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On bigotry and solidarity

Greta Berlin’s anti-Semitic tweet was but one in a series of comments she has made, enabling many of her critics to discredit the entire Free Gaza Movement. As activists, it is our job to make sure one bigotry can never be used to justify another.

By Tom Pessah

An Iranian American acquaintance once explained to me the predicament she’s in. She’s a committed feminist who wants to expose and critique any examples of male domination in Iran. Yet whenever she does so, her critique is immediately seized upon by those wishing to justify the next war, which could harm her family.

I was thinking of my friend recently in light of the controversy generated by pro-Palestine activist Greta Berlin’s anti-Semitic tweet (“Zionists Ran the Holocaust and the Concentration Camp”). Everyone can make a mistake, but this is part of a pattern. After reading an erroneous report about the origin of a recent anti-Muslim film, she excitedly tweeted that “an Israeli film maker, 100 Jewish donors” were behind the project. Recently she glowingly endorsed a book by Gilad Atzmon, calling it “one of the best reads of 2012”. In an interview with +972’s Larry Derfner, Berlin claimed she found “nothing anti-Jewish in that book,” adding that she felt Atzmon had been “demonized.”

Atzmon is a Holocaust denier; he has previously asked “if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?” In this book that Berlin endorsed, Atzmon writes on page 179 “we, for instance, can envisage a horrific situation in which an Israeli so-called ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear attack on Iran that escalates into a disastrous nuclear war, in which tens of millions of people perish. I guess that amongst the survivors of such a nightmare scenario, some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’ On page 27 he argues “Throughout the centuries, some Jewish bankers have gathered the reputation of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution.” Again, Berlin found “nothing anti-Jewish about that book” which she tells Derfner she read till the end. The current controversy may cause Berlin to finally dissociate herself from this ongoing pattern of endorsing anti-Jewish literature.

One of the strongest Palestinian voices calling out Berlin for her anti-Jewish behavior has been Ali Abunimah, one the leaders of the global BDS movement. Abunimah’s vision is consistent: he believes in full equality between Israeli Jews and Muslim and Christian Palestinians. He has written of his vision for one state, which would include changes in current Israeli immigration policies to allow Palestinian refugees and their families to return to their homeland and live alongside Israeli Jews. Abunimah’s family is from Jerusalem, and they were living in the nearby village of Lifta before they were expelled in 1948.

In order to root out any expressions of anti-Jewish bigotry, it is important not to put principled activists like Abunimah in the predicament my Iranian friend faces: having their criticism manipulated in order to justify further harm. Greta Berlin is also one the founders of the Free Gaza movement and an organizer of flotillas which are aimed at breaking the siege on Gaza – a siege which has prevented access to clean drinking water, causing death and disease. Denying human beings access to clean water and medicine is certainly as racist as Berlin’s tweets are. Yet, unlike Abunimah, many of her critics have seized upon the opportunity to discredit her entire movement and to legitimize these inhumane policies. One form of bigotry can never be used to justify another. Solidarity is indivisible.

Tom Pessah is an Israeli graduate sociology student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Head of Free Gaza Movement: Anti-Semitic video in question is ‘disgusting’
The slandering of Gaza flotilla activist Greta Berlin

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    1. “Denying human beings access to clean water and medicine is certainly as racist as Berlin’s tweets are. Yet, unlike Abunimah, many of her critics have seized upon the opportunity to discredit her entire movement and to legitimize these inhumane policies.”
      What on earth do you mean? Critics of Berlin “needed” this tweet to legitimize the inhumane policies in Gaza? Get a life!

      Reply to Comment
      • Jeff

        Berlin’s tweet has nothing to do with Gaza, and that’s the point. What her tweet confirms is that, as many have been saying, there is a segment of the supposedly pro Palestinian movement that is anti-Semitic. Squirm all you want your defense of her only shows how morally vacant you are.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tom P.

          her tweet isn’t an excuse to ignore the reality of the damage the siege is causing to regular human beings. Anyone who stays silent on that has no better moral standards.

          Reply to Comment
          • Jeff

            There is a difference between not speaking out on something and speaking out in defence of something Tom. Clearly there are 1000’s of injustices going on around the world, are you morally vacant for not speaking out on them all? If Gaza is your area of interest have you spoken out about HRW recent findings on the Hamas system of justice? Or does your solidarity only extend to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bonnie Prince Charlie

            Perhaps if Hamas were to rescind Article 7 of its Chapter which calls for the total destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews worldwide, there would be no need for any ‘siege’. And perhaps if they spent the millions of pounds, dollars and euros given to them by the West on infrastructual projects instead of weaponry, their citizens would not need to live in so-called ‘abject poverty’. Perhaps if they applied the building materials they import to social housing for the masses instead of luxury villas hotels and marinas for the privileged few, their citizens could enjoy a better standard of living all round. Instead of blaming everyone else for their misfortune, why don’t they accept personal responsibility for the welfare of their citizens? They can’t go on blaming closed borders with Egypt and Israel for all their problems; and they won’t solve their problems with violent against others. Time for them to get real. Time for the West to encourage them to get real.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Tom P.

      Engelbert, I already have a life. What I would like is for people to speak on behalf of Gazans who aren’t getting a life due to Israeli government policies which deny them medicines and clean water. People should be as least as upset about that as about these tweets.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bonnie Prince Charlie

        Dear Tom P Please see my comment above. It’s not the Israeli government that’s denying Gazan citizens medicines and clean water; it’s the Hamas government. They order the medicines they need, and these are shipped in through Israel. The minute all goods cross the border from Israel (and Egypt) their distribution is controlled by the Hamas government, so perhaps you should be asking them why they are denying their people access to medicines and other essential items. You might also want to ask them what happened to the monies given by the EU specifically to build sewage systems and supply clean water. How many Grad missiles can they buy with this money? Their philosophy seems to be that launching attacks on Israeli civilians is much more important than looking after the welfare of their own.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Tom, so why don’t you write about that? Your preposterous claims about Berlin and Atzmon are not helping if you really care about what is happening in Gaza. Asking questions is not denial, only for Zionists. and it’s certainly not a crime.
      I get the impression Adelson got a hand in 972. The financial crisis is God’s gift to the ones in power, isn’t it?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Tom P.

      so you’re defending the “bold” statement that “Hitler was right after all”, as Atzmon put it? is one type of racism necessary to battle other kinds?

      Reply to Comment
    5. He didn’t say it like that. Don’t be a smart Likud ass.

      Reply to Comment
    6. And forget it. I will not continue this racist house of spirits. Larry Derfner will go back to the JP, 972 will transform into a “status quo” website. The Palestinians will disappear, and everybody will be happy. All dissenting voices will be put in the black box of anti-semitisme and holocaust, forever protected by the taboo of a mythical past, present and future.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Tom P.

      no, it’s pretty simple actually. I do research about the real past of the Nakba in order to break any taboos on it. I also recognize the real past of the Holoacaust, unlike the wild lies people like Atzmon try to spread (e.g. “Hitler’s March 28 1933, ordering a boycott against Jewish stores and goods, was an escalation in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership.
      http://www.chequerboard.org/2011/09/john-mearsheimer-further-beclowns-self-film-at-eleven/). FYI, it turns out Hitler was not the victim of world Jewry – it was the other way round.

      Reply to Comment
    8. You really believe there is a dichotomy between Jews and non-Jews? Evolution has too many variables to support that hypothesis. The wealthy Jews, the crashing of the German Banks, the collapse of the middle class in eastern Europe, the vague notion of nationalism that emerged, colonialism ending in chaos, all these factors played a role in the creation of Israel. The creation of Jews as a racial entity by the Zionists was an important factor during the 1930’s and until the present day. This concept was the cause of much of their suffering, and of much of the suffering of the Palestinians until today.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Tom P.

      I’m not sure how this is a response to what I wrote. The issue is pretty simple: Hitler came to power, started persecuting Jews, and there was an attempt to start a boycott against him. You can get this information from wikipedia. Atzmon prefers to lie in order to present Adolf Hitler as the victim of “he declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership”. This isn’t some kind of sophisticated critique of the notion of Jewish nationhood – it’s an absurd lie aimed to justify genocide. Support for the progressive and valuable cause of freedom for Palestinians should never be mixed with support for Adolf Hitler. And we shouldn’t even be having this conversation.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Adam

      Englebert Humperdinck claims that Jews are a political construction, but then employs the stereotype of “wealthy Jews.” The anti-Semitic mind is remarkable for it’s lack of self-awareness.

      Reply to Comment
      • anna

        How is saying “the wealthy Jews” stereotypical or anti Semitic? What, there were not any wealthy Jews? They just didn’t (or don’t) exist? Or they did (do) but no one is supposed to mention it? Or is there another way to say it that you wouldn’t claim is stereotypical? That’s really silly.

        To say there were (are) some wealthy Jews and refer to them as “wealthy”, just like one would refer to any non Jewish wealthy person….is not anti Semitic, it’s just stating the obvious about someone. That’s kind going a little overboard here.

        Or did you just assume he was referring to all Jews and added “wealthy” only as a stereotype of all Jews? Because otherwise I dont get it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Adam


          I’m sure that if posted a comment claiming that Palestinian nationality is a political construction, used the phrase “Palestinian Terrorist,” and said that Palestinians were responsible for their suffering, you would be branding me a racist. But when Englebert Humperdinck claims that Jewish ethnicity is a political construction, uses the reductive category of “Wealthy Jews,” and blames Jews for their own suffering during the Holocaust, you are shocked–absolutely shocked!– that anyone might think such comments are ant-Semitic.

          Reply to Comment
      • I was, sigh, referring to people like Edmund de Rothschild and Maurice de Hirsch. People who have played important roles in different ways. Roles that could not have been played without large sums of money.

        Reply to Comment
    11. anna

      Oh please, Atzmon is not a Holocaust denier. What nonsense.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tom P.

        I think his supporters suffer from something like “emperor’s new clothes syndrome”. When someone says “65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence” http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/truth-history-and-integrity-by-gilad-atzmon.html most of us non-Atzmonites understand that as a Jazz musician claiming historians have so far not been able to come up with conclusive historical evidence for the Holocaust. But I guess we simple folks are being too superficial and there is something much deeper behind what appears to be offensive BS.

        Reply to Comment
        • anna

          Tom, either you didn’t bother to read the entire text, in which case you should keep quiet or read it before commenting – or you read it and are deliberately being dishonest by cherry an out-of-context quote to imply a sinister meaning by Atzmon and claim it’s evidence when it’s quite obviously not the case, as anyone who reads it can see. Yours are manipulative and deceptive tactics so typical of Zionist hasbara. They’re also an absolute waste of time. If you can’t be honest and can only resort to this sort of dishonest discourse, I’m sorry but I’m not interested in what you have to say or not about to waste any more of my time. Atzmon is not denying the Holocaust happened so stop your manipulation and lies.

          ” I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws. We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a certain time and place.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Tom P.

            see, I knew I was being too superficial. There is always a deeper meaning that only Atzmonites can perceive, which is always too sublime to expressed in actual words.

            I have another one for you: when your favorite thinker wrote “Carpet bombing and total erasure of populated areas that is so trendy amongst Israeli military and politicians (as well as Anglo-Americans) has never been a Nazi tactic or strategy.” http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2006%20Opinion%20Editorials/August/11%20o/Israel%20Beyond%20Comparison%20By%20Gilad%20Atzmon.htm

            a blogger responded “For three days, in April 1941, German bombers raised Belgrade to the ground.
            William Shirer, The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, p.988, Pan Books, London, 1964.

            Hitler’s plans for Russia included the mass starvation of 30 million Russian civilians and the complete razing to the ground of Moscow and Leningrad.
            William Shirer, The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, pp. 996-7, 1020

            to say nothing of the wiping out of Lidice or mass murder in Oradour-sur-Glane.”

            now I know this is all clearly out of context and not in any way yet another apology for Hitler, but do you actually have an explanation for why he said something never happened, if it clearly did?

            Reply to Comment
          • Klil

            The next paragraph is worth reading in full: “65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should reclaim our history and ask why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next door neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East, surely they had a chance to open a new page in their troubled history? If they genuinely planned to do so, as the early Zionists claimed, why did they fail? Why did America tighten its immigration laws amid the growing danger to European Jews? We should also ask for what purpose do the holocaust denial laws serve? What is the holocaust religion there to conceal? As long as we fail to ask questions, we will be subjected to Zionists and their Neocons agents’ plots. We will continue killing in the name of Jewish suffering. We will maintain our complicity in Western imperialist crimes against humanity.”

            Surely he’s not saying anything. He’s just asking some questions.

            Reply to Comment
    12. Kolumn9

      Yes, your honor, the defense attorney is a neo-Nazi, but I assure you he only hates Zionists and some of his best friends are Jews.

      Reply to Comment
      • daniel


        Reply to Comment
    13. Ryan Mervin

      Here is your issue, your champions of the pro pal cause are flawed human beings, You have greasy Greta who is a pathological liar and raving antisemite who has been exposed by her behaviour on facebook as anything but a peace activist, you have alice walker who was one of the worst role models in the history of the world as evidenced by her treatment of her own daughter and you have people like Mary Hughes who writes ” hitler acted in self defence” on facebook while claiming to not be antisemitic.

      The palestinian cause is worthy, but it loses legitimacy because they have no decent leader, no real desire to compromise and its spear headed by people like these clowns who are abject idiots.

      frankly Greta deserves what she gets , she is supposedy a media communications expert, but obviously she knows nothing about modern media. You cant hide in the era of social networks.

      Reply to Comment
      • anna

        Well the warmongering Zionist racist cause got Bibi. If they hadn’t beat us to it I’m sure his cartoons would have done a lot for the cause. I guess we just make do with what/who’s left.

        Reply to Comment
    14. anna

      Quote: he argues “Throughout the centuries, some Jewish bankers have gathered the reputation of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution.” Again, Berlin found “nothing anti-Jewish about that book”

      >> Maybe I’m missing something but how is that statement anti-jewish? He’s making a statement, not even of his own belief but of the reputation (others’ belief) of *some* jewish bankers. How is this anti Jewish?

      Does anyone who has different opinions than you or that strays from the mainstream when it comes to all things Jewish and Jewishness (or just the Holocaust?) automatically become anti Jewish or anti Semitic? Does the fact that one is Jewish make any unflattering or negative comment made about oneself somehow imply it applies to all Jews and is therefore the mere mention of it simply makes it anti Jewish or anti Semitic.

      Does that make me anti Jewish or anti Semitic if I am critical of your claims? Or is that allowed? If so, why? Is it okay sometimes but anti Jewish other times – depending on the subject? What subjects would these be?


      Quote: “Atzmon prefers to lie in order to present Adolf Hitler as the victim of “he declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership”. This isn’t some kind of sophisticated critique of the notion of Jewish nationhood – it’s an absurd lie aimed to justify genocide. ”

      > > whoa That’s quite the leap. So, from the comment you just quoted, your interpretation is that:

      1) it’s a lie (presumably, we should accept your statement because you & wikipedia say so and this should be enough)

      2) the meaning and intent of Atzmon’s comment IS unquestionably to justify genocide.

      Like I said, that’s quite the giant leap. And totally imaginary. Honestly, I really don’t know how you can seriously be coming to (and actually writing) such an hysterical and ridiculous interpretation of a statement that so clearly Does NOT aim to “justify genocide”.

      You’re perfectly entitled to disagree, you can even call it a lie – although a bit of evidence to back it up probably wouldn’t hurt – but to claim that it or he aims to “justify genocide”, much like the “Holocaust denier” accusation is totally disingenuous.

      Just because you declare that the book and Atzmon are anti Jewish, anti Semitic or amounts to Holocaust denying (or genocide justifying), doesn’t just make it so! If you want to comment on Berlin, do so and leave Atzmon or his book out of it. If you want to comment on Atzmon or his book, then address it separately and honestly and give us more than absurd conclusions or to just send us over to Wikipedia!


      Quote: “should never be mixed with support for Adolf Hitler. ”

      >> See above response to your previous “aim to justify genocide” claim.

      Another huge, giant leap. I’m not sure how you expect to be taken seriously by making these kinds of disingenuous claims. No one mixed anything with support for Hitler because no one supported Hitler. Give me a freaking break.


      Quote: “And we shouldn’t even be having this conversation.”

      >> Uuuh, I believe the only reason we’re having it is because you’re having difficulty telling the difference between reality and your imagination.

      Reply to Comment
      • Commenter

        Hi – you’re clearly one of Atzmon’s acolytes. I’ve found that there’s little point in arguing the substantive points with them, and so if you don’t mind, I won’t be doing so with you.

        However, you should be aware that in the United Kingdom, the leading anti-fascist campaign group, Hope not Hate, has campaigned against his public appearances. They’ve been backed by the same Trade Unions which also support various Palestinian Solidarity work.

        Hope not Hate spends most of its time campaigning against anti-Black and anti-Muslim racist groups, and puts Atzmon in the same category as them.

        Reply to Comment
      • Tom P.

        ” I am suggesting that the only way to internalise the meaning of the Jewish Holocaust is to teach Jews how to start looking in the mirror, to teach Jews to ask themselves why conflicts with others happen to them time after time. Rather than blaming the Goyim, the Germans, the Muslims, the Arabs, it is about time the Jewish subject learns to ask the 6 million $ question: “why do they pick on me?” http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2007/10/gilad-atzmon-open-comment-to-jsf.html

        when we studied the middle age blood libels, I again wondered out loud how the teacher could know that these accusations of Jews making Matzo out of young Goyim’s blood were indeed empty or groundless.


        Interviewer: I tell people we are almost getting into a Weimar situation, do you see that happening?

        Atzmon: Absolutely. It is very tragic to say, but I can see it. And the only thing that can save the Jews from themselves is if we, the goyim, let’s say —

        Interviewer: I heard you joined the goyim a few years ago, you are on the goyim team now.

        Atzmon: Yes — if the goyim, the gentiles, basically — find within ourselves the powers to contain this sinister ideological collective.

        (Listen below at 56:55.)

        Reply to Comment
    15. In this particlar theater of human tragedy there is often little to do but word enemies into oblivion. The actions that do happen by the several sides are mostly beyond the impact of our words, but we pretend otherwise. Of course there are anti-Semites in the “Palestinian Cause”; of course their are similar anti Arabs in the “Protection of Israel.” If we are to play this racial logic out, why not pick Germany. Did not Germany show us what its “race” was via WW II? What more proof would one need to legitimately erradicate them all? I trust the absurdity of this statement in view of post war history will give us all pause. Israel and Palestine remain rather weak players in the ultimate game of human destruction. Nothing Berlin says alters the past and present trajectory of Gaza. She thrives on words, as many of us do. Looks like some words are thriving on her.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Commenter

      Clearly, not everybody involved in Palestinian solidarity politics is an anti-Jewish racist, or is motivated by antisemitism. However, the coincidence between the two is strong.

      There are two sources of the problem. The first is that the strategy of the Palestinian solidarity movement is to build a participatory campaign, in which anybody who wants to join in, can. There’s very little scrutiny of who activists are and what they say and do from within the movement. So, in the United Kingdom, we’ve seen a number of Palestine Solidarity Campaign branches featuring activists who similarly buy in to this sort of old fashioned Nazi stuff. Periodically, there’s a scandal and then some of them are expelled.

      The second, and related problem, is that Palestinian politics, from Abbas to Hamas, contain a lot of people who are Holocaust deniers and who are quite open about their religiously motivated desire to kill Jews generally. The Palestinian Solidarity movement has got into the habit of denying that this is so, or claiming that it is ‘understandable’. The understanding of Palestinian antisemitism has both encouraged antisemitism by its non Palestinian members, and made it more difficult for the movement to confront it.

      To be honest, I think it is only a matter of time before they embrace it. For example, for years and years we were told that Professor Mearsheimer wasn’t an antisemite, and in fact loved Jews. Then, so it turned out, he strongly endorsed Atzmon’s book which is filled with racist musings about Jews as Shylocks and Fagins and the like. There was no fuss about that – nobody really minded.

      I’m actually quite surprised that anybody at all is objecting to what Greta Berlin did.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Richard Witty

      I don’t think that anything can be proved or even reliably asserted about Greta Berlin.

      There are too many differences in assumptions about what the term “anti-semitism” or “racism” means.

      There are too many different weights of importance.

      I personally reject the theme commonly made by Palestinian solidarity, that I’ve heard/read often, relative to the exact same accusations of Greta Berlin.

      That is the assertion that “Zionism is racism”. Caring for one’s own community as a focus, and more than others is not racism. Desiring self-governance is not racism.

      If there is even ANY format of an ideology that is not racist, then the ideology is not racist, but either a component, or an application of the ideology.

      For example, even if the ideology of Zionism accompanied the separation of Palestinians from Jewish Israelis, and the forced removal of Palestinians to deliberately accomplish that separation (not a certainty from my study), then the forced removal would be the offending principle, not the principle of Jewish self-governance.

      There obviously is a point where caring for one’s community morphs to willing neglect or punishment of another community.

      There certainly are individuals that are Zionists that are racists, and there certainly are policies and practices that harm others on some racial basis that one could accurately call racist.

      But, those are individuals and individual incidents or policies.

      The reason that I bring that up, is that the citation of “Zionists were complicit in the holocaust” even when quotes are supplied by Benny Morris or Tom Segev, is a supporting contention of “Zionism is racism” and that “Zionists are cynically cruel ideologues.”

      I personally find the contention that Zionists were complicit in the holocaust (beyond instances and quotes presented misrepresentatively out of context), to be offensive. When I hear anyone state it, I suspect a hatred of Zionists and a contempt for Jews, an intention to search for reasons to justify hatred, rather than to understand or certainly rather than to sympathize with one’s neighbors.

      Reply to Comment
      • American Manifest Destiny was often racist in outcome. A decision to expunge Palestinians for the sake of Jewish self-governance would be racist in outcome. I think that Bank policy is clearly at this point racist in outcome, though fear and memory, and somethng else–the ideology of vanguard settlers, which the State de facto supports.

        If the Courts would honor the Israeli Declaration of Independence, how could Israel be called racist internally? But it does not; nor do I believe the de facto incremental expunging in the Bank not feedback into Israel proper.

        It doesn’t have to be this way. But, at present, it is.

        Reply to Comment
        • Jessica

          You’re right, Richard, caring for one’s community isn’t racist, and desiring self-governance isn’t racist. Thanks for spelling that out for those of us who didn’t know.

          However, to defend the creation and maintenance of the Jewish state necessitates justifying the racist policies on which it was founded, and the ideology that Jews are more entitled to the land than non-Jews.

          Without that racism, Israel would not be a Jewish state today. Those two ideas can’t be separated.

          Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            I don’t buy that there is only one path that Israel can take and still be Israel, and still defend Israel.

            To my mind it rests on the question of what creates security.

            I use an 80/20 orientation.

            That is that likud thinks of security as constructed of 80% defense (borders, technology, emphasis of relationships) and 20% on good relations.

            Meretz thinks of security as constructed of 80% good relations and 20% on defense (borders, technology, army).

            I think Meretz is right.

            The “more entitled” to the land is not part of my Zionism, and I don’t think represents the majority historically, or even the leadership. (now, I don’t know).

            There is a form of Zionism that is “enough Zionism”, that lives and lets live.

            The likud argument/policy formation is a combination of two value systems, that are both exagerated and/or corrupt.

            1. Risk-aversion – Suppression is justified in their view, if it protects Israeli civilians. In military discussion (and military discussion is here always), there are always exposed flanks (now, three dimensional). When there is an exposed flank, the only way to protect is to either occupy/conquer or neutralize a threat.

            This risk-aversion/military logic NEVER leaves likud thinking and policy. Given that, to the extent that dissent or resistance incorporates any threat to Israeli civilians, dissent then justifies likud logic, and elects likud.

            2. Opportunism – Within likud, there are active proponents of expansion, of the exclusive control that you speak of. They use the cover of risk to expand.

            Resistance will never win this argument, electorally in Israel. That then leaves only unconscionable efforts to pursue through the resistance mode of thinking. “Successful” isolation of Israel and Israelis through BDS even. “Successful” removal of the PA.

            The efforts for revision of borders to a single state, will and has opened up the question of “what community would Palestinians feel most self-governing?” (actually not a malevolent question).

            And, the answer to that question, Israel? (no a permanent and likely violent struggle, a bad forced marriage). Jordan? (more likely, also strained, less far away politically than to merge with Israel, but threatens the king and the parliamentary monarchy there).

            Unless resistance takes the form of “loving one’s enemy”.

            Reply to Comment
    18. Richard Witty

      The distinction between criticizing policies and practices, and demonizing unifying identity and basis of governance.

      I agree with you that the features of the declaration need much more emphasis.

      Whenever dissent presents itself in an even potentially bigoted way, it adds to the votes for likud.

      Reply to Comment
      • I believe the only long term way out of this mess–and I mean decades–is the Declaration of Independence, which I think likely a unique document in constitutional history. And I might not like all of its results. It says, along with equality of social and political rights across race, etc., that justice is to be “envisioned as in the Prophets.” That is co-present with equality of rights. I have no idea how that would play out, but it does emphasize that the document is not just for people with sensibilities as mine. And that internal divergence might be one reason why appeal to the Declaration might ultimately work.

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    19. Moriel Rothman

      Tom- Word.

      Reply to Comment
    20. David Supper

      I cannot believe all the intellectual twaddle I have been reading here. I am a Jew. I am not wealthy. I am not an intellectual.
      Simply, in my opinion, anti-semitism exists because people have to have someone to hate and the Jew is a convenient target. Whatever justification is used it must come down from the Christian tradition of teaching that Jews killed Christ (a Jew), even I am responsible for that! This has been absorbed into the consciousness of many different ethnic groups for their own reasons. Indelibly. I am sad that this attitude persists, but I am not responsible. I have to suffer none-the-less all this interminible hate. I am not religious. I dislike those that are and who look down on me just as much as I despair of intellectuals and anti-semites.

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