzl, is also the founder of modern Zionist ideology, which he spent his entire life promoting.

But if this is all news to you, I marvel at the level of ignorance you seem to have regarding the state of Israel and its self-identified project in the world.

I am a proud anti-Zionist, not because of some preposterous notion that I am anti-Semitic, but rather because I am against the very basic Zionist project of creating an exclusivist Jewish state in the Middle East predicated on the disenfranchisement of all other groups of people living there.

Though Israelis proudly call themselves “Zionists,” and see it as a sort of liberatory concept, I maintain that Zionism is actually inherently racist, imperialist, and oppressive, and should therefore be opposed.

Rather than seeking the liberation of Jews (though, in reality, Zionism only promises freedom for a minority of world Jewry) through colluding with the imperialist powers of the world in oppressing other social groups of people, I seek the emancipation of all of humanity from the evils of racism, poverty, and war.

That’s also why I am a revolutionary socialist. 


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Holy cow. This has got to be the single-most absurd and idiotic (not to mention horribly misognyist) allusion to the famous anti-Nazi poem written by the German Pastor, Martin Niemöller, in 1946.

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cocknbull:

joetomcollins:

I’ve ranted about this before. This is just the latest excuse for feminists to ignore a guy who they are leading on and using, but they are not attracted too. …and yes… Women DO do that!

I feel like paraphrasing Martin Niemöller.

When the Feminists came for the Rapists,
I remained silent;
I was not a Rapist.

When they locked up the stalkers,
I remained silent;
I was not a stalker.

When they came for the Players,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Player.

When they came for the men who they got bored of,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a some one they were bored of yet.

When they came for me, the nice guy,
there was no one left to speak out.

I actually don’t even understand the comparisons that are being made here. I’m dumbfounded. I mean, I get the whole “feminazi” fallacy—that’s loud and clear.

But is the author seriously suggesting there’s something wrong with locking up rapists? Should you be protesting the prosecution of rapists? Do you feel like that’s the first step toward the next Holocaust? Is it comparable with having people locked up for their political affiliations?

Is it somehow wrong to suggest people have a right to a certain level of comfort and privacy? Am I a fascist for thinking it’s unreasonable to ignore an autonomous human being’s wish to be left alone and instead continue to harass them? Is preventing dangerous people from behaving this way on par with locking up the trade unionists?

And merely criticizing the misogynistic ideologies “Players” perpetuate is akin to slaughtering Jewish men and women?

These comparisons become more and more nonsensical.

You’re a fuckhead.


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This paper, written by a junior in high school, has caused much debate on various activist listserves that I am on. Immediately below is my contribution to one of those debates, followed by the text from the relevant article on “Mondoweiss”:  

As an American Jew, I just want to say that I identify 100% with Jesse Lieberfield and where he’s coming from. I had a similar experience when I approached my 18th year and was forced to come to terms with the contradiction between my devotion to social justice on the one hand, and on the other, the land of my supposed ‘birth-right’ — the state of Israel.

The more I learned about the history of Israel, and the more I followed its contemporary behavior, the more appalled I became. (For instance, see this recent article from Ha’aretz, which reports on the latest injustice to set my blood boiling - http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/supreme-court-upholds-ban-on-palestinians-living-with-israeli-spouses-1.406812).

It’s sickening to me that any Jew, anywhere in the world, with absolutely no connection to the land, can become a citizen of Israel and even move onto land recently occupied by an Arab Palestinian, while that very Arab Palestinian, including numerous others living in refugee camps and Occupied Territories in the immediate vicinity, are not allowed back onto the land.

I agree with Jesse that I feel completely unable to defend the state of Israel any more than I would have been able to defend the state of Georgia or Mississippi during the early 1960’s.

Until Israel grants complete equality of access to the land, the resources, and job opportunities to both Jews and Muslims, Arabs, Africans, etc., and stops its disproportionate use of violence against Palestinians — including children, civilians, etc. (see http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/nys-deadly-deal-with-apartheid/) — I cannot but wish for the ‘destruction’ (or dismantling, undoing, abolition, or whatever other term you prefer) of the apartheid state of Israel as it currently exists, so that it can be rebulit on a more just, equitable, and peaceful basis.

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I wish I were in Pittsburgh. This afternoon at Carnegie Mellon University, an 11th-grader will step nervously to a microphone and deliver a hammer blow to American Jewish support for Israel.

Jesse Lieberfeld, 17, a junior at Winchester Thurston High School, will read an essay, “Fighting a Forbidden Battle: How I Stopped Covering Up for a Hidden Wrong,” about how he sees himself in Martin Luther King, because of his own struggle with his religion’s ordination of support for Israel. The piece is one of two winners in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. essay-writing contest sponsored by the university. It is brave and clear and necessary:

the term “Israeli/Palestinian Conflict” was no more accurate than calling the Civil Rights Movement the “Caucasian/ African-American Conflict.”

In both cases, the expression was a blatant euphemism: it gave the impression that this was a dispute among equals and that both held an equal share of the blame. However, in both, there was clearly an oppressor and an oppressed,
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published the essay yesterday. It will soon be required reading for leaders of all American Jewish organizations. Jesse Lieberfeld is delivering news about his generation’s outlook.

I once belonged to a wonderful religion. I belonged to a religion that allows those of us who believe in it to feel that we are the greatest people in the world — and feel sorry for ourselves at the same time…

This last mandatory belief [in Israel] was one which I never fully understood, but I always kept the doubts I had about Israel’s spotless reputation to the back of my mind. “Our people” were fighting a war, one I did not fully comprehend, but I naturally assumed that it must be justified. We would never be so amoral as to fight an unjust war.

Yet as I came to learn more about our so-called “conflict” with the Palestinians, I grew more concerned.

The Post-Gazette warned readers about what Lieberfeld was writing with an intro about “blunt talk” and “searingly honest” pieces—the other winner is Erika Drain’s essay about black identity. That brainy 17-year-old Jews, the future of my ethnic/religious group in the U.S., are wrestling with the Israel question in the public square spells doom for the lobby, and in turn for Israel’s heedless conduct.


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Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion’s Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis.


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