The Best of all the worst: Â 4 examples
Roseanne Barr: “Israel is a Nazi state”
Looking to be American Dhimmi of the Year, 2009?
Unfortunately for her, she’s just not that important: “Roseanne Barr – Barr blasts Israel,” fromÂ Contact Music, January 8: via DW
Jewish comedienne ROSEANNE BARR has condemned Israel’s role in the current bloody conflict in the Middle East in a series of rants on her blog and radio show.Â The actress took to the internet and airwaves this week (begs05Jan09) to condemn the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian-held Gaza strip.
On her blog, the outspoken star wrote, “Israel is a Nazi state,” before telling listeners of her California radio show on Tuesday (06Jan08), “Israel has enough money to pay each and every Palestinian to not shoot at them.”
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Excellent news: the rockets Hamas terrorists rain down on Israeli citizens are actually “harmless.” Incredible as this may seem, we know it to be true because we have the word of an intellectually superior being, Ivy League emeritus law professor and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human RightsÂ Richard Falk.
The rocket attacks are only the result of Hamas’s “supposed” unwillingness to stop fighting, and their increased incidence is only “alleged,” so how could they hurt anyone?
Falk has also revealed that wacky conspiracy theorists may be right about 9/11, and that Israelis are like Nazis. The elite has spoken: please calibrate your opinions as necessary.
Enough. It’s time for a boycott
The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa
* Many South Africans would argue they’re no better off under the ANC. Zimbabwe is just around the corner and the weather is nice there this time of year, Naomi…
*Â Where theÂ looney anti-Semite Cynthia McKinney recently failed,Â her close friend in moonbattery, Cindy Sheehan, is looking to finish:Â Cindy Sheehan Planning “Humanitarian Aid” Mission To Hamas In Gaza
This one will leave you speechless:
The worst example of ignorance and stupidity:
“The Gaza massacre”- from the ABC Â (of course)
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John Docker and Ned Curthoys
We are part of an increasing number of people around the world of Jewish descent who are sickened by the coldly calculated massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and who utterly repudiate Israel’s claim that it acts in the name of Jews the world over.
LikeÂ Antony Loewenstein, co-founder ofÂ Independent Australian Jewish Voices, we deplore the ‘myth of Israel’ as perpetual victim and rational peace seeker, and its stranglehold over media reportage of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The massacre in Gaza cries out not only for immediate condemnation but for historical explanation. As scholars working in the fields of genocide studies and research into the long history of European colonization, it seems clear to us that Israel – as in the history of white Australia since 1788 – is a genocidal settler colonial society that since its founding in 1948 continually seeks to destroy the foundations of life of the indigenous Palestinians, their health, dignity, livelihood, personal security, access to education, and political organisation, so that the Palestinians can be replaced by colonizing Zionist settlers.
Recent genocide scholarship has highlighted how much the original definition of genocide (byÂ Raphael LemkinÂ in chapter nine of his 1944 bookAxis Rule in Occupied Europe) linked genocide and colonization as a two stage process of destruction of the home society (not necessarily by physical annihilation qua Nazism) and replacement by the incoming colonizers.Â
Such has been the continuing historical pattern of Israel in relation to the indigenous people of the land. In 1948 the Zionist forces violently drove out over 700,000 Palestinians by deploying ‘admonitory massacres’, as the Israeli historianÂ Ilan PappÃ©Â has evoked in horrific detail in his recentÂ The Ethnic Cleansing of PalestineÂ (2006).Â
PappÃ© details the continuous series of massacres in 1948-49 and sporadically thereafter that the Zionists perpetrated against the Palestinians in order to ‘Judaize’ ethnically-cleansed Palestinian lands.Â
In 1967 the Israeli state conquered the West Bank and Gaza and has aggressively continued a genocidal pattern of replacement and destruction, creating and expanding Jewish settlements, stealing Palestinian land and ghettoizing remaining Palestinian communities, attempting, through a brutal military occupation, to make life humiliating and unbearable for the Palestinians.Â
What we are now witnessing is a form ofÂ settler colonizationÂ reminiscent of nineteenth century Australia, in which a settler colonial ‘logic of elimination’ (to quote historian of settler colonialism,Â Patrick Wolfe) combines massacre and population sequestration (reserves) to incapacitate the sovereign self determination of an indigenous people.Â
Yet indigenous peoples have always resisted the genocidal processes of destruction and replacement that settler colonialism enacts. The indigenous peoples of Australia have magnificently resisted and still do, despite all their historical sufferings.Â
The indigenous Palestinians as a people are also resisting the disaster thatZionismÂ and Israel have brought upon them, thereby providing the continuing possibility of a future coexistence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
The December 2008 Gaza massacre by Zionist Israel poses an intense dilemma for Israel’s organized Jewish supporters and much of the Jewish diaspora, who have for decades cooperated with and been complicit in the ongoing, incremental Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.
Israel is guilty underÂ article II, part CÂ of the United Nations Genocide Convention, in that it intends to destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic group by ‘deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part’.
By physical destruction we do not mean physical annihilation but what the Israeli sociologistÂ Baruch KimmerlingÂ described as theÂ ‘politicide’Â of the Palestinians, the destruction of their political leadership and civic institutions and the attempt to prevent them reproducing themselves through the generations as a sovereign people.
Will the Jews of the world continue to be so supportive, or will they historically disavow genocidal settler colonialism in the Middle East and question their own previous support?Â
Historically, Israel is the imposition of a European nation state, founded on the notion of one people, one religion, one ethnicity, in an area of the world, the Levant, which through the centuries has been a space where Jews, Muslims and Christians have lived together in the same societies.Â
The very idea so precious to Zionism, of Israel as a Jewish state, is absurd, as the great Jewish jurist and Australian governor-general Isaac Isaacs pointed out in the 1940s.Â
What if Australia called itself a Protestant state, immediately making all non-Protestants second class citizens systematically facing abuse, discrimination, and state violence, as Palestinian Israelis do to the present day? Israel/Palestine should become a democratic state, a democracy where all who live in that land are full citizens whatever their religion or ethnicity.Â
The Australian government not that long ago in its apology over the Stolen Generations extended sympathy and understanding to the indigenous people of Australia.Â * Name 10 Australians who were “stolen”-Â parrotingÂ BS doesn’t make it true…
Why doesn’t it extend a similar sympathy to the indigenous people of Palestine? * The “indigenous people of Palestine” are the Jews. The Arabs came later, much later.
Naomi Klein continued:
It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era”. The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.
Every day that Israel poundsÂ GazaÂ brings more converts to the BDS cause – even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves … This international backing must stop.”
Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counter-arguments.
Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis.
The world has tried what used to be called “constructive engagement”. It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon, and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures – quite the opposite. The weapons and $3bn in annual aid the US sends Israel are only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first country outside Latin America to sign a free-trade deal with the Mercosur bloc. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45%. A new deal with the EU is set to double Israel’s exports of processed food. And in December European ministers “upgraded” the EU-Israel association agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.
It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index actually went up 10.7%. When carrots don’t work, sticks are needed.
Israel is not South Africa.
Of course it isn’t. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, backroom lobbying) fail. And there are deeply distressing echoes of apartheid in the occupied territories: the colour-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said the architecture of segregation he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was “infinitely worse than apartheid”. That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.
Why single out Israel when the US, Britain and other western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.
Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less.
This one I’ll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus’s work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.
Our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, emails and instant messages, stretching between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Paris, Toronto and Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start a boycott strategy, dialogue grows dramatically. The argument that boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at each other across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.
Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don’t I know that many of these very hi-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel’s Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, managing director of a British telecom specialising in voice-over-internet services, sent an email to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax: “As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company.”
Ramsey says his decision wasn’t political; he just didn’t want to lose customers. “We can’t afford to lose any of our clients,” he explains, “so it was purely commercially defensive.”
It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it’s precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.
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A version of this column was published in the Nation (thenation.com)