Author Archive

What Am I here For?

March 17, 2018

In 1942 Duke Ellington penned a great number called What Am I Here For, the great existential question asked by billions over the years.
600 years before Jesus, Isaiah felt the call:


Then I said, “Here I am )! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people : Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”6:9




Religion, rabbi Heschel reminds us “begins with the certainty that something is asked of us, that there are ends which are in need of us.”

This came to mind when i heard one of those great kids radically impacted by the mass shooting recently in Florida muse about this horrific event. He always wondered why he was on earth. Now he knew. He had a cause. He felt summoned. Heschel writes: I am commanded-therefore I am.”

This young person is like many awash in a sea of confusion. What indeed is he here for?


Often as in Isaiah’s time the culture is of little help–”the heart of the people is fat and their ears heavy” much like today, If we don’t have a dream (which faith should provide) the culture will give us one–status, material goods, power.Orwell’s prediction will define them—they will be programmed to love their slavery.

Many years ago I was invited by a great teacher in south-western Ontario to take her class as she journeyed overseas to adopt a baby. These beautiful teenagers in her class told me that few in their Catholic education ever told them that they were summoned—to what? A deeper humanity, a solidarity with the human,an alleviator of suffering. I had them read Jeremiah’s conversion story when as a teenager he experienced the divine call:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.1:5


When the Jesuit prophet Dan Berrgan as a young priest teaching in a high school in Brooklyn said that his wish for his young charges was “to catch fire and burn, to get more out of life than than an upward ride on the golden escalator to nowhere.”


That “golden parachute” is always with the young, a siren call to meaninglessness, to radical immaturity. When will they hear the divine summons, who or what will intervene in their lives.

This young Florida quester got his answer


IJV challenges Michael Enright

March 15, 2018

The Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) do valuable work in promoting a human rights/progressive approach to Israel/Palestine.Because they are Jewish they give lie to the worn out canard that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.


Their recent activity bears some is the first of two.

In February IJV called out Michael Enright the outstanding generalist who hosts Sunday Morning on the CBC. Michael is a veteran journalist who does excellent work for our public broadcaster. However, it must be said that he works and lives in Toronto and is often susceptible to pressure from the heart of Zionist Jewry, Toronto.


Give Enright his due when the great Israeli columnist Gideon Levy appeared in Toronto in March 2015 to a packed house in the Anglican cathedral he did a half hour interview with the modern Jeremiah. For this he received heat from the Zionist police.This made him very careful in dealing with Israel/Palestine and really who needs a full court press from the well organized Zionist promoters B’nai Brith and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

Enright, his February produced an embarrassing piece on the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, a virus which has largely run its course in educated climes. There are still small pockets of this prejudice but by and large it is not much of a factor in our public life. It’s akin to the waning power of the Orange Lodge.


anti Z
Well,the CBC then, with Enright’s pulpit read 5 congratulatory letters from Canadian Jews about Michael’s brave mini-essay. This was overkill and reflected the CBC’s self-censorship on the issue of Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians



IJV member Martha Roth challenged Enright’s editorial:
Your powerful response to that letter, “Anti-Semitism is not just going away; it’s growing,” warns about the danger of anti-Semitism in Canada, which you describe as “in large measure…a hatred of Israel.” To support your claim that anti-Semitism is a growing problem, you cited information from a B’nai Brith study reporting a total of 1,728 incidents of “anti-Semitism” in Canada in 2016, an increase of 26% over 2015 – a shocking statistic indeed.


Here is the crux of the matter. I am a non-zionist Jew and I do not support the idea of a Jewish state. I am also a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, an organization that believes in democracy, in equality for all, in Israel as in Canada. Along with thousands of other Canadians, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and unaffiliated, we support the international call to boycott Israel until it respects the three democratic demands of the BDS movement: an end to the occupation, equality for non-Jews living in Israel, and a just solution for Palestinian refugees.




That means that every time I say this, write it or attend a demonstration, B’nai Brith can report it as an anti-Semitic “incident.” B’nai Brith should brace for more anti-Semitic “incidents” as the BDS movement continues to grow. But to call them “anti-Semitic incidents” is utter nonsense.


Many Canadians, including Jewish Canadians, support BDS, driven not by antisemitism but by a sense of justice and a commitment to equality and democracy. Their support for equality makes them opponents of Zionism, which proposes a Jewish state as a way to defend Jews. The Zionist notion of protecting Jews by creating a Jewish state in the middle of the Arab world, expelling most of the people living there and refusing refugees the right to return, while giving Jews more rights than non-Jews, is not a good approach. It is a recipe for continual friction, pain and strife.



The only lasting approach to protecting Jews is the same as every other minority – a culture of tolerance. Supported by a strong legal framework. Ironically, while antisemitism was the kindling for Zionism in the 19th century, today it is Zionism and its claim to an exclusive Jewish state that are the fuel for what B’nai Brith calls antisemitism.


Jeremiah in Washington pt.2

March 13, 2018

The true believers in “democratic” Israel, members of AIPAC came to Washington March 2 for their annual clan meeting, Jews who have romanticized Israel as “a villa in the jungle”, “a great democracy,”and other nose-stretchers. No criticism allowed.



Here it must be said they know nothing about the reality of modern Israel, a very cruel apartheid state which has made the country a living hell for the indigenous Palestinians—targeted assassinations (more than any other democratic country), unlawful killings 15,000 since 1967 including 2,000 children, epidemic arrests without trial, torture, land expropriation, Jews only roads, theft of water sources, toleration of settler vigilantes, uprooting if olive trees, the staggering overkill of civilians in Gaza every few years, the egregious denial of Palestinian political rights–-all of these confirmed by brave Israeli human rights organizations like B’Tselem.This rampant thuggery hidden from democratic Canadians is more likened to a third world banana republic than a modern humane democracy



AIPAC has lost young American Jews who like most progressives in democracies see history through the lens of human rights. Settlers living on occupied land can vote, Palestinians in the West Bank, the original indigenous can not. Outside the AIPAC meeting these people of conscience shout Not IN OUR NAME, you do not represent the Jewish tradition.The great rabbi of the first century,the Jew who lived under Roman occupation, Yeshua ben Miriam,Jesus of nazareth would call these people “blind guides”.They are doing irreparable damage to Israel and the whole Middle East.




Down the street from the AIPAC meeting spoke a native Israeli who does know what he is talking about, Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, a former aide to Shimon Peres, For 30 years he has covered the humiliated Palestinian life in the West Bank and Gaza. he simply reports what he sees.. Diaspora Jewry, a good portion of which has lost universal Judaic values and place at the heart of their lives new identity markers: the holocaust and the state of Israel cannot abide his truth-telling. They obviously can not call him an anti-Semite as they shamelessly call justice seekers around the world. These true believers have lost the beating heart of universal Judaism and have, like many in other religions, become tribalists.




Gideon Levy, like the prophets of ancient Judaism, has become a pariah among many in Israel. A rabbi I know refused to come and listen to him when he came to Toronto. When I asked why, “He’s not a Zionist.”Apparently end of story. Does this decent man not see the trashing of Torah values?




Levy tells the alternative meeting that these people at AIPAC are no friends of Israel.


Here is Levy speaking about the totalitarian nature of Zionism


No my friend, those are not friends, those are enemies, and I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am to be here today and not there tomorrow.

The totalitarian nature of Zionism inside Israeli society: Zionism is one of the two religions of Israel. And as any religion, you can’t question it. The second religion is obviously the religion of security. Anyone in Israel who dares to raise any kind of question marks is immediately perceived as some kind of traitor.


We are getting it with the milk of our mothers… It’s very hard to understand from the outside, how an ideology became part of the DNA. How an ideology became something that must be taken for granted. [Growing up] I know what I thought about those very very few who claimed they were not Zionists or god forbid, anti-Zionists. They were the Satans, even though they were Jews and Israelis.




I don’t recall one example on earth where an ideology is so totalitarian, is so saint, is so holy, that you have no right to put any kind of doubts, question marks, nothing, not about the past, not about the future, not about the present. Nothing. It’s unbelievable when you live in a state that where if you declare you don’t accept this ideology, you are not part of the place, you are not part of the society. You have no place there. “Go to Gaza, go to Damascus. Don’t stay here.”



When it comes to Zionism, there is no difference in Israel between left and right. When it comes to occupation, which is part and parcel of Zionism, there is no meaningful difference between left and right…. The difference is only by rhetorics.


Israel will not change if Benjamin Netanyahu is removed as prime minister. There is no light around the corner.

By the end of the day when you judge the real policy, not the rhetorics, yes Labor and the left are having much more sympathetic rhetorics… Shimon Peres… didn’t stop talking about putting an end to the occupation… He didn’t stop talking about it’s not democratic and it’s not justice that one people governs another people, beautiful beautiful ideas that Benjamin Netanyahu and those right-wingers would have never said. But Nobel prize winner Shimon Peres is the founding father of the settlements project. So what do we get out of this nice rhetorics except showing a nice face of Israel and doing the very very very same crimes.


When it comes to the basic, Israel is really united…

Occupation is off the table in Israel. Nobody talks about it, nobody discusses it, nobody is concerned about the occupation…  It’s like the rain, like the sun.. Some like it, some like it less. But nobody thinks that anything can be done about it. It doesn’t bother us so much, that’s the truth. It’s only a half hour from our homes, but who hears about it and who cares about it. And the crimes are on a daily basis.


The Leibowitz warning

March 12, 2018

New York state is the epicentre of Jewish power in the United States. Nobody gets elected to Congress, the Senate or governorship without genuflecting to undying fealty to Israel. Read deBlasio,Schumer,Cuomo and Hilary Clinton, all in hock to AIPAC power, all PEP, progressive except for Palestine.




This cost Bobby Kennedy his life in 1968 when an unbalanced Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan murdered him for his vigorous defence of Israel. Kennedy it could well be said, was like many at that time in thrall to Israel’s newfound power, its rapid defeat of the Egyptian air force and occupation of Palestinian land. This seemingly thrilled the western world already wounded by holocaust guilt. Israel, like the biblical David stood tall and Palestinians numbed already by the Nakba of 1948 had few interlocutors to plead their case. The messianic feeling in Israel itself helped corrupt the country, flaunt international law and begin its now 50 year occupation of Palestinian land.



Sirhan Sirhan’s family had to flee Jerusalem in 1948


The brilliant polymath Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz early on saw the future if Israel didn’t withdraw immediately from the occupied territories, its whole energy would be tide up in an unjust occupation. The Orthodox scholar wrote in 1992:



Our real problem is not the territory but rather the population of about a million and a half Arabs who live in it and over whom we must rule.  Inclusion of these Arabs (in addition to the half a million who are citizens of the state) in the area under our rule will effect the liquidation of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and bring about catastrophe for the Jewish people as a whole; it will undermine the social structure that we have created in the state and cause the corruption of individuals, both Jew and Arab.




A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech, and democratic institutions.  The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the state of Israel.  The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other.  There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people’s army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations.Out of concern for the Jewish people and its state we have no choice but to withdraw from the territories and their population of one and a half million Arabs.


This serious believing Jew understood at a deep level the damage which would done not only to a democratic state but to Judaism itself


As for the “religious” arguments for the annexation of the territories—these are only an expression, subconsciously or perhaps even overtly hypocritical, of the transformation of the Jewish religion into a camouflage for Israeli nationalism.  Counterfeit religion identifies national interests with the service of God and imputes to the state—which is only an instrument serving human needs—supreme value from a religious standpoint. Not every “return to Zion” is a religiously significant achievement: one sort of return which may be described in the words of the prophet: “When you returned you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination” (Jeremiah 2:7).


There would be few rabbis brave enough to see this damage. One such moderate rabbinic voice belonged to the late American jewish philosopher David Hartman who told journalist David Shipler:


Settling the land was the container of the whole passion not rebuilding Judaism. Damn it we’re not here to reclaim the land we’re not here to reclaim Judaism 


Very few  practising rabbis  dare to speak this language today.


The prophetic mantle  in israel belongs to secularists like Gideon Levy.



Jeremiah in Washington pt.1

March 11, 2018




What an extraordinary reprise of the bible took place in Washington, the week of March 2. American Israel firsters gathered at the annual convention of AIPAC, the once powerful Israel lobby. Fear was in the air as many realized that AIPAC was losing the battle particularly among young Jews but there they were— truly awful Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer swearing eternal fealty to the apartheid state.




This could have been a scene right out of Jeremiah’s time with the horde braying shalom, shalom vein shalom(peace peace but there is no peace 8:11) Court prophets like Schumer, Pelosi and Netanyahu say everything is fine in the only democracy in the Middle East.


Jeremiah almost alone said everything was not right in Israel:
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his upper rooms by injustice” 22:13.)
He confronted king Jehoiakim with the harsh judgment that he (like Netanyahu and AIPAC) was leading the nation to destruction.
Down the street from AIPAC the real Jewish prophet, Haaretz columnist and former aide to Shimon Peres, Gideon Levy like Jeremiah of old raised his fiery voice about the parlous state of contemporary Israel whose ‘course has been evil and whose might is not right.”(23:10).




Levy of course, a secularist would never claim prophetic status.Judge for yourself:
Here are some of Levy’s remarks part 1


Outside pressure is all that will change Israel. BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is the only game in town. The Jewish lobby in the U.S. is the most important force in supporting Israel. The shameful Israeli propaganda over the attacks on the Tamimi family, the protesters in Nabi Saleh, shows how desperate Israel is, and maybe that offers hope.


Zionism is a totalitarian ideology that brooks no dissent. Everyone kept saying, Israeli soldiers could change things by talking about the occupation, but when Breaking the Silence came forward it was crushed. “Anyone who raises a question is immediately erased, demolished.” And the media play right along with the propagandists.
The two-state solution is over, the embassy decision proves it, and international friends should be pushing for equal rights for the two peoples between the river and the sea.


Maybe you are holding the key for any kind of change, any kind of hope. Because the hope for change within Israeli society is so limited, it’s non-existent. People like you can really be a game-changer. Some of my ex-best friends are on their way now to the real thing, to the AIPAC conference, which will start on this weekend, politicians, journalists, to what I call as the annual drug dealers conference. They will discuss how many more drugs will they send to the Israel occupation-addicted state. How much more friendship will they express, and how much more money and weapons will they supply.



And I can tell you in the United States, as an Israeli, we don’t have a bigger enemy than the Jewish lobby, we don’t have a bigger enemy for justice, for peace, for equality than those who think that if you supply the drug addict with more drugs, you are his friend. That if you support him blindly and automatically whatever he does, you are a friend.


Purim profaned in Hebron

March 8, 2018




Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. They strive to help create a space for justice and peace.


This is tough, particularly in the West Bank city of Hebron/al Khalil, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. This city  has to be experienced to be believed, about 215,00 Palestinians and about 700 rabid settlers who daily shame Israel and wound Judaism.



North American Jews are often traumatized at the blatant racism they experience when vistinig this bizarro world.  It is here in February 1994 that the Jewish American terrorist Baruch Goldtsten murdered  29 “ dirthy, filthy , uncivilized humans’” in the Ibrahimi mosque shared by both communities.



Notice the net to catch thr garbage tossed by settlers


CPT sent the following outrage which took place on March 1 as the settlers  profaned the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is usually a fun time. Here  a racist romp on the street where the indigenous cannot go.




These settlers were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. Many of them were wearing costumes, with some of them, including small children, dressed up as fully-armed Israeli soldiers. Others were dressed up as “Palestinians” wearing a kaffiyeh. As they paraded down Shuhada Street, this procession did not only impede Palestinian freedom of movement to facilitate settler movement, but additionally illustrated the apartheid-policies enforced by the army.


Since 1994, Palestinians have been banned by the Israeli forces from accessing the vast majority of Shuhada Street solely and exclusively based on their ethnicity as Palestinians – a fact the Israelis furthermore deny in itself, referring to them as “Arabs”. The very few Palestinians still allowed to access the tiny strip of Shuhada Street that is accessible for Palestinians, have been assigned specific numbers as ‘residents’ which allows them to pass to their own homes. Any Palestinian not registered as a resident in the area, and thus without a number, is not even allowed to access this part of Shuhada Street by the Israeli forces.


As Israeli settlers paraded from the settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, down Shuhada Street and towards the Ibrahimi mosque, Israeli forces shut down checkpoints. This was done in order to allow the settler parade to move freely, while denying Palestinians their right to go about their work and day. The checkpoints were closed for up to two hours.


These checkpoints, many of which are fortified, are strategically placed to impede Palestinians freedom of movement. For Palestinians of all ages checkpoints are a daily obstacle on their way to school, work, home, medical facilities, or to simply visit family and friends and go about daily life. The arbitrary checkpoint closures are never announced, and Palestinians are completely stopped in their ability to move without prior warning. Students and teachers from Qurtuba school were detained on the stairs leading towards Shuhada Street (video credit: Human Rights Defenders), as they were trying to get home. Students and teachers at this school are only allowed to pass in the mornings on their way to school, and in the afternoon as they go home.




Checkpoint 56 located on Shuhada street (one of the checkpoints leading to the Palestinian neighborhoods of Tel Rumeida) was closed for several hours (video credit: Human Rights Defenders). Similarly, at various checkpoints in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Israeli forces closed down and even locked checkpoints with padlocks, and stopped complete movement of Palestinians below the Mosque checkpoint.These measures were taken by the Israeli forces solely for the benefit of the illegal settlers to celebrate their holiday in a zone without any presence of the occupied Palestinian population.


This is in clear contravention to the obligation of Israel as the occupying power to enable normal life for the occupied population. As stated in Article 43 of the Hague Regulation: “it is the duty of an occupying State to exercise their power for the benefit of the occupied area and population” (sources 1, 2, 3).


In occupied al-Khalil, where the restrictions and harassment of the occupation are visible and palpable around the clock for the Palestinian population, Jewish holidays and events just add an additional layer of restrictions, intimidations, and harassments for Palestinians.


Another lovely day in the normal life of occupation.



Miko Peled and “the call of the hour”

March 6, 2018

Miko Peled, is the son of Abu Salaam, Matti Peled the Israeli general who fought in the 6 Day War and told the government to give the territories back to Palestine or there would be eternal war. He went on to do a doctorate in Arabic studies and founded that department in Tel Aviv. Peled pater became a lifelong peace activist, hence his honorific of Abu Salaam, the son of peace.


Miko Peled was with Palestinian friends in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after participating in the “48K March” for Gaza as Israel began its catastrophic mass murder of July/August 2014 called Protective Edge. In this barbaric assault 467 children were killed, 3000 were wounded,1800 were orphaned and 25 schools destroyed.

Journalist Chris Hedges at rally in NYC said:

“God weeps because the failure to condemn Israeli war crimes by our political establishment and our compliant media betrays the memory of those killed in other genocides, from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia. God weeps because we have failed to learn the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust, which is not that Jews are unique or eternal victims, but that when you have the capacity to stop genocide, and you do not, you are culpable.”

The only Edge of this absurd attack was the final edge which drove progressive Jews to see Zionism what it was, a colonialist movement which made war on an indigenous people

Miko Peled wrote this during the devastation of Gaza




Whether we are Palestinian or not, the call of the hour is non-cooperation and resistance against injustice.


Today, Israel and its supporters lay the blame for the violence in Gaza on Hamas. But Israel did not start its assaults on the Gaza Strip when Hamas was established in the late 1980s. Israel began attacking Gaza when the Strip was populated with the first generation refugees in the early 1950s.


Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, are not faced with an option to resist and be killed or live in peace. They are presented with the options of being killed standing up and fighting or being killed sleeping in their beds.




“Sea of hatred


Gaza is being punished because Gaza is a constant reminder to Israel and the world of the original sin of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of a so-called Jewish state. Even though Palestinian resistance has never presented a military threat to Israel, it has always been portrayed as an existential threat to the state.


Moshe Dayan, the famed Israeli general with the eyepatch, described this in a speech in April 1956. He spoke in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli settlement on the boundary of the Gaza Strip where Israeli tanks park each time there is a ground invasion of Gaza.


“Beyond the furrow of this border, there surges a sea of hatred and revenge,” Dayan said then. Ironically, when six months later Israel had occupied Gaza and my father was appointed its military governor, he said that he saw “no hatred or desire for vengeance but a people eager to live and work together for a better future.”



Still, today, Israeli commanders and politicians say pretty much the same: Israel is destined to live by the sword and must strike Gaza whenever possible. Never mind the fact that Palestinians have never posed a military challenge, much less a threat to Israel.


After all, Palestinians have never possessed as much as a tank, a warship or a fighter jet, not to say a regular army.


So why the fear? Why the constant, six-decade-long campaign against Gaza? Because Palestinians in Gaza, more so than anywhere else, pose a threat to Israel’s legitimacy.
Israel is an illegitimate creation brought about by a union between racism and colonialism. The refugees who make up the majority of the population in the Gaza Strip are a constant reminder of this.


They are a reminder of the crime of ethnic cleansing upon which Israel was established. The poverty, lack of resources and lack of freedom stand in stark contrast to the abundance, freedom and power that exist in Israel and that rightfully belongs to Palestinians.

Generous offer


As I write these words, the number of Palestinians murdered by Israel in Gaza has exceeded two thousand. Ending the insufferable, brutal and racist regime that was created by the Zionists in Palestine is the call of our time.


Criticizing Palestinian resistance is unconscionable. Israel must be subjected to boycott, divestment and sanctions. Israeli diplomats must be sent home in shame. Israeli leaders, and Israeli commanders traveling abroad, must fear prosecution.


And these measures are to be combined with disobedience, non-cooperation and uncompromising resistance. This and only this will show mothers, fathers and children in Gaza that the world cares and that “never again” is more than an empty promise.

Miko Peled is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.


Bil’in symbol of resistance

March 5, 2018

The International Middle East Media Center reported that 
on Friday, March 2 after prayers in the Mosque dozens of Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched in Bil‘in village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, marking the 13th anniversary of ongoing popular nonviolent resistance against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and colonies, before the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force, injured five, and dragged and abducted an international peace activist.

In 2010 my brother and I accompanied the villagers in a similar protest. The demonstrations have taken place every Friday since February 2005, when Israeli bulldozers first arrived to start clearing olive trees to make room for the wall. When the wall was first built, it expropriated some 1,950 dunams of the village’s agricultural land.
Today Bil’in is a powerful symbol of nonviolent popular resistance against everything that’s wrong about occupation—military rule, lack of political power(no voting rights) the apartheid wall in contravention of international law which Israel snubs on a daily basis.


Bil’in 2010

Following years of struggle and a Supreme Court ruling, the wall was repositioned in 2011, returning some 600 dunams of land back to the village, but over 1,000 remain on the other side of the wall, near the ultra-orthodox settlement of Modi’in Ilit. Bil’in’s residents continue to demand the return of all of their land.




One wonders what Israel was thinking. Should these indigenous stand by and watch ancestral lands being stolen under their eyes? Who would not resist such thievery?The 7th commandment, thou shalt not steal after all is in the decalogue—but that’s Judaism, this is Zionism.



Many Palestinians from various areas of the occupied West Bank, including heads and members of local councils, senior political leaders, in addition to current and former ambassadors, also participated in the nonviolent procession




Some protesters dressed like native Americans, representing the displacement and massacres against the indigenous population, and others dressed like Avatar characters, while many children carried balloons with pictures of Palestinians who were killed by the army during nonviolent processions, and those who were abducted and imprisoned, including ‘Ahed Tamimi and Monther Amira, before the balloons were released to fly freely in the air. They also chanted for national unity, the liberation of Palestinian, including its occupied capital, Jerusalem, in addition to calling for the release of all political prisoners.


PI Indians4e5g

Upon reaching the gate of the annexation wall, some protesters wrote graffiti, while others started banging at the gate with stones and raised Palestinian flags. The soldiers filmed the nonviolent protesters and resorted to the excessive use of force against them, before firing live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades, and attacked many of them.




The Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Bil‘in said the soldiers shot five Palestinians, including cameraman Issam Rimawi, who was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his arm. One Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his shoulder, while resident  Adeeb Abu Rahma, who was killed with a gas bomb in the head, his sister, Jawaher, suffocated to death from tear gas inhalation.
VIDEO: Bil‘in marks 13th anniversary of nonviolent resistance against the Wall, colonies
Video by Haitham Khatib


Lynn Gottlieb female Jewish prophet

March 4, 2018

On Feb 2 Yoav Litvin interviewed Lynn Gottlieb a prophetic congregational rabbi for 45 years and an advocate for Palestinian human rights since 1966. She serves on several boards dedicated to human rights and is a visual and performing artist. Rabbi Gottlieb recently returned from The Sumud Winter Tour sponsored by the Holy Land Trust. This is an abridged edition from a longer piece on Mondoweiss




Gottlieb totally rejected the substitution of Zionism for Judaism.


The idea that the value of Jewishness depends upon an exclusive association with a specific geographical space is for me, a troubling outcome of the establishment of the State of Israel. This notion has resulted in the forced expulsion and continuing disenfranchisement and ghettoization of Palestinians.


Traditionally, various expressions of rabbinic Judaism were based on ethical ideas and ritual practices, not geography. Love your neighbor as yourself and the value of human dignity are the greatest principles of Torah.



The most profound change I encountered was that many Palestinians confidently declared that the word ‘occupation’ no longer describes the reality on the ground, and instead referred to it as ‘annexation’.



Zionism is a failing ideology for many younger Jewish people. They see the oppressive conditions facing most Palestinians under the banner of Zionism and are frustrated by the mainstream community, which is in denial of the oppression of Palestinians by Israel. I believe this trend will continue as the gap between what Zionism claims and what it practices widens.



An occupation implies a limited time frame. Annexation describes the true motivation for use of military force, home demolitions, administrative detentions and denial of resources, which collectively lead to the removal of Palestinians from their homes and into ghettos or reservations. In other words, ethnic cleansing and the judaization of the land of ‘Greater Israel’, which has always been the goal, is almost complete. This translates as the end of the fantasy of the two-state solution that has been used as cover to carry out this objective. While this is not a new insight, it is clearer than ever.


PI ISapart


I grew up mentored by rabbis who in the sixties actively resisted American apartheid. They often linked African American civil rights as a Jewish ethical responsibility in light of the world’s silence during the Holocaust.  I absorbed a clear message: ‘Never again’ is intersectional. ‘Never again’ covers all people across all boundaries who suffer state sanctioned and community collaboration with violations of human rights.


Being a feminist witness has always been a challenge, given the entrenched sexism and racism within many Jewish and US institutions. After over four decades of on the ground experience, I am still surprised and appalled by sexist stereotypes that are used to discredit the obvious state of brutal oppression in Palestine.


Many Jews do not want to confront a reality that challenges them in the ways that the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter campaigns challenge male and white America, respectively. People in privileged positions don’t want to surrender their status, even if it means allowing horrible abuses of human rights to continue with impunity.

The reality of Jewish pro-active ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Greater Israel exists. As we approach the 70th year of active annexation of Palestinian lands and the accompanying assault on Palestinian people, how many Jewish congregations will sponsor a Nakba memorial ceremony, much less pursue an active agenda for Palestinian human rights?




In a simililar way Rabbi Gottlieb will not be coming to a jewish congregation near you or virtually anywhere in the North American Jewish orbit.


South Africa to Cut All Diplomatic Ties With Israel

March 2, 2018


The ironies abound. South Africa, a former apartheid state, has been vocal in its support for the Palestinian cause against the over 50-year-old Israeli occupation. Now it means to do something about it. Marginalize it so that it can come to its senses. It’s 2018 and you simply can not treat people like this and call yourself a serious democracy.


Apartheid is listed as a “crime against humanity” in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted in 1998 – four years after the formal end of apartheid in South Africa.



The Rome Statute defines apartheid as “inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”


Do Israeli laws and practices match this definition? In the words of the US State Department, Palestinian citizens face “institutional and societal discrimination”. This affects areas such as immigration and family life, land and housing.


There is no legal guarantee of equality, and human rights defenders have identified more than 50 discriminatory laws.


Hafrada, is the Hebrew word used in Israel, ethnic segregation,(mmmm smells like the deep American south of the Jim Crow era) is a purely Israeli invention —keep ‘em apart, they’re not liker us—build walls so we never see them and see that they really are like us—the term has been cloaked in softer and gentler expressions–– such as “convergence” and “disengagement”––to the average Israeli, the term simply meant, and continues to mean, one thing: “Separation” and “segregation.” In other words, “apartheid.”




Former CBC reporter Neil Macdonald wrote:


The time has come to call the duck a duck. It’s time to agree with a long list of Israeli political leaders, academics and public figures on both the political left and right, including three former prime ministers, a winner of the Israel prize, two former heads of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, and one of the country’s principal newspapers, all of whom have warned that the Jewish state is becoming, or already is, an apartheid state.




The South African government is intending to cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of its treatment of the Palestinian people, the country’s Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced yesterday.


Pandor informed parliamentarians of the government’s resolution during a ten-hour joint debate on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he delivered last week.




“The majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people,” she said.


The government’s decision was further confirmed on the South African Parliament’s official Twitter account.



South Africa has been a staunch ally of the Palestinian struggle and regularly spoken out against the atrocities committed by the Israeli government.


Last month, the South African representative to the UN told the Human Rights Council that Israel is the “only state in the world that can be described as an apartheid state”, just days after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party called for government ministers to strengthen the country’s visa restrictions with Israel.


Last year, the government also resolved to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office, and cautioned Tel Aviv for blacklisting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which included prominent figures of the ANC.


The BDS South Africa campaign has witnessed significant support from the nation’s public, with universities and churches backing a cultural and economic boycott of Israel affiliated organisations.