ISRAHELL: Israeli butchery at sea

As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured. Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.

For days the Israeli government prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters.

Make no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of it all the way along. What happened yesterday wasn’t just a pirate terrorist attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it happened in the dark.

Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was praying all night for our brothers and sisters. At 5am GMT the news broke to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and injuring everything around them.

Today we will see demonstrations around the world; we will see many events mourning our dead. We may even see some of Israel’s friends ‘posturing’ against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.

The massacre that took place was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’ expands with the more dead it leaves behind.

The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society.

It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on Israel and its citizens. The massacre was committed by a popular army that followed instructions given by a ‘democratically elected’ government.

Considering the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish, Turkish and Greek flags, both NATO members and EU countries must immediately cease their relationships with Israel and close their airspace to Israeli airplanes.

Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely. Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter; Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.

REf: Al jazeera

— Gilad Atzmon (gilad.co.uk) is an Israeli-born writer and jazz musician living in London. He had previously served in the Israeli military but he is currently an anti-racism campaigner. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America.

Israel Re-brands Oppression

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There has been an ad on television recently, one featuring a young couple walking or drifting into a place of enchantment, a warm and colourful fantasy world, a kind of biblical Disneyland. Every step of their brief journey is met by people smiling warmly, moving slowly, even bowing, greeting them at each turn with Shalom!.

It is interesting that all the faces in the ad are the same kind of faces we might see in New York or London, except that here they are all bathed in glowing antique light. We see no harsh fundamentalist types cutting down someone else’s olive groves and cursing anyone, even other Jews, as interlopers. We certainly see no arrogant settlers, strutting around with machine guns, sneering at the camera.

The couple quick-cuts their way through pleasant scene after scene – images of ancient middle-eastern streets and buildings and finally a man watering a garden, back-lighted by sun so that each drop he sprays is seen like blessing making the desert bloom.

We see no check-points bristling with guns, no razor-wire, no concrete wall dwarfing Berlin’s fabled one. We see no Palestinians, indeed, no one resembling an Arab. We see no endless line-ups at check points with poor people waiting around for hours just to do the business of their lives or go to hospital. We hear no soldiers cursing and abusing them.

We see no images of the giant open-air prison that is Gaza nor the slow, inhumane siege that grips the place night and day, making it close to impossible for a million and a half souls to cloth themselves and eat and enjoy basic amenities. We certainly see no Hellfire missiles incinerating people as one did just the other day, murdering six without a hint of legality.

No, there’s the handsome young couple briefly, dreamily drifting through sunny fantasy, the woman with lovely, frizzled long red hair glowing in the sun.

That last image of the smiling man sprinkling a sun-filled patch of garden reminded me of another piece of film, an historical oddity recently brought to light.

The other film was similar in many respects despite being 70 years old and in black and white. It was done for similar purposes. It was made on the occasion of Germany’s upcoming Olympic Games in 1936, and the satanic genius of marketing, Joseph Goebbels, saw the need to reassure visitors about Germany’s treatment of the Jews.

You see, while the Holocaust was years away in 1936, and even the murders and burning and pillaging of Kristallnacht were yet two years away, there still had been a lot of ugly and brutal behavior towards Germany’s Jews, generating nasty press coverage abroad. The Nazis were concerned lest the “bad press” keep tourists away from what was planned as the most grandiose Olympics to date.

The old film offers a fantasy version of the Nazis’ treatment of German Jews. It shows a happy village of re-located Jews with people walking about and looking pleasant and doing pleasant things. In particular, there is a scene of Jews carrying huge watering cans, happily sprinkling large, lush gardens. Well, the film is inferior in quality to the 2008 film from Israel, three-quarters of a century later, but one could be excused for thinking that someone in Israel got his or her inspiration from Dr. Goebbels’ film.

But maybe not: like conditions tend to breed like ideas and actions, over and over again across nations and eras. History is regularly forgotten, its main stories re-staged with new directors and lists of characters, and rarely have I seen a more striking example than Israel’s current re-branding effort.

Now, a new ad has appeared, this one with visiting children going through a different sequence of glowing images. Gone is the woman with the red hair. A series of ads may always have been intended, but I couldn’t help thinking perhaps the ad with the beautiful red hair had been pulled because it reminded too many viewers of Rachel Corrie. She was a real visitor to Israel, a sweet-tempered, innocent young woman, and she had strawberry-blond hair, at least before she was rendered into pulp by an Israeli D-9 armored bulldozer, diverted momentarily in its work of smashing Arab homes.

That’s not the kind of image you want in your re-branding effort for sure.

Ref: Palestine Chronicle

-John Chuckman lives in Canada and is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

We fought APARTHEID: We see no reasons to celebrate it in Israel now!!!

End The Occupation South Africa sends a message out to supporters of the Palestinian liberation movement. Our advertisement as it appears on page 41 of the Citizen (15 May 2008) is reproduced below:

Mayor to raise funds for E. J’lem Arabs to block Hamas

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski is planning to enlist world Jewry in a fund-raising drive for East Jerusalem’s Arabs, in a bid to counter Hamas influence in local schools. The money will be used mainly for educational projects in the east of the capital, where an acute classroom shortage means many pupils end up in schools identified with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

“It should be a national imperative that every East Jerusalem child has access to a state school,” Lupolianski said Thursday .

Jerusalem officials said the drive is the first such attempt to enlist world Jewry to help the capital’s Arab community.
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“The state should finance schools. But we’re losing many pupils because we lack hundreds of classrooms. Consequently, the pupils go to schools supervised by Fatah and Hamas instead. We may see the outcome in the years to come,” Lupolianski said.

The mayor’s first goal is to raise contributions for a science magnet school in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood for 1,000 outstanding students.

“As mayor of Jerusalem, which is also Israel’s largest Arab city, It is my duty to provide schools for the children of 250,000 Arab residents,” Lupolianski said.

Jerusalem lobby chair MK Colette Avital (Labor), who is collaborating with Lupolianski, has raised $3 million from Jewish British donors for schools in East Jerusalem.

“East Jerusalem’s population is largely peace-seeking and loyal, but given the state of education, we have no assurance that this will be so in the future,” he said.

“Our schools in the east part of the city are in demand due to their high standards. Their graduates contribute to Israel’s economy,” he said.

Municipal officials said that most Jewish communities prefer donating to “Zionist” projects.

Lupolianski has put together a portfolio to present to Jewish communities abroad during his next fund-raising trip next month. He is expected to tell them that building schools in East Jerusalem is an important national-Zionist task in order to preserve the city’s image and maintain good relations with the Arab community.

Avital said Thursday that she tried to advance East Jerusalem’s education system in various ways, but encountered numerous obstacles.

Three new schools are being opened in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud and Umm Lison neighborhoods, part of the city’s NIS 66 million investment in new classrooms for the 2009-2010 school year. However, this will not be enough to meet the growing demand created by a high birthrate and migration from the territories.

Ref: Haaretz

What is a Crime Against Humanity?

How would Israel and USA do in  any Crime Against Humanity rating??

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Leaders respond to Gaza assault

Miliband has urged restraint [EPA]
Israel has been pounding the Hamas-run Gaza Strip for the past five days, leaving more than 100 people dead.

The international community, led by the US and the UK, has voiced concern and urged both sides to step back from the brink to ensure the peace process is not derailed.

Below are some of the comments from leaders around the world.

David Miliband, the British foreign secretary

“I condemn the rocket attacks against Israel. These are terrorist acts. They [attacks] should be seen for what they are – an attempt to break the political process by breaking the will of those committed to peace. That cannot be allowed to happen.
All sides in the conflict, and the international community, need to judge their actions by the need to keep the political process alive.

I support the UN secretary-general’s call for all parties to step back from the brink of even deeper and more deadly clashes.”

Gordon Johndroe, National Security Council spokesman, speaking to reporters at President George Bush’s ranch in Texas.

“The violence needs to stop and the talks need to resume.”

Saudi government official speaking to the official SPA news agency.

“Saudi Arabia, which condemns the Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people and the threats of Israeli officials to turn Gaza into an inferno, sees that Israel, through its actions, is copying the war crimes of the Nazis.”

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president

“The negotiations are suspended, as are all contacts on all levels, because in light of the Israeli aggression such communication has no meaning.”

Karen Abu Zayd, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).<br>

“I am horrified by the violence engulfing Gaza, where the death toll of innocent civilians, including children, rises each hour.”

Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator

“The negotiations are buried under the houses that were destroyed in Gaza. The peace process has been destroyed because of the aggressions and the crimes that have been committed.”

Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International

“We condemn all attacks on civilians, but unlawful attacks by one side cannot justify violations by the other. Israel’s attacks this week display a degree of disproportion and recklessness which has so often characterised Israeli military attacks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in recent years.”

The first time I was called a self-hating Jew

he first person to call me a self-hating Jew was my father. It was in the autumn of 1967. Dad was 39, a successful businessman who was also, along with my mother, active in the US civil rights and anti-war movements. I was the oldest of his five children and had already, at age 14, intoxicated by the ideals of justice and equality, begun my career as a footsoldier of the left. It was not only the first time I had been called a self-hating Jew, it was the first time the phrase, the idea, entered my consciousness, and it was a shock.

As a young man, against the family grain, my father had taken an interest in social and especially racial justice and at college was drawn to the Communist party, which is how he met my mother, who was the product of a very different strand of the New York Jewish tapestry. This was in the heyday of anti-communist hysteria, of which my parents were first victims, then accomplices. After giving a speech against the Korean war at a student conference in Prague in 1950, dad was denounced as a traitor. His passport was seized. His father told the press that if his son had said such things, he was no son of his. It was in this period, I think, that he came to rely implicitly on my mother, the girlfriend who stood by his side when his life seemed most precarious.

They were married in 1952 and a year later I was born. Shortly after that, the FBI came knocking on the door. After months of pressure, from his own family as much as from the repressive organs of the state, my father, with my mother by his side, just as before, agreed to name names. “To this day we regret the mutual decision we made,” my mother wrote. “It has been a source of incredible pain and shame.” When my father, 45 years after the event, lay dying, sapped by chronic pain and humiliating dependence, he went over it yet again, as he had with me many times. “I fucked it up,” he moaned. There was no absolution anyone could give him. All the other contributions he had made seemed outweighed by this ineradicable betrayal.

In the early 60s, having a wife and five kids, a big suburban home and a blossoming career as a real estate developer, was not enough, and he and my mother threw themselves into the struggle in the American south, raising money, organising meetings, sheltering young activists, supporting boycotts and pickets. In 1964, my dad went to Mississippi to deliver supplies to the beleaguered grassroots movement. It was a frightening time: they were now killing whites as well as blacks. Years later I learned that my mother was furious with my father over this adventure. She told him he was trying to compensate for his earlier sin, that he had no right to put his life at risk, to put this need for redemption above his obligation to his children. But in my eyes, the Mississippi visit, followed by his participation in the Selma march for voting rights in Alabama a year later, made my father a hero, along with the other heroes of the movement, which for me in those days included everyone from Martin Luther King to Stokely Carmichael.

All of which partly – but only partly – explains why, when he lowered the boom on me in the autumn of 1967 by suggesting I was a self-hating Jew, it came as an uncushioned blow, an attack out of nowhere, or out of a place of which I was previously unaware.

Initially, I was anxious about going to a new synagogue. I didn’t know what to expect as we turned down the driveway. The building was purpose-built and sleekly modern, the parking lot crammed with station wagons. Dad escorted me to my classroom, where, at once, I felt relief. The room was filled with kids I knew from school. There was the one who played quarterback, the one who made funny noises, the one who had all the Batman comic books. So they were Jewish too. I hadn’t known that. There was a map of Israel alongside a map of the US, but apart from that it looked like the classrooms I knew from school, with colourful posters and a big blackboard.

I felt at home. We all did. We were the most comfortable Jews that had ever walked the planet. Not for us the longing of exile, the pain of dispersal. We were Americans in America. And we were, in particular, suburban American Jewish kids in the early 1960s, blithely self-confident about our privileges and our position in the world. Sublimely safe. That was the beginning of my eight years of Reform Jewish education, which sputtered to an end when I was 15 and declared, in my confirmation speech, that God was dead and man was condemned to be free.

From an early age I conceived of myself as a rationalist and though I made spasmodic efforts at belief, I never felt a divine presence. During “prayer”, I was acutely aware of the gap between what I was supposed to be thinking and what was actually going through my head. But in the end what alienated me from the synagogue was not the make-believe of the afterlife or the all-seeing omnipotence of an invisible God. Not in this synagogue. Here the absolutes were kept in the background. God was there, mentioned in the prayers, but he had been discreetly updated and denatured. No one seemed overconcerned about his judgment.

So what was the creed we were taught in Sunday school? It was not about God. It was about the Jews. A singular people who had given wonderful gifts to the world and whom the world had treated cruelly. A people who were persecuted. A people who survived. A people who triumphed. Despite the Holocaust, we were not a nation of losers, of victims. There was a redemptive denouement. There was Israel, a modern Jewish homeland, a beacon to the world. A shiny new state with up-to-date, Coke-drinking people like us. Liberals, like us. Bearers of democracy and civilisation, making the desert bloom. A little America in the Middle East.

Israel was both our own cause, a Jewish cause, and a moral cause, a universal cause. Like America. A land without people for a people without land. Like America. That was the gift we received in Sunday school – an extra country. For us there were two nations and, best of all, we didn’t have to choose between them. As Jews and Americans, we enjoyed a double birthright and a double privilege. The coming home of the Jews to the land of our forefathers completed the epic saga stretching back to Genesis and ensured it ended with a huge upswing in mood. From near-annihilation in the Holocaust to the pride of statehood in a few short years. We took this less as a sign of the divine inspiration of the ancient prophets than as another manifestation of the order and justice that generally prevailed in our world. A testament to progress and the Jewish mastery of progress.

Thanks to America and Israel, the Jews were safe at last. We could visit Israel and work on a kibbutz, like a grown-up summer camp. We were taught to revere Ben Gurion and his heir, the Jewish-American farm girl Golda Meir. In our Sunday school textbooks the Israelis looked like us. And the country they were building looked familiar, with modern buildings and girls in jeans. These were Jews who read books but also drove tractors and tanks.

As always, the Jews had enemies. Israel was menaced by Arabs (not Palestinians, a word never uttered in our synagogue). They were exotically attired bedouin – people who did not have or want a home. In our Sunday school texts, they appeared swarthy, coarse, ignorant, duplicitous. These descendants of Pharaoh and the Philistines seemed curiously ungrateful and irrational. For no reason at all, they hated us.

I was intrigued by the Jewish holidays. Simchas Torah, a year marked out in chapters of a book. Succoth, the Jewish Thanksgiving, a harvest festival, a deeply exotic idea to kids who knew food only from supermarkets. Purim, the revenge of integrity. Yom Kippur disturbed me (I knew I should atone for something but wasn’t sure what), but Pesach was special. The matzoh balls and latkes my grandmother brought. Elijah’s cup. Most of all, it was the story that pulled me in – that epic of liberation, with the oppressed triumphing over their oppressors, right over might. An intoxicating narrative, as exciting and satisfying as the food. People should be careful when they teach this stuff to kids. It sinks in deeper than they realise. It can even turn someone against the land promised them in the Pesach story.

For several years I took twice-weekly Hebrew lessons in preparation for my barmitzvah. Then came a year of lavish celebrations, services, dinners, dances, in marquees on suburban lawns and ballrooms in midtown hotels. Mountains of gifts. Cheques or bonds or little stakes in IBM or ITT. Compared to some, my barmitzvah was a low-key affair; my mother disapproved of the conspicuous display made by our neighbours. I got the cheques, I got a set of left-handed golf clubs, but better yet I got elegant illustrated editions of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man and Thoreau’s Walden.

Within weeks of my barmitzvah, every word of Hebrew vanished from my head. The language had been learned solely to complete a public performance, a rite, that had little meaning for me. I certainly did not feel that I had become a man, an adult, a member of a congregation, that I was enfranchised. Instead, I began to look for and find some of that sense of growth, of emergence as an autonomous human being, in politics, in the world of the left, in battles against racism and for civil liberties. Soon I just could not stop talking about the Vietnam war and how it was wrong on every count. This, in 1966, did not make me popular. So why was I so determined to pursue the course? Was I just showing off, calling attention to myself? Yes, I was. But there were other ways to do that and I did not choose them.

In Sunday school, Israel’s victory in the 1967 six-day war was a great moment of Jewish pride. I don’t remember much thanking of God, and no mourning for the victims on either side, just a sustained note of elated triumph. To cap all our other Jewish achievements, to confirm our eminence, we had proved ourselves masters in war. Six days to defeat Arab armies attacking from all sides, to sweep across the Sinai, unite Jerusalem, drive the enemy back across the Jordan. No one spoke then, not in my hearing, of the beginning of an occupation. We had redrawn the lines on the map. That was our prerogative. That was justice. We were unbeatable and we were righteous. Israel married moral virtue and military strength – another sign that we lived in an age of order and progress. When a friend who liked to tease me about my anti-Vietnam war views suggested I might not support Israel against the Arabs, I was outraged and offended.

I’m not sure exactly when or how I began to doubt. But I remember what happened the first time I expressed that doubt. It was a few months after the ’67 war. A special visitor came to our Sunday school class. He was in his early 20s, with thick fair hair falling over his forehead, a snappy sports jacket and polished loafers. Some of the girls whispered that he was cute. He had an accent but it was nothing like our grandparents’ accents. He looked and dressed like us but he had been a soldier in a war and that made him an alien being. Smiling, he perched himself casually on the front of the teacher’s desk and told us about the remarkable achievements of the Israeli army. He told us that the Arabs had planned a sneak attack but had met with more than they bargained for. They were bad fighters, undisciplined soldiers. And they were better off now, under Israeli rule. “You have to understand these are ignorant people. They go to the toilet in the street.”

Now something akin to this I had heard before. I had heard it from the white southerners I’d been taught to look down upon. I had heard it from people my parents and my teachers described as prejudiced and bigoted. So I raised my hand and when called upon I expressed my opinion, as I’d been taught to do. It seemed to me that what our visitor had said was, well, racist.

I felt the eyes of the teacher and the other kids turn on me. They were used to me spouting radical opinions but this time I had gone too far. Angrily, the teacher told me I didn’t have any idea what I was saying and that there would be no discourtesy to guests in his classroom. The young Israeli ranted bitterly about Arab propaganda and how the Israelis treated the Arabs better than any of the Arab rulers did.

I can’t remember how long it was after that that I decided to share this experience and my thoughts on it with my family. This was something I was usually encouraged to do. We were sitting around the dinner table – all seven of us. I launched into my story about the Israeli in Sunday school and how what he said was racist. I had been thinking about the matter and now added, for my family’s benefit, a further opinion. It was wrong for one country to take over another, or part of another, by military force. If the US was wrong in Vietnam – and that was a given around our dinner table – then Israel was wrong in taking over all that Arab land. I was reasoning by analogy, and nobody had yet told me that some analogies were off limits.

For some time I remained unaware that my father was listening to me not with approval but with rising fury. When he barked, “Enough already!” the shift was disturbingly abrupt. Like my Sunday school teacher, he made me feel that I had said something obscene. Then he drew a breath and seemed to soften. “I think you need to look at why you’re saying what you’re saying,” he said, and then the softness vanished. “There’s some Jewish self-hatred there.”

I felt then – and still feel now, when I look back – deeply and frustratingly misunderstood. My motives had nothing to do with self-hatred or any feeling about being Jewish. Nor did they have anything to do with compassion for a people – the Palestinians – about whom I knew nothing. I was merely following, as best I could, and in typical 14-year-old fashion, what seemed to be the dictates of logic. If in following them, the results appeared to defy assumptions, then that just made them more curious and compelling. Judging people by their colour or religion was wrong. Racism – making a generalisation about a whole people, stereotyping a whole people – was wrong. Taking over other countries was wrong, even if they attacked you (it was years before I learned that it was Israel that had launched this war, justified at the time by Abba Eban, American liberal Jewry’s favourite Israeli, as a “pre-emptive” strike). Among the shibboleths I was brought up on was the belief that “my country right or wrong” was wrong. No one liked to insist more than my dad that if you really loved your country you criticised its flaws. Surely that also applied to religion, and “my religion right or wrong” must also be wrong. I was only trying to apply general principles to a particular case. An exercise in logic. An exercise in teenage stubbornness. But I was unprepared for the response, with its implication that I did not know myself, coming from my father’s lips. An attack on my selfhood.

I was startled and bewildered by the phrase “Jewish self-hatred”. I didn’t know what it meant. I hadn’t imagined that Jews would hate themselves, or that anyone would think that I hated myself. The charge seemed so far-fetched, yet so personal. And so bitterly unfair. Burning from head to toe, I threw down knife and fork and left the table in a huff, pounding up the stairs to my room, where I hurled myself on my bed and wrestled with my frustration.

Some might by now have concluded that the roots of my anti-Zionism lie in oedipal trauma. For sure, this was a deeply distressing incident. Later, I looked back on it as my first political disagreement with my father. Later still, as one of a number of raw episodes in our relationship, most of which had nothing to do with politics. Now, looking again at the history behind this incident, I see more clearly why the opinions I was expressing would have infuriated nearly everyone in my father’s milieu in those days. To me, they were a logical development from the agreed shared ground of democratic liberalism, but to liberals of my father’s generation they were an insolent abrogation of that shared ground. Without in the least intending to, I had breached a taboo.

Today, as cracks show in the presumed monolith of Jewish backing for Israel, increasing numbers of Jews are interrogating and rejecting Zionism. Nonetheless, the existence of anti-Zionist Jews strikes many people – Jews and non-Jews – as an anomaly, a perversity, a violation of the first clause in the ethical aphorism of Hillel, the first-century rabbi and doyenne of Jewish teachings: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

Zionism is an ideology and a political movement. As such it is open to rational dispute. Jews, like others, might view the Jewish claim to Palestine as irrational, anachronistic, and intrinsically unjust. They might consider the Jewish state to be discriminatory or racist or might object – on political, philosophical, or even specifically Jewish grounds – to any state based on the supremacy of a particular religious or ethnic group. As Jews, they might reject the idea that Jewish people constitute a “nation”, or at least a “nation” of the type that can or should become a territorial nation-state. Or they might have concluded on the basis of an examination of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians that the underlying cause of the conflict was the ideology of the Israeli state.

Any or all of the above should be sufficient to explain why some Jews would become anti-Zionists. But that doesn’t stop critics from placing us firmly in the realm of the irredeemably neurotic. Whenever Jews speak out against Israel, their motives, their representativeness, their authenticity as Jews are questioned. We are pathologised. For only a psychological aberration, a neurotic malaise, could account for our defection from Israel’s cause, which is presumed to be our own cause.

Anti-Zionist Jews are not and do not claim to be any more authentic or representative than any other Jews, nor is their protest against Israel any more valid than a non-Jew’s. But “If I am not for myself”, then the Zionists will claim to be for me, will usurp my voice and my Jewishness. Since each Israeli atrocity is justified by the exigencies of Jewish survival, each calls forth a particular witness from anti-Zionist Jews, whose very existence contradicts the Zionist claim to speak for all Jews everywhere.

Ref: the Guardian
· This is an edited extract from If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew, by Mike Marqusee, published by Verso at £15.99. To order a copy for £14.99 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0870 836 0875