- A tale of two schools
- 'NYT' story on anti-Zionists says their 'dual loyalty' prophecy has come to pass
- US tax dollars at work in Egypt
- Internet is undermining the authority & status of academics and journalists before our eyes
- A: Because they differ on the only issue he cares about, Israel
- Israel seizes oxygen tanks bound for Palestinian hospitals
- Three US Presidents' failure to effect right of return calls on Jews to examine our role in society
- 'Zio-pressure' reportedly scotches anti-Zionist musicians' church gig in Rochester, N.Y.
- NYT describes Jewish terrorism as 'romantic'
- Dual loyalty ha ha
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 09:53 AM PDT
When plans were announced in February 2007 to open the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), New York City's first dual-language Arabic public school, ugly anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia reared its head.
Yesterday, the New York Times profiled a Brooklyn-based Hebrew language charter school. There has been barely a peep about this school--a stark reminder of the privilege Jewish-Americans hold in our society and how racism against Arabs is an accepted part of our national discourse.
Here's an excerpt from a great New York Times profile by Andrea Elliott of KGIA's founding principal Debbie Almontaser about the concocted controversy:
One of the more pernicious, and completely false, charges against KGIA was that the school had a political agenda to indoctrinate students to believe in "radical Islam."
The Hebrew-language charter school, on the other hand, does have politics, namely Zionism, infused into it:
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 09:28 AM PDT
This piece on the renewal of American anti-Zionism, by Samuel G. Freedman in the Religion column of the New York Times, includes the usual disclaimer, and some religious hokey-pokey too, but it is fair and important. I wonder if Freedman is not secretly sickened by the news from Jaffa Road.
Freedman quotes Steve Naman and Allen Brownfeld of the American Council for Judaism--that lion of Judaism during the Partition era. The most exciting paragraph in the story is this one:
What does this mean? It means the accusations re the Iraq war as a war for Israel's security have traction even in conventional thinking; it means that Eric Alterman's admission of dual loyalty, and Alterman's calling out Ruth Wisse for demanding dual loyalty of American Jewish youth, and John Judis's accusation of the prevalence of dual loyalty in the U.S. Jewish leadership, and Jeffrey Goldberg's coy equivocations around it, and Robert Kraft's wife Myra's blurting that she wants her sons to fight for Israel not the U.S. (Kraft is a big contributor to Freedman's school, Columbia), and Elliott Abrams's statement that Jews must stand apart in whatever country they live in except Israel, Abrams who worked in the White House as he believed this-- these statements have had an effect, they are undismissible. Now, when the Iraq war is well behind us. (Oh and yes a lot of non-Jews said this too, but got railroaded). I always said that one day the Center for Jewish History would have a debate about the Jewish contribution to the Iraq war disaster on its stage, which Freedman has spoken on. That day hastens.
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 07:56 AM PDT
This is where US tax dollars are spent: propping up a ruthlessly violent Egyptian regime that doesn't respect human rights, civil society, and democracy: at Foreign Policy, Soha Abdelaty reports on the tyranny of Egypt's emergency laws.
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 07:56 AM PDT
Yesterday I did a post about the humiliation of Jews and Palestinians that quoted Geoffrey Wawro's new book, and a passage in which Wawro wrote that Hitler's party won a majority in the 1932 elections in Germany.
Within an hour or two I got two notes, from Mark Wauck and Harry Clark, telling me that Wawro was wrong, that Hitler did not win a majority in the '32 elections. I promptly posted Wauck's correction.
I think this is important. Wawro is a big deal academic with a fancy endowed chair. Clark is a civilian, a writer and amateur historian. So is Wauck, a blogger and wideranging reader.
Yet on the playing field of the internet, the two amateurs put the ball in the back of the net, and Wawro didn't.
This is an important moment. The internet is demonstrating that knowledge, and the assembly of facts to make an argument, are not what I grew up thinking them to be, the sovereign province of academics and journalists who went to fancy schools and networked and yes, worked hard, but created professional/
No, all human beings can acquire knowledge, and many of them are really good at expressing that knowledge.
In time this radical democratization of the means of expression will undermine traditional status in universities and the mainstream media, and income as well. As I say here often, the internet is doing to those priesthoods what the printing press did to the clerical establishment. It's amazing to watch.
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 07:45 AM PDT
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 07:24 AM PDT
Land Theft/Ethnic Cleansing
Israel's Likud approves West Bank settlement growth (AFP)
Series of bomb attacks hit Iraq
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 07:21 AM PDT
When we hear someone call for the "right of return," we tend to think the speaker is a Palestinian solidarity activist or a radical who doesn't believe that Israel has a right to exist. How many of us understand that for many years, American presidents of both parties also called for the right of return, as essential to the American interest in stability in the Middle East?
I certainly didn't know this till I read Victor Kattan's book showing that the Truman administration had opposed the "brutal" Israeli policy toward the refugees in the late 1940s--but did very little about supporting the refugees in the end. Well now I am reading Geoffrey Wawro's new book Quicksand and I came on several passages about presidential stances on the right of return of Palestinian refugees. They show that over three decades, Truman, Kennedy and Nixon all felt that the return was important. And of course the U.N. has called for the return of the refugees again and again.
Why then didn't it happened? Read the passages from Wawro:
It is clear from Wawro's book (and, regarding Truman, reading Michael Cohen's book, Truman and Israel, which anatomizes Zionist lobbying) that both Truman and Kennedy were forstalled by domestic political pressures levied by political aides-- usually Jewish aides who were sympathetic to Zionism--the nascent Israel lobby. In Truman's case this included the refrain that Democrats had lost seats during the '46 Congressional elections because he was trying to be evenhanded in Palestine. In time, Kennedy complained of Zionist "control" being exercised by Jewish donors, via bundler Abe Feinberg, who had huge access to the White House following his work to save Kennedy's chestnuts in the '60 election.
In time, Nixon would express rage over "domestic political considerations" playing any part in his Middle East policy.
What the extracts show is that as there was no overarching American interest in supporting Partition in the first place, neither was there such an interest in denying the human rights of the refugees. There was a special interest, which many influential American Jews shared. And the refugees were blocked from returning, and the issue festers.
This is the reason that I continually state that the absence of a Palestinian state is a Jewish political achievement—63 years after it was first promised. The other amazing lesson about the passages is that the exact same political constellation holds in our politics today, only today it is both more powerful and more openly scrutinized. The access that Eddie Jacobson, A.J. Granoff and Max Lowenthal and Rabbi Stephen Wise had with Truman is echoed today in the presence in the corridors of the Obama White House of Rahm Emanuel and Lee Rosenberg and Michael Froman, all Zionists.
What is also obvious is that this political constellation has never produced peace, it is incapable of it, it is one sided. But I believe that this is the way that American Jews have come to understand power. We are a tiny minority, we have little choice but to exercise it via our own cultural gifts—elite gifts of prestige, financial success, and access.
As I frequently say, this way of exercising influence worked for my ancestors in the 1890s when the nascent Jewish lobby of financiers convinced Presidents Cleveland and Roosevelt to pressure the Russians to free my people. And a good thing.
But it hasn't worked in the Palestine question. It has produced an imbalanced policy again and again. The next generation of American Jews must ask themselves if this is the way. I believe, as Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli pilot said last week to a Jewish audience in New York, that the only way out of the mess is if Palestinians at last lead, if Jews give up their exceptionalist ideas about themselves and take the lead from Palestinians, who know the issue better than we do.
This is true when it comes to the right of return. It is Israel's "nightmare scenario," as a friend once put it it to me. But it is a basic idea of human rights, and one that the United States sought to enforce again and again, and I would argue that presidential policy was nullified. And of course the issue festers, and resonates in the Palestinian Diaspora, most of whom, by the way, would not elect to return but are damned if they will give away that right.
I don't think it is so hard for Jews to get their heads around the idea of Palestinian return. For an obvious reason: The Jewish state, which so many Jews still believe in, was politically constructed out of the suffering of Jewish refugees in Europe. I don't think it can be politically redeemed until it accepts the rights of the Palestinian refugees. Notice I am not talking about a Jewish state or a binational state or actual numbers of folks who would return; I am talking about recognition of a basic human rights issue, ignored forever.
A right that so many of our presidents recognized. It seems to me that this history is a strong argument for Jews of conscience to reject power politics, and begin to trust the grass roots.
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 06:27 AM PDT
Rich Siegel is a New Jersey musician whom we wrote about a few weeks back in connection with being harassed for his bumperstickers. He sends along the following report. I'm leaving out some of the phone numbers because... well, the enterprising can be enterprising on their own.
I have just been informed that a concert and presentation that was scheduled to be given this coming Tuesday night at First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY, by jazz saxophonist and noted Israeli Anti-Zionist Gilad Atzmon, and myself, is being canceled due to pressure from a local rabbi.
The concert was organized and promoted by Dan McGowan, founder and chairman of Deir Yassin Remembered, along with a second concert in Geneva, NY, which is going on as scheduled on Wednesday night. Dan was given two reasons for the concert cancellation: 1) that there are going to be activities in adjacent rooms and the noise level of the concert would interfere, and 2) admitted pressure from Rabbi Laurence A. Kotok of Temple B'rith Kodesh to cancel the event. Reason 1 was hardly believable, as the concert has been planned for about two months. Surely someone would have thought of this.
Dan was very smart and gave them the opportunity to have the event at a different venue, or to take the music out of the event and make it just spoken presentations given by the three of us- Dan, Gilad, and myself. He was turned down. So it is clear that the real reason for the cancellation is Zio-pressure.
The parties who are caving to Zio-pressure are as follows:
John Keevert, chair of local Social Justice Council, co-sponsor of the event.
Ron Johnson, representative of First Unitarian Church, co-sponsor and venue for the event.
The First Unitarian Church, Co-Ministers, Scott Taylor and Kaaren Anderson.
Tell them that this event must go on, either at the church or at another venue in Rochester- that they must not let Zio-pressure kick us out of Rochester.
The rabbi who has instigated this cancellation is Rabbi Laurence A. Kotok of Temple B'rith Kodesh.
Tell them that Jewish Anti-Zionists have the same right to free speech as everyone else, and that their attempt to squash our free speech is a disgrace. Thank you, -Rich Siegel
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 06:03 AM PDT
From an interview of Tzipi Livni in the NYT magazine, in which the raid on the Mavi Marmara is described as "tragic." I've met interviewer Deborah Solomon, smart lady; I wonder whether she was inoculated, as I was, by Zionism, and to what degree. This is typically one-sided.
Remember that the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel, killing 90-odd civilians, and ethnically-cleansed Deir Yassin and later Jaffa, where Palestinians were literally forced into the sea. As my tipster notes: If Livni's parents had been Palestinian, it would have been labeled "terrorism." Remember that Hamas is being isolated and the people of Gaza starved in part because Hamas brigades have smuggled weapons into the Strip.
Posted: 26 Jun 2010 05:45 AM PDT
Jeffrey Goldberg is often entertaining but I don't find this amusing. It's a riff about someone who threatened Matt Drudge, and Goldberg promptly turns the subject to himself:
I guess that last is a joke. But I'm with Freud on this one, I think it's an admission. As Goldberg himself has said recently, the Iran threat puts American supporters of Israel in a difficult position because they might want to put their Israel support ahead of their American interest and urge an attack on Iran. So he has acknowledged that dual loyalty is a real problem when it comes to Zionists; and when he jokes about this I am only reminded that yes, Virginia, many supporters of the Iraq war surely did so out of concern for Israel's security, not the U.S.'s. From being verboten, this idea is now coming into the edges of the mainstream, David Hirst accepts it in Beware of Small States. And of course all the neocons who supported the war said not a word about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:
Call anytime: 917-974-6367
Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton