Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Israel: “the quiet indifferent majority”

November 17, 2017

I began to write about the occupation almost by chance, after many years during which, like all Israelis, I had been brainwashed, convinced of the justice of our cause, certain that we were David and they Goliath, knowing that Arabs don’t love their children the way we do (if at all) and that they, in contrast to us, were born to kill.




So writes the Sabra truth-teller, the conscience of israel, Gideon Levy ruminating about his 30 years covering the occupation, Most Canadian rabbis know of what Levy speaks but prefer to mute  their prophetic gene. It is simply too painful for them.They are caught between the Scylla of Torah demands of pursuing justice (tzedek, tzedek tirdof Deut.16:20) and the Charybdis of older wealthier congregants who have romanticized Israel as a fundamental religious identifier and who support synagogue programs. Best leave the topic of Israel aside. It has become the third rail of synagogue life.




One should have some sympathy for these rabbis, good pastoral people who answer to board. Who among us would become Amos or Jeremiah?


The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked.


Only a minority of Israelis are happy about the existence of the occupation, but the majority aren’t perturbed by it in the least. There are people who ensure that things will remain as they are. There are those who protect the quiet, indifferent majority and allow them to feel good about themselves – untroubled by doubts or moral qualms, convinced that their army – and country – are the most moral in the world, believing that the whole world is only out to annihilate Israel. Even when in our backyard, so close to our own home, darkness hovers, under whose cover, all those horrors are perpetrated day and night – we’re still so beautiful, in our own eyes.



For not a day or a night goes by without crimes being committed just a short distance from Israeli homes. There’s not a day without them, there’s no such thing as a quiet night. And we haven’t yet said anything about the occupation as such, which is criminal by definition. It has undergone transmutations over the years, been less onerous and more onerous at times, but it has always remained an occupation. And it has always left Israelis unmoved.



To cover up its crimes, the occupation has needed a propaganda-driven media that betrays its honest mission, an education system that has been recruited for its purposes, a duplicitous security establishment, politicians lacking a conscience and a civil society that doesn’t have a clue. A new, occupation-adjusted system of values had to be developed in which the cult of security allows, justifies and whitewashes everything, in which messianism becomes valued by the secular population, too, a sense of victimization functions as a cover-up, and a feeling of “Thou hast chosen us” doesn’t hurt, either.



It was also necessary to come up with a language of newspeak, the language of the occupier. According to this newspeak, for example, arrest without trial is called “administrative detention” and the military government is known as the “Civil Administration.” In the occupier’s language, every child with a pair of scissors is a “terrorist,” every individual detained by the security forces is a “murderer,” and every desperate person who tries to provide for his family at any price is “illegally present” in Israel. Hence the creation of a language and a way of life in which every Palestinian is a suspicious object.


Obama: no guts on Israel

November 15, 2017

President Obama promised to treat Palestinians fairly in Cairo in 2009 and did not follow through at all. He failed to pressure Israel, instead increasing aid. When will U.S. establishment voices begin to echo this truth?

This was the question of a man who in Obama’s Chicago days often dined with the ex-president. That man is Rashid Khalidi who later became the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

The American-sponsored peace process, which began in 1991 after the Gulf War, is all process and no peace. It is a charade. It is pretence. It is worse than a charade because the peace process gives Israel the cover it needs to pursue its aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.
In Jan 2017 President Obama warned that the expansion of Israeli settlements was making a two-state solution impossible. “I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy,” Obama said, “because if you do not have two states, then, in some form or fashion, you are extending an occupation. Functionally, you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second-class occupant—or residents. You can’t even call them ‘citizens’ necessarily.”

But Obama never acted.Such was the power of the Israel lobby and AIPAC in the USA. Also one of Obama’s big donors was the powerful Crown family of Chicago.
The tragedy was Obama knew better.
Khalidi on Democracy Now in mid-January 2017
Well, he did what he’s been doing for eight years: He sent a signal. The most powerful country on Earth, the sole serious supporter of Israel, without whose support Israel couldn’t do anything, has now, yet again, for administration after administration, sent a signal that what Israeli governments have been doing for decades is going to lead to a one-state solution, in which Palestinians, as he said, are disenfranchised, are not even citizens and so on and so forth. So we have the diagnostician-in-chief telling us about this problem, which he and previous presidents have absolutely—done absolutely nothing to solve. The United States can, could, should act to stop this ongoing annexation, colonization and so forth, which has led to disenfranchisement. his analysis is impeccable, but his actions are just not in keeping with his words, and have not been over eight years in keeping with his words.

Khalidi summed up the sad performance of American presidents:

I think every American president who has stood by idly and just uttered words, like the president has done in his press conference and like the secretary of state did in his speech, and did nothing to actually stop this trend, that he so accurately described, are—they’re all responsible. He is certainly responsible. Had Security Council Resolution 2334 been passed in the first year of this president’s eight years, who knows what might have happened?

With Trump as president? Well, I think that this is a—this should be a wake-up call for people in the United States who had some kind of idea of Israel as the light unto the nations, to wake up and realize that the United States has helped to create a situation in which Israeli Jews rule over disenfranchised Arabs, that this is not a light unto the nations. This is not really a democracy, if you have helots. He called them “not citizens.” Well, you can call them what you want. He said they’re disenfranchised. It’s actually worse than that. Go to the Occupied Territories. Go to Arab communities inside Israel.

Jim Crows

Look at what happened to a member of Knesset yesterday, shot in the face by Israeli border police, because he protested the demolition of a village in the south of Israel. You’re talking about people who, in some cases, nominally have rights—Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel—or in the Occupied Territories having really no rights, and both of whom live under an unjust and discriminatory regime. We have fostered that. We have helped to finance and fund that, all the while our political leaders talk about how wonderful Israel is, how its values and our values—well, these are Jim Crow values


“This is not what Judaism is about.”

November 4, 2017

The blindness of the majority of American and British
Jews to the criminality of Israeli behaviour towards the
Palestinians, beggars belief and is an index of moral,
spiritual and intellectual decadence. This is the question:
When it comes to 68-year-long oppression of
Palestinians, why is the world so blind?


So wrote Mike Marqusee in his 2008 book If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew


That still is the question. Anybody who has seen first hand this daily brutalization of the indigenous people of Palestine would feel like Marqusee.Except of course for the pure tribalists whom you can never convince. These are “blind guides” who have never bothered to travel to Israel/palestine and whose sole argument is not based on facts but on an emotional identification.


They never listened to that Jewish philosopher Groucho Marx who asked,”Who do you believe, me or your eyes?”


This sad and desperate rump hectored Roger Waters the brave former frontman of the rock group Pink Floyd who recently appeared across Canada.



Matt Gindin of The Jewish Independent (Vancouver)    wrote   of Water’s talk in the St.Andrew’s Wesley United Church. Note Catholic parishes always shy away from this issue. Bravo to the United Church.


“I don’t get why people cannot look straight at what’s happening in the occupied territories and see it for what it is,” Roger Waters said.”There’s a word for what is happening there: ethnic cleansing.”

Among talk sponsors were IJV, CanPalNet, Seriously Free Speech, Not in Our Name, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Waters was interviewed by Martha Roth, co-chair of IJV Canada, and Itrath Syed, a professor at Langara College.
Many in the Jewish community were opposed to his speaking, accusing Waters of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias. B’nai Brith Canada made a documentary called Wish You Weren’t Here and followed him around Canada showing it in conjunction with his concerts. A week before the talk, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs sent out a mailing identifying Waters as “the rock musician obsessed with boycotting Israelis” who has become “the face of the hateful BDS movement.” An online petition called for the talk to be canceled.

At the church, Waters said his genesis as a BDS (boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) activist happened after a 2006 trip to Israel. “I was going to do a gig in Tel Aviv,” he said, “and I started to get emails from Palestinians and others who said that might not be such a good idea due to this very new movement started by Palestinian civil society called BDS, and they tried to prevail on me to cancel the gig. As an act of compromise, I moved the show to Neve Shalom, where they grow chickpeas and there are Jewish people living there, Arabs living there and Christians living there. All of their children go to school together, so it’s a lovely experiment in what can happen when people don’t fixate on all the things that we disapprove of in each other.”


Waters returned the next year for a tour of the territories with UNRWA and became a convert to BDS. “Since then, I’ve tried to open my big mouth as often as I can,” he said. “It’s been a long, quite trying, difficult road, not nearly as hard and trying, obviously, as living under occupation. The blackening of my name is just one more way of obscuring the truth. They want to stop the public discourse where people tell the truth about what happened in ’47-’48, what happened in ’67, in ’73, what’s happening now.”


anti Z
Waters praised young Jews opposing the occupation. He said, “If you look at polls now, you find that younger Jewish people are no longer looking at the situation and not seeing anything. They’re saying, ‘This is not what Judaism is about, this does not represent the way I feel, it goes against everything I believe in with my heart. I am a human being, I am humane, and I do not want my people or anyone who pretends to represent me to behave like this. It’s happening, and it lightens my heart every time I hear someone speak out. It’s great.”

Waters also discussed his communist mother’s tutelage of him as a social justice activist, his opposition to the Trump administration, capitalism and militarism, and the inspiration behind songs on his recent album Is This the Life We Really Want?
A small group of protesters met across the street from the church, draped in Israeli flags. One entered the talk and unfurled a banner reading, “Boycotts Don’t Scare Us – Am Yisrael Chai,” before being peacefully removed. A college-age Israeli protester held a sign saying, “Israeli Lives Matter” and told the Independent that what was going on inside was “just like Nazi Germany.”

IJV sent someone out to invite the protesters in afterward for dialogue. While they declined, one Jewish protester exchanged phone numbers with a Palestinian from Gaza who had approached the group, agreeing to meet later and talk.


Incremental genocide

November 3, 2017

“Incremental genocide” is what noted historian Ilan Pappé calls Israel’s policy in Palestine


Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
Note by the Secretary-General Oct 23, 2017


The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, S. Michael Lynk, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1.


1. Since April 2017, Gaza has been facing a severe electricity crisis, which deteriorated even further over the course of June. As of the time of writing of this report, no durable solution has been found, and people of Gaza are living with often as little as four hours of electricity per day.
Gaza continued to experience electricity outages of 18-20 hours per day, undermining the provision of basic services.
The right to health for Palestinians is of particular concern as a result of this crisis, as hospitals and medical facilities are severely affected by the lack of electricity. Hospitals are postponing elective surgeries and are forced to discharge patients prematurely. In addition, water supplies are at risk, with most homes receiving water through the piped network for only a few hours every 3-5 days, while the desalination plants are functioning at only 15 per cent of their capacity. More than 108 million litres of untreated sewage were reportedly being discharged into the Mediterranean every day.
The WHO noted that targeted humanitarian interventions were preventing “the complete collapse of the health sector” during the crisis.

2. It must be noted that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – both the recent sharp decline in the situation as well as the long-term challenges faced in Gaza over the past ten years – is entirely human-made. The current electricity crisis – the result of Israel’s reduction in its supply of electricity to Gaza stemming from a decision of the PA prompted by the internal political divide between Hamas and Fatah – was entirely preventable. In addition, Israel, as the occupying power
, is obligated to ensure that sufficient hygiene and public health standards in the occupied territory, as well as to ensure the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.
The Special Rapporteur calls upon all parties to respect their obligations to the people of Gaza under international human rights and international humanitarian law.
3. Compounding the health concerns raised by the electricity crisis are the increasing difficulties faced by patients seeking to travel through the Erez crossing out of Gaza for medical treatment. The rate of Israel’s denial or delay of permit requests rose in the second half of 2016.


In July 2017, the situation remained concerning. Of permit applications in the month of July, 42.6% were denied or delayed (787 applications).

Delayed response times can lead to patients missing appointments and delaying critical care. In August of 2017, five cancer patients died while awaiting permits to travel for needed care.



Rising Star pt.7

October 10, 2017


Barack wins in 2008.
43% of whites vote for him.
Campaign guru David Axelrod believed his racial idealism touched a deep longing by whites to disprove the stigma
Afro-American law prof Richard Thompson labelled this “reparations on the cheap.” Shelby Steele correctly opined that that the profound disparity between black and white Americans will persist.
Former Law classmate Frank Hill Harper thought that Obama had sparked transformation in the psyche,self-esteem and aspiration of young black males.which will be seen for generations to come.’
This may be Obama’s greatest achievement..
However some of Obama’s black supporters “were still left in the lurch.”
Berkeley Law Dean Chris Edwards opposed the decision to name Chicago congressman Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff. The dual Israeli-American citizen was a notorious hot head. He wanted Obama out almost all the name.


The Reagan idolator columnist Peggy Noonan commented “when the office is omnipresent it is demystified. Constant exposure deflates the presidency.”

This struck a chord in retrospect with many as Obama kept showing up with rap artists, athletes and TV hosts. As Robert Gates said “When it comes to the media often less is more. Axelrod lated admitted ,”We used him way too much..It robbed him of his power as the narrator of a longer story.”

Ramzi lays it out: BDS

October 5, 2017

The Fight Ahead: 13 Questions about the Origins, Objectives and War on BDS

BDS stands for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’. The BDS Movement was the outcome of several events that shaped the Palestinian national struggle and international solidarity with the Palestinian people following the Second Uprising (Intifada) in 2000.

Building on a decades-long tradition of civil disobedience and popular resistance, and invigorated by growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle as exhibited in the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, Palestinians moved into action.

In 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called for the boycott of Israeli government and academic institutions for their direct contributions to the military occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people. This was followed in 2005 by a sweeping call for boycott made by 170 Palestinian civil society organizations.

What is the academic boycott?

PACBI has served as a medium through which the Palestinian point of view is articulated and presented to international audiences through the use of media, academic and cultural platforms. Because of its continued efforts and mobilization since 2004, many universities, teachers’ unions, student groups and artists around the world have endorsed BDS and spoken out in support of the movement.

Why is BDS important?

In the absence of any international mechanism to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and the lack of international law being enforced, as expressed in dozens of un-implemented United Nations resolutions, BDS has grown to become a major platform to facilitate solidarity with the Palestinian people, apply pressure on and demand accountability from Israel and those who are funding, or in any way enabling, Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Is BDS a Palestinian or a global movement?

The call for BDS is made by Palestinian society. This is important, for no one has the right to represent the Palestinian struggle but Palestinians themselves.

However, the BDS movement itself – although centred on Palestinian priorities – is an inclusive global platform. Grounded in humanistic values, BDS aims to court world public opinion and appeals to international and humanitarian law to bring peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.

What are some of the historical precedents to BDS?

The boycott movement was at the heart of the South African struggle that ultimately defeated Apartheid in that country. Roots of that movement in South Africa go back to the 1950s and 60s, and even before. However, it was accelerated during the 1980s, which, ultimately, led to the collapse of the Apartheid regime in 1991.

There are many other precedents in history. Notable amongst them is the Boston Tea Party, protesting unfair taxation by the British Parliament; the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 (which ushered in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King. Jr.) and the Salt March led by Mohandas Gandhi in 1930 (which initiated the civil disobedience campaign that was a major factor leading to India’s independence in 1947.)

All of these are stark examples of popular movements using economic pressure to end the subjugation of one group by another. BDS is no different.

What are BDS’ main demands?

The BDS movement has three main demands. They are:

– Ending Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Apartheid Wall.

– Recognizing the fundamental rights, including that of full equality, of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.

– Respecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

From where does BDS derive its support?

The BDS movement is the collective expression of the will and aspirations of the Palestinian people, who serve as the backbone of the popular, de-centralized movement.

Additionally, BDS is supported by conscientious people throughout the world, whether in their capacity as individuals, or as representatives of religious institutions, academic institutions, labour and professional unions, student groups and other organizations.

What is the main Israeli argument against BDS?

By equating any criticism of Israel and its right-wing government with anti-Semitism, Israeli supporters readily accuse BDS of being an anti-Semitic movement.

For example, the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL) bases such an accusation on the premise that “many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state.”

Why do Israel and its supporters mischaracterize the Movement and its goals?

The above is one of many such claims aimed at mispresenting the BDS Movement. These claims are also meant to confuse and distract from the discussion at hand. Instead of engaging with internationally-supported Palestinian demands for justice and freedom, the anti-BDS campaigners disengage from the conversation altogether by levying the accusation of anti-Semitism against their detractors.

But is BDS anti-Semitic?

Not in the least. In fact, quite the opposite. BDS opposes the supremacy of any racial group or the dominance of any religion over others. As such, BDS challenges the Israeli legal system that privileges Jewish citizens and discriminates against Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

Does BDS undermine the ‘peace process’?

The ‘peace process’, which operated largely outside the framework of international law has proven to be a splendid failure. Talks that began in Madrid in 1991, followed by the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, the Paris Protocol in 1994, Hebron Protocol in 1997, Wye River 1998, Camp David 2002, and other agreements and understandings only led to the cementing of Israeli occupation, tripling the number of illegal Jewish settlers and vastly expanding the illegal Israeli settlement network in the Occupied Territories.

Since then, several wars have been waged against Palestinians, especially in Gaza, killing thousands and maiming thousands more. With no serious pressure on Israel, thanks to US backing of Israel at the UN, not a single Israeli was ever held accountable for what was repeatedly recognized by UN investigators as war crimes against Palestinians.

In the early months of his first term in office, former US President Barack Obama, attempted to breathe life in the defunct ‘peace process’, only to be met with Israeli refusal to freeze the construction of illegal settlements. Eventually, talks ended and they are yet to resume.

The suffering of Palestinians is now at its worst since the Israeli occupation in 1967. Gaza is under a decade-long, suffocating siege; occupied East Jerusalem is completely cut off from the rest of Palestinian towns and the West Bank is divided into various zones – Area A, B and C – all under various forms of control by the Israeli army.

What are the Israeli and pro-Israeli efforts to challenge BDS?

The Israeli government has sponsored several conferences aimed at developing a strategy to discredit BDS and to slow down its growth. It has also worked with its supporters across North America and Europe to lobby governments to condemn and to outlaw BDS activities and the boycott of Israel in general.

These efforts culminated on March 23, 2017 with Senate bill S720 which, if passed in its current form, will make the boycott of Israel an illegal act punishable by imprisonment and a heavy fine.

Meanwhile, Israel has already enacted laws that ban foreign BDS supporters from entering the country. This also applies to Jewish BDS supporters.

What has the BDS Movement achieved, so far?

Top Israeli government officials perceive BDS as their greatest threat. It is the first time in many years that this form of non-violent civil rights action has registered so profoundly on the agenda of Israel’s political elite.

The massive campaign underway to fight and discredit BDS is a testament to the power and resolve of the civil-society centred Movement. Palestinians are determined to, someday, achieve their own ‘South Africa moment’, when Apartheid was vanquished under the dual pressure of resistance at home and the global boycott campaign.

Moreover, BDS is successfully pushing the conversation on Palestine away from the margins to the centre. It seems that, the more Israel attempts to thwart boycott efforts, the more opportunities BDS supporters have to engage the media and general public. The accessibility of social media has proven fundamental to that strategy.

Why are so many joining BDS?

BDS is growing because it is both a moral and legal obligation to support oppressed people and pressure those who violate international law to end their unwarranted practices.

Writing from his cell in Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Guided by such moralistic principles, BDS offers a platform for anyone who wants to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people in their 70-year-long struggle for freedom, justice and human rights.

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 His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is:


from Counterpunch

Rising Star pt.7

September 28, 2017



Second term
Politico’s John Harris and Jonathan Martin judged Barack as “a man of conventional instincts practicing conventional politics..he has presented no set of ideas that collectively represent anything that might last beyond his term.His cultural impact has ben virtually nil.”

Obama seemed to be a man of “excessive pragmatism.”

Then there was in mid-September his attendance at a $40,000-per-person fund-raiser hosted by hip-hop stars Jay Z and Beyoncé. He thanked “Jay and Bey so much for your friendship.” Obama then snubbed Israel PM Netanyau and his Jewish Chicago benefactor Susan Crown a member of one of Chicago’s wealthiest families—the Crowns (nee Krinski) who owned General Dynamics a huge arms manufacturing company.

Global Research commented ,”Yet, ironically, the 2008 presidential candidate who apparently is being financially backed by the next generation of the Crown Dynasty seems to be marketing himself these days as “the next generation’s anti-war candidate.”

Obama was very good at playing both sides of the fence.


Susan Crown went ballistic on Obama nd switched her vote to Romney—not gaga enough over Israel.

He has never worked in the commercial sector. He has been the most anti-business president we’ve ever had. I don’t think he surrounded himself with people with professional experience; they tend to be more academic, and the day that really made a difference for me was the day he suggested that Israel go back to 1967 borders. That infuriated me. That was the day I switched candidates.

As we will see Obama well knew how brutal israel was, what an occupying power it was, but nobody gets to be president in the USA  speaking this truth.

Garrow: Rising Star pt.5

September 22, 2017



Obama’s star was rising. People were paying attention. His wife was now onside, agreeing to his candidacy.There was grassroots excitement. He was beginning to get rock star crowds. There was a palpable movement and buzz for something new. Hilary Clinton represented the too long at the trough mood of many in the country.This could be an inspirational time—much like Trudeaumania in Canada.

New York Magazine political writer John Heilemann observed, “for all his promise Obama is basically an empty vessel.The candidate had never used his megaphone to advance a bold initiative or champion a controversial issue. This caveat rang true. The more you wonder what is behind the hype. No original incredible accomplishments for others,only for himself.No one could fill the expectations that have been built up for him.

Open letter to fellow Jews: Wise up

September 21, 2017

Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman edited “Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” a new anthology of essays about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank by writers including Dave Eggers, Geraldine Brooks, Colm Toibin  and Madeleine Thien

Chabon is an American novelist, short story writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner. Chabon’s first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was published when he was 25. He followed it with Wonder Boys, and two short-story collections.

Waldman is an Israeli-American novelist and essayist. She has written seven mystery novels in the series The Mommy-Track Mysteries and four other novels. She has also written autobiographical essays about motherhood. Waldman spent three years working as a federal public defender and her fiction draws on her experience as a lawyer



To our fellow Jews, in the United States, in Israel, and around the world:

We know that, up to now, some of you have made an effort to reserve judgment on the question of whether or not President Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, and to give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of you voted for him last November. Some of you have found employment in his service, or have involved yourself with him in private business deals, or in diplomatic ties.


You have counted carefully as each appointment to his administration of a white supremacist, anti-Semite, neo-Nazi or crypto-fascist appeared to be counterbalanced by the appointment of a fellow Jew, and reassured yourself that the most troubling of those hires would be cumulatively outweighed by the presence, in his own family and circle of closest advisors, of a Jewish son-in-law and daughter.


You have given your support to the President’s long and appalling record of racist statements, at worst assenting to them, at best dismissing them as the empty blandishments of a huckster at work, and have chosen to see the warm reception that his rhetoric found among the hood-wearers, weekend stormtroopers, and militias of hate as proof of the gullibility of a bunch of patsies, however distasteful.




You have viewed him as a potential friend to Israel, or a reliable enemy of Israel’s enemies.

You have tried to allay or dismiss your fears with the knowledge that most of the President’s hateful words and actions, along with those of his appointees, have targeted other people — immigrants, Black people, and Muslims — taking hollow consolation in how open and shameless his hate has been, as if that openness and shamelessness guaranteed the absence, in his heart and in his administration, of any hidden hatred for us.

The President has no filter, no self-control, you have told yourself. If he were an anti-Semite — a Nazi sympathizer, a friend of the Jew-hating Klan — we would know about it, by now. By now, he would surely have told us.


Yesterday, in a long and ragged off-the-cuff address to the press corps, President Trump told us. During a moment that white supremacist godfather Steve Bannon has apparently described as a “defining” one for this Administration, the President expressed admiration and sympathy for a group of white supremacist demonstrators who marched through the streets of Charlottesville, flaunting Swastikas and openly chanting, along with vile racist slogans, “Jews will not replace us!” Among those demonstrators, according to Trump, were “a lot” of “innocent” and “very fine people.”

So, now you know. First he went after immigrants, the poor, Muslims, trans people and people of color, and you did nothing. You contributed to his campaign, you voted for him. You accepted positions on his staff and his councils. You entered into negotiations, cut deals, made contracts with him and his government.


Now he’s coming after you. The question is: what are you going to do about it? If you don’t feel, or can’t show, any concern, pain or understanding for the persecution and demonization of others, at least show a little self-interest. At least show a little sechel. At the very least, show a little self-respect.


To Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and our other fellow Jews currently serving under this odious regime: We call upon you to resign; and to the President’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen: Fire your client.


To Sheldon Adelson and our other fellow Jews still engaged in making the repugnant calculation that a hater of Arabs must be a lover of Jews, or that money trumps hate, or that a million dollars’ worth of access can protect you from one boot heel at the door: Wise up.

To the government of Israel, and our fellow Jews living there: Wise up.


To Jared Kushner: You have one minute to do whatever it takes to keep the history of your people from looking back on you as among its greatest traitors, and greatest fools; that minute is nearly past. To Ivanka Trump: Allow us to teach you an ancient and venerable phrase, long employed by Jewish parents and children to one another at such moments of family crisis: I’ll sit shiva for you. Try it out on your father; see how it goes.


Among all the bleak and violent truths that found confirmation or came slouching into view amid the torchlight of Charlottesville is this: Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the President, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things.

To our fellow Jews, in North America, in Israel, and around the world: What side are you on?

Michael Chabon and  Ayelet Waldman

Berkeley, California, 8/16/17

Rising Star pt 4

September 19, 2017


As Obama entered Harvard law students of all races were unhappy with the institution’s culture.
One alumnus described it as “a miserable experience.”Myriad complaints surfaced about the well the growing culture of individualism and greed seemed to be having its way.
One wrote in a memoir that 70% of his classmates arrived with an expressed interest in public interest law yet only 6 actually accepted legal services jobs.
In the mid 80s a young sociologist Robert Granfield questioned score of students about “the complex ideological process that systematically channels students away from socially oriented work.”

Elite positions and resources seemed to be the way to social progress.


Grads deluded themselves into thinking that they survived with their altruism intact while actually having been co-opted into joining large corporate law firms..the institution was tremendously co-optive.


Michelle Robinson,Obamas wife-to-be was critical of the Harvard culture but in the end joined a corporate firm underlining the problem of paying for the high cost of a Harvard education.


This too was Granfield’s conclusion student debt too often caused students to “provide service to the corporate elite.”