Is it Anti-Semitic to Defend Palestinian Human Rights?

Jewish Opposition to Zionism

All across Canada and in the United States, there is an organized campaign to suppress criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

The campaign is especially strong on university campuses where many voices have been raised in support of human rights for the Palestinians.

One such example is the attempt to suppress the Public Interest Research Group, founded by Ralph Nader, at the University of Ottawa for their support for Palestinian human rights.

Similar anti-Palestinian campaigns have occurred at many universities in Canada including the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario and York University.

An attack against a student group that was sympathetic to the Palestinians occurred at the University of Western Ontario in 1982. The student group was refused official recognition because of its support for the Palestinians and for sponsoring Palestinian and Arab speakers. After this refusal a complaint was made to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

After a long battle, and with the support of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and its General Counsel Alan Borovoy, and a supportive editorial in The Globe & Mail, the Ontario Human Rights Commission compelled the University Students Council at the University of Western Ontario to issue a statement of regret and to ratify the student group. The refusal was deemed discriminatory against Palestinians and persons associated with Palestinians.1

Despite this successful legal precedent at Western Ontario there have been many attacks against individuals and groups across Canada and the United States because of their support for human rights for Palestinians. Over the last few years there is a concerted attempt to suppress discussion of the Palestinian issue in North America.

There also is a campaign to punish those individuals who have spoken out in support of the Palestinians by cutting funding and by denying them tenure and even getting them terminated from their positions of employment.

Two well-known examples of firings are the campaigns that targeted Jewish professors’ Norman Finkelstein (author of many books on Israel and Zionism including Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict (Verso Press, New York, 1995) and Joel Kovel (author of Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (Pluto Press: London, 2007)) for their attacks on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Another tactic is to smear such individuals who have supported the Palestinians with allegations of anti-Semitism. One such individual was Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. A few complaints from the Jewish community led to the Noble Prize winner being banned from speaking on campus by the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Tutu was attacked because of statements he made criticizing Israeli policy toward the Palestinians that some Jewish individuals said were “anti Semitic.”

Marv Davidov, an adjunct professor with the Justice and Peace Studies program at the University of St. Thomas said:

As a Jew who experienced real anti-Semitism as a child, I’m deeply disturbed that a man like Tutu could be labeled anti-Semitic and silenced like this,…

I deeply resent the Israeli lobby trying to silence any criticism of its policy. It does a great disservice to Israel and to all Jews.

After provoking a strong backlash against the decision, and a campaign lead by Jewish Voice for Peace in support of the Arch Bishop which produced more than 6,000 letters of protest, the University rescinded the ban.

Professor Bill Robinson was also a target of a similar campaign about alleged anti Semitism to get him fired at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Ultimately the University administration defended Robinson’s academic freedom and the right to express his opinions in his global politics class. Robinson, who is Jewish, distributed an email prepared by a pro-Palestinian Jewish activist that compared the Israeli attack on Gaza to the Nazi attack on the Warsaw Ghetto. In response to this attack on Professor Robinson, more than 100 UCSB faculty members signed a petition asking the university to dismiss the charges against him. In addition, 16 university department chairs wrote letters to the University authorities asking them to dismiss the case against Robinson.

Sir Gerald Kaufman, one of the founders of Independent Jewish Voices in Britain, also used his position as a Member of Parliament in London, England to criticize Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Members of Kaufman’s family perished at the hands of the Nazis and in the Holocaust. As one of the U.K.’s harshest critics of Israeli policies, Kaufman routinely compared the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.2

This campaign to silence critics of Israel and to demonize supporters of the Palestinians is most disturbing and a violation of free speech, academic freedom and violation of Palestinian human rights.

It is also a violation of basic democratic rights when a government does it. For example, the recent cuts to the Canadian Arab Federation’s funding by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The punitive action taken by Minister Kenney is a denial of the fundamental freedoms and rights which are guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter guarantees the right of free speech and freedom of conscience and protects the individual and organizations from government sanction.

This campaign is also an attack on the numerous dissenting Jews who support human rights for the Palestinians.

Canadian Jewish groups like Not in Our Name (NION) and Jewish Independent Voices (Canada) and their support for the Palestinians and their criticism of the “Jewish State” are simply ignored. For political purposes, they simply do not exist.

The mainstream media also rarely covers these alternative Jewish perspectives. However, there are rare exceptions and sometimes views critical of Zionism are published in the mainstream North American press. Here is one notable example:

“It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1944, six years after Kristallnacht, Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, felt comfortable equating the Zionist ideal of Jewish statehood with “the concept of a racial state — the Hitlerian concept.” For most of the last century, a principled opposition to Zionism was a mainstream stance within American Judaism.

Even after the foundation of Israel, anti-Zionism was not a particularly heretical position. Assimilated Reform Jews like Rosenwald believed that Judaism should remain a matter of religious rather than political allegiance; the ultra-Orthodox saw Jewish statehood as an impious attempt to “push the hand of God”; and Marxist Jews — my grandparents among them — tended to see Zionism, and all nationalisms, as a distraction from the more essential struggle between classes.

To be Jewish, I was raised to believe, meant understanding oneself as a member of a tribe that over and over had been cast out, mistreated, slaughtered.

Millenniums of oppression that preceded it did not entitle us to a homeland or a right to self-defense that superseded anyone else’s. If they offered us anything exceptional, it was a perspective on oppression and an obligation born of the prophetic tradition: to act on behalf of the oppressed and to cry out at the oppressor.

For the last several decades, though, it has been all but impossible to cry out against the Israeli state without being smeared as an anti-Semite, or worse. To question not just Israel’s actions, but the Zionist tenets on which the state is founded, has for too long been regarded an almost unspeakable blasphemy.

Yet it is no longer possible to believe with an honest conscience that the deplorable conditions in which Palestinians live and die in Gaza and the West Bank come as the result of specific policies, leaders or parties on either side of the impasse.

The problem is fundamental: Founding a modern state on a single ethnic or religious identity in a territory that is ethnically and religiously diverse leads inexorably either to politics of exclusion (think of the 139-square-mile prison camp that Gaza has become) or to wholesale ethnic cleansing. Put simply, the problem is Zionism.”3)

Most of the rest of the World has a much more critical view of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and supports the right of Palestinians to self determination.

For example in one vote at the United Nations, held on December 19, 2006 on the Israeli Palestinian issue, the tally was 176 to five in favor of the Palestinians.

The countries that supported Israel were the United States, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia.

Five countries abstained. They were: Australia, Canada, Central African Republic, Nauru and Vanuatu.

The entire rest of the World voted in favor of the right of Palestinians to self-determination. However, to read the mainstream North American press you almost never hear of these one-sided votes.

All human beings are entitled to basic human rights. However, the well documented human rights violations of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis, by respected organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The International Red Cross, the United Nations, and even by Israeli organizations such as B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and by many Israeli journalists, are attacked and buried under a barrage of criticism that they are biased, are unfair for singling out the Jewish State or are even anti-Semitic.

My own record as a lawyer representing refugee claims for Palestinians from the Occupied Territories made against Israel, is 28 positives to one negative or a 96.5% success rate.

However, in the eyes of the supporters of Israel this does not mean that there are serious human rights problems in the Occupied Territories.

Israel can do no wrong. It is the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada that is “anti-Semitic” and the Jewish members of the IRB who rendered positive decisions on Palestinian refugee claims made against Israel are “self-hating Jews.”

A Palestinian is simply an inhabitant or citizen of Palestine. There are Jewish, Christian, Muslim and non-believers who are Palestinian. The indigenous Palestinian Jews were opposed to the European Jewish settlers who were flooding into Palestine with the support of Great Britain. A Palestinian is simply a national designation like that of being Canadian or American.

There is no racial, ethnic or religious criteria for being a Palestinian. Only by right of birth, naturalization and descent that one becomes a Palestinian, just like in most other countries.

The Jewish State’s citizenship and Immigration process are unique in the World. To qualify as a “Jew” in “the Jewish state” one must meet a racial or ethnic criteria or in the alternative, a religious criterion.

The Jewish Law of Return grants almost immediate citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the World. Palestinians who were born in the country and forcibly expelled are, for the most part, forbidden to return.

The Zionist state of Israel defines itself as “Jewish” and structures itself to advance the interests of Jews at the expense of non-Jews and especially against the indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinian population.

In March 1919 United States Congressman Julius Kahn presented an anti-Zionist petition to President Woodrow Wilson as he was departing for the Paris Peace Conference.

The petition was signed by 31 prominent American Jews. The signatories included Henry Morgenthau, Sr., ex-ambassador to Turkey; Simon W. Rosendale, ex-attorney general of New York; Mayor L. H. Kampner of Galveston, Texas; E. M. Baker, from Cleveland and president of the Stock Exchange; R. H. Macy’s Jesse I. Straus; New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs; and Judge M. C. Sloss of San Francisco. Part of the petition read:

…we protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctively Jewish State as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy which it is the avowed purpose of the World’s Peace Conference to establish. Whether the Jews be regarded as a “race” or as a “religion,” it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases.

There is much controversy over what is Zionism and how to define the “Jewish State.” As Akiva Orr writes,

The Zionist movement and its State- ISRAEL, do not represent the Jewish people. They never did.

They represent a particular trend within the Jewish people, namely- the nationalist trend. To find out whether Israel is a Jewish State or a Zionist State one need only ask any religious Orthodox Jew anywhere. His answer will be unambiguous: a Jewish State must be ruled by Jewish religious law- “ Halakha”. Israel is not ruled by “Halakha” laws, but by secular laws. Therefore Israel is not a Jewish State. The fact that it provides refuge to Jews does not make it a Jewish State . . . Zionism and Judaism are different entities. They have contradictory qualities.4

The argument is often made that criticism of Israel, or more appropriately the self described “Jewish State,” the meaning of which is not defined, is anti-Semitic. The fact that many Jews have criticized Israel and Zionism is deemed irrelevant. These Jewish critics are attacked as “self-hating Jews.”

There is no rational basis for the argument that criticism of the State of Israel and the political ideology of Zionism is anti-Semitic. The logic for this view is obviously flawed.

For example it makes no sense to accuse an individual who criticizes Apartheid South Africa’s racist policies toward the blacks as evidence of racism toward Whites.

Or that criticism of the Nazi policy toward the Jews should not be allowed because it is evidence of racism against Germans.

Similarly, if you criticize American policy toward the Iraq war and torture at Abu Ghraib Prison or the Jim Crow laws that institutionalized discrimination against blacks in the southern states, then you are racist against Americans. This argument is obviously absurd and should not even need a response.

To quote one American Jewish academic on the comparison of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the racist Jim Crow laws in the United States: “I grew up as a white girl in the Jim Crow South and I have spent my adult life in the study of racism; what I see when I go to Palestine is Jim Crow on steroids.”5

It is a basic right to evaluate and to criticize a political ideology or political movement and to review and even criticize a state’s policies.

The argument should be evaluated on the merits and the truthfulness of the facts presented. It is also a right to present alternative facts and to have a debate.

However, when one side wants to avoid debate, divert the discussion or suppress the topic and launches personal attacks against their opponents, it is almost a certain proof that they are hiding some uncomfortable truths.

Dr. Joel Beinin in an article, “Silencing critics not way to Middle East peace,” published in the San Francisco Chronicle, on February 4, 2007, discussed the campaign to silence critics of Israeli policy.

Beinin is a professor of History at Stanford University and is Jewish. He is active with Jewish Voice for Peace. Here is what Beinin had to say about the campaign to attack critics of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

“Why discredit, defame and silence those with opposing viewpoints? I believe it is because the Zionist lobby knows it cannot win based on facts.

An honest discussion can only lead to one conclusion: The status quo in which Israel declares it alone has rights and intends to impose its will on the weaker Palestinians, stripping them permanently of their land, resources and rights, cannot lead to a lasting peace.

We need an open debate and the freedom to discuss uncomfortable facts and explore the full range of policy options. Only then can we adopt a foreign policy that serves American interests and one that could actually bring a just peace to Palestinians and Israelis.”

The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, as well as the massacres, rapes and illegal confiscation of Palestinian property, is well documented by Israeli historians. These include Simcha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities (New York: Pantheon Books, 1987); Benny Morris, The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem 1947-1949, (Cambridge University Press: New York, 1987); Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians (Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992); Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Original Sins, (Olive Branch Press: New York, 1993); and Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, (Oneworld Publications: Oxford, 2006).

There are many more Israeli authorities that confirm the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1947-1949 and again in 1967. In fact it is still going on today in what some Israelis call the “slow motion ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.6

If the Palestinians, or their supporters, complain about the well-documented facts surrounding the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, losing their property to which they had legal title to, losing their personal belongings and even their bank accounts, having 531 villages destroyed, losing their country and their right to a citizenship, and then not being allowed to return to their homes in contravention of international law; or complain about discriminatory policies of the Jewish National Fund or the discrimination involved in the Jewish Law of Return; or complain about the house demolitions, the more than 600 Israeli military check points in the West Bank, the 42 years of military Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the program of targeted assassinations, the well-documented cases of torture; and the imprisonment of more than 11,000 Palestinians including women and children, many held without charge under what is called Administrative Detention, or the recent slaughter in Gaza, that these complaints and to expose these facts is anti-Semitic!

The view that it is anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, or its actions, is pure and simple racism against Palestinians. The Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims have many legitimate reasons to criticize the policies and actions of “the Jewish State.” A state that aggressively, and repeatedly, attacks its neighbours and is slowly but systematically ethnically cleansing its non-Jewish population is not above criticism.

No state is above criticism. You should be very afraid of a political ideology that you must accept without question.

There is also much to criticize in the Arab world but it would be absurd to say that one cannot criticize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its treatment of women or its human rights record, because it is racist against Arabs or is anti-Muslim. A person who made such an argument would be laughed at. No one would take them or the argument seriously.

Yet this allegation of anti-Semitism is a frequent smear tactic that has been used against individuals who have publicly supported Palestinian human rights.

These individuals include former US President Jimmy Carter, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Bertrand Russell, Mahatma Gandhi, Arnold Toynbee, George Orwell and many, many others who have expressed public support for the Palestinians. Most of the strongest critics of Zionism and Israel’s policies are Jewish.

The only Jewish member of Lloyd George’s cabinet when Great Britain first threw its weight behind Zionism in 1917, Sir Edwin Montagu, was adamantly opposed to the creation of a Jewish state. He attacked the Balfour Declaration and Zionism because he believed they were anti-Semitic. Montagu argued that Zionism and anti-Semitism were based on the same premise, namely that Jews and non-Jews could not co-exist.

Ironically, people like me who want Jews to remain in our society, be an important part of our community and be safe from discrimination and racism are diametrically opposed to the Zionist goal of ingathering all of the Jews to Palestine.

Zionists want to “save the Jews” because they are not safe in the diaspora and face the threat of persecution due to the intractable anti-Semitism that exists in non-Jewish societies. To quote one Zionist commentator,

The Law [of Return] and the Clause and, for that matter Zionism and the Jewish State are necessary so long as the threat to our people continues; so long, in other words, as Diaspora exists…..So the Law of Return continues to be necessary for Jewish survival, to serve its essential function in Zionist theory and practice. The Law defines Israel’s Zionist mission, our state as protector and refuge for threatened Diaspora Jewry.7

Without the history of Christian anti-Semitism that has existed in Europe and the centuries of persecution of the European Jewish community political Zionism would be considered a deranged and absurd political philosophy. Without anti-Semitism, Zionism has no legitimacy.

Sir Edwin Montagu was also afraid that a Jewish state would undermine the safety of Jews in other countries. It appears that this fear was realized in that the safety of the Arab Jewish community was undermined, to a large extent deliberately, so that they would be forced to immigrate to Palestine to strengthen the Jewish presence there.

Montagu’s opposition to Zionism and the Balfour Declaration was supported by the leading representative bodies of Anglo-Jewry at the time, the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association, and in particular, by three prominent British Jews Claude Montefiore, David Alexander and Lucien Wolf.

Many Jews are anti-Zionist and opposed the settlement of Jews in Palestine.

In fact, historically Zionism was not supported by the majority of Jews. In the process of creating the state of Israel the political Zionists destroyed Palestine and ethnically cleansed more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages in order to create a demographic Jewish majority in their newly created “Jewish state.”

There is a very respected and honored Jewish tradition of opposition to injustice and human rights violations. There is no monolithic position for Jews when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian issue.

My article “Jewish Criticism of Zionism” which lists more than 160 Jewish critics of Zionism. This article lists many prominent Jewish intellectuals that are extremely critical of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians. There is a long distinguished line of Jewish critics of Zionism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

This list includes Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, Isaac Asimov, I.F. Stone, Norton Mezvinsky, Alfred Lilienthal, Silvain Levi, Eric Rouleau, Tony Judt, Sara Roy, Ronnie Kasrils, Eric Hobsbawn, Saul Landau, Noam Chomsky, Hans Kohen, Eric Fromm, Bruno Kreisky, Pierre Mendes France, Richard Falk, Harold Pinter (the Nobel prize winner for Literature), Philip Roth, Michael Selzer, Don Peretz, Immanuel Wallerstein, Rabbi Michael Lerner, actor Ed Asner and many other leading Jewish intellectuals and religious figures.

Isaac Asimov was one of the greatest writers of the Twentieth Century and wrote on many topics. He expressed his views about Zionism in a number of pieces. One example is found in the second volume of his autobiography In Joy Still Felt. There he tells of having dinner in 1959 with some friends and his wife. Asimov wrote:

As usual, I found myself in the odd position of not being a Zionist and of not particularly valuing my Jewish heritage…. I just think it is more important to be human and to have a human heritage; and I think it is wrong for anyone to feel that there is anything special about any one heritage of whatever kind. It is delightful to have the human heritage exist in a thousand varieties, for it makes for greater interest, but as soon as one variety is thought to be more important than another, the groundwork is laid for destroying them all.

Asimov also commented on Zionism in a chapter titled “Anti-Semitism” in I. Asimov, his third autobiographical volume.

There, Asimov discussed how he was distressed by the capability of the historically oppressed (such as the Jews) to in turn become oppressors if given the chance.

Asimov wrote: “Right now, there is an influx of Soviet Jews into Israel. They are fleeing because they expect religious persecution. Yet at the instant their feet touched Israeli soil, they became extreme Israeli nationalists with no pity for the Palestinians. From persecuted to persecutors in the blinking of an eye.”

Tens of thousands of religious Jews today are adamantly opposed to Zionism including the orthodox Neturei Karta and the Satmar sects. Rabbi Yisroel Weiss is the international spokesman for Neturei Karta. Hundreds of thousands of religious Jews in Israel reject the secular political movement of Zionism which created “the Jewish State.”

There is an important book written by Dr. Yakov M. Rabkin, a professor of History at the University of Montreal. It is titled A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, (Zed Books: London, 2006). This book examines Jewish religious opposition to Zionism and details the long history of religious opposition to Zionism as a political movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Rabkin describes present day Jewish religious anti-Zionism as follows:

… the rejection of Zionism in the name of the Torah, in the name of Jewish tradition. Such rejection is all the more significant in that it can in no way be described as anti-Semitic, recent attempts to conflate any expression of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism notwithstanding.

At first glance this seems to be a paradox.

After all, the public almost automatically associates Jews and Israel. The press continues to refer to “the Jewish State.” Israeli politicians often speak “in the name of the Jewish people.”

Yet the Zionist movement and the creation of the State of Israel has caused one of the greatest schisms in Jewish history.

An overwhelming majority of those who defend and interpret the traditions of Judaism have, from the beginning, opposed what was to become a vision for a new society, a new concept of being Jewish, a program of massive immigration to the Holy land and the use of force to establish political hegemony there.8

Israel’s founders were in fact atheists who wanted to transform Judaism from being a religion into a secular national movement based on race or ethnicity. This explains why Jewish religious leaders were strongly opposed to secular Zionism. Theodore Herzl was seen as an anti-Semite due to his hostility to religious Jews.

In 1943, a group of 92 Reform rabbis, and many other prominent American Jews, created the American Council for Judaism with the express intent of combating Zionism.

Included in the Council’s leadership were Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron of Baltimore; Lessing J. Rosenwald, the former chairman of the Sears, Roebuck & Company, who became president of the Council; Rabbi Elmer Berger who became its executive director; Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times; and Sidney Wallach of the American Jewish Committee.

An example of their views on Zionism is Palestine, a pamphlet published by the American Council for Judaism, 1944, p.7 [American Council for Judaism Records (1942-1968), American Jewish Archives. Cincinnati, OH] which stated as follows: “… the concept of a theocratic state is long past. It is an anachronism. The concept of a racial state — the Hitlerian concept — is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved.”

The American Council for Judaism was founded to expressly oppose Zionism.

It was created in response to a 1942 Zionist Conference in the US, which proposed the formation of a Jewish army in Palestine before the state was founded.

The Council send letters to various governments and officials expressing their objection to such a notion as a ‘religious’ state, especially since they believed that: “that Jewish nationalism tends to confuse our fellowman about our place and function in society and diverts our own attention from our historic role to live as a religious community wherever we may dwell.”9

Membership in the Council grew to more than 15,000. Its members were highly articulate and greatly angered the Zionist leadership, who wanted the American Jewish community to present a united front on the Palestine question.

The book Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism 1942-1948, by Thomas A. Kolsky, (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1990) is a history of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism during the period just before the creation of the “Jewish State.”

After Israel’s spectacular success in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, however, a change in the policy towards Zionism occurred in the American Council for Judaism.

Anti-Zionist Jewish author Alfred Lilienthal has suggested that “Zionist infiltration” succeeded in “neutralizing” the Council. A separate organization was subsequently established in 1969 called American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (AJAZ).

The new group, which was based in New York, continued the original anti-Zionist tradition of the American Council for Judaism. Rabbi Elmer Berger served as president of AJAZ and also editor of its publication the AJAZ Report until shortly before his death in 1996.

The American Council for Judaism is still in existence but has softened its strict anti-Zionist position but today it is non-Zionist and highly critical of the “Jewish State’s” policies toward the Palestinians.

Their publications frequently carry anti-Zionist Jewish criticism. Allan C. Brownfeld is the Editor of Issues, their quarterly newsletter and also editor of their Special Interest Report. Stephen L. Naman is President of the Council.

Adam Shatz, the literary editor of The Nation magazine, has edited a book titled Prophet’s Outcast. The book contains essays written by 24 prominent Jewish scholars and intellectuals which are very critical of Zionism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.10

Another important book is The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent, edited by Roane Carey and Jonathan Shainin. It contains articles very critical of Israel’s policies, written by 27 prominent Israelis.

The Forward was written by a prominent Israeli author and journalist Tom Segev. The Introduction is written by Anthony Lewis, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who worked at The New York Times between 1969 and 2001. Lewis is now the James Madison Visiting Professor at Columbia University.

There are many Israeli critics of Zionism and anti-Zionist Jews in Israel where the conflict with the Palestinians is most apparent. These include Avraham Burg, former head of the World Jewish Agency and former Speaker of the Knesset; Shulamit Aloni, a former Minister of Education; Yossi Sarid a former Knesset member and past leader of Meretz; Uri Avnery former Knesset member and leader of Gush Shalom; the late Israel Shahak former Chair of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights; former General and Knessett Member Mattityahu Peled; Meron Benvenisti, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem; Jeff Halper head of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Felica Langer, a well known human rights lawyer; Michael Warschawski, co-founder of the Alternative Information Center; University of Oxford historian Avi Shalim; Eitan Bronstein Chair of Zochrot, which means “Remember,” and works to remind Israelis about the Nakba or Palestinian catastrophe; the late linguist and journalist Tanya Reinhart; New Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe; Uri Davis, author of Israel: An Apartheid State (London: Zed Books, 1987); Tikva Honig-Parnass, editor of Between the Lines; and journalists Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, A.B. Yehoshua, Yitzhak Laor, Akiva Eldar, Meron Rapoport, B. Michael, and Gideon Spiro to name only a few of the many Israelis who are anti-Zionist, non-Zionist or extremely critical of Zionism and Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

There was an interesting book review published in Haaretz, on February 29, 2008, written by Tom Segev. It was a review of a book titled, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? (published by Resling in Hebrew). It is authored by Israeli historian Shlomo Zand (also spelled Sand). Prof. Zand teaches history at Tel Aviv University. The book became a best seller in Israel. Segev writes:

… in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened — hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It’s all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.

This information and arguments have been around for a long time but it is interesting to see them published in one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers and presented in a book written by an Israeli historian. Here is how Segev summarizes the arguments in Zand’s book:

According to Zand, the Romans did not generally exile whole nations, and most of the Jews were permitted to remain in the country. The number of those exiled was at most tens of thousands. When the country was conquered by the Arabs, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were Jews. Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others.

If the majority of the Jews were not exiled, how is it that so many of them reached almost every country on earth? Zand says they emigrated of their own volition or, if they were among those exiled to Babylon, remained there because they chose to. Contrary to conventional belief, the Jewish religion tried to induce members of other faiths to become Jews, which explains how there came to be millions of Jews in the world. As the Book of Esther, for example, notes, “And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”

Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse. He also describes at length the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula and the Jewish Berbers in North Africa. The community of Jews in Spain sprang from Arabs who became Jews and arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians, and from European-born individuals who had also become Jews.

The first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) did not come from the Land of Israel and did not reach Eastern Europe from Germany, but became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus. Zand explains the origins of Yiddish culture: it was not a Jewish import from Germany, but the result of the connection between the offspring of the Kuzari and Germans who traveled to the East, some of them as merchants.

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers.

According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.11

It is somewhat ironic that issues and subjects that relate to the Palestinians and Zionism that are virtually taboo in North America are openly discussed in Israel.

These same subjects are much more openly discussed in Europe and in the rest of the World.12

Here is what noted financier, George Soros, writing in the New York Review of Books, on April 12, 2007, had to say on this the lack of debate in the United States on the Palestinian issue:

The current policy is not even questioned in the United States. While other problem areas of the Middle East are freely discussed, criticism of our policies toward Israel is very muted indeed. The debate in Israel about Israeli policy is much more open and vigorous than in the United States. This is all the more remarkable because Palestine is the issue that more than any other currently divides the United States from Europe.

The Jerusalem Post wrote:

… For an example of the type of discussion that goes on in Israel is the following statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “For sixty years there has been discrimination against Arabs in Israel. This discrimination is deep-seated and intolerable.” Olmert made this statement while addressing a meeting of the Knesset committee that was investigating the lack of integration of Arab citizens in public service.13

Another example is the current Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (from the right-wing Likud Party) who called for a fundamental change in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. He urged the founding of a “true partnership” between the two sectors, based on mutual respect, absolute equality and the addressing of “the special needs and unique character of each of the sides.”

The Speaker was reported to say all this in an address to be delivered at the president’s residence in Jerusalem on August 3rd, 2009. Quoting from Rivlin’s prepared speech which was released to the media:

The establishment of Israel was accompanied by much pain and suffering and a real trauma for the Palestinians (in large part due to the shortsightedness of the Palestinian leadership). Many of Israel’s Arabs, which see themselves as part of the Palestinian population, feel the pain of their brothers across the green line – a pain they feel the state of Israel is responsible for.

Many of them,” Rivlin says, “encounter racism and arrogance from Israel’s Jews; the inequality in the allocation of state funds also does not contribute to any extra love.14

Can you ever imagine a top American or Canadian politician making statements like these, or a leading Canadian or American newspaper publishing an article like this one? If they did make statements like these what would be the reaction?

However, Rivlin still tried to focus the blame on the Palestinian leadership for the problems and does not fully acknowledge Israel’s part in the expulsions. These expulsions and massacres started before the official declaration of Israel’s Independence on May 14, 1948. According to Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe, there were expulsions of the Palestinians from 30 villages after the War had ended in 1949.

Rivlin also does not address the land seizures from Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes but remained in Israel.

These individuals were considered Israeli citizens, but still lost all of their property. These individuals are called “present Absentees,” an Orwellian phrase if there ever was one.

Here is how one Israeli academic, Gabriel Piterberg, describes the phrase and how it relates to Israel: “How the founding myths of Israel dictated conceptual removal of Palestinians, during and after physical removal. The invention of ‘retroactive transfer’ and ‘present absentees’ as the glacial euphemisms of ethnic cleansing.”15

Nor does Rivlin acknowledge that most of the Zionist leadership wanted all of Palestine without its Arab population and this wish “miraculously” came true. Palestinian leadership, inept as it was, cannot be blamed for everything.

Another important book on this topic is Reframing Anti-Semitism: Alternative Jewish Perspectives published by the Jewish Voice for Peace. It contains articles written by eight Jewish American writers. One of the articles is written by Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliot Professor in Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkley.

Her article is on the question of whether criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Her answer and article is titled: “No, Its Not Anti-Semitic.”16

Another book that examines Jewish criticism of Zionism and Israel’s policies is Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, edited by Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon (Grove Press: New York, 2003).

Kushner is an award winning playwright and Solomon a staff writer at The Village Voice and a professor at Baruch College-City of New York. This book contains a collection of 53 prominent American Jewish writers’ critical analysis of Zionism and Israel’s policies. This list includes such distinguished writers as Arthur Miller, Susan Sontag, Marc Ellis, Naomi Klein (actually a Canadian) and Rabbi Arthur Waskow among many others.

Another important book on Jewish criticism of Zionism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity (Verso: London, 2008). It is edited by four prominent British academics, Anne Karpf, Brian Klug, Jacqueline Rose and Barbara Rosenbaum. This book contains the highly critical writings of 27 Jewish academics and thinkers on the issues of the Occupation, Israel and Zionism.

There are a number of other anthologies and collections of writings from anti-Zionist Jews. These include Zionism Reconsidered, edited by Michael Selzer, (The MacMillian Company: London, 1970); Zionism: The dream and the reality: A Jewish Critique, Gary V. Smith ed. (Barnes & Noble Books: New York, 1974); Jewish Critics of Zionism and The Stifling and Smearing of a Dissenter, by Moshe Menuhin, (Association of Arab University Graduates, 1976); Judaism or Zionism, EAFORD & AJAZ (American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism) eds., (Zed Books: London, 1986); The End of Zionism and the Liberation of the Jewish People, Eibie Weizfeld ed. (Clarity Press: Atlanta, 1989); Radicals, Rabbis, and Peacemakers: Conversations with Jews against the occupation, edited by Seth Faber (Common Courage Press, Monroe ME, 2005).

Faber’s book contains a series of interviews with leading American dissident Jews’ Noam Chomsky, Steve Quester, Joel Kovel, Norton Mezvinsky, Ora Wise, Norman Finkelstein, Phyllis Bennis, Adam Shapiro, Daniel Boyarin, Rabbi David Weiss, and includes a speech and an essay by Marc Ellis.

Mordecai Richler, the late esteemed Canadian author, wrote an article entitled “Israel marks 50th anniversary out of favor with many Jews,” Toronto Star, February 15, 1998. Many other Canadian Jews are opposed to Zionism or are critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Many Canadian Jews were against the war on Gaza. These dissenters include academics and writers Judy Rebick, Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis, Rick Salutin, Bernard Avishai, Howard Skutel, Yakov Rabkin, Klaus Herrmann, Janet Weinroth, Judith Weisman, Michael Neumann, Alan Sears, Gabor Mate, Judy and Larry Haiven, Michael Mandel, Ursula Franklin, Abbie Bakan, Mordecai Briemberg, Eibie Weizfeld, Zalman Amit, Rabbi Reuben Slonim, pianist Anton Kuerti, Ralph Benmergui broadcaster and producer and Judy Deutsch head of Science for Peace to name but a few.

The Jewish Outlook Society, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, publishes Outlook. They describe their magazine as, “An Independent, secular Jewish publication with a socialist-humanist perspective.” Carl Rosenberg is the Editor and Sylvia Friedman is the Managing Editor. Harold Berson is in charge of circulation. They have over 40 Jewish individuals, primarily living in Canada, who serve in various capacities with the organization and their publication.

Outlook takes a critical view of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and frequently publishes Jewish anti-Zionist perspectives.

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) (Canada) currently has more than 100 members. Dylan Penner, Sid Shniad and Diana Ralph serves as coordinators for IJV. The Steering Committee is composed of 24 Canadian Jewish activists including Fabienne Presentey, Sandra Ruch, Andy Leher and Harry Shannon. The IJV is a member-led organization, with chapters in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax.

Here is what Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) said, in their February 19, 2009 Press Release, about Stephen Harper Conservative government’s position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and Minister Jason Kenney’s cutting off funding for English Second Language training programs run by the Canadian Arab Federation:

We believe that Mr. Kenny [sic] and his Conservative government is threatening CAF’s funding because CAF stands for justice for Palestinian people and because it expresses principled criticism of oppressive Israeli policies.

As Jews, we affirm that criticizing Israeli policies is NOT anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism refers to hostility and/or prejudice against Jews. Like any other government, Israel has obligations under international law.

To responsibly raise critical concerns about the discriminatory, illegal, and brutal policies of another government is an ethical imperative, which our government should support.

However, the Conservative government has gone further than any previous Canadian administration in endorsing illegal and brutal Israeli assaults on Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged complete allegiance with Israel and labels as “anti-Semitic” any criticism of Israeli actions (including the Gaza massacre, house demolitions, use of illegal phosphorous and DIME weapons against civilians, etc.).

As Jews, we believe this is a dishonest smoke-screen, a ploy to discredit principled calls for humanity, justice, and compliance with international law.

There are hundreds, and probably thousands, of Jewish critics of Zionism and of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians who have published articles or written books on the subject. Yet many Zionists, and their supporters, claim that there is a monolithic Jewish position in support of Zionism, Israel and the occupation of Palestinian land.

This claim of near universal Jewish support for the Zionist state and its actions toward the Palestinians is so far from the truth that it is laughable.

One has only to open your eyes and review the written record to see that there is no Jewish consensus on these issues and a great deal of criticism and outright opposition to Zionism exists in Jewish intellectual and religious circles, both in the past and today.

Israel’s supporters shamelessly use the argument that to criticize Israel is anti-Semitic no matter what Israel does. This argument is almost entirely false and politically motivated. Not to tell the truth, or to suppress discussion, about what is going on in Palestine is racist and a crime against the Palestinian people and a crime of silence and indifference not unlike the one committed against Jews in the Second World War.

To quote George Soros on the use of anti-Semitism, a tactic he described “the most insidious argument,” to silence the political debate on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

… Any politician who dares to expose AIPAC’s influence would incur its wrath; so very few can be expected to do so. It is up to the American Jewish community itself to rein in the organization that claims to represent it.

But this is not possible without first disposing of the most insidious argument put forward by the defenders of the current policies: that the critics of Israel’s policies of occupation, control, and repression on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and Gaza engender anti-Semitism.

The opposite is the case. One of the myths propagated by the enemies of Israel is that there is an all-powerful Zionist conspiracy. That is a false accusation. Nevertheless, that AIPAC has been so successful in suppressing criticism has lent some credence to such false beliefs. Demolishing the wall of silence that has protected AIPAC would help lay them to rest. A debate within the Jewish community, instead of fomenting anti-Semitism, would only help diminish it.

Billionaire George Soros can hardly be considered a leftist. He is also Jewish.

Here is what Ben Ehrenreich, the author of the novel The Suitors, wrote in the Los Angeles Times on the issue of criticism of Zionism being anti-Semitic.

Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an “epidemic” more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel’s apologists have been forced. Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can’t be said.

It’s not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, “turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground.

Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.”3

There is clearly a wide range of opinion on Zionism that exists within the Jewish community. This fact needs to be recognized. We also need to reject specious arguments and reject false allegations of racism and anti-Semitism. We need to fight for freedom of speech, academic freedom, critical inquiry and democratic debate, at all universities and colleges, in the media, in the halls of political power and all across North America. Individuals should be allowed to decide for themselves questions about Zionism and the Palestinians based on open debate, the facts and informed opinion not on suppression of debate, intimidation and censorship.

  • This article was submitted to The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism and will appear in a forthcoming issue of Outlook magazine published by the Canadian Jewish Outlook Society.
    1. See “The Palestinian Question at the University: The Case of Western Ontario,” American-Arab Affairs, Summer 1987, pp. 87-98. []
    2. See for example, “We Cannot Allow These Murders to Go Unpunished: We can demand these homicidal Israeli soldiers be prosecuted for war crimes,” by Gerald Kaufman, The Independent, April 12, 2006. []
    3. Zionism is the problem: The Zionist ideal of a Jewish state is keeping Israelis and Palestinians from living in peace,” by Ben Ehrenreich, Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2009. [] []
    4. See Occupation Magazine, 25 July, 2009. []
    5. A Jewish state — or Jewish values?,” by Tema Okun, Mondoweiss, 21 July, 2009). []
    6. For example, see “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” By Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, 7 October 2003. []
    7. Hands off the Law of Return!,” David Turner, Jerusalem Post, December 10, 2007. []
    8. Yakov M. Rabkin, A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism (Zed Books: London 2006), p. 2. []
    9. America Council for Judaism, Series A. Correspondence, Subseries 1: General, 1942-1953. []
    10. Ed Corrigan, “Jewish Criticism of Zionism,” Middle East Policy, Winter 1990-91. []
    11. An Invention Called ‘The Jewish People,’” By Tom Segev, Ha’aretz, February 29, 2008. []
    12. For example see, “New Israeli Scholars Face up to Israel’s Origins,” by Eric Rouleau and “Are the Jews an Invented People?” by Eric Rouleau, Le Monde diplomatique, 10 May, 2008; and “A crisis in Judaism: For many Jews today, Israel is not a normal state – it is a cause or ideal, and therein lies the problem,” Brian Klug, Guardian, 15 January, 2009; “Israel’s war crimes,” Richard Falk, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, 3 March 2009; “Israel’s Lies,” Henry Siegman, London Review of Books, 29 January, 2009. []
    13. See “PM slams ‘discrimination’ against Arabs,” By Elie Leshem and Jpost.com Staff, Jerusalem Post, Nov 12, 2008. []
    14. See “Knesset Speaker: Establishment of Israel caused Arabs real trauma,” Haaretz Service, Haaretz, 3 August 2009. []
    15. See “Erasures,” Gabriel Piterberg, New Left Review, July-August 2001. []
    16. Edward C. Corrigan, “Book Review of Reframing Anti-Semitism: Alternative Jewish Perspectives,” Middle East Policy Council, Volume XIII, Spring 2006, Number 1. []

    Edward C. Corrigan is a lawyer certified as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law and Immigration and Refugee Protection by the Law Society of Upper Canada in London, Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at: corriganlaw@edcorrigan.ca. Read other articles by Edward, or visit Edward's website.

    25 comments on this article so far ...

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    1. b99 said on September 1st, 2009 at 10:20am #

      Corrigan is a Jew? Thought he was a nice Irish boy.

      Actually, it doesn’t get any better than this. This is about as comprehensive and cohesive as any critique of Zionism can get – at least from a Jewish perspective. Only a couple of points of difference as far as I’m concerned – and but one type. He refers to Israeli historian Avi Shalim – he means Avi Shlaim. Excellent historian. Speaking of which, Corrigan cites Nur Masalha, a Palestinian historian who did yeoman work uncovering the true history of Palestine. All the Jews Corrigan indicates as dissenters from Zionism owe a debt to the work of Masalha.

      One more thing. What a name-dropper. If one didn’t know better, you’d think he was making the case for the over-representation of Jews among the movers and shakers of North America.

    2. bozh said on September 1st, 2009 at 11:06am #

      In my use of language the word “criticism” does not mean that that one is positing facts by using this word.
      Most of the time when one criticises, one generally complains, wishes, lies, traduces, calls names, etc., none of which shed any light on israel’s or any land’s behavior.

      It appears that it’s the facts that most ‘jews’ fear.
      They can handle lies much better than the truth! tnx

    3. Deadbeat said on September 1st, 2009 at 2:09pm #

      WOW

      Laura Flanders pulled a coup over Chomskyite, Amy Goodman! Ms. Flanders interviewed the Christisons on her show, Grit TV. The Christisons has NEVER once been aired on Democracy Now and I recall how the Christisons were dismissed by Thom Hartman and Bernie Sanders when they called into his show — aired on CSPAN.

      Here the Link … Grit TV

    4. Yafa Bosler said on September 1st, 2009 at 6:14pm #

      Israel is a democratic system that from its inception considered the local populis, just look in the decleration of independence. The palestinians in name is a generic term because it houses various sects of Islam, Christens, and some Jews who rejected the state of Israel as a Jewish state. As a Jew who was born in a moderate Muslim state, my existance there was daily threatened because of my faith. I recall beign stoned on the way to shcool, yet I did not recall any Human Rights movement comming to save me. I would like to see one person who promotes Human Rights for the Palestinians move there for only one year and comback and report the findings. I’ll make it better for them, have them move to Israel with his or her children and live there under the consistant threat the palestinian place on the Israelies and then report his or her findings. Post Modernist suffer from their lack of understanding other cultures, further they tend to mirror their reality rather than understanding the complexity of what they so quickly lable as Palestinian. As a Jew, I feel bad for those who were born to a society that trives on violent. I am also sad for those who promote their caust rather then help them see that violent doesn’t accomplish easy life for society at large, regardless of ethnicity. Only a child who yet to understand the whole picture in life looks for blame rather then understanding that he or she is a part of the problem. Islam as a whole is seeking attention via promoting violence in the world.

    5. Shabnam said on September 1st, 2009 at 7:12pm #

      We read so many lies by the zionist Jews, like Yafa’s comment, who claim they were discriminated against by Muslims. One on these liars is ROYA HAKAKIAN, an Iranian Jew, who is working closely with the zionist and the CIA agents against Iran. She goes on TV (BPS NOW program) or on NPR to tell about her difficult life In Iran. This lies are said about Iran at a time (during Pahlavi family) where many Jews and Bahia (ally of Zionism) hold high positions in politics, military and business in Iran, despite the fact the Bahia claim we have no interest in politics, which is a piece of rubbish. These groups maintained a rich and prosperous life under the Shah. She is so arrogant to tell American fools on NPR that her father could not go to school on rainy days because Muslims viewed Jews ‘dirty’, therefore, rain could have washed their dirt and made the street dirty.
      This lies were said on the air and the interviewer bought it at the face value. Hakakian as an agent of NED and close to Jewish Lobby plays the victim card to form public opinion against Iran.
      Where ever Hakakian goes, always her ‘jewishness’ comes to the fore to tell stories of ‘discrimination’ to brainwash American illiterate, where are millions of them, to buy more sympathy for the Zionist criminals.
      American are not very resourceful in this regard not to be taken advantages by the zionist liars. Americans are brain washed by stories of ‘holocaust’ from early ages in schools and no American dares to raise her/his voice against FORCED ‘education’ while both Zionist Jews and American ignorant celebrate HOLOCAUST at a larger scale where killed hundreds of millions American indigenous population on THANKS GIVING DAY by making a special dish which requires to sacrifice millions of birds.
      The Zionists must understand that they have stolen the Palestinian land. The colonists converted to Judaism many centuries ago in Europe and have NO RELATIONS TO PALESTINE WHAT SO EVER.

    6. B99 said on September 1st, 2009 at 7:24pm #

      Yafa – As sad as your personal plight was – you live on stolen ground. You came to Israel or were brought to Israel because Jews from Europe expelled and killed the native population of Palestinian Arabs. So now you have your country. Why don’t you let them have what remains of it. Why must you have it all? Do you realize that if you insist on having all of Palestine, then someday you will have none of it? Why should Palestinians roll over and play dead for you? What gives you the right? Don’t tell me God, it’s not about God. Its about the US paying your way and covering for you in the UN – without which Israel would have to come to terms with its natives and neighbors virtually overnight.

    7. anon said on September 1st, 2009 at 7:54pm #

      Is it Anti-Semitic to Defend Palestinian Human Rights? Not necessarily.

    8. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 2nd, 2009 at 3:24am #

      B99, I think you give ‘Yafa’ too much credence. Let’s say I prefer to disbelieve her story of discrimination in some unnamed Moslem state, unless and until some evidence is presented. Then one must take into account the malignant effects of Zionism, the evidence of the ethnic cleansing through massacre and terror of the Palestinians and the well documented efforts of Mossad to stampede Jews into fleeing their homes for generations and moving to the illegally occupied Palestinian lands. Even if true to any degree, any travail ‘Yafa’ suffered is less than nothing compared to sixty years (and counting) of utter brutality that the Palestinians have suffered.
      And, of course, then there is ‘Yafa’s’ unbelievable hypocrisy in condemning the Palestinians for violence against the Israelis. I mean, the statement ‘As a Jew, Ifeel bad for those who were born to a society that trives(sic) on violent (sic).’,must go down to posterity as one of the most hair-raising inversions of reality and examples of projecting one’s own faults onto others, ever. Not only have the Palestinians suffered vastly more violence, more death, injury, humiliation and dispossession courtesyof ‘Yafa’s’ Chosen People, but the vastly lesser pain inflicted by them on the Jewish colonists stealing their land is eminently defensible as resistance to racist aggression. I think the Zionist ‘Megaphone’ must be running dry, if the best type of golem that they can mobilise to pollute this space is so ludicrously uninformed and, perhaps disingenuously, ignorant.

    9. b99 said on September 2nd, 2009 at 6:25am #

      Mulga – There will be no evidence for or against Yafa being stoned – so I’m proceeding as if it was a minor personal revelations but irrelevent to the bigger picture. Of course, all you say is true. I just cut to the chase – the case of land robbery, expulsion, and mass killings – before asking him what he wants. In fact, that’s what I want to know from all the Zyonz that post here – now that they have 100% of the country – what more do they want?

    10. Mark said on September 2nd, 2009 at 6:31am #

      None of the people you mentioned helps Palestinian human rights. In order to help Palestinians you need to get involved in Palestinian politics and struggle for saving human lives from within. Looking into the approach of Israel vis-a-vis human rights is misleading and everyone in this article including the author fail entirely and is not helping the Palestinians.

    11. kalidas said on September 2nd, 2009 at 8:38am #

      Yes, no violence please.
      Just hand over all your money, land and organs. (no pun intended)

      And quit whining, you anti-semite.

      All we’ve heard for millenia, from Pharaoh to Caesar, Tsar to President, Prime Minister to Joe Blow is whine, whine, whine.

      Just watch TV, read the papers, go to the movies.
      Who you gonna believe, us or your lying eyes, ears and noses?

      (“The ultimate act of anti-semitism is to stay out of debt.”)

    12. b99 said on September 2nd, 2009 at 10:25am #

      Mark – The only people in the US who can reach US Jews (who in turn pretty much run US policy toward Israel) are other Jews. So it is the job of human rights/justice-minded Jews in America to push other Jews to the left. Arab and Muslim advocates of Palestinians are viewed as self-serving, Anglo-Gentiles are viewed as likely anti-Semitic or at best naive.

      Rachel Corrie, for one, is portrayed as the latter. She is someone who was intimately involved with justice in Palestine. There are many, many others – but there are never enough.

      Author Corrigan does mention a number of Israeli Jews who either live or work among Palestinians – Halper, Reinhardt and Langer come to mind.

    13. morris herman said on September 2nd, 2009 at 2:55pm #

      In this video Gilad goes into this issue of the “self haters”

      Gilad Atzmon – Jewish angst needs enemies
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOj52tajv-0

    14. Shabnam said on September 2nd, 2009 at 4:29pm #

      [The recent cuts to the Canadian Arab Federation’s funding by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The punitive action taken by Minister Kenney is a denial of the fundamental freedoms and rights which are guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.]
      Mr. Corrigan: The zionists in Canada, like in the US, have strong influence on foreign policy regarding the Middle East and North Africa. They have strong presence in many phony Canadian “Human rights” organizations to control the dissident voice in favor of zionism and Israel. Their strong ally, Baha’is has kept hidden from the public.
      The ‘leftist’ groups, including Green Party, are either ignorant or try to hide, since many in the position of leadership are CLOSET ZIONISTS, therefore, only Christian right is known to people not the Baha’is.
      It was reported in the National Post on 3/14/2009: “Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the Canadian Arab Federation will have to change its leadership and adopt a more moderate stance or risk losing federal funding
      However, Mr. Kenney has been on a crusade for the past two years to slander, discredit and dictate to Arab and Muslim Canadians who they can choose as their leaders. This crusade was conducted with the open support of Canadian Zionist organizations and is in the context of current Canadian government policy to defend Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes.
      Kenney, in his speech at the “Anti- Semitism Conference” at Lancaster House, London, England on Feb. 17, 2009 slandered the Canadian Arab Federation and the Canadian Islamic Congress as “organizations that either excuse violence against Jews or express essentially anti-Semitic sentiments” and express “hateful sentiments”.
      The Canadian Arab Federation president, Khaled Mouammar, calls Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney a “professional whore” for supporting Israel.

      This professional whore has close relation with another professional whore who believes Iranian Leaders must not be allowed entry into Canada, the same as zionofascist Kenney who ban Galloway entery to Canada because he supports Hamas, where was elected by Palestinians in a free elections. On the other hand the professional whores, Kenney and Akhavan, call the Iranian election fraud’ and Akhavan is trying to take Iranian leaders to ICC because this professional whore thinks that the Iranian leaders have committed war crimes.
      Akhavan and Roya Hakakian, a zionist Jew and her Husband who is in the business of velvet revolution cooperating with Gene Sharp and Peter Ackerman, have established “Iranian documentation center for violation of Human rights” with NED financial support, more than 1.5 millions, to produce the required ‘documents.’

      On the other hand, these professional whores, Akhavan and Kenney, give strong support to Monarchists and former Pasdaran turned pro ‘HR,’ Akbar Ganji, a charlatan, where both are seeking ‘regime change, to help Israel and the United States to achieve their goal in the region. Jewish Lobby was behind the war in Iraq, and now wants another war against Iran to establish ‘the greater Israel.’

      Baha’i was originated in Iran (Persia) and has strong connection with the great powers to expand their interest in the region for the interest of Baha’ism. The Bahia leaders have received supports and awards from their master, British and other powers, for their services and have given strong support for the creation of state of Israel. They have STRONG CONNECTION WITH ZIONISM AND ISRAEL. They use the victimization card, like Zionist liars, to expand their interest. They have strong program to bring more convert to their house, house of justice, where no justice can be found. I was, personally, approached by Baha’i many times when I was in school to become Baha’i but I refused.
      Following the sufferings of the Iraqi Muslims at the hands of the rebellious Baha’is, the Ottoman government upon a request by the Iranian ambassador in Istanbul Mirza Hussein Qazvini, who later became the chancellor, exiled the Babis to the remotest areas of the Ottoman territory. They were later sent to Adrianopole where the Babis refer to as the… secret land. It was in Adrianopole where Bahaollah laid claim to Bab’s mantle as the Awaited One and rejected his brother Mirza Yahya Sobh-e Azal. When the seditious role of the Babis was revealed to all foreign governments, the French decided to take advantage as well. To this end, the deputy consul of the French embassy secretly met Bahaollah and held talks with him. It was in this meeting that the French official, according to Kavakeb-ud Dorriyeh, asked Bahaollah to apply for French citizenship so that they could support him. It is obvious that the objective of the British and French governments by offering citizenship to Bahaollah was to dispatch him to areas such as India on behalf of the British and to Algeria on behalf of the French governments in order to promote schism in Muslim land.
      After the Azalis and Bahais split, Mirza Hussein Ali was sent into exile to Akka(Palestine) where he stayed until he died in 1892 and was replaced by his son Abbas Affendi.
      During the leadership of Abbas Affendi, the Ottomans were embroiled in military hostilities with the British, and since Abbas Affendi was an advocate of the British government, he would collect military information in Akka and Haifa. He would also provide the English forces with the required foodstuff.
      After the Ottomans found out that Abbas Affandi and his followers were spying for the British government in Palestine and that he was a British mercenary, as Shoqi Afandi has asserted in his book Qarn-e Badi the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman government Jamal Pasha decided to execute Abbas Afandi for his espionage acts. But Britain in an open support for Abbas Affandi, commissioned the then Foreign Minister Lord Balfour to send a cable to the commander of the British corps in Palestine General Lord Allenby, stressing protection for Master Abdol Baha (Abbas Affandi), his family and his friends.
      The possible arrest and execution of Abbas Affendi was reported to Lord Cruiseden by Jamal Pasha but General Allenby in a pre-emptive action, seized Haifa and cabled to London: “Palestine was seized today. Inform the world that Abdol Baha is alive.”
      The British commander who seized Haifa in 1918 had been commissioned by the British Empire to meet Master Abdol Baha upon his arrival in Haifa and the British king DECORATEDE him with Knighthood.

      The British Empire DOES NOT DECORATE A PERSON FOR NO REASON. BAHA WAS THEIR A G E N T as many claim.
      Shoghi Effendi, was appointed head of the Bahá’í Faith after Abbas Affendi, from 1921 until his death in 1957. He was born in `Akká (Palestine), since the British allowed the Bahai to settle in Palestine against the will of the indigenous population, in March 1897. Shoghi Effendi was related to the Báb through his father, Mírzá Hádí Shírází, and to Bahá’u’lláh through his mother, Ḍíyá’íyyih Khánum, the eldest daughter of `Abdu’l-Bahá. From the early years of his life, Shoghi Effendi was greatly influenced by `Abdu’l-Bahá, who provided much of his initial training.
      The Baha’is, through Shoghi, played their role in establishment of Israel in the heart of ARAB LAND where no one voted for the partition of Palestine and establishment of a Jewish state, not even non Arabs such as Turks, Greeks, or Iranians.
      On July 9, 1947, Shoghi Effendi received a letter from the chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine requesting a statement on the relationship, which the Baha’i¬ Faith has to Palestine and the Baha’i¬ attitude toward any future changes in the status of the country.
      Effendi gave the following response:
      “The position of the Baha’is in this country is in a certain measure unique: Whereas Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Christendom it is not the administrative center of either the Church of Rome or any other Christian denomination. Likewise although it is regarded as the second most sacred shrine of Islam, the most Holy site of the Muhammadan Faith, and the center of its pilgrimages, are to be found in Arabia, not in Palestine. The Jews alone offer somewhat of a parallel to the attachment which the Baha’is have for this country, inasmuch as Jerusalem holds the remains of their Holy Temple and was the seat of both the religious and political institutions associated with their past history. But even their case differs in one respect from that of the Baha’is for it is in the soil of Palestine that the three central Figures of our Religion are buried and it is not only the center of Baha’i¬’ pilgrimages from all over the world but also the permanent seat of our Administrative Order, of which I have the honor to be the Head.”

      Shireen Ebadi was not awarded Nobel Peace prize FOR NO REASON. She is an agent of the West and has strong connection to Western Intelligent services (Human rights) along with Payam Akhavan a Baha’i, law professor at McGill University who was born in Iran and left the country at the age of 9. Akhavan has strong connection and cooperation with the Zionist and racist Jason Kenney and the Zionist Jews in Canada and elsewhere and work as an agent using his expertise on behalf of the Western tools such as NED, ICC and on behalf of Israel and Zionism.
      Shireen Ebadi’s daughter is studying ‘Human rights’ at the same department that Payam Akhavan is teaching where has been reported she has also become a Baha’i under supervision of Payam Akhavan in Canada.
      Ganji is the winner of Rights & Democracy’s 2007 John Humphrey Freedom Award ($30,000).
      In Canada he has been supported by the Zionist’s camp, Jason Kenney, Akhavan and Irwin Cotler. They arranged a talk for Akbar Ganji on ‘Iran nuclear program’ where Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney made the introductory remarks, and Irwin Cotler, MP, Professor of Law and former Attorney-General of Canada, to respond to Mr. Ganji’s talk. McGill law professor and former UN war crimes prosecutor Payam Akhavan chaired the discussion.
      Payman Akhavan also is helping the Zionist in Darfur.
      In August 2007, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer was the keynote speaker at the Save Darfur Canada rally in Montreal. Neuer spoke together with Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, former commander of UN peacekeepers in the Balkans; Prof. Payam Akhavan, international law professor at McGill, and former senior advisor to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Simon Deng, a black Christian from the south of Sudan who was sold into slavery into the Muslim north; Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel.

      The biography of Payam Akhavan reads:
      Payam Akhavan is a leading international lawyer and scholar of human rights. He was the first war crimes prosecutor at the United Nations Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and served as counsel in several high profile cases, including the International Criminal Court proceedings against the Lord’s Resistance Army commanders for forced conscription of Ugandan child soldiers. Dr. Akhavan is also the Co-Founder and President of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. He has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for his contributions to human rights. Dr. Akhavan earned a Doctorate in Juridical Sciences from Harvard Law School. He has taught at Yale Law School and currently teaches at McGill University in Montreal.
      Akhavan, Kenney, Nazanin Afshin-Jam and Tenzin Khangsar are shown in the following photo:
      http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=11680226&albumID=0&imageID=53946771

    15. dan said on September 3rd, 2009 at 12:32pm #

      This is a very good article. There is much labelling on the part of Yafa and Shabnam, and simplistic analysis. The Palestinian Arabs supported Britain against the Ottomans because the Ottomans were occupiers and the British had promised the Palestinian elite their national independence. In the same way Arabs and Irish supported the Nazis against Britain. Is Shanam supporting the Ottoman occupation? He is biased against the west, but not all ideas of freedom and justice come from the west, and not all western ideas are bad. Shirin Ebadi articulates the values and hopes of many Iranians. All cultures borrow from each other, none is “pure” so Shabnam is naive. Much of western culture is borrowed, and many westerner thinkers are studying all over the world for new ideas to solve problems. Yafa might have been discriminated against. Copts are, as are all women. I knew a really sweet young Arab couple in the US who left because the husband could not get a job as an electrical engineer because he had an Arab name – during the first intifada. The making of Israel by taking Arab land only increased Arab discrimination against Jews. The Berbers have also been discriminated against by Arabs, and are still being culturally squashed, intellectuals murdered etc. That does not mean that we should fund Israeli abuses. It is impossible to see Palestinians faring well and flourishing in a single state from the way Israel is now, so a single state is not the solution. Israel already has 70% of the land, it baffles me why they use the religious excuse and the ascension to power of primitive settler ideology to grab the rest. If the get a single state they will still have hostile borders from which they can be attacked – they need to stop getting our money and realise the compromises they need to make in order to make a valid place for themselves in the region.

    16. Rachel Golem said on September 3rd, 2009 at 3:19pm #

      It must be so frustrating for you that most Americans spend their day worrying about paying their bills and feeding their children rather than sitting around talking about how a “small minority” of Jews is ruining the world.

      Most of your movement, are angry, dysfunctional, childless people who live alone and are underemployed because they have too many useless college degrees.

    17. Shabnam said on September 3rd, 2009 at 3:32pm #

      I don’t know how much Dan knows about intension of British Empire when he writes:
      “The British had promised the Palestinian elite their national independence.”

      We know Palestine reserved for the European colonists who adopted Judaism many centuries ago in Europe and had NO CONNECTION EITHER WITH PALESTINE OR THE REGION.
      This was given to the colonists on behalf of Rothschild family, according to Balfour declaration. Do you have any document showing the same for Palestinian?
      Then, of course, it would have been odd since Palestine was already populated with Palestinians for the past, at least, 21 centuries continually. That’s why we say Palestine has been stolen.

      I did not find this article unfair, however, I tried to expose the Zionist liars who dare to go everywhere with their lies to buy ‘sympathy.’ I have given an example in my post where I know what I am talking about since the same liar, Roya Hakakian, is exposed already by other Iranians.
      How much do you know about Shireen Ebadi? It seems to me your information is based on the media propaganda and not based on evidence. Do you know Payman Akhavan? If you knew him, you would not have written these words about Ebadi. Akhavan is close to zionifascists in Canada and is a NED agent who manipulates information to engineer ‘documents’ against enemy of zionism and imperialism , such as Sudan, Iran, Russia and other countries. Ebadi has been given Nobel peace prize so a voice can be created in Iran for the West, otherwise, Shireen Ebadi would not cooperate with the agent of NED, (CIA) and Canadian ‘rights and democracy’, twin sister of NED in Canada where Akhavan is on its board, and other intelligent services of the West in Europe against Iran.

      Michael Barker has this to say about Shireen Ebadi:

      [It is also noteworthy that Ganji was detained by the Iranian government for just over a year in April 2000 "following his participation in an academic and cultural conference held at the Heinrich Böll Institute". This is a major German ‘democracy promoting' organization that inspired the creation of the NED. Finally, it is interesting that Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, "formally asked to represent the family" of Zahra Kazemi. This is noteworthy because Ebadi is a director of the Points of Peace Foundation - a Norwegian based human rights organization whose advisory board includes a large number of ‘democratically' linked individuals.]

      Michael Barker believes ‘Human rights’ organizations of the West are manipulative and phony and they hype problems in the targeted countries without paying attention to the root causes of these problems, where majority of them are created by the illegal sanctions to create unemployment and dissatisfaction to destabilize the country, to form public opinion against targeted countries for regime change.
      People of Canada have this to say about Payam Akhavan who runs a campaign of lies and deception against Iran on behalf of zionism and the empire:
      [Mr Akhavan did not respond to my email.
      Dear Mr Akhavan;
      Certainly Iran is doing some bad things, but the presentation you were a part of this morning smells of propaganda. The Iran Holocaust conference was not the Holocaust Denial conference(as you stated), and yes Mr Duke was a member of the KKK a long time ago, but there were no KKK members as you stated.
      Meanwhile Israel is given a pass by the CBC for it’s ongoing atrocities. What do you think of this discrepancy? The former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress is the appointed head of the CBC, and we now have a heavily Zionist slant to the reporting of Israel vs Palestine and the demonization of Iran.]

      http://deathtozion.wordpress.com/2007/06/01/dear-professor-akhavan/

    18. B99 said on September 3rd, 2009 at 7:55pm #

      Shabnam -The Hussein-McMahon correspondence of 1915 guaranteed the freedom of Arab southwest Asia from foreign occupation – that means Palestine. It predates the Balfour Declaration – a betrayal of the British promise to Arab elites.

    19. Shabnam said on September 3rd, 2009 at 8:41pm #

      Thank for mentioning this here. However, I looked into it and it seems to me it was a ‘promise’ given by Henry McMahon on behalf of the British Government to secure cooperation of Arabs for an attack against the Turks and disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Besides, there was a fierce rivalry amongst great powers including Germany and Russia to have influence in Persia, Iraq and Arabia.

      This ‘promise’ supposes to give assurance to support the independence of the ARABS IN ALL THE REGION WITHIN THE LIMITS DEMANDED BY THE Sheriff of Mecca and it was not specifically about Palestine, where most of these promises were nothing but lies which still people’s lives are affected negatively as a result of that today.

      http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1915mcmahon.html

    20. mary said on September 3rd, 2009 at 11:30pm #

      So much for Obama. It’s ‘Up Yours’ from the Zionists.

      Israeli prosecutor’s office says West Bank settlements should be retroactively legalized
      Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News

      Israeli military outpost on Palestinian home protecting Israeli settlement expansion (photo Paola Suttita)

      September 3, 2009

      In two separate court cases heard in Israeli court on Wednesday, a representative for the State Prosecutor’s office issued statements that certain settlements previously considered illegal under Israeli law will now be retroactively legalized. The statements could indicate a major policy shift for the Israeli government, and a major rebuke to the US President’s recent push for a settlement freeze.

      The move came just days after a group of mayors from West Bank settlements met with members of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office to demand that all West Bank settlements be recognized, legal or not.

      Shaul Goldstein, one of the settler leaders who took part in that meeting, threatened the Prime Minister’s Director General, “Everything is in the hands of the prime minister, and there will be no hesitation to do battle with him.” Goldstein and the other settler leaders complained that they felt humiliated by the potential for a settlement freeze, arguing that they should be allowed to build and expand the settlements in the West Bank.

      The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has been a source of friction between the US administration of Barack Obama and the Israeli administration of Binyamin Netanyahu, both inaugurated earlier this year. Over 500,000 Israelis live in settlements constructed in contravention of international law on land seized by military force in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, most of whom moved there after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 forbidding any further Israeli encroachment onto Palestinian land.

      But Israeli forces have willfully ignored the directives of the Oslo Accords, the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Resolutions, continuing to protect Israeli settlers’ expanding developments on Palestinian land. The Israeli government has differentiated between what it terms ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ settlements, implying that some are acceptable under Israeli law, while others are not. All of the settlements are considered illegal under international law.

      http://www.uruknet.info?p=57602

    21. mary said on September 4th, 2009 at 3:03am #

      I see ‘our friend’ has resurfaced from under his stone. I do not believe anyone is ‘blocked’ on this site but if he was, then he can block off for good.

      Note the emphasis in the headline of this BBC report.
      Gaza sewage ‘a threat to Israel’ The sewage might harm the Israelis!
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8236733.stm

      Then on Uruknet the life (or rather death) of the fishermen which the BBC fail to report. They are much keener on their endless Winton Train (the UK Schindler) live broadcasts from the train with the wailing violin music playing in the background to the tearful interviews with the passengers. ‘Very emotional’ said the BBC presenter with great feeling this morning as the latest episode finished.
      http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m57606&hd=&size=1&l=e

      The BBC are reporting just now that settlement building will continue as before – a two fingered salute with knobs on, to put it crudely, to Obama from Netanyahu and Lieberman. What price the ‘peace process’ now and what will Mitchell and Clinton think up next to procrastinate and prevaricate?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8237499.stm

    22. b99 said on September 4th, 2009 at 6:49am #

      The area demanded by the Sherif of Mecca was all of Arab (and then some) Southwest Asia. Only belatedly, very belatedly, did the Brits try to say that the Promise did not include Palestine. There are maps – and when I come back from a trip – I will find one.

    23. b99 said on September 4th, 2009 at 6:49am #

      Shabnam – message above is for you.

    24. MEBOSA RITCHIE said on September 4th, 2009 at 7:54am #

      mary,i haven’t been under a stone
      just returned in fact from a wonderful 2 week vacation in israel.
      it really is inspiring to see the rapid progress the country is making.
      popped down to gaza to see my friend ismael haniyah. he told me about the sewage problem and he said that they had to use the metal drains for rocket tubes. such is life when rocket parts are in short supply.
      he assured me that the tidal currents takes the sewage over towards egypt and north africa so the israelis shouldn’t have too much of a problem.he blames the egyptians anyway for closing the rafah border so he doesn’t care about them.
      anyway,glad to see i was missed

    25. Jerry Peragine said on October 9th, 2009 at 3:15am #

      The essay seemed well thought-out, and the logic reasonable, until I reached the part where Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights are documented by “respected organizations such as The International Red Cross”; that’s when I knew to stop reading.