Rabbi Michael Lerner writes in his newsletter that quite recently…
A group of right-wing Zionists appealed to the president of San Jose State University (SJSU) to interfere with a seminar on how to teach about Israel/Palestine convened by an Iranian professor named Persis Karim.
Prof. Karim’s intention was to help people see both sides, and she invited me as part of the discussion because my recent book Embracing Israel/Palestine argues that both sides have co-created the situation in the Middle East and both sides need to overcome the tendency to demonize the other. But from the standpoint of the right-wing Zionist group Amcha, this even-handedness is tantamount to hatred of the Jewish people which must always be portrayed as the righteous victim being oppressed by some evil Other.
What ensued were attempts by some on the faculty to demand changes in the program so that their right-wing perspective could be presented (to the twelve educators signed up for the seminar) and by Amcha in a letter to the President of the University that he should know that the seminar may be in violation of Federal regulations and he should not allow similar events to happen in the future that did not represent all perspectives.
Prof. Karim was in tears when she told me how brutal and irrational the attacks on her have become. Luckily, and unlike many of her colleagues both at San Jose State and around the US who watch these incidents and learn to avoid anything that might offend these right-wingers, Prof, Karim has tenure. But that has not stopped other efforts elsewhere to remove even tenured faculty who are suspected of having critical views of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.
Prof. Karim has not backed down, and the president of San Jose State has not canceled the seminar. But until this kind of harassment stops, there is little chance that this kind of policy of intellectual fascism will cease, that faculty without tenure will feel secure, or that the media will even report about it.
Just so you know- the hatred of Palestinians is an epidemic spreading across academia. It bears repudiation and scholars owe it to society to call a spade a spade and denounce the silencing of Palestinian voices.
Here, to me, is the heart of it:
The particular tragedy of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people is that nobody seems to have learned anything. Israel itself was brought into being partly as a belated and guilty attempt by the world community to help compensate for its complicity in, or at least its inability to prevent, the catastrophic crime of the Holocaust. Of all people, the Jewish people ought to know how it feels to be persecuted en masse, to be punished collectively and to be treated as less than human. For the Israeli state and the collective of often unlikely bedfellows who support it so unquestioningly throughout the world to pursue and support the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people – forced so brutally off their land in 1948 and still under attack today – to be so blind to the idea that injustice is injustice, regardless not just on whom it is visited, but by whom as well, is one of the defining iniquities of our age, and powerfully implies a shamingly low upper limit on the extent of our species’ moral intelligence.
The solution to the dispossession and persecution of one people can never be to dispossess and persecute another. When we do this, or participate in this, or even just allow this to happen without criticism or resistance, we only help ensure further injustice, oppression, intolerance, cruelty and violence in the future.
Read it all. With thanks to Keith Whitelam for the mention.
Specifically, the hashtag of Obama’s visit to Palestine/Israel:
Notice how Palestine and the Palestinians are effectively excised and marginalized. Of course, the hashtag could just as easily have been #ObamaInPalestine but then the Israelis and Christian Zionists would have had a cow. Or it could have been #PrezInPalIsrael. Shorter than either of the others. But to make sure that the Palestinians were demoted and the Israelis elevated- what was chosen, was chosen.
Keith writes (on FB)
The references to ‘our ancient homeland’, ‘our ancient capital’, the story of the exodus, ‘the promised land’ or the use of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a title deed to the land in the speeches of Obama, Peres and Netanyahu show why it is so important to challenge this biblical view of history.
It is constantly used to justify Israel’s claim to the land and resonates powerfully with Israeli, American and western audiences. It is used to deny Palestine’s connection to the past and undermines any claims to the present.
There is no mention in Obama’s speeches to Palestine’s past. The cultural struggle for an alternative history of Palestine that shows how the past is connected to the present is crucial in countering the biblical view of history.
Well said indeed. Folk interested in the topic will want to check out Keith’s book, Rhythms of Time where he does a far better job of discussing the actual history of Palestine than Obama.
In Jerusalem the streets were decorated with Stars and Stripes for the visit of Barack Obama. Officials even created an official logo for the visit and plastered it across advertising hoardings.
In Ramallah it is a rather different story. The only billboards to mark the US president’s trip to what is in effect the capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank were dozens of posters put up by protesters along the main road from Jerusalem, which read: “Obama: don’t bring your smart phone to Ramallah – you won’t have mobile access to the internet – we have no 3G in Palestine.” They had been painted over, apparently by security officials.
While Obama’s speeches in Israel have been peppered with endearing Hebrew phrases, he has said only one word publicly in Arabic: “Marhaba” (hello).
So the Guardian. Fact is, dear people, Obama has destroyed a brilliant opportunity to make honest progress on behalf of peace. But everyone in the Palestinian territories now knows the awful truth: President Obama panders to the Israelis and cares nothing for the fate of the Palestinians. Read Matthew Kalman’s full report, and put a sign over President Obama’s diplomatic skills: “Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here”.
Were you the sort of President we needed and the Mideast Peace Process required you would have mentioned the Palestinians more than 11 times in your speech. I’m sad, and disappointed, and dismayed that you, like your predecessor in the White House, serve as Bibi’s lapdog and not as an honest broker of peace. Sad.
Robert Fisk writes in The Independent (with thanks to Keith Whitelam for mentioning it) of Obama’s trip to Israel-
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Public Speech-making will be at least a super-tourist – with 10,000 armed Israeli and American tour guides in Jerusalem alone. Now that, Mr President, is the wall. No, not That Wall, we’re talking about the Ottoman palisade on each side of the city’s Damascus Gate.
But of course, if he’s really going to head for the Holy Manger, Obama will have to glance – will he not? – at the real wall (aka “security fence/barrier”). True, Berlusconi claimed he didn’t see it, even if Mussolini would at least have noticed its fascist dimensions. But there you go, the “outreach” president is meant to be “engaging” people, young people. Over the heads of their masters will he speaketh unto youth. Only the youth of the Israeli and Palestinian variety don’t seem to put a lot of trust in the bloke.
… But it does make you wonder if anyone will dare to point out that one group – the Palestinians – are being occupied by another – the Israelis – who are unconditionally supported by another group, namely Saint Barack and his merry men. Maybe he wants to drop the “peace process” thing and make a run for it. The redeployment of US foreign policy. Like Napoleon’s redeployment from Moscow, or the British redeployment from Dunkirk. Makes you feel sorry for the Palestinians, doesn’t it? And the Israelis, too.
That’s the final paragraph of a brutally honest essay about Obama’s pandering to the Israelis. Enjoy the whole.
And take a look at this video posted by the Israeli Embassy.. highlighting the truth- the American Government isn’t a friend of peace or the Palestinians, it is a friend of Israel. That’s all. The only use we have for the rest of the region is its oil. Were it not for that, we would have bombed the Arab countries and Iran into the stone age.
Randall Price and his kind are rightly and roundly thoroughly excoriated in this brilliant piece which should be required reading in every institute of Archaeology. It’s very long but worth every minute it will take to read it.
Just a tiny snippet-
Since 1967, the IDF has surveyed and excavated over 6,000 sites in the occupied West Bank, filling military warehouses with artifacts and refusing to publish any data. The curtain was lifted in 2007, when Israeli researchers successfully sued the IDF’s Staff Officer for Archaeology to report his unit’s activities and discoveries in the region. The artifacts remain hidden away, but this interactive map allows users to virtually explore each site, sorted by time period.
The map which follows in the essay is amazing. But even more importantly, where is the IAA in all of this?
Acclaimed exploration of the political space created by Israel’s colonial occupation
From the tunnels of Gaza to the militarized airspace of the Occupied Territories, Eyal Weizman unravels Israel’s mechanisms of control and its transformation of Palestinian towns, villages and roads into an artifice where all natural and built features serve military ends. Weizman traces the development of this strategy, from the influence of archaeology on urban planning, Ariel Sharon’s reconceptualization of military defence during the 1973 war, through the planning and architecture of the settlements, to the contemporary Israeli discourse and practice of urban warfare and airborne targeted assassinations.
Hollow Land lays bare the political system at the heart of this complex and terrifying project of late-modern colonial occupation.
“Eyal Weizman’s brilliant Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation shows how the occupation is sustained by architecture.” – Keith Whitelam
Sounds fascinating. I’ll put it on my list.
This is disgusting. Decent people everywhere will be outraged and condemn this vileness. Racists will applaud, wink, and excuse it.
Front page of Maariv newspaper, picture of a Palestinian woman assaulted by Israelis in a bus station as the security officer looks on and smiles. This is what occupation and discrimination do… See it, study it, understand that this is not an exception but a loud, shameful example of the indignity that is daily life of a Palestinian under Israel’s occupation. Following is Google’s translation of the Hebrew caption, as it appeared in the webiste:
“The woman stood at the station in Kiryat Moshe capital, suddenly several young women passing by began beat her and remove her head covering. Eyewitness told the nrg: “Young people were drunk and light rail security officer watched the incident with a smile and did not intervene” (Yossi me)” nrg.co.il
Via Shara Jean.
Every now and then, one reveals more than one intended. And gets caught in the act. Earlier today, there was a bit of a kerfluffle when Israel’s embassy in Ireland posted the following on its Facebook account:
A thought for Christmas…If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought….
Yeah, that’s a thought alright- a perverse one intended to paint the Palestinians in the worst of all possible lights.
Then, of course, the backpeddling-
It was removed from the page in a couple of hours, and replaced with this:
To whom it may concern: An image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!
Ah yes, Merry Christmas…
Bibi Netanyahu has approved 3000 additional housing units in the Palestinian territories in response to the vote of the United Nations. And he wonders why Israel is isolated. It’s a no-brainer Bibi- the vast majority of the world’s population thinks you’re a prat and your policies are immoral.
Israel is to build 3,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Palestinians won recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday.
Asked if he could confirm a report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided tp build the 3,000 units in response to the Palestinians success at the UN, he said: “It’s true — in (east) Jerusalem and the West Bank,” without saying exactly where.
The decision was revealed in a tweet by the diplomatic correspondent of Haaretz newspaper, who said some of the homes would be built in E1, a highly-contentious area of the West Bank which links annexed east Jerusalem with Maaleh Adumim settlement.
Bibi is a spoiled evil child who retaliates when he doesn’t get his way. Israelis voting for him vote for hatred.
Since I’ve already gotten a bit of ‘hate mail’ because of the previous post:
1- I love Israel, and I love my Israeli friends.
2- I think the use of terror to harass and torment them by Hamas is evil.
3- But I also love the Palestinians (and most especially our Christian brothers and sisters there).
4- And I think, no, I know they deserve a ‘place of their own’.
5- So I abhor the forcing of Palestinians off their land and into a walled ghetto.
6- Finally, I believe there won’t be peace until the Unites States cares as much about the Palestinians as it does about the Israelis.
These are my views. I will not apologize for them. If you find them disdainful I suggest you go elsewhere, because your missives of contempt won’t change them.
Demonstrating the power of the Israeli lobby (which holds Washington hostage to an anti-Palestinian ideology that is out of step with the rest of the civilized world).
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people are enjoying sweeping support in the lead up to Thursday night’s vote at the UN General Assembly over whether to upgrade the Palestinians’ standing to non-member observer status. By Thursday morning Israel time, that support had turned into a full-on landslide, as more European nations decided to alter their positions, essentially leaving Israel to fend for itself.Early Thursday morning, just hours before the vote — scheduled to take place around 11:00 P.M. (Israel time) — Germany changed its mind, deciding to abstain from voting rather than opposing the Palestinian initiative, as Israel had assumed it would.
Rejection of the Palestinian’s request is neither sensible nor moral. That, as stated previously, the US wishes to continue down this path is a demonstration of policy-immorality. Or worse, raises the question as to where policy is crafted. Is it in Washington, or is it in Jerusalem? Is the U.S. an independent nation or is it Netanyahu’s lap dog? The current decision would seem to indicated the latter.
Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man and wounded nine along Gaza’s border fence with Israel on Friday, a Gaza health official said, reporting the first violence since a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers took hold a day before. The shooting appeared to be an isolated incident and was unlikely to jeopardize the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which called for an end to Gaza rocket fire on Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The truce came after eight days of cross-border fighting, the bloodiest battle between Israel and Hamas in four years. The Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, has urged militant factions to respect the cease-fire.
Well does Jeremiah say “… they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying,`Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” (Jer 8:11). And there will be no real peace until the Palestinians have their own State and the Israelis stop illegal settlements and land grabbings.
via TM Law on the facebook
Maybe we wouldn’t be so happy if we were being systematically displaced and our homes stolen and our land robbed from us and our future dim as dirty dishwater. Maybe, just maybe, we would act violently if we were being exterminated.
By no means am I justifying violence. I HATE WAR- for any reason. But I also HATE the fact that people are being forcibly removed from their homes and no one in Washington gives a flying flip. IT’S IMMORAL.
Israel’s quest for Lebensraum continues apace while the West quietly sits by and allows Palestinians to be robbed of their property.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to advance a plan to expand the Itamar settlement to five times its size by adding 538 homes, according to documents obtained by Haaretz.
Barak approved the plan in September, even though there is still no master plan in effect for the settlement, which was founded in 1984 on state land, which means that no legal building permits can be issued. But since the murder of five members of the Fogel family on the settlement in March 2011, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria has been pressing to advance the construction.
But don’t worry, Israel, our own ‘Chancellor of Appeasement’ Mr Obama won’t say anything and if he does, he certainly won’t do anything. Build away with the certainty that you’ll get away with it. Feels great, doesn’t it?