GAZA ONE YEAR LATER: Who Cares About Gaza?

Gaza?  Where’s that?  Have you heard about it recently?  It doesn’t figure on the list of important matters for consideration by the world’s presidents and prime ministers.  It has vanished from the media.  Most people couldn’t care less about a generation of Palestinians who are subjected to viciously inflicted privation by an imperialist nation that has lost touch with humanity.

Most countries, most human beings, with predictable exceptions, condemned Israel for indulging in frenzied savagery during its blitzkrieg on Gaza last December and January. There is no doubt that many of its actions were criminal. For example, there are well-documented instances of use of white phosphorus artillery shells against civilians. Poison gas, in other words – if a bit more hi-tech than the venomous vapors that exterminated so many millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children in Nazi concentration camps.

But Israel, propped up as a strutting jackbooted puppet on the global stage by the well-muscled fingers of Washington and some other capitals whose endorsement of violence seems boundless, can get away, quite literally, with murder.  Innocent men, women and children can be exterminated by armed forces that have no reason to fear justice or even criticism from the world’s juridical system.

A highly respected international jurist, Mr Richard Goldstone (a South African Jew), produced a report for the UN about Israel’s attempted genocide and Hamas atrocities and was impartial and objective about assessing facts and apportioning responsibility, as would be expected of such a distinguished judge.

His terms of reference were “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

He investigated thoroughly (although the Israelis refused to cooperate in any way) and reported fairly. His finding was that Palestinian terror groups were culpable of atrocities, as were Israeli armed forces, and for the latter ruling he was promptly attacked by Israel, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Financial Times.

And by President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration pronounced the report to be “flawed,” without giving any indication of what the flaws might be. Mr Goldstone, courteous and balanced as ever – if a trifle taken aback at such a reaction – observed gently that “I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are . . .  I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are . . . Of course I’m concerned and would like to engage with the Obama administration, at least informally.”

Fat chance of that happening, unless Mr Obama is prepared to risk the wrath of Israel.

But Mr Obama, like his predecessors, isn’t in favor of anything that is critical of Israel.  He wants a second presidential term, after all, and must not offend the rich and dominant Israel Lobby.  And his country’s legislators, who are equally beholden to that Lobby and have to follow the Tel Aviv line, “overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning a report by a United Nations fact-finding panel that criticized Israel as part of an assessment of the conflict in Gaza in 2008 between Israel and Hamas.”  They voted against the report by 344 to 36, thereby showing, like the White House, their contempt for impartial analysis, the UN, the eminent Justice Goldstone, international law, and almost everything that remains civilized in this horrible world.  (And you wonder how many of them read the report before voting.)

Hundreds of legislators in the US and Britain have sold their souls to Israel and will support Tel Aviv in any circumstances.

Britain’s governing Labor Party is right behind Israel, and it is recorded that “The Labor Friends of Israel (LFI), ‘a Westminster based lobby group working within the British Labor Party to promote the State of Israel’ fostered close ties with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined the society upon his premiership.”

After his catastrophic decade as prime minister, Blair,  a squalid, greedy and unprincipled man, and a proven liar, was appointed “Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU,” as which he achieved precisely nothing.  The selection of Blair as a representative to the Middle East was absurd. Nobody could imagine for an instant that his activities would be regarded as impartial – unlike Mr Goldstone – but this didn’t matter, because he had the seal of Israeli approval.

Just as in the US, Israel knows no political borders in Britain, whose present prime minister, an uninspiring and petulant dullard called Brown, declared that :

“it is one of the great privileges I have to be able to address the Labour Friends of Israel, to be able to thank you for everything that you do to promote the cause of justice . . .  I count myself not only a friend of Israel but someone who wants to support the future of Israel.”

“The cause of justice”?

As Judge Goldstone recorded, Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” by intentionally killing civilians during its Gaza blitzkrieg.

But Britain’s prime minister imagines that Israel’s slaughter of over 300 children will “promote the cause of justice.”

And the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party was equally toadying in June when he told the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) fundraising dinner at the Dorchester Hotel that he supported Israel unequivocally, “Not simply because of my party’s unstinting support for Israel through the decades, but also because it’s something I feel very deep inside of me.”

What drivel.  This little man, whose name escapes me, has jumped on the Israeli bandwagon because it means money. 80 per cent of Conservative legislators are members of the CFI, and subsidies for political campaigns from Israel-supporting business organizations are discreetly disguised and happily grasped.

There is hardly a word of criticism of Israel by politicians in the US and the UK, and it’s not at all surprising that this is so, because so many of them couldn’t exist without cash from the Israel Lobby, passed on in one way or another. All the lavish expenses-paid holiday trips to the land of “the cause of justice” are simply confirmation that legislators are out to get whatever they can for free.

And Peace Prize-winning Mr Obama, of whom so many of us had high hopes of even-handedness, has a Secretary of State who told the Israel Lobby “It is wonderful being here with all of you among so many friends and I feel like this is a giant family reunion . . . and I feel like I am among family . . .  I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security . . .  God bless Israel . . .

With servile, bootlicking friends like these, Israel can continue to defy UN Security Council resolutions, it can build scores of illegal settlements on land stolen from Palestinians, it can condemn the people of Gaza – and especially countless thousands of children – to indefinite and hideous hardship.  The state of Israel exists in a wicked and vicious parallel world, bolstered by smug and sleazy western politicians.

Ten years ago Justice Goldstone declared that “bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust.”

Indeed it does.

But when so many politicians and so much of the media in the US and Britain are intent on supporting Zion and ignoring Israel’s repulsive human rights violations, you wonder if the lessons of the Holocaust are perhaps a bit one-sided. The people of Gaza are suffering from the effects of an illegal and malevolent Israeli blockade.  Its people are enduring horrible privation. The crimes against them go unpunished.

And nobody cares.  For it would be very difficult to admit that war crimes have been committed by people who come to your giant family reunions, promoting “the cause of justice.”

Ref: Counterpunch

Brian Cloughley’s book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, is to be published in the US by Skyhorse next month. His website is http://www.beecluff.com.

ISRAELI LOBBY: Urging Goldstone to remove his name from the report of Israeli war crimes

Goldstone Report Grave Danger to Israel

The findings and recommendations of the Goldstone Report on Israel’s operation in Gaza represent a grave danger to Israel’s sovereignty and right to self-defense.

The Anti-Defamation League is calling on Judge Richard Goldstone to repudiate his report.

Join us in adding your voice in opposition to the report.

Read and sign our letter to Judge Richard Goldstone:

Open letter to Judge Richard Goldstone:

I call on you to repudiate your report of investigation into Israel’s operation in Gaza, the Goldstone Report, which seriously undermines Israel’s right to self-defense.

The report has placed Israel and the Jewish people in significant danger. As expected, very little attention is being paid to the limited critique of Hamas in the report. Instead, the report has become the major focal point for action by every anti-Israel force in the world.

The United States and seventeen other countries, including Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Canada and Australia opposed a General Assembly resolution which endorsed the Goldstone Report and propelled it forward for consideration by the Secretary General, the Security Council and the High Contracting Parties of the Geneva Convention.

There are efforts underway to undo the damage. The House passed a resolution calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose any endorsement or further consideration of the Goldstone Report on the Gaza war.

Nothing, however, would be as effective as an announcement that you no longer attach your name to the investigation. I urge you to realize that your report has had a dangerous effect on the good name and security of the Jewish state.

I urge you to remove your name from this report today.

More of this sickness: ADL

No, there are no boundaries for Israel to keep their bloody ethnical cleansing in pace. Nothing is above the right for israelis to steal, murder, slaughter and colonialise. Nothing!

Inside USA – Lobbying for Israel – 05 April 08 – Part 1

Ref: Al Jazeera

More about Israeli Lobby >

pakistan-and-the-israel-lobby
The Chorus of Slander on Palestine – Our Lobby’s Interes
So Who Is Afraid Of the Israeli Lobby?

Cut ‘Sovereign’ Israel Loose

Sometimes President Bush sounds like an idiot. The most recent example is his statement that he still believes the Palestinians and Israelis can reach a peace agreement before the end of his term.

This comes on the heels of an Israeli attack against Gaza that killed more than 100 people, most of them innocent civilians. It was a reprisal attack for a few rockets fired into Israel by some Hamas hotheads. In World War II, when the Germans killed civilians as a reprisal for an attack on their forces, it was called a war crime.

Yet President Bush and the world’s most ineffective secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, can barely force themselves to say, in effect, “Tut, tut, tut. Can’t you folks get along?”

If the Palestinian rockets were slaughtering Israelis, no one could complain. Even an occupying power has a right to defend itself. But these rockets, unguided, more often than not land where people aren’t. According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, only 13 Israelis have been killed by these rockets in the past seven years. Hamas says the rockets are in response to Israeli attacks; the Israelis say the reprisal raid is in response to the rocket attacks.

Such circular action-reactions remind one of the wisecrack that if the world practices the old Hebrew “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” philosophy, the world would soon be blind and toothless. Unless the Israelis are willing to do as the Romans did and exterminate every Palestinian man, woman and child, they can’t kill their way to peace. And neither can the Palestinians.

The guilty party in this dance of death is the Bush administration, which absolutely refuses to put even the least pressure on the Israelis. Israel has all the power. The Israelis are to the Palestinians like a 250-pound wrestler assaulting a 4-year-old child. Without pressure from the U.S., the Israeli government will go right on killing Palestinians, taking their land and expanding Israeli settlements. And Palestinians, weak as they are (they have no army, no air force, no navy, no country and no international help because the U.S. blocks all such attempts), will go right on resisting as best they can.

The Israelis are rearing a whole new generation of terrorists. When these Palestinian kids grow to manhood amid the chaos, humiliation, death and poverty the Israelis forced on them, they’re going to be some mean, tough individuals unlikely to be particular about on whom or how they wreak their vengeance. We’re growing our own crop of terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Israelis are short-term pragmatists. Their philosophy is that if someone is too weak to take something, why give it to him? They believe that as long as they can control the U.S. government, tap into its wealth and technology and hide behind its veto at the United Nations, there is no need for them to make any concessions at all. This has certainly worked for them in the short term.

In the long term, however, the Israelis are committing national suicide, just as one of their military intelligence people said. Sooner or later, General Birthrate and his armies will overwhelm them. The only way a small Jewish state can survive in the long run among a sea of Arabs is to get along with its neighbors. Other than the neighbors we bribe – Jordan and Egypt – all of the neighbors hate Israel.

The United States should stop the $3 billion annual gift to the Israelis and tell them that as of now, the U.S. will no longer protect them from United Nations sanctions or criticism with our veto. Israel is quick to say it is a sovereign and independent country; well, it’s time the U.S. put that to the test.

If there is any part of the world where our policy should be trade and nothing else, it is the Middle East.

Ref: Antiwar

So Who Is Afraid Of the Israeli Lobby?

Virtually everyone: Republican, Democrat—Conservative, Liberal. The fear factor is non-partisan, you might say, and palpable. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brags that it is the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, and has demonstrated that time and again—and not only on Capitol Hill.
Seldom has the Lobby’s power been as clearly demonstrated as in its ability to suppress the awful truth that on June 8, 1967, during the Six Day War:
o Israel deliberately attacked the intelligence collection ship USS Liberty, in full awareness it was a U.S. Navy ship, and did its best to sink it and leave no survivors;
o The Israelis would have succeeded had they not broken off the attack upon learning, from an intercepted message, that the commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet had launched carrier fighters to the scene; and
o By that time 34 of the Liberty’s crew had been killed and over 170 wounded.
Scores of intelligence analysts and senior officials have known this for years. That virtually all of them have kept a forty-year frightened silence is testament to the widespread fear of touching this live wire. Even more telling is the fact that the National Security Agency apparently has destroyed voice tapes and transcripts heard and seen by many intelligence analysts, material that shows beyond doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing.
The Ugly Truth
But the truth will out—eventually. All it took in this case was for a courageous journalist (of the endangered species kind) to listen to the surviving crew and do a little basic research, not shrinking from naming war crimes and not letting senior U.S. officials, from the president on down, off the hook for suppressing—even destroying—damning evidence from intercepted Israeli communications.
The mainstream media have now published an exposé based largely on interviews with those most intimately involved. A lengthy article by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter John Crewdson appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun on Oct. 2 titled “New revelations in attack on American spy ship.” (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/world/chi-liberty_tuesoct02,0,6015776.story) To the subtitle goes the prize for understatement of the year: “Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn’t tell full story of deadly 1967 incident.”
Better 40 years late than never, I suppose. Many of us have known of the incident and cover-up for a very long time and have tried to expose and discuss it for the lessons it holds for today. It has proved far easier, though, to get a very pedestrian Dog-Bites-Man article published than an article with the importance and explosiveness of this sensitive story.
A Marine Stands Up
On the evening of Sept. 26, 2006, I gave a talk on Iraq to an overflow crowd of 400 at National Avenue Church in Springfield, Missouri. A questioner asked what I thought of the study by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard titled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” The study had originally been commissioned by The Atlantic Monthly. When the draft arrived, however, shouts of “Leper!” were heard at the Atlantic. The monthly wasted no time in saying thanks-but-no-thanks, and the leper-study then wandered in search of a home, finding none among American publishers. Eventually the London Review of Books published it in March 2006.
I had read that piece carefully and found it an unusual act of courage as well as scholarship. That’s what I told the questioner, adding that I did have two problems with the study:
o First, it seemed to me the authors erred in attributing virtually all the motivation for the U.S. attack on Iraq to the Israel Lobby and the so-called “neo-conservatives” running our policy and armed forces. Was Israel an important factor? Indeed. But of equal importance, in my view, was the oil factor and what the Pentagon now calls the “enduring” military bases in Iraq, which the White House and Pentagon decided were needed for the U.S. to dominate that part of the Middle East.
o Second, I was intrigued by the fact that Mearsheimer and Walt made no mention of what I believe to be, if not the most telling, then perhaps the most sensational proof of the power the Lobby knows it can exert over our government and Congress. In sum, in June 1967, after deliberately using fighter-bombers and torpedo boats to attack the USS Liberty for over two hours in an attempt to sink it and kill its entire crew, and then getting the U.S. government, the Navy, and the Congress to cover up what happened, the Israeli government learned that it could—literally—get away with murder.
I found myself looking out at 400 blank stares. The USS Liberty? And so I asked how many in the audience had heard of the attack on the Liberty on June 8, 1967. Three hands went up; I called on the gentleman nearest me.
Ramrod straight he stood:
“Sir, Sergeant Bryce Lockwood, United States Marine Corps, retired. I am a member of the USS Liberty crew, Sir.”
Catching my breath, I asked him if he would be willing to tell us what happened.
“Sir, I have not been able to do that. It is hard. But it has been almost 40 years, and I would like to try this evening, Sir.”
You could hear a pin drop for the next 15 minutes, as Lockwood gave us his personal account of what happened to him, his colleagues, and his ship on the afternoon of June 8, 1967. He was a linguist assigned to collect communications intelligence from the USS Liberty, which was among the ugliest—and most easily identifiable—ships in the fleet with antennae springing out in all directions.
Lockwood told of the events of that fateful day, beginning with the six-hour naval and air surveillance of the Liberty by the Israeli navy and air force on the morning of June 8. After the air attacks including thousand-pound bombs and napalm, three sixty-ton torpedo boats lined up like a firing squad, pointing their torpedo tubes at the Liberty’s starboard hull. Lockwood had been ordered to throw the extremely sensitive cryptological equipment overboard and had just walked beyond the bulwark separating the NSA intelligence unit from the rest of the ship when, he recalled, he sensed a large black object, a tremendous explosion, and sheet of flame. The torpedo had struck dead center in the NSA space.
The cold, oily water brought Lockwood back to consciousness. Around him were 25 dead colleagues; but he heard moaning. Three were still alive; one of Lockwood’s shipmates dragged one survivor up the hatch. Lockwood was able to lift the two others, one-by-one, onto his shoulder and carry them up through the hatch. This meant alternatively banging on the hatch for someone to open it and swimming back to fish his shipmate out of the water lest he float out to sea through the 39-foot hole made by the torpedo.
At that Lockwood stopped speaking. It was enough. Hard, very hard—even after almost 40 years.
What Else We Know
John Crewdson’s meticulously documented article, together with the 57 pages that James Bamford devotes to the incident in his book “Body of Secrets” and recent confessions by those who played a role in the cover-up, paint a picture that the surviving crew of the USS Liberty can only find infuriating. The evidence, from intercepted communications as well as testimony, of Israeli deliberate intent is unimpeachable, even though the Israelis continue to portray the incident as merely a terrible mistake.
Crewdson refers to U.S. Navy Captain Ward Boston, who was the Navy lawyer appointed as senior counsel to Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, named by Admiral John S. McCain (Sen. John McCain’s father) to “inquire into all the facts and circumstances.” The fact that they were given only one week to gather evidence and were forbidden to contact the Israelis screams out “cover-up.”
Captain Boston, now 84, signed a formal declaration on Jan. 8, 2004 in which he described himself as “outraged at the efforts of the apologists for Israel in this country to claim that this attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity.’” Boston continued:
“The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack…was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew…Not only did the Israelis attack the ship with napalm, gunfire, and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned three lifeboats that had been launched in an attempt by the crew to save the most seriously wounded—a war crime…I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
Why the Israelis decided to take the draconian measure of sinking a ship of the U.S. Navy is open to speculation. One view is that the Israelis did not want the U.S. to find out they were massing troops to seize the Golan Heights from Syria, and wanted to deprive the U.S. of the opportunity to argue against such a move. Another theory: James Bamford, in “Body of Secrets,” adduces evidence, including reporting from an Israeli journalist eyewitness and an Israeli military historian, of wholesale killing of Egyptian prisoners of war at the coastal town of El Arish in the Sinai. The Liberty was patrolling directly opposite El Arish in international waters but within easy range to pick up intelligence on what was going on there. And the Israelis were well aware.
As for the why, well, someone could at least approach the Israelis involved and ask, no? The important thing here is not to confuse what is known (the deliberate nature of the Israeli attack) with the purpose behind it, which remains a matter of speculation.
Other Indignities
Bowing to intense pressure from the Navy, the White House agreed to award the Liberty’s skipper, Captain William McGonagle, the Medal of Honor….but not at the White House, and not by the president (as is the custom). Rather, the Secretary of the Navy gave the award at the Washington Navy Yard on the banks of the acrid Anacostia River. A naval officer involved in the awards ceremony told one of the Liberty crew, “The government is pretty jumpy about Israel…the State Department even asked the Israeli ambassador if his government had any objections to McGonagle getting the medal.”
Adding insult to injury, those of the Liberty crew who survived well enough to call for an independent investigation have been hit with charges of, you guessed it, anti-Semitism.
Now that some of the truth is emerging more and more, others are showing more courage in speaking out. In a recent email, an associate of mine who has followed Middle East affairs for almost 60 years, shared the following:
“The chief of the intelligence analysts studying the Arab/Israeli region at the time told me about the intercepted messages and said very flatly and firmly that the pilots reported seeing the American flag and repeated their requests for confirmation of the attack order. Whole platoons of Americans saw those intercepts. If NSA now says they do not exist, then someone ordered them destroyed.”
Leaving the destruction of evidence without investigation is an open invitation to repetition in the future.
As for the larger picture, visiting Israel this past summer I was constantly told that Egypt forced Israel into war in June 1967. This does not square with the unguarded words of Menachem Begin in 1982, when he was Israel’s prime minister. Rather he admitted publicly:
“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
Israel had, in fact, prepared well militarily and mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify an expansion of its borders. Israel’s illegal 40-year control over and confiscation of land in the occupied territories and U.S. enabling support (particularly the one-sided support by the current U.S. administration) go a long way toward explaining why it is that 1.3 billion Muslims “hate us.”
Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is now on the Steering Committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He spent some time in Israel and the West Bank this summer.

Ref: Consortium news

Also read:
Two Knights and a Dragon By Uri Avnery
Dissenting at your own risk By Cecilie Surasky + The Israel Lobby (MP3)
‘The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy’ by John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt

Israel and Censorship at Harvard

Since Vietnam, Israel has become the heartbeat of U.S. foreign policy and a litmus test of what can be debated—and even of who will be allowed to speak—on university campuses. This year, the Congress of the University and College Union—the British lecturers’ union—proposed a boycott of Israeli universities and academics for what it regards as their complicity in 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. This boycott has its counterpart in a decades-old U.S. practice of threatening, defaming, or censoring scholars who dare to criticize Israel.

Two years ago at Harvard, a social scientist who was the most widely cited in his area of study but who had, in a popular book, criticized the U.S.-Israel alliance, became the subject of insinuations that he was anti-Semitic—insinuations that were likely fatal to his candidacy. In recent years, at least three professors—Oxford’s Tom Paulin, DePaul’s Norman Finkelstein, and Rutgers’ Robert Trivers—have been invited to speak at Harvard and then disinvited after complaints that they had spoken critically of Israel or disagreed sharply with Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz regarding Israel’s military conduct.

In a 2006 faculty meeting, Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature Ruth R. Wisse vocalized the underlying rationale of such censorship as few other professors have dared. Denying that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are separate phenomena, she declared anti-Zionism—that is, the rejection of the racially-based claim that Jewish people have a collective right to Palestine—the worst kind of anti-Semitism. For such defenders of Israel, any acknowledgment that Zionism in principle and in practice violates Palestinian rights is tantamount to an endorsement of the Holocaust.

But is it anti-Semitic to ask why the Palestinians should pay the price for the ghastly crime of the Germans? Why were the property rights of the German perpetrators sacrosanct and those of the guiltless Palestinians adjudged an acceptable casualty? In U.S. foreign policy, not all racial groups are guaranteed the same rights and protections. Otherwise, why does the U.S. rightly defend Jewish people’s claims on European bank accounts, property, and compensation for labor expropriated during the 1930s and 1940s, while quashing the rights of millions of Palestinians refugees to lands, houses, and goods stolen as a condition of Israel’s founding in the late 1940s? As a nation we seem unconscious of the hypocrisy. The convention that persecuted Europeans had the right to safe havens on lands stolen from non-Europeans was, by the mid-20th century, as outmoded as the Confederacy’s defense of slavery in the mid-19th.

However, what follows is the most important question for the health of the academic and moral community that we share here at Harvard: How can one engage in a critical and nonetheless loving conversation about Zionism with a community as gravely traumatized as the Jewish people? The question has become particularly difficult to answer since Harvard’s previous president publicly declared that petitions against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza were a form of anti-Semitism, comparable to vandalizing Jewish gravestones.

My aim here is not to preach but to insist upon my right, and others’, to a conversation full of respect and free of intimidation, one that presumes no monopolies on suffering, one in which all racism and anti-Semitism—whether against Semitic Jews, Semitic Christians, Semitic Druzes or Semitic Muslims—is equally impermissible. I am troubled that Dershowitz escaped former University President Lawrence H. Summers’ criticism when he endorsed Israel’s torture of Palestinian prisoners. And Wisse’s ghastly 1988 description of Palestinian refugees as “people who breed and bleed and advertise their misery” elicited no demand for retraction.

In my country, people tremble in the fear of losing their friends, jobs, advertising revenues, campaign contributions, and alumni donations if they question Zionism or Israeli policy—despite the billions of our tax dollars paid annually for Israel’s defense and sustenance. Even the Israeli military hosts freer debates about this issue than any U.S. university does. One result: Israel has now withdrawn from Gaza, an action that Summers slammed Harvard and MIT professors as anti-Semitic for even contemplating.

My position is difficult not just because I have colleagues and friends who disagree but because I have no Palestinian friends. For every five Jewish people I have loved, I hardly know one Arab. Indeed, I am troubled by the insouciance of the Arab and Muslim world in the face of unjust suffering by people who look like me. A region so publicly committed to its anti-racist religious tradition remains mute over the atrocities of the Arab and Islamic government of Sudan against Africans in Darfur and the south. Osama bin Laden and his cheerleaders treat as insignificant the deaths of hundreds of non-partisan Africans in the bombings of the U.S. embassies at Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Thus, my concerns about Zionism are motivated by neither pro-Arab nor anti-Jewish bias, but by the fear that those who dismiss all anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism—or, equally often, as Jewish self-hatred—risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Israel’s defenders convince the world that all legitimately Jewish people are Zionists and that Jewish people are uniform in their opinions about Israel and its policies, then the convinced will conclude that condemning Israel or its policies requires them to hate Jewish people.

Moreover, by intimidating those who are reasonable enough to separate their criticism of Israel from the criticism of Jewish people as a whole—as we must—discourses like Summers’ risk leaving the conversation to the people least able to engage tête-à-tête rather than gun-to-gun, bomb-to-bomb, and plane-to-tower. For that reason, I fear that the pronouncements of Summers—and our many colleagues who would stifle debate about Israel—are themselves “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent.”

Ref: The Harvard Crimson

J. Lorand Matory ’82 is professor of anthropology and of African and African-American studies.

Stand With Us

Education on behalf of Israel and the Jewish community worldwide

StandWithUs is an international education organization that ensures that Israel’s side of the story is told in communities, campuses, libraries, the media and churches through brochures, speakers and conferences.

Founded in 2001 in response to the second Intifada and the misinformation that surrounded the conflict, SWU now has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Israel and Michigan.

In advocacy organization that promotes education and understanding that will bring a secure future for Israel and her neighbors.

We educate through fact-based materials, weekly alerts, speakers, programs and conferences.

Ref: standbwithus