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Breaking the Silence on the Israel Lobby - by Jeffrey Blankfort
by Jeffrey Blankfort (jab [at] tucradio.org)
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 1:17 PM

I placed much of the blame for the escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the actions of the organized American Jewish community and by individual Jews working independently who over the years have successfully stifled, intimidated, and marginalized critics of Israeli policies.

On a Saturday in mid-February a little less than a year ago, I had two experiences, one very positive and encouraging --the other negative and disturbing. The first was at the Marin Community Center in Mill Valley, across the Bay from San Francisco, where more than 200 (210 signed in) people, and not what we refer to as "the choir" or "the usual suspects," turned up to hear Palestinian legal scholar Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian professor Jess Ghannam, Stanford-based Israeli scholar Yael Ben-Zvi and myself speak on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The event was sponsored by a relatively new organization, "If Americans Knew," initiated by Alison Weir, a Marin county resident who had been stimulated into action in behalf of the Palestinians after a visit to Israeli-occupied Gaza the year before.

All of the presentations were well received but the enthusiastic reception for mine, in particular, was significant because my subject was the pro-Israel lobby and its negative influence on the American body politic.

I placed much of the blame for the escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the actions of the organized American Jewish community and by individual Jews working independently who over the years have successfully stifled, intimidated, and marginalized critics of Israeli policies.

I expected an uproar from the audience because, from my experience, Marin had always been another "occupied territory," but even among the many Jews there, none challenged by premise or my evidence.

What they heard and saw was factual and visual evidence of the power of Israel's supporters over Congress and politicians at every political level and, equally damning, their effectiveness in preventing the various anti-war and anti-intervention coalitions over the years from taking any position that might touch on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even one as mild as, "US Out of the Middle East."

After I spoke and after the applause, a number of people, Jews and non-Jews, and several students came up to me wanting more information.

Then I went over to Berkeley to the second day of a three-day conference organized by Students for Justice in Palestine where the issue of the Israel Lobby was nowhere on the agenda.

I arrived during Phyllis Bennis's presentation. Bennis, a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington-based liberal think tank, is one of the left's more well known talking heads on the Israel-Palestine conflict and can frequently be heard on KPFA-FM [Berkeley, CA] and other Pacifica Radio stations.

Over the years, like most of the other "experts” from the "left," with the notable exceptions of Columnist Alexander Cockburn and Professor Ed Herman [University of Pennsylvania], she has never recognized, let alone been willing to discuss, the power of the Israel Lobby over US policy in the Middle East, despite overwhelming and indisputable evidence of its existence and of its influence.

What happened when I arrived in the auditorium was astonishing. Seeing me in the back of the auditorium where I was sitting with a friend, totally out of the blue and raising her voice, she interrupted her talk to blurt out, "Congress is not Israeli Occupied Territory!"

I assumed she was referring to an article that I had written 10 years earlier that was published in the 1992 edition of the City Lights Review, entitled, "Occupied Territory: Congress, the Israel Lobby and Jewish Responsibility." In the article I had criticized the left supporters of the Palestinian movement for their failure to deal with the issue of the Israel lobby.

My response to Bennis was immediate "Yes, it is!, " I said aloud. "No it isn't!," she shot back, sharply, rather displeased, and went on to describe an effort that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus were making regarding the illegal use of US arms by the Israelis--against Palestinian civilians.

In the question period, it became obvious that she didn't want me to get the floor. While answering a question as to what actions people should take to help the Palestinian cause, she seemed to be filibustering as if she was hoping the question period would draw to a close.

What would she have activists do? Believe it or not: write letters to the editor once a week. The system's safety valve. As far as contacting members of Congress or protesting their support for Israel, the Washington-based Bennis said nary a word.

Finally, despite what was an obvious effort on her part to get the moderator--who had promised me the next question, to give it to someone else--I finally got the floor. I proceeded to describe four situations in which the Israel lobby clearly demonstrated its power over Congress and explained how "the lobby" had run those black Congressmembers who criticized Israel out of office and were trying to do the same with the main critic at that time, Atlanta's [Georgia] Cynthia McKinney.

This was, of course, several months before she and Alabama’s Ear, [Congressman Earl] Hilliard, went down to defeat thanks largely to funds sent by Jews from outside of Georgia and a smear campaign within her district engineered by the Israel lobby.

Then I took the anti-war movement to task. Like every other political sector of US society, I said that pro-Israel Jews within its ranks and others who are fearful that raising the issue of the pro-Israel lobby would provoke "anti-Semitism, have not only kept the lid on that issue, but have kept the Palestinian cause isolated from the movement's overall agenda.

Whatever the reason, I emphasized, there are no excuses for the silence of the movement on the issue of the lobby nor for it's genuflecting to "Jewish sensibilities" regarding the overall struggle.

Neither Bennis nor her co-panelist, a Jewish professor, said a word when I finished. After the program, I went down to say hello to her, and jokingly mentioned that she still had not yet understood the role of the Israel Lobby.

She was neither friendly nor amused. "The issue is dead and has been dead." End of conversation.

What is disturbing is that her position regarding the Israel lobby is that long held by Noam Chomsky, as well, as by professors Joel Beinin of Stanford [University] and Stephen Zunes of USF [University of San Francisco]. Bennis's position is puzzling since she is based in Washington, where, for the politically aware, "the lobby's" power is a given.

To their credit, all of them, and Chomsky in particular, have, through their writing and speaking, have exposed American audiences to the history of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, but their refusal to acknowledge the critical domestic aspects of the struggle are indefensible and can no longer be left unchallenged.

(In 1989, Zunes wrote an excellent piece on the power of the pro-Israel lobby for The Progressive, but he soon changed his position, perhaps when he realized that "blaming the Jews" is the fastest way to get marginalized in US academia. The facts and the quotes in his article, however, did not change.

In his recent book, Tinderbox, he writes that Arabs have mistakenly blamed Israel for its problems and that Israel is actually a victim of US policies. He would have us believe that Israel is forced to play the same role for the United States that Jews played under feudalism when they were the middlepersons between the lords and the serfs.

This analysis would have us believe that Israel and its Jewish supporters today are somehow in the precarious position that European Jews found themselves in several hundred years ago. This is absurd. The first situation represented Jewish weakness. Today, Jews have more than at any time in their history.

Zunes ignores the fact that Jewish supporters of Israel are far and away the leading contributors to the Democratic Party and dominate every sector of the media: movies, TV, radio, and the press.

Since 1978, the amount of money contributed by pro-Israel PACs alone is over $34 million, as compared to Enron whose $6 million over 10 years given to many of the same politicians is held up as an example of an abuse of the system.

That $34 million does not account for soft money and contributions from wealthy Jews such as the $1.1 million given by real estate mogul Nat Landow to Al Gore nor the $1.5 given to Joe Biden some years back by Walter Shorenstein, the biggest commercial property owner in San Francisco, the sometime-head of the state Democratic Party Central Committee and a member of the AIPAC Board of Directors.

On the Mother Jones magazine website <http://www.motherjones.com> one finds the leading individual contributors to both political parties in the 1999-2000 cycle. Eight of the top ten are Jews who contributed, with one exception, exclusively to the Democratic Party. That one exception was Chiquita Banana's Carl Lindner who contributed to the Republicans as well.

One of those top ten was Haim Saban, currently a regent of the University of California, appointed to that post by Gov. Gray Davis, in February, 2001. Saban, an Egyptian-born Israeli Jew, contributed $1,250,500 in that cycle to the Democrats, which put him in fifth place. This year, his contribution to the Democrats of $7 million established a party record.

Saban, who made his fortune by creating Fox TV's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, has also built the Haim Saban Center in Washington which this summer hosted a meeting of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Israel's officially registered lobby with Jewish college students from around the country. Their focus: How to counteract pro-Palestinian activity on college campuses and combat the divestment campaigns that target Israel such as that initiated by the Students for Justice in Palestine.

In every other political and social struggle in this country we learn who is funding the other side and the identity of their lobbies in Washington, e.g., the oil lobby, armaments lobby, the tobacco lobby, the gun lobby, the insurance and banking lobbies, the hospital and medical lobbies, the airline and transportation, etc.

Why is the Israel Lobby a taboo subject among the left and the anti-war movements?

Why was it not on the agenda of the conference in Berkeley that weekend? There were three days of meetings so its organizers had plenty of time.

Why was there no discussion on the failure of the peace and anti-war movements to integrate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the over-all anti-war movement?

These questions need to be asked and we need to get answers. Those who shine us off with the same kind of comment that Phyllis Bennis gave to me that day have to be challenged to explain themselves and be willing to debate the question of the lobby's role in determining not only policy in Washington but in the agenda of the peace movement.

As for Bennis, I was later told by an activist against sanctions in Iraq, that earlier in the day she had spoken in support of military sanctions against Iraq to prevent it from building "weapons of mass destruction."

(This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the
Anderson Valley Advertiser in February 2002.)

Jeffrey Blankfort is a journalist and Jewish-American pro-Palestinian human rights activist working out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He won a sizeable lawsuit against the Jewish Anti-Defamation League in February 2002 for its vast illegal spying against him, as well as other peaceful political groups (including, earlier, anti-Apartheid groups) and individuals.
by Pondering Pandora's Box
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 6:39 PM
Great article. The reasons I believe that Jews, and their supporters, and the Americans who are just confused and who are fearful of being called anti-Semitic, all tend to downplay the role of the Jewish Lobby groups are as follows:

1. They are afraid it sounds too much like what some people who are truly anti-Jew have been saying all along, that "Jews want to run the world" or that they DO run the world, as in ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) and as in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion AND they are afraid that whether it is true or not (it's pretty true I'd say, and I am not anti-Jew, just anti-racism as in anti-Zionism since Zionism is Jewish supremacism in Israel-Palestine), they are afraid that there will be a huge backlash as in Nazi Germany.

2. Once people start questioning the legitimacy of the Zionist ideology as it affects American foreign policy, people are going to have to confront exactly what Zionism IS and has manifested itself: and that is that it is a blatantly racist ideology that has no place in a democracy! Zionism will be forced to be de-legitimized as an ideology that is allowed to guide our foreign policies and even domestic policies, as in American companies not being allowed to boycott Israel (which is a law believe it or not! and obviously one penned by Zionists! in a democracy a company should be able to do business with whatever country one wants to!)

3. Many American Jews and their supporters simply cannot let go of the idea of a Jewish state (Jewish supremacist state) and since they have been getting away with so much with regards to funnelling US tax dollars to Israel to the tune of $4 billion plus as it is interest-free and the US pays the interest and the loans are forgiven, they hate to give it up! Nobody likes to give up power or lucrative deals and benefits! But why should Americans who are non-Jewish have to pay so much for a country that not only uses alot of US tax dollars, but also is dragging the US down into it's own dirty war on "terrorism", which in the case of the Palestinians, really a case of Israel stealing more and more of the Palestinians homeland, while oppressing and killing the Palestinians, the indigenous people of the land! This is dragging down any gains our country has made in morality and ethics made thru the Civil Rights Movement and the guilt of having committed genocide against the Indians a couple hundred years ago. Now our country is being dragged into participating in the same kinds of genocide and dispossession of the indigenous people when we allow Zionists to funnel our tax dollars into their war machine against the Palestinians! It's making us look like complete hypocrites when our government criticizes Iraq for defying 16 UN Resolutions, yet Israel has defied over 80 UN Resolutions!

Jews in general may feel like it is in their best interests to have a Jewish supremacist state like Israel, but I believe that they should rethink that! It is causing resentment against them here in America and around the world to continue to condone the oppression of the Palestinian people and deny them their homeland, and not even share it with them as equals, while it puts literally puts all of world peace in jeopardy.

Jews in general are condoning the same kinds of persecution that happened to them under Nazi Germany, and they are using Americans' tax dollars to finance this.

There is alot of tension in this country and the world resulting from this injustice and our government's failure to stop the injustices and to in fact, keep supporting them.

WE, the people of America, do not want endless war! WE, the people, do not want to sleep with gas masks on our bedposts! But if we allow and enable Zionism which is manifested in Jewish supremacism in Israel at the expense of human rights and equal rights for Palestinians, we do face endless war. Because that is what injustices and crimes against humanity causes! No justice NO PEACE!

Anyway, please keep up the important work, Mr. Blankfort, and all others who continue to address the difficult issues with truthfulness and no double standards. The truth will set us free!
by rene
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 7:28 PM
Great article Jeffrey. The role of any lobby should be open for discussion, especially those war-profiteers who advocate the us of the powerful American military to attack Arabs an Moslem countries because of the racist and bigoted hatred that they harbor.

The reason that politicians and many on the left do not have the guts to touch that subject goes beyond the large amount of money that some rich Jews can contribute to campaigns. Politicians are intimidated by the power of Jews in the American media, and anyone questioning any policy articulated by Sharon or other right-wing Zionist nut will be demonized by the mainstream, pro-Israeli media.

However, Pondering Pandora goes overboard and seems to make an anti-Semitic statement by writing that “Jews in general are condoning the same kinds of persecution that happened to them under Nazi Germany, and they are using Americans' tax dollars to finance this.”

That is unfortunate, since many of the other comments made have merit.

Peace
by Intrigued
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 9:35 PM
How do critics of Israel confront this issue without the huge, bitter backlash that will inevitably ensue?

This is the electric third rail of American politics, touch it and you die (politically).

Look at what happened to Cynthia McKinney.

The ZOG people are on the nutty extreme, but there is obviously an unhealthy impact on American democracy when a foreign government (or it's Lobby) have such a stifling effect on debate and election outcomes.

How do we assess the impact? How do we even discuss the subject?

I know Israel Lobby money permeates American politics, and then there are the free "campaign advisors and staff" that are donated to pro-Israel politicians, but how do we determine the extent of their grasp?

Is it fair to assume that all Jewish politicians are pro-Israel, or is that a biggoted assumption.

Is it fair to question the percentage of Jewish politicians (100% of California's Senators for example are Jewish) versus the 2 percent of Jewish people in the general population, or is that a biggoted question?

If we think that the American bias towards Israel is unhealthy, or unwise, or immoral, is it therefore justified to examine how that bias evolved, how it expresses itself in our democracy, and how a minority can manipulate a majority in such a way?

Mischels Iron Law of Oligarchy -- "organized minorities will always prevail over disorganized majorities."

This is a tough nut to crack because I don't even know how to approach consideration of the issue.

by Opening Pandora's Box
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 10:54 PM
I think it is quite fair to say that most Jews condone the kind of persecution that is happening to the Palestinians which resembles the kind of persecution that the Nazis inflicted on the Jews.

Let's not mince words here.

This is PRECISELY the reason why everyone is SO intimidated to say anything BECAUSE there are so many Jews that think "so the Palestinians have to suffer a little (after all, we had to during the Holocaust)".

THIS kind of attitude is COMPLETELY typical of most Jews, even the ones who are oh-so concerned about blacks' rights here in the US. It's completely obvious that most Jews' concern for equal rights ends at the border of Israel. If you doubt me ask your Jewish friends. IF you dare.

I suggest that you do dare and confront them about it. Because it's already gotten out of hand letting Zionism run amok with our US foreign policy and working AGAINST Americans' ideals and best interests in preference to Israel's racist agenda for a Jewish supremacist state that entails continual oppression and dispossession of the indigenous people based on religion!

We the people MUST make it clear to fellow Americans who are Jews who harbor Zionist ideals, and their supporters and dupes, and to our political leaders that we will NOT tolerate a racist doctrine influencing our country's policies here or abroad in countries that receive any aid from us. We must tell them. We must vote that way. And we must have rallies and teach-ins and boycotts.

I think it is quite safe to assume that all Jewish politicians are indeed Zionists, at least the ones in office now. Therefore I personally will not be voting for another Jewish politician until Zionism is confronted and completely de-legitimized in political policies here and abroad. And until Israel becomes a completely secular true democracy with equal rights for all regardless of religion, ethnicity, race, or sex, including all the Palestinian refugees must also have their right to return to their ancestral homeland of Palestine-Israel realized as is their right according to International Law, UN Resolutions and world opinion.

Furthermore, any Jew who thinks that Palestinians don't have the same equal rights to share Palestine-Israel as Jews is a Zionist. Therefore, you will find that most American Jews are Zionists. But not all.
by A Friend
Sunday Jan 12th, 2003 11:28 PM
Please leftist brothers and sisters, we must make clear our opposition to the jewish-controlled media and the zionazis who are commiting genocide. Please bring placards to all leftist rallys condemning these Jewish conspiracies. Please speak out again jewish-racist-power. Please boycott Zionist controlled businesses and let the media know that the left will not be cowed by zionazis. We must make clear that progressives and leftists stand united against Israel and its supporters and will stop at nothing to destroy the zionazi state!!!
by Another Friend
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 12:05 AM
Although we American patriots must, can and will cut the cord to Zionist Israel, we will hold out the carrot of US aid based solely on Israel's cooperation to transform completely to a secular democracy renamed Palestine-Israel with completely equal rights for all regardless of religion, ethnicity, race or sex, including for all 5 million or so Palestinian refugees who have the right to return to their ancestral homeland of Palestine-Israel according to world opinion, International Law and UN Resolutions. There will be no more Jewish state (Jewish supremacist) state in the Middle East. Perhaps Jews who seek a Jewish supremacist state should consider buying some truly unpopulated land in Greenland or Northern Canada, and try there, although it seems rather foolish now that America is so homey for Jews. It's simply immoral to commit ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in Palestine-Israel for a Jewish supremacist state and try to claim Jerusalem as the capital of a Jewish supremacist state when Jerusalem is the holiest city to all three monotheisms, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Get over your fantasy of making it just a Jewish city already! Don't you get it???? It's not worth forcing Armageddon over!!! It's immoral and it's unfair to us all, and Zionism is causing WWIII! Down with racism and down with Zionism as it is most blatantly RACISM at its ugliest!
by CALL TO ACTION!!
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 12:49 AM
This an "excellent" article. It would be a shame if did not get widespread coverage. Here is a challenge:
 
COPY THIS ARTICLE TOGETHER WITH URI AVNERY's ARTICLE (BELOW) TO TEN PEOPLE YOU KNOW - PREFERABLY FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY - BUT NOT NECESSARILY. DO YOUR PART AND LET THE POWERS THAT BE HEAR THE RUMBLE ....
 
To quote Uri, Let your conscience speak out. Return to the traditional Jewish values of "That which is altogether just shalt thou follow!" (Deut. 16:20) and "Seek peace and pursue it!" (Psal. 4: 14).
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Manufacturing Anti-Semites
Uri Avnery

The first Israeli victim of Saddam Hussein is a Zionist myth on which we were brought up. The myth tells us that Israel is a haven for all the Jews in the world. In all the other countries, we are told, Jews live in perpetual fear that a cruel persecutor will arise, as happened in Germany. Israel is the safe haven, to which Jews can escape in times of danger. Indeed, this was the purpose of Israel's founding fathers when they established the state.
Now Saddam comes along and proves the opposite. All over the world, Jews live in safety; they are threatened by annihilation in only one place on the planet: Israel. Here national parks are being prepared for use as mass graves, here (pathetic) measures against biological and chemical weapons are being prepared. Many people are already planning to escape to the communities in the Diaspora. End of a myth. Another Zionist myth died even before that: The Diaspora, so we learned in our youth, creates anti-Semitism. Everywhere the Jews are a minority, and a minority inevitably attracts the hatred of the majority. Only when the Jews gather in the land of their forefathers and constitute the majority there, we learned, will anti-Semitism disappear throughout the world. Thus spoke Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.
Nowadays this myth, too, is giving up its blessed soul. Whatever good the existence of the State of Israel may or may not have done, the current
government of Israel is quickly undoing. The Sharon government is a giant laboratory for the growing of the anti-Semitism virus. It exports it to the
whole world. Anti-Semitic organizations, which for many years vegetated on the margins of society, rejected and despised, are suddenly growing and
flowering. Anti-Semitism, which had hidden itself in shame since World War II, is now riding on a great wave of opposition to Sharon's policy of
oppression.

Sharon's propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames by accusing all critics of his policy of being anti-Semites. Many good people, who feel no
hatred at all towards the Jews but who detest the persecution of Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites. Thus the sting is taken out of
this word, giving it something approaching respectability. The practical upshot: not only is the State of Israel not protecting Jews from anti-Semitism, but?on the contrary?its government is manufacturing and exporting the anti-Semitism that threatens Jews around the world.

For many years, Israel enjoyed the sympathy of most people. It was seen as the state of Holocaust survivors, a small and courageous country defending itself against the repeated assaults of murderous Arabs. Slowly, this image has been replaced by another: a cruel, brutal, and colonizing state, oppressing a small and helpless people. The persecuted has become the persecutor; David has turned into Goliath. We Israelis, living in a bubble of self-delusion, find it hard to imagine how the world sees us. In many countries, television and newspapers publish daily pictures of Palestinian children throwing stones at monstrous tanks, soldiers harassing women at checkpoints, despairing old men sitting on the ruins of their demolished homes, soldiers taking aim and shooting children. 
 
These soldiers do not look like human beings in uniform?the world does not see "the neighbor's son" most Israelis see. These soldiers look like robots
without faces, armed to the teeth, heads hidden by helmets, bullet-proof vests changing their proportions. People who have seen these photos dozens
and hundreds of times start to see the whole State of Israel in this image.

For Jews, this creates a dangerous, vicious circle. Sharon's actions create repulsion and opposition throughout the world. These actions reinforce
anti-Semitism. Faced with this danger, Jewish organizations are pushed into defending Israel and giving it unqualified support. This support enables the
anti-Semites to attack not only the government of Israel, or the State of Israel as a whole, but local Jews, too. And so on. Anti-Semites of all stripes and hues are, of course, repulsive. They will vilify Jews whatever we do. Anti-Semitism, like other forms of racism, is never justified. But that is not the point. The point is that the actions of the Sharon government, and the unqualified support given to this government by the Jewish establishment, has enabled these hard-core anti-Semites to win over well-meaning people who are repelled by Sharon's actions.
The Israeli government pretends to speak for all Jews around the world, yet no attempt has been made by mainstream Jewish organizations to reject this claim. This may turn out to be a terrible mistake. In Europe, Jews already feel the pressure to reject Sharon. But in the United States, Jews still feel supremely self-confident. In Europe, Jews have learned over the centuries that it is not wise to be too conspicuous and to display their wealth and influence. But in America, the very opposite is happening: the Jewish establishment is practically straining to prove that it controls the country.
Every few years, the Jewish lobby "eliminates" an American politician who does not support the Israeli government unconditionally. This is not done
secretly, behind the scenes, but as a public "execution." Just now the Jewish establishment rallied against the black congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney, a young, active, intelligent, and very sympathetic woman. She had dared to criticize the Sharon government, to support the Palestinian cause, and (worst of all from the Jewish establishment's standpoint) she had gained the support of Israeli and Jewish peace groups. The Jewish establishment found a counter-candidate, a practically unknown black woman, injected huge sums into the campaign, and defeated Cynthia.
All this happened in the open, with fanfare, to make a public example of McKinney?so that every senator and congressperson would know that
criticizing Sharon is tantamount to political suicide. Not content with this flexing of power, the pro-Israel lobby?which consists of Jews and extreme
right-wing Christian fundamentalists?is now pushing the Bush administration to start a war in Iraq. This, too, openly and in full view of the American
public. Dozens of articles in the important newspapers point out the Jewish pro-war influence as a plain political fact.

Of course, Jews have a right, just like every other citizen in the United States, to raise their voice in the political arena. But, as the ancients
remind us, "pride comes before the fall." The shameless flaunting of Jewish power, the buying of representatives and senators, the immense pressure put on the media, is counterproductive in the long run. It is the ghetto mentality turned upside down; instead of timidity, arrogance. What will happen if the war the pro-Israel lobby is advocating ends in failure? If it has unexpected negative results and many young Americans die? If the American public turns against it, as happened during the Vietnam War? What will happen when Sharon's policies bring about revolution in the Arab world, as they will if he is allowed to continue on his current path? As long as the Jewish establishment can convince the American public that the interests of Israel and the United States are identical (an idiotic notion) this will not arouse anger, but when the day comes?and it will come?when the two countrys' interests are seen as diverging, what will be the reaction then? One can easily imagine a whispering campaign starting: "The Jews have pushed us into this," "The Jews support Israel more than they support America," and, finally, "The Jews control our country."
Of course, the special political culture of the United States encourages the rise of special interest groups?but that was also true in Spain of the
Golden Age and in the Weimar Republic in Germany. History does not have to repeat itself, but neither should one disregard its lessons. Just because
Jews can constitute a special interest group does not mean that creating a disproportionate influence over Congress and the White House is the best
strategy for enhancing the future of the Jewish people.

There are people in Israel who secretly wish for the victory of anti-Semitism everywhere. That would confirm another Zionist myth on which
we were brought up: that Jews will not be able to live anywhere but in Israel, because anti-Semitism is bound to triumph everywhere. But the United
States is not France or Argentina; it plays a critical role in the Middle East. Israel's national security, as established by all Israeli governments
since Ben-Gurion, is based on total support from the United States: military, political, and economic.

If I were asked for advice, I would counsel Jewish communities throughout the world as follows: break out of the vicious circle. Disarm anti-Semites by breaking the habit of automatically identifying with everything the Israeli government does. Let your conscience speak out. Return to the traditional Jewish values of "That which is altogether just shalt thou follow!" (Deut. 16:20) and "Seek peace and pursue it!" (Psal. 4: 14). Identify yourselves with the Other Israel, which is struggling to uphold these values at home.

All over the world, new Jewish groups that follow this way are multiplying. They break yet another myth, that the duty of Jews everywhere is to subordinate themselves to the edicts of the current Israeli government. They know that the true duty of Jews worldwide is to cling fast to Jewish values.

  _____

Uri Avnery is founder of Gush Shalom
http://www.gush-shalom.org, an Israeli non-partisan grassroots peace movement composed of Jews and Arabs.

by S
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 5:08 AM
Thanks, now if someone will address the powerful Egyptian lobby and their success at extorting money from US taxpayers so we can help finance their terrorism against gays, women, Americans Europeans,etc.
by Henry
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 5:59 AM
Um, err, gee, I thought all that money going to Egypt started AFTER they signed a peace treaty with Israel, so that REALLY its just more money spent because of Israel. Am I wrong?
by gehrig
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 6:53 AM
"1. [...] and as in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion AND they are afraid that whether it is true or not (it's pretty true I'd say, and I am not anti-Jew, just anti-racism [...]"

This one is just too delightful to pass up. Why is it that those pesky Jews start accusing people of antisemitism just because those people say that that, say, "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," that long-debunked standard of hate literature, is "pretty true"? Just no pleasing some people!

When I run across stuff like that, I ask myself -- is the poster (a) just really bad at expressing his thoughts, and really clueless of what he's embracing, but still basically good-hearted -- i.e. the Latuff category, (b) fooling himself about his own feelings about the Jews, or (c) just another drone from the Nazional Annoyance trying to pose as a lefty and trying to drop some memes he hopes the readers may unwittingly embrace?

In any case, we've got the lovely circumstances in which someone, literally in the same sentence, supports the _Protocols_ _and_ claims to be anti-racism.

This is really a serious problem you folks have, out here in Progressive-ville. As long as you can read stuff like that without batting an eye, you're never going to have full moral legitimacy on the anti-Zionism thing, because it's so clearly entwined with something darker you all pretend to be unsullied by. However, it's not a _big_ problem -- especially here, where it's so obvious to anyone with any sensitivity to prose style that a huge percentage of the anti-Zionist rants come from the same kook's keyboard, although under what's probably a hundred different names by now.

Still, enough of the repudiations of antisemitism here have been of the form "I'm not anti-Jew, I just think the Zionists control our government, media, and elections" that any blanket self-absolution of the progressive left on this issue rings a tad hollow to me.

@%<
by Ann
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 6:54 AM
Yes, you are wrong. We are not giving Egypt money for anything but the emotional blackmail- we are somehow anti-mulsim if we don't give terrorist countries money to help promote terrorsim, hatred of women, gays, etc... all in the name of their religion
by pb
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 9:04 AM
excellent article!
by Watcher
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 11:00 AM
It would appear that there a great deal of Israel bashing on this site - however, if you look more closely, it is ONLY ONE person making these comments. He calls himself a hundred different names, including Wendy Campbell, faceit, but gives himself away by selectively capitalizing random words in his long anti-Israel screeds. Real leftist support gay rights, womens rights, workers rights, democracy, free speech, free religion, free press and a liberal society - that why they support Israel. This troll should take his jewish-media, jewish-power conspiracies to the whitepower sites where they belong.
by You just wish it
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 11:02 AM
There are alot of people who bash racist Zionism and Zionist Israel. You just WISH it was one person. HA HA HA
by bov
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 11:48 AM
Which is one reason why I don't support Israel.
by gehrig
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 12:26 PM
"face it" sez: "What's happening is very much like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion! DUH!"

You're an embarrassment to the left. The only question I have is whether or not that's your goal.

@%<
by gehrig
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 3:47 PM
"I know Jews who say the same things I do about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

And I know Jews who think Ariel Sharon is a saint. Know what? That doesn't make it true. Sharon is still an asshole, and _Protocols_ is still hate literature.

@%<
by PeaceMan
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 4:24 PM
Hey face it/Wendy/troll with a thousand names, your moronic ranting gives you away and random CAPITALIZATION gives you away. You're hectoring is not going to convince anyone here - come up with intellegent arguments or troll soemwhere else.
by and
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 7:43 PM
and traitors to Americans' best interests!
by faker
Monday Jan 13th, 2003 8:22 PM
Khalifornian is a Zionist impersonating a Muslim for sure! Zionists are good at deceit--- they really excell at it! It's not a good trait, by the way, in case you were wondering. Liars, all.
by gehrig
Tuesday Jan 14th, 2003 9:05 AM
Multinymous the Eyes-Bugged-Out sez: "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion pales next to the Zionist-dominated U.S. foreign policy now!"

Du-u-u-ude! Maybe it's time to switch to decaf. Your cover's been blown, your rants are snooze-inducingly repetitive, and you're also giving the left a bad name.

Meanwhile, anybody catch the article in today's New York Times about the suicide bombers in the Tamil Tigers?

--- begin excerpt

Those selected, said Thamilini, were strong in spirit and firm in purpose. She explicitly rejected any comparison to Palestinian suicide bombers, who she suggested were often dejected in life.

"People dejected in life won't be able to go as Black Tigers," she said. "There must be a clear conception of why and for what we are fighting. A deep humanitarianism is very necessary - a love of others, for the people."

Tiger bombings have killed at minimum hundreds of civilians who were caught near the targets. The bombing of the Central Bank in 1996, done on a working day, killed at least 90 people; assassinations of political leaders have usually taken the lives of dozens of other civilians.

But Thamilini drew a distinction of intent. The Tigers' "target is not the common people, but the army," she said. "In Palestine it is quite different."

--- end excerpt

Got that? The Palestinian suicide bombings are so reprehensible that even _other_ suicide bombing organizations are morally repelled by it.

@%<
by Anti-Zionists
Tuesday Jan 14th, 2003 6:44 PM
What Israel is doing (ethnic cleansing and slow genocide of the Palestinian people because they are not Jewish) is so reprehensible that We, the People, want America to have nothing to do with Israel. We are waking up to the fact that Zionism is blatantly racist and we are making it quite clear to our leaders that we don't want one more red cent going to support racist, anti-democratic, apartheid Israel. We are also educating our fellow Americans on exactly what Zionism is and what Israel is all about : ethnic cleansing. Newbies, check this out for the truth: http://www.cactus48.com

The Zionist media has conspired to keep the truth about Israel and Zionism hidden from Americans' eyes but the truth is finally coming out. Here is the latest proof that Zionists control American media: at this very moment, Israeli delegates are in DC very covertly asking for $12 billion dollars, yet this has not been reported in mainstream U.S. media, ie: like our own SF Chronicle! Yet it has been widely reported in British and Israeli papers! How obvious can it get?! ZOM (Zionist Occupied Media) for sure.
by JA -- Progressives support the oppressed!!
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 10:33 AM

by Watcher • Monday January 13, 2003 at 11:00 AM:
"Real leftist support gay rights, womens rights, workers rights, democracy, free speech, free religion, free press and a liberal society - that why they support Israel."

Response:

*REAL* leftists support the *OPPRESSED*!!! -- *WHOEVER* they are!!!

[No this is *NOT* Wendy or any of her aliases!]

Watcher: "It would appear that there a great deal of Israel bashing on this site..."

Response:

ISRAEL IS *NOT* A SYNAGOGUE!

Israel is NOT Judaism or the equivalent of the Jewish people.

Zionism is not Judaism or the equivalent of the Jewish people.

ZIONISM IS A POLITICAL IDEOLOGY and ISRAEL IS A STATE and, as such, Zionism--and the state of Israel--are as open to criticism--and even "bashing"--as any other political ideology/system/state.

IT *IS* MORALLY CORRECT TO "BASH" ISRAEL !-- as long as it remains a racist, Zionist, apartheid state. It is morally correct to condemn the racist ideology--Zionism--of an apartheid state--Israel. It is morally correct to condemn the Israeli government under the racist practices and ideology under which it has been existing. And thus it is morally correct to condemn Israel as a state. Just as it was morally correct to condemn South African apartheid. Just as it was morally right to condemn American "Jim Crow" apartheid. Apartheid South Africa and Jim Crow America were NOT the equivalent of all white people; it was not racist to condemn those states--anymore than it is necessarily anti-Semitic to condemn Israel. Just as it was *certainly* morally right to condemn Nazi Germany.

THAT IS WHY I too (like bov) DO *NOT* SUPPORT ISRAEL.

Gandhi: "What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct." (The Jews in Palestine, 1938--Gandhi.)


[Again--No this is *NOT* Wendy or any of her aliases! I do not associate myself with those statements of hers or her aliases! Unfortunately, the anti-Zionist progressive movement will sometimes attract those rare people who express themselves that way and/or harbor some of her anti-Semitic sentiments.]
by Mahmoud
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 2:08 PM
face it •

"""I know Jews who say the same things I do about the Protocals of the Elders of Zion"""

You're liar.
I know fake"jews" who said they are "jews" (to serve their anti-jewish agenda).
They
feel justified and vindicated hearing their own
anti-Semitic delusions repeated by "real Jews."

In fact, putting anti-Semitic words into Jews' mouths is an age-old tactic of pogromists from around the world, the most infamous example being The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, allegedly a blueprint for a Jewish take over of the world; in fact, it was forged by the Czarist-Russian secret police to provoke
anti-Jewish massacres.



by just wondering
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 6:29 PM
Is that where you learned how to post Zionist propaganda signed with Arab sounding names?
by Abdullah
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 9:51 PM
keep wondering.
by are one guy
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 10:22 PM
Mahmoud and Abdullah are one guy working for Mossad, getting paid to sew the seeds of doubt among the vast majority of Americans who know nothing about these things, except stereotypes about Arab terrorists in the movies.

by It's not a lie
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2003 11:34 PM
Many Jews say the Protocols of the Elders of Zion pale next to the current Zionist dominated US foreign policy dept. Too bad, Mossad Man! Not all Jews buy into that racist Zionist bullshit! And you can't make them!
by Jon Chance
(jpchance [at] egroups.com) Monday Jan 20th, 2003 12:32 PM
I'm half "Jewish" and have been harrassed by Zionists since my open opposition to the 1991 Gulf War - yet another war for the transnational petro-banking-weapons complex to keep Americans addicted to the oil that Zionists lust to control.

My father, who works within the Anglo-American Establishment (CFR/UN), has been harrassed since his opposition to Zionism in the 1940s.

We have copies of letters from Zionist terrorists that make any of those so-called "Islamic terrorist" threats seem like cotton candy. Not to mention numerous records of Zionists' acts of terrorism.

I've posted copies of Zionist terrorist letters and have then been accused of being "anti-Semitic" by Zionists and so-called "Jews".

Zionists - most of whom are not even Semitic or real Jews - are the most racist, hypocritical, ignorant fools I've ever had the misfortune of knowing.

As Apartheid was ended, so must Zionism.

Beyond that, we must reconstruct our world to provide equal rights and equal responsibilities for all.

by Thanks for sharing
Monday Jan 20th, 2003 6:03 PM
We all need to learn the truth about Zionism which is blatant racism, and must be eliminated from our American policies, especially as it affects our foreign policy. Check out http://www.cactus48.com for the history of the conflict in Palestine-Israel and http://www.jewsnotzionists.org to learn how all Jews are not Zionists.
by Thankful
Monday Jan 20th, 2003 6:35 PM
We all owe Jeffrey Blankfort, Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy, and their like for standing up to the zionist establishment - they validate what the rest of us have always argued: Zionism has NOTHING to do with Judaism: It's an abomination against humanity..
by Jeff Hansen
Wednesday May 7th, 2003 11:25 PM
"From the Nile to the Euphrates" as it is engraved on the Isreali capital building for all to see. $94 billion in treasure including unpaid loans, front and back interest, grants etc.....from the sweat of the gullible goy
...oh and now the blood. We are dispised by the world for blindly supporting a nation with more U.N. violations/resolutions than any in history. Do you really think we were kicked off human rights commities because of our support of the death penalty? The average democracy has lasted for 200 years. It fails every time when organized unscrupulous groups figure out how to vote or bribe for their own treasure. I never thought it would be a foreign lobbyist that would do in the "great experiment."
We have lost our government people. Catch a wave on the tsunami of world anti-semitism.
by munya
Wednesday May 14th, 2003 5:40 PM

"Thankful" , u illiterate

Jeffrey Blankfort is not a jew,

but Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy ARE zionists
and nothing wrong with that.
There is difference To oppose occupation 1967 or to wish jewish israelis genocide >(what antizionism IS about)

<< Zionism has NOTHING to do with Judaism:<<

who give a shit ??

right,
antizionism IS an abomination against humanity..





by kalee
Saturday Jan 10th, 2004 9:19 PM
Wow. After hearing about it on the global discussion lists, I was wondering about the politics of the "new" indybay collective. Now I see that apparently comments speaking along the lines of nefarious jewish media conspiracies and why the problem in Israel is because of american jews are a-ok by the editors here.

What next? Maybe a feature quoting the text of the Elders of Zion?

This is absolute racist crap. I've been involved in Indymedia for a little over a year now, and while I've seen some questionable editorial decisions in the past, this is the first time I've actually been ashamed to be affiliated with another collective in the network.

And yes, when you have an editorial policy to remove racist remarks, and yet the editorial group keeps this up, the IMC group is absolutely open to critique.

Finally, take the time to actually look at polling data. Actually american jews, as a group, do not advocate supporting Israel at a rate very disporportionate to the rest of the public.

But you go on now. Blame it all on the jews.

Shame on you.

by nonanarchist
Sunday Jan 11th, 2004 6:31 AM
"Israel is a racist, apartheid state."

And that's a sufficient reason to oppose it...if it's true. I won't discuss the reality of the assertion here.

Yet, much of the Arab world commits the same sins...often in greater measure...yet not one word is spoken against these transgressions.

There is a country where practitioners of a certain religion are FORBIDDEN BY LAW from even existing in.

There is a country where women are systematically oppressed and treated as property. They cannot appear on the street alone and may not drive.

Symbols of religions other than the official one are forbidden to be shown in public.

Flogging and amputation are common punishments for relatively minor violations of the law.

Foreign workers may not form trade unions, strike or engage in collective bargaining. They must surrender their passports to their sponsors, limiting their freedom of movement.

Dissent is not tolerated. One opposition activist was beheaded.

Four British citizens were tried in secret and sentenced to jail and flogged. The worst sentence was 2 1/2 years in jail and 500 lashes. British authorities were not notified until 5 days afer the trial.

What is this country? Saudi Arabia. Yet, for some reason, after a year of looking at IndyMedia, I have NEVER seen one word of condemnation from the oh-so-compassionate Left of the repressive Saudi theocracy. Yet every day I am treated to descriptions of Israel that makes it sound like hell on Earth.

Why is that, I wonder? There are countries FAR more oppressive than Israel, but no one seems to be concerned about them. Could someone please explain that to me? And don't try to tell me Israel is the worst of the lot; that's patently ridiculous.

Someone up above said that progressives need to be concerned with ALL oppressed peoples. I disagree; EVERYONE needs to be concerned.

Yet until progressives denounce societies than Israel's, your concern rings hollow, and you leave your motives wide open for questioning.
by Hai amin-al-husseini
(Rdeckland588 [at] aol.com) Saturday Feb 14th, 2004 9:52 AM
Try reading the above, and wake up to the truth.You are a lot of sheep following along after Arab propaganda!

Deckland