Archive for April 2018

Jean Gump, Tireless Fighter for Social Justice, Dies at 90

April 30, 2018

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Who knew her outside of Chicago? Yet the NY Times ran a huge obit for her on their big fat Sunday edition. It made my day. Hopefully the 55% of Catholics who voted for the Groper in Chief read it too.

As the button on my coat says:

 

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At a time when more and more people are living in Fantasyland and posting another picture of their dog on Facebook, it is people like Jean Gump who will save the world and possibly renovate the Catholic church presently good at charity but absolutely lousy at justice.

 

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While Jean Dalton was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her parents became so disgusted by Mayor Richard J. Daley’s ethnocentric and monolithic Democratic machine that they not only enrolled as Republicans but also hid their Irish ancestry from their five children.

 

Within just a few years, though, Ms. Gump had an epiphany. Perhaps it was inspired by the birth of her 12th and last child in 1964, after Kennedy’s assassination, that nonplused her about what kind of world her children would inherit. Maybe it was the rumblings of social justice reverberating from the ecumenical Vatican II council in Rome.

 

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Or maybe it was the inconvenient question posed by her son Joseph one day in 1965, when he turned to her despairingly from the brutal television images of blacks being mistreated in the South and asked what she was going to do about it.

 

“I took the next available plane to Alabama and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery.”

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So began jean Gumps’ life as a citizen, a life that inspired the Gump children to describe her in a paid obituary last month as “a lifelong advocate for peace and justice, and a convicted felon for antinuclear activism.”

 

In 1986 she served more than four years, 63 days of that time in solitary confinement, for invading Whiteman Air Force Base near Holden, Mo., with two other Roman Catholic peace protesters on Good Friday earlier that year. It prompted her husband to quit his job,, and join the antinuclear weapons movement. In 1987, he was convicted of conspiring to damage another Missouri missile site. He was imprisoned for three years.

 

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Most people go to prison for violating their conscience. The Gumps were sentenced for rigidly cleaving to theirs.

 

Ms. Gump’s moral code could be condensed into a single sentence: “If you don’t act against it, you must be for it.”

 

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Her last arrest was in 2010, when she was 83. She was protesting upgrades of Trident submarine nuclear warheads at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

 

“We are people of conscience who know that nuclear weapons are immoral, so we make our statements and expect to be found guilty at our trials.”

 

I was brought up as a bigot and could have become a Nazi,” she told the weekly newspaper The Chicago Reader in 1987. “If the German people who were stunned by what the leaders were doing had said ‘no,’ it wouldn’t have happened. Very early in my life I realized I would never have a child of mine come to me and say, ‘What were you doing then?’ ”

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“My mother was living the American dream and rejected it all in her fight for social justice,” Holly Gump, who confirmed the death, said in a telephone interview.

 

When her first grandson was born, she recalled, she decided that her civil disobedience had not gone far enough. “I realized I had to do something,” she said. “He would have no world to grow up in unless I did something.”

 

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““I thought I might be frightened,” Ms. Gump said, “but as we were driving out, I felt a tremendous peace that I had never felt before.”

 

After moving to Bloomingdale, after prison, the Gumps wrote letters opposing the presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank and helped start the Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War.

 

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We have got to have a future for our children, and we’ve got to make some sacrifices for it, O.K.?,” she told Studs Terkel in a Playboy magazine interview in 1988. “Call it a legacy if you want to. What else is there?”

 

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Another plea from Palestinian Christians

April 29, 2018

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Well, this is just the latest sally from the besieged for an act of solidarity, for faith groups to step up to the plate and act on their faith but as the man said, don’t hold your breath.

 

In 2009 all the Christian churches in Israel/Palestine pleaded for solidarity

 

“Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

We declare that the military occupation of Palestinian land constitutes a sin against God and humanity. Any theology that legitimizes the occupation and justifies crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people lies far from Christian teachings.

 

Can it can get any clearer from  those who are suffering? and yet, silence.

 

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Since then—virtually nothing from the Roman Catholic community, a little more from other denominations, especially United Church and Presbyterians.

 

For Catholics, a dearth of socially aware bishops named by the preceding popes, and leaders terrified of offending Jewish communities. Get over it! Israel is a state and states often do barbaric things. It is not a judgment on Jews or all Israelis. It is not “pro-Palestinian, it is simply pro justice.

 

Marc Ellis, a prominent Jewish theolgian gave us valuable advice when he spoke on Nov.14, 2000 to the General Synod of the Church of England:

 

Your respnsibility is not to patronize, not to flee in fear from us, not to treat us as children and not to repent endlessly for the Holocaust. Your job is to speak honestly` to us, to even scold us, to point the finger in the way we pointed the finger at you, to tell us to stop before it is too late.

Once again, an open letter from the Christian base

 

Palestinian Christians and Muslims call on faith communities to help end the occupation

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. (Isaiah 59:15b)
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. (Luke 19:41)
We the undersigned, a group of Palestinian-American Christians from several church traditions, call on all faith communities to:
◦ Denounce the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
◦ Lift up, in your places of worship, the plight of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, recognizing that Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid are leading to the virtual extinction of the indigenous Christian population in Palestine.
◦ Recognize the urgency of ending Israel’s genocidal siege and attacks on the entire Palestinian hostage population of the Gaza Strip.
◦ Continue to use economic pressure as well as other nonviolent means to compel Israel to end its apartheid practices and policies against the Palestinian people.

 

We express deep concern at the increasingly hostile direction of Israeli policies and actions, emboldened by the equally aggressive foreign policy stance of the Trump administration toward the Palestinian people. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the final nail in the coffin of the so-called “peace process,” which has now been unmasked as a farce, exposing the United States not as an “honest broker” but as Israel’s unquestioning advocate. There is little doubt that the Trump administration’s Jerusalem decision, although condemned by the overwhelming majority of the international community, will encourage Israel to act with even greater impunity.

 
The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, is now in its fifty-first year, the longest military occupation since the end of the nineteenth century. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are calling on the church to use its influence to end the occupation.
Since its occupation of Arab East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has consistently followed a policy aimed at confining the city’s Palestinian population to ghettos surrounded by a ring of expanding Jewish settlements. It annexed the city and its suburbs into a much-expanded “greater Jerusalem,” and isolated it from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. This separation of Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank has resulted in grave economic and social consequences for all Palestinians in the occupied territories, because East Jerusalem has been the economic and spiritual heart of the Palestinian territories. Even the U.S. State Department recognized in a 2009 report  that “many of [Israel’s] policies in Jerusalem were designed to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of Jerusalem.” Palestinian Jerusalemites complain that conditions are far worse now.
Last year, a Palestinian mass protest forced Israeli authorities to retreat from a decision to impose obtrusive “security measures” in the form of metal detectors at the entrances to the Muslim holy sites of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Christians joined their Muslim brothers and sisters in peaceful protest, some praying shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets surrounding the mosques. …

 
Palestinian protests and international pressure have since compelled Israeli authorities to suspend the legislation in question. However, Palestinians are rightly concerned that Israel will continue to find ways to weaken Palestinians’ control of their land and property. Many are concerned about Jerusalem as the birthplace of Christianity: will it become a city with Christian shrines and cathedrals but devoid of the native Christian population?

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On Friday, March 30th, Israel committed a massacre in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians were engaged in a demonstration on Land Day. This annual event commemorates the killing, in 1976, of six unarmed Palestinians in the Galilee who were protesting against the confiscation of their lands. The Gaza demonstrators were protesting against the genocidal conditions that Israel has imposed on the territory of two million inhabitants over the past eleven years; most importantly, they were expressing their right of return to their lands and villages from which the Israeli forces expelled them in 1948. The peaceful protest was interrupted by the Israeli army, which used tanks and militarized drones as well as over 100 well-hidden snipers.

 

Violence began by the Israeli forces who shot a farmer working on his land. This served as incitement to a few protestors—out of a total of about 30,000 peaceful demonstrators, to engage in throwing stones from behind a large, barbed wire fence. The unarmed Palestinians’ actions did not come anywhere close to endangering the Israeli forces. Eighteen Palestinians were shot dead and hundreds of men, women, and children were wounded.

 

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These events occurred on Good Friday, when the Christian world was mourning the crucifixion of Jesus. As the injustices and human rights violations keep piling up against the Palestinian people, we call on all churches and faith communities to take bold steps to end these grave injustices. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step up even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 
Signatories
◦ Palestinian Christian Advocates for Justice
◦ Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
Endorsers
◦ American Muslims for Palestine
◦ Israel-Palestine Mission Network, Presbyterian Church USA
◦ Franciscan Action Network
◦ Friends of Sabeel, North America
◦ Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network
◦ Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
◦ Pax Christi USA
◦ Palestine-Israel Network of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
◦ Palestine-Israel Network of the  Episcopal Peace Fellowship
◦ Palestine-Israel Network of the United Church of Christ
◦ United Methodist Kairos Response- Steering Committee

 
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Gentle prophet Naim Ateek in Ontario

April 27, 2018

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A book and speaking tour with the founder of the Palestinian liberation theology movement, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek! Co-founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre, Rev. Ateek is a former Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. For three decades he has inspired readers with his ideas about justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land. Join us for the launch of his latest book, A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine–Israel Conflict.

 

I have interviewed Naim 3 times, the first one being at St George’s Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem in 1990. The year before he had written Justice and Only Justice which I had read on route to London, Auschwitz and then Jerusalem. I wisely left this well marked tome in London and for good reason. A copy of the book in my luggage would have gotten me a return flight home right away.

 

I had been warned about “the only democracy in the Middle East” which was even then paranoid and heavy handed. When I interviewed him I transcribed my notes and mailed them home.That was 28 years ago and Israel has only gotten uglier—even forbidding American Jews ientering the country if they support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.I srael continues to shoot itself in the head with such anti-democratic tactics.

 

So here the gentle priest is on a cross-Canada tour and harrassed every step of the way by the Zionist thought police who have tried to get his lectures cancelled. Of course it is outrageous and counterproductive  as Ateek offers the only way out of this morass, justice for Palestinians.

 

The depressing news i got yesterday  was my alma mater St Michael’s College U of T  caved in and cancelled his talk scheduled for May 2. The St. Michaels Faculty of Theology is still co-sponsoring him and it has been moved across the street to 70 St Mary St, 2 blocks south of Bloor off Bay.—the Mary Ward Centre, 7PM

I will be introducing Naim in Hamilton with a with a 10 minute excursus on Liberatiion theology in general.

 

April 30 – Hamilton: 7pm, New Vision United Church 24 Main St E
May 1 – Kitchener-Waterloo: 7pm, Conrad Grebel University, Great Hall (1111) 140 Westmount Rd.N
May 2 – Toronto: Mary Ward Centre 70 St Mary St 7 PM

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The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago

April 25, 2018

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RAMZY BAROUD offered this piece vuia Counterpunch today
Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled.

 

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The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin.

 
Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.

 

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In the letter, Einstein, and others, described Herut (Freedom) party as a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to Nazi and Fascist parties.”

 
For a letter of this nature to appear a mere few years after the end of World War II and the devastation of the Holocaust is a profound indication of the clear chasm that existed among Jewish intellectuals at the time: the Zionists who supported Israel and its violent birth, and those who took the high moral ground and objected to it.
Sadly, the latter group – although still in existence – had lost the battle.

 
Herut later merged with other groups to form the Likud Party. Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize and the Likud is now the leading party in Israel’s most right-wing government coalition. The ‘Nazi and Fascist’-like philosophy of Herut have prevailed, and it now engulfs and defines mainstream society in Israel.
This right-wing tendency is even more pronounced among young Israelis than previous generations.

 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of Begin’s party, the Likud. His current coalition includes Russian-born Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, founder of the ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
In response to ongoing popular protests by besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and in justification of the high number of deaths and injuries inflicted on the unarmed protesters by the Israeli army, Lieberman argued that “there are no innocent people in Gaza.”

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When the Defense Minister of a country espouses this kind of belief, one can hardly be shocked that Israeli snipers are shooting Palestinian youngsters, while cheering on camera as they hit their target.
This kind of discourse – Fascist par excellence – is by no means a fringe narrative within Israeli society.

 
Netanyahu’s coalition is rife with such morally-objectional characters.
Israeli politician, Ayelet Shaked, has often called for the genocide against Palestinians.
Palestinians “are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads,” she wrote in a Facebook post in 2015. “Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”ayelet-shaked
A few months after the publication of the statement, Netanyahu, in December 2015, appointed her as the country’s Justice Minister.

 
Shaked belongs to the Jewish Home Party, headed by Naftali Bennett. The latter is Israel’s Minister of Education and known for similarly violent statements. He was one of the first politicians who came out in defense of Israeli soldiers accused of violating human rights at the Gaza border. Other top Israeli politicians followed suit.

 
On April 19, Israel celebrated its independence. “The Nazi and Fascist” mentality that defined Herut in 1948 now defines the most powerful ruling class in Israel. Israel’s leaders speak openly of genocide and murder, yet they celebrate and promote Israel as if an icon of civilization, democracy and human rights.

 
Even cultural Zionists of old would have been terribly horrified at the creature that their beloved Israeli has become, seven decades after its birth.

 
Certainly, the Palestinian people are still fighting for their land, identity, dignity and freedom. But the truth is that Israel’s biggest enemy is Israel itself. The country has failed to part ways with its violent politics and ideology of yesteryears. On the contrary, Israel’s ideological debate has been settled in favor of perpetual violence, racism and apartheid.

 

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In the supposed ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, the margin of critique has grown very limited.

 
It is the likes of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennett and Shaked who now represent modern Israel and, behind them, a massive constituency of right-wing religious and ultra-nationalists, who have little regard for Palestinians, for human rights, international law and such seemingly frivolous values as peace and justice.

 
In 1938, Einstein had contended with the very idea behind the creation of Israel. It runs counter to “the essential nature of Judaism,” he said.
A few years later, in 1946, he argued before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Palestinian issue: “I cannot understand why it is (meaning Israel) is needed … I believe it is bad.”

 
Needless to say, if Einstein was alive today, he would have joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which aims at holding Israel accountable for its violent and illegal practices against Palestinians.

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Equally true, he would have surely been branded anti-Semitic or a ‘self-hating Jew’ by Israeli leaders and their supporters. Today’s Zionists are, indeed, unfazed.

 
But this painful paradigm must be overturned. Palestinian children are not terrorists and cannot be treated as such. They are not ‘little snakes’, either. Palestinian mothers should not be killed. The Palestinian people are not ‘enemy combatants’ to be eradicated. Genocide must not be normalized.

 
70 years after Israel’s independence and Einstein’s letter, the country’s legacy is still marred with blood and violence. Despite the ongoing party in Tel Aviv, there is no reason to celebrate and every reason to mourn.

 

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Yet, hope is kept alive because the Palestinian people are still resisting; and they need the world to stand in solidarity with them. It is the only way for the ghost of Herut to quit haunting the Palestinians, and for the ‘Nazi and Fascist’ philosophies to be forever defeated.

SUM
Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net
http://www.counterpunch.org/

Israel a fortress not a home

April 24, 2018

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David Grossman, Israel’s most noted author was awarded the 2018 Israel Prize for Literature. On April 17 he addressed bereaved Israelis and Palestinians at an alternative Memorial Day event.T he author spoke with a heavy heart to a group who understood his suffering. In 2006 his son Uri was killed in the 2006 Lebanon War. He began his speech in these words “in the silence of the void created by loss.”

 

My family and I lost Uri in the war, a young, sweet, smart and funny man. Almost twelve years later it is still hard for me to talk about him publicly.

 

Grossman used his speech to reflect on the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel in May of 1948

 

The death of a loved one is actually also the death of a private, whole, personal and unique culture, with its own special language and its own secret, and it will never be again, nor will there be another like it.

 

That grief does not isolate but also connects and strengthens. Here, even old enemies — Israelis and Palestinians — can connect with each other out of grief, and even because of it.

 

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We, Israelis and Palestinians, who in the wars between us have lost those dearer to us, perhaps, than our own lives — we are doomed to touch reality through an open wound. Those wounded like that can no longer foster illusions. Those wounded like that know how much life is made up of great concessions, of endless compromise.

Home for Palestinians

 

This week, Israel is celebrating 70 years. I hope we will celebrate many more years and many more generations of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who will live here alongside an independent Palestinian state, safely, peacefully and creatively, and — most importantly — in a serene daily routine, in good neighborliness; and they will feel at home here.

 

What is a home?

Home is a place whose walls — borders — are clear and accepted; whose existence is stable, solid, and relaxed; whose inhabitants know its intimate codes; whose relations with its neighbors have been settled. It projects a sense of the future.
And we Israelis, even after 70 years — no matter how many words dripping with patriotic honey will be uttered in the coming days — we are not yet there. We are not yet home. Israel was established so that the Jewish people, who have nearly never felt at-home-in-the-world, would finally have a home. And now, 70 years later, strong Israel may be a fortress, but it is not yet a home.

 

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The solution to the great complexity of Israeli-Palestinian relations can be summed up in one short formula: if the Palestinians don’t have a home, the Israelis won’t have a home either. The opposite is also true: if Israel will not be a home, then neither will Palestine.

 

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But when Israel occupies and oppresses another nation, for 51 years, and creates an apartheid reality in the occupied territories — it becomes a lot less of a home.

 

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And when Minister of Defense Lieberman decides to prevent peace-loving Palestinians from attending a gathering like ours, Israel is less of a home.

 

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And when it neglects and discriminates against 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel; when it practically forfeits the great potential they have for a shared life here — it is less of a home — both for the minority and the majority.

 

Israel is painful for us. Because it is not the home we want it to be. We acknowledge the great and wonderful thing that happened to us, by having a state, and we are proud of its accomplishments in many areas, in industry and agriculture, in culture and art, in I.T. and medicine and economics. But we also feel the pain of its distortion.

 

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Grossman is a highly sensitive scribe whose fiction is full of compassion. His words matter both in Israel and abroad. 4 years before Uri was killed, Grossman in late October 2002 disgusted at the fanatic settlers of the Hebron area joined local Palestinians in bringing in their harvest of olives. He was not alone. Scores of Jewish volunteers regularly join writers like Grossman.

 

Know their names :Ta’ayush, Rabbs for Human Rights, ICAHD (Israel Committee against House Demolitions) and other Jews, in Grossman’s words “who cannot forget they are Jews.”
After his symbolic act of solidarity 15 years ago Grossman sighed,”I have wasted my life writing books. It is this I was meant to do.”

 

To be a Jew is to be in solidarity with victims. The Israeli government fails such a test.

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Why Young Jews Are Leaving Judaism

April 19, 2018

Because Their Rabbis Will Not Criticize Israel

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In a letter to The Forward (Feb. 14, 2018), Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder and director of the Shalom Center and a leader in the Jewish Renewal movement, assesses the reason for thealienation from Judaism of increasing numbers of young people.

 

He writes that, “The point about the decline of religious spiritual connection between many younger Jews and the Jewish community is that almost all the ‘religious’ institutions refuse to apply the prophetic vision to the government of Israel even whenthey apply it to the U.S. Government (and even that is weak).”

 

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Rabbi Waskow, who has taught at the Reconstructionist RabbinicalSeminary and at Swarthmore College, Temple University,and Vassar College, points out that, “Many younger Jews — J Street, Open Hillel, especially IfNotNow — are affirming and strengthening their Jewish identity, even drawing strongly on religious symbols and festivals, when they criticize Israel and its lackeys and toadies in the U.S. Their distancing from ‘official’religion in the synagogues is connected with those synagogues’
kow-towing to the Israeli government.”

 

He asks: “Where are the rabbis who urge their congregants NOT to give to the federations that funnel money to support ofthe Netanyahu government and its Occupation, but to give it instead to the New Israel Fund and its support of gutsy critical Israelis — or to put their would-be gifts to Israel in an escrow fund to be released only with the end of the Occupation and the emergence of a viable independent Palestine alongside Israel?”

 

Rabbi Waskow concludes: “Where are the rabbis who say aloud that obeisance to the Israeli government is idolatry — a religious category — and denounce it as such? The failure of religion as a Jewish focus for many young Jews is precisely becausemost of the official religious institutions will not denounce the Occupation as a violation of Torah the way they denounce Trumpery in the U.S.”

 

This is the price we pay for having made of  Israel an icon — a surrogate faith, surrogate synagogue, surrogate God.  
Albert Vorspan 

 

Naomi Wolf, a leading feminist writer (The Beauty Myth) and former advisor to President Bill Clinton, illustrated Waskow’s important point after the most egregious slaughter of Gaza Palestinians in 2014 (Operation Protective Edge 2,131 killed, 1,473 of which were civilians, 501 children and 299 women).

 

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Here was a a woman with impeccable pro-Israel credentials, an American educated in Jerusalem schools and who spoke fluent Hebrew and who had actually hid in bomb shelters but she “stood with the people of Gaza.”

 

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“I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust, and I know genocide when I see it. People are asking why I am taking this ‘side.’ There are no sides. I mourn all victims. But every law of war and international law is being broken in the targeting of civilians in Gaza. I stand with the people of Gaza exactly because things might have turned out differently if more people had stood with the Jews in Germany. I stand with the people of Gaza because no one stood with us.”

 

Wolf’s experience with institutional Judaism during this period brought her to a breaking point as it has so many American Jews who can no longer stomach the silence of the rabbinate:

 

“I went to synagogue last Friday night and had to leave because I kept waiting for the massacre in Gaza to be addressed..… Nothing. Where is God? God is only ever where we stand with our neighbor in trouble and against injustice. I turn in my card of faith as of now because of our overwhelming silence as Jews..…I want no other religion than this, seeing rather than denying my neighbor under fire and embracing rather than dismissing those targeted with annihilation and ethnic cleansing.”

 

Naomi Wolf is a Jew with eyes wide open.

Criticize Israel? Don’t even dare

April 16, 2018

Stupid, stupid Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. It dared to stand up for journalists shot by Israeli snipers at the Gaza border. Didn’t the CJFE know that criticizing Israel is off-limits?

 

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Now the statement expressing concern has been deep-sixed, the CJFE Communications Director, Kevin Metcalf, has been thrown under the bus, and the organization itself, thoroughly cowed at this point, is reportedly on the rocks.

 
So writes J.Baglow on the rabble.ca webiste.

This is typical pressure from the Zionist thought police right across Canada, ready to pounce on anybody who dares criticize the present israeli government. They do a very good job muzzling timorous politicos from every party. The worst offender of course is the Prime Minister who seems joined at the hip with  the former PM, Stephen Harper.

 

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The firing of Metcalf occasioned this  response from Independent Jewish Voices Canada   http://ijvcanada.org a group which deserves the support of Canadians who believe in justice.

 

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Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is deeply concerned about the firing of Kevin Metcalf, a staff person at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), following a statement he issued in the name of the organization condemning the recent attack on Palestinian protesters by the Israeli Defence Forces,” said Corey Balsam, Independent Jewish Voices’ National Coordinator.

 

The CJFE statement called on Canada, a close ally of Israel, to “defend universal principles of human rights, democracy and press freedom” and to condemn the one-sided use of military force against civilian demonstrators and members of the press in Gaza. The statement was written in response to the shooting of hundreds of protesters by Israeli snipers. Among those shot were six journalists wearing vests identifying them as members of the press. One of the wounded journalists, Yasser Murtaja, subsequently succumbed to his wounds. Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, declared that soldiers who fired live ammunition at the protesters and media personnel covering the demonstration “deserve a medal” and that there would be no investigation.

 

“With Israel’s blockade of access points to the occupied Palestinian territories, local reporters are among the few sources of information coming out of the region,” continued Balsam. “Canadian Journalists for Free Expression was right to condemn the killing of their colleagues as well as other lethal attempts to silence Palestinians’ right to protest, much as they do in other contexts.”

 

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Other international media watchdogs have issued similar statements. Reporters Without Borders went further than the CJFE statement, accusing Israel of “deliberately shooting” journalists in Gaza. Meanwhile, the CJFE statement has been removed from their website and Metcalf, the staffer who drafted it, has been terminated from his position.

 

The CJFE board of directors has since issued a follow-up statement to clarify its position, noting that, while the original statement had been determined to be “overreaching”, the organization stands by its condemnation of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and its call for an investigation into the incident.

 

IJV believes that this clarification is insufficient and calls on CJFE to explain its decision to terminate Metcalf. “The firing of Mr. Metcalf for defending press freedom against attacks in Palestine sends the message that support for freedom of the press is contingent,” said Balsam. “We call on CJFE to reinstate Metcalf and to redouble its efforts to pressure the government of Canada to condemn Israel’s indiscriminate use of force against civilians,” he concluded.

Why didn’t you care? Why did you remain silent? The witness of Amira Hass

April 15, 2018

Amira Hass, like her journalist cohort Gideon Levy has had it with israel’s parlous democracy, its crude racism and ita absolute inability to end the extraordinary 50 year occupation.

 

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Most North Americans are utterlly clueless about the depth and depravity of this brutal and heartless incarceration..Many Jews sadly react to criticism of Israel as mere tribalists rather than inheritors of a humanistic, universal Judaism. Very few have tasted what exiled Israeli historian Ilan Pappé calls an “antinhumane and merciless reality.”

This brave scribe dedicates his latest book, The Biggest Prison on Earth in this fashion:

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“This book is dedicated to those who relentlessly tried to alert decent uman beings to the importance of not standing by and watching while millions of of people were being treated in such an inhumane way.”

 

His book outlines “the bureaucracy of evil while not attempting to demonize Israelis in general.” Pappé saves his withering criticism for “the Israelis who worked out the fine detail of the system…who perfected its operation namely its power to humiliate and destroy.”

 

This brings us to the similarly brave Amira Hass whose mother a survivor of Bergen Belsen gifted her with the admonition to never allow this indifference to become you. Never again to anybody. Like her colleague at Haaretz Gideon Levy, Hass is one of the legion that Pappé refers to above, those Israelis who refused to go along with this truly horrendous brutalization of an innocent people.

 

HR

 

In this article below, written in the wake of merely the latest state contempt for human life, Hass raises the neuralgic question of the post holocaust era: were you just following orders? Has the good German become the good Israeli? What about the nuremberg defense?

order

 

Like Levy’s earlier article this essay of Hass is searing in its prophetic intensity and brave in its call for a society to awake from its slumber

 

I Was Just Following Orders’: What Will You Tell Your Children? April 8, 2018

‘How did you destroy villages?’ one daughter will ask. ‘How did you agree to imprison two million people?‘ another will whisper. The answers will only make their weeping louder

 

NO

 

Maybe the day will come and young Israelis – not one or two, but an entire generation – will ask their parents: How could you? If the question is asked, our situation will already be better because it will signal the post-herd stage of the Israeli existence.

 

The problem is we cannot know when this will happen. In another 70 years? In another 50? How low can we sink in our choosing to go along with the herd, wicked and enjoyable in its own right? What nadir must we reach before the young people are shocked about what their parents and grandparents did and stop imitating them, an emulation that is also an upgrade of sorts.

Let us allow ourselves a minute of optimism, and assume that the question will be asked before it is too late. With just a bit more optimism, let us say they will be the 4-year-olds of today, or those who are born in another few months. Congratulations.

/
The question “how could you?” will split into a few sub-questions. For example: Why did you consent? You really didn’t know? Don’t talk nonsense — after all, the information was published in real time, and in abundance. You didn’t need to wait for someone to be released from a forced labor camp in Siberia and appear at the door a few months later to tell the story.

 
Why didn’t you care? Why did you remain silent? How could you have gone out hiking on the weekends, watch television and movies, go shopping in the new mall and work on your master’s degree in history of the gulags or run a business from your home, choose concerts and plays in London and go to the soccer game every week – and also renovate the house as if everything was normal?

 

TUTU

 

The parents may be embarrassed and say: “You have to understand, it wasn’t just us. Our neighbor Adina too, who was a famous professor of the history of anti-Semitism, lived normally – between her trips abroad, conversations in the supermarket and interviews on radio and television. She too remained silent on those matters, and loved to hear the later sonatas of Beethoven and Bartok.” And then the mother will correct the father: “What’s the matter with you? She wasn’t an expert in anti-Semitism, but on species of butterflies going extinct.” The argument between the two will spill over into other arguments, and that is how they will avoid answering their daughter’s question.]

 

wat

 

Other parents may apologize. “You must understand,” they will say. “We were afraid of terrorism.” And the children will press on: How does the fight against terrorism turn into destroying water pipes and cisterns for collecting rainwater, and quotas for drinking water for specific groups of people at a time when we were enjoying an abundance of water? The father will twist and turn and say he “was not responsible for the quota. Ask the children of Mordechai and Ori about that, and nu, what was his name, the infrastructure minister?” The son – forgive him for his interruptions, he is a teenager – will yell: But you drove the bulldozers that destroyed the cisterns. Grandpa told me about it, proudly, before he died. The father will correct him: “An excavator, not a bulldozer — and I was among the soldiers who aimed their rifles at the little buggers who didn’t throw stones at the drivers.”

 

The certificates of distinction for senior commanders in the IDF’s Civil Administration will be hung in the living room until the girls come and tear them off the walls in anger. How did you destroy villages and expel their residents, one daughter will sob, and her crying will only increase when she hears the answer: “I carried out orders.”

 

VILL

 

How did you keep thousands of students who wanted to study in a better university from leaving, another daughter will scream and leave home slamming the door when she hears the same answer: “I was only following orders.” How could you agree to imprison two million people, the third daughter will whisper, and she will not believe her ears when she hears her father’s answer: “I got used to it.”

 

How did you ban construction for them and build a luxury neighborhood for others, a daughter will bitterly ask her mother the architect, the former head of the planning and construction department? And she will answer: “The elite always deserve more. That is the historical rule. The others simply do not need what we have. And this is also what caused many of them to leave, in the end, so you can live in a spacious house with a large garden.”

 

Another mother will stutter that she deserves thanks for pushing the button that released a missile from a drone, that’s how they called it at first. “I was young. They classified me as a combat soldier. And they were just shapes on a screen.” Another father will admit that on the stock of his sniper rifle he carved 17 X’s, until he ran out of room. “We were children,” he will explain. “We learned to shoot, and they ran around in front of us on the other side of the fence and I wanted to prove to myself and my commanders that I was good at it.”

 

Another father did not carve X’s because he did not count how many died from the bombs he dropped from his plane. Yet another father will say that this is nothing compared to the numbers of them we killed in the previous wars. “This is the only proven way to keep them under control,” he will say in his scientific tone. “And this is how we caused others to leave too, so they would open up a lot of land for your prestigious university.”

th

 

How did you allow all this, a brilliant student of law and philosophy will ask his mother, the retired former president of the Supreme Court? Now she can free up her time for her hobby of growing orchids. And she will answer him: “We didn’t approve everything.” The main things you did approve, he will persist. You decided in your rulings that we were the master race. And she will answer him, while she is busy spraying the plants with distilled water: “And after all, that’s the truth.”

 

“Son of a b…. What a video”

April 14, 2018

Levy 11

 

Yesterday, a Haaretz columnist Nehemiah Shtrasler wrote a thoughtful, slightly ironic column about the stunningly obtuse Israeli sniper who got his jollies off by shooting for sport an unarmed Palestinian protestor.innocent bystander.

Today, Gideon Levy goes full bore about the same incident.

 

GUN
Leonard Cohen sang, “You want it dark.” Levy gives it up. With 25 years of going into the West Bank and Gaza chronicling state cruelty,  he explodes with prophetic fury and unpacks what is really going on in today’s Israel. April 12, 2018

 

Son of a Bitch, What a Video 

We should thank the soldiers in that video for sharing their genuine emotions and rejoicing at the sight of an unarmed Arab flying in the air after being shot

 

A 28-year-old Palestinian said on Wednesday that he was the man whose shooting by an Israeli sniper was captured on video and later leaked, and he denied the army’s allegations that he had been organizing a violent demonstration at the Gaza border.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/palestinian-shot-in-viral-video-they-shot-me-and-later-laughed-at-me-1.5992294

The 81-second video clip, taken by a soldier, surfaced on social media on April 9 and stirred debate and censure for showing the targeting of a Palestinian who appeared to be standing still, to the sound of approving shouts and profanity by at least one Israeli soldier.

 

Let’s say the soldiers in that video clip didn’t cheer and hoot, using foul language. Let’s say they recited Yehuda Amichai’s poem “God has pity on kindergarten children” before kneeling to take aim at demonstrators, and that after using live fire to shoot an unarmed protester they recited “El Malei Rachamim,” the Jewish prayer for the soul of the dead, assuming the protester had been killed like dozens of others. Let’s say the soldiers were shocked, meeting later for soul-baring talks into the night to discuss values.

 

Let’s imagine some of them required psychological aid for trauma or post-trauma, with a few joining Breaking the Silence, confessing their deeds and repenting. And then a leftist filmmaker would make a movie about them, showing how deep was their sacrifice, how agonizing their suffering, just like in “Waltz with Bashir” or “Foxtrot.” How beautiful we could be. And then came this video and ruined everything.

 

Let’s say the sharpshooters were value-driven soldiers, who had to carry out their duty while suffering wrenching pangs of guilt. Would that make them better human beings? More humane? More moral? They would tug at our heartstrings much more than those lowlifes in the video. No scandal would erupt and the beautiful soldiers would continue aiming at and shooting protesters.

 

Half the country was shocked for a moment by the video. This was after two Fridays in which army snipers had killed and wounded hundreds of unarmed people who endangered no one, with Israel remaining silent. The country lived in peace with the massacre, justifying it in unified chorus. Then came the video and halted the celebrations for a moment. Is that how one talks? Is that how one takes photos? Not nice, soldiers. Even the campaign’s commander Avigdor Lieberman said that the soldier who took the pictures should be demoted. A miniature scandal over etiquette. Soldiers are allowed to kill and wound civilians to their hearts’ content but one doesn’t talk like that and one doesn’t film it.

 

HUMIl

 

One should learn from the pilots. This wouldn’t have happened to them. When they dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential building in Gaza they didn’t cheer in the cockpit and they didn’t curse. Their language is as pure as the driven snow. You won’t hear them saying: “The son of a bitch. What a clip. Wow, we got someone in the head, he flew up with his leg in the air. Go, you sons of bitches.” That’s not their style. Some of them actually squirm during the debriefing session, even though they never the see the whites of their victims’ eyes, like their brothers-in-arms, the snipers, do. Maybe that’s why pilots are more value-driven.

 

Kill

 

We should thank the soldiers behind the video for the genuine emotions they expressed so precisely, and for deciding to share their feelings, putting an end to hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness. This was a genuine joy for them, seeing an Arab flying in the air with his leg like that. It was a cause for celebration, seeing an Arab hit in the head. What did we think, that a soldier aiming at civilians and hitting one wouldn’t be happy? That he’d see them as human beings? There is no way he’d fulfill his mission that way. He has to believe that facing him are a bunch of insects running around, which he has to exterminate, or possibly terrorists that have only one thing coming to them. Otherwise, who would shoot? That work can’t be left to nerds with pierced ears.


And when one succeeds in hitting a cockroach who is also dangerous, it’s obvious that joy erupts. After all, that’s why they were brought over to the sandy hills near the fence, in order to shoot, to kill and wound. If that wasn’t the case, one could have used non-lethal methods.
The soldiers in this video did not “shoot and cry” [as some soldiers in the 1967 war claimed]. What exactly should they cry about? Israel wants them to shoot innocent civilians, the defense minister gives them a citation for every fatality and injury, their commanders tell them to use live fire against demonstrators, and our correspondents and military commentators tell us how heroic they are. So what exactly did we want? All we wanted was for them to speak politely, to not disturb our peace with their foul slurs, with “son of a bitch.”

Shoot and laugh: A sad Israeli tale

April 13, 2018

GUN

Theoretically, Israel has a free press but in reality most papers are house organs and hardly reflective of a dynamic Fourth Estate sworn to hold a government accountable.. In particular Israel Hayom, the free propaganda sheet of choice, an anti-newspaper funded by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson who is a rabid Israel-firsters is the 40% paper of choice. A great newspaper Haaretz runs at 6% and is despised by most Israelis.

 

Haaretz tries to lift the veil of occupation, its daily humiliation of Palestinians. Its great reporters Gideon Levy and Amira Hass actually go and talk to the underside of Israeli society. Its bloggers, American, Israeli and Palestinian regularly blow the mist off the fog of a militant propaganda machine.

 

PI=Hides

 

If you value honesty and integrity, contact haaretz and support their outstanding journalism.

 

Ha

 

Below is a good example from a man whom i know not, but one with a powerful Hebrew scripture name Nehemiah (Shtrasler). Mr.Shtrasler is a Tel Aviv writer reflective of the great, decent souls who live in Israel.

 

Stras

 

In this column our man goes to town on a shocking scandal an 81-second video clip, taken by a soldier, which surfaced on social media April 9 . Here an israeli sniper, a buffoon if there ever was one, was caught laughing after picking off a nonviolent Palestinian protestor 28 year old Tamer Abu Daqqa.

 

Wounded

 

 

Over to you Mr. Shtrasler

Only an evil heart could fail to grasp that anyone who gives an order to fire live bullets at unarmed demonstrators is giving a patently illegal order

 

Okay, I get it. You can’t say “I’m ashamed to be Israeli.” After saying that, you have to apologize to avoid being fired.

 

If so, is it okay to say I was shocked? That I couldn’t believe what I was hearing? That I felt an overwhelming nausea rising deep in my gut at hearing the number of people killed and wounded in Palestinian demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border?

 

It’s legitimate to order the army to keep the demonstrators from crossing into Israel from the Gaza Strip, but it must do so by nonlethal means: water cannons, tear gas grenades and sponge-tipped bullets aimed at demonstrators’ legs. Anything but live bullets, and certainly not live bullets aimed to kill.

 

Anyone who gives an order to fire live bullets at unarmed demonstrators who aren’t endangering soldiers’ lives is giving a patently illegal order, one over which a black flag flies. Only an evil heart could fail to grasp this.

 
This week, a shocking video was published. It showed a sniper shooting a Palestinian who didn’t endanger him at all. The Palestinian in the pink shirt was a substantial distance away from the border fence, so there was no reason in the world to shoot him.

 

In the clip, you can see him standing for a minute, and then you see him fall, shot in the leg. And then you hear the sounds of excitement and joy from our side: “Wow, what a fabulous video, son of a bitch, he’s flying with his leg in the air; get out of here, you sons of bitches.”

 

The young man in pink didn’t even know he was in the sniper’s sights. You can see him roaming about without fear. He didn’t know that Israel had declared a “kill zone” of 80 to 100 meters inside Gaza’s sovereign territory, and that anyone who enters it can be killed.

 

SN

 

Commenting on this incident, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “The sniper deserves a medal. … The IDF is the most moral army in the world.” A medal for what? For having a sophisticated rifle with telescopic sights and shooting unarmed people like sitting ducks while he himself is well concealed, at no risk at all? For an operation like this, the army deserves the accolade of the most moral army in the world? They should do a remake of “1984,” Lieberman-style.

 

th

The Gazans had several types of “weaponry.” They had slingshots, like David against Goliath. They had tires, which they burned. And they also had mirrors which they brought from home, which they used to try to blind the snipers, a tactic first used by Archimedes against the Romans 2,000 years ago. With this sophisticated weaponry from ancient times, the Gazans fought unsuccessfully against the snipers, who killed 32 of them, including photographer Yaser Murtaja, who was wearing a vest with “press” written on it in giant letters. They also wounded some 300 people with live bullets, 20 of them seriously, and another 1,000 or so with sponge-tipped bullets and tear gas.

 

These are numbers the mind can’t digest. We’ve apparently reached the point where human life isn’t worth a cent.

 

But that’s not quite true. It depends on the person.
In 2009, the book “The King’s Torah” was published. It discussed what Jewish law said about killing non-Jews. Basing itself on “proofs” from the Talmud, it claimed the Torah’s prohibition on murder applies only to Jews; killing non-Jews is permissible.

 

The book sparked a storm at the time and generated fierce opposition, but today it would apparently be received with complete understanding. The fact is that many politicians and pundits weren’t upset at all by either the live fire on demonstrators or the large number of people killed and wounded.

 

They said the Gazans “sent their children to commit acts of terror, so it’s good that we stopped them.” They said, “We left Gaza, so we aren’t to blame for anything.” They described the demonstrators as “a terrorist invasion whose goal was to destroy Israel,” adding, “Kudos to the IDF for blocking the invasion with no casualties on our side.”

 

And what about the unarmed civilian casualties on the other side? That’s okay. See “The King’s Torah.”

 
It’s a disgrace to be an Israeli these days. Disgrace accompanied by overwhelming nausea.