Palestine Park

Desiring Westerners

This past fall I traveled to Boston to attend the Sabeel Conference on the “Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel” held in the Old South Church. Global warming was in full swing on the muggy weekend which coincided with the October 27th anti-war demonstrations organized by UFPJ. Sabeel — Arabic for “path” — is a Palestinian Christian organization billing itself as an “ecumenical, international grassroots peace movement that promotes nonviolence, human rights, international law, democratic principles and Gospel teachings on justice and peace-building”. Since the Zionist project was originated by Protestants hundreds of years ago and is now sustained not only by the murderous brutality of the Israeli army, the efficient ministrations of The Lobby and American largesse but also by the very edifice of Protestantism I was curious to see what the liberals among them were up to these days in this regard. The use of the word “apartheid” seemed promising so I bought my ticket and off I went.

Passing through the demonstrators stalwartly standing by Israel on Boylston Street brandishing shiny new blue-and-white placards, I entered the church and after receiving my conference packet entered the sanctuary where I was presented with an additional handout. Old South had apparently had taken flack beyond the demonstration outside for allowing such an anti-Semitic confab on the premises so the first document was a “public statement” signed by the Reverend Nancy Thompson defending the decision to host the conference as well within the fine liberal tradition of Old South. The Reverend further declared that Old South and the United Church of Christ “stand firmly in support of Israel…. firmly in support of Palestinian Christians” adding that UCC and Old South “grieve” for the suffering of both the Israelis and Palestinian Christians who both “possess narratives that are fraught with suffering, insecurity, injustice and anguish”. Perhaps Rev. Nancy felt that a robust display of Judeo-Protestant solidarity coupled with a pointed exclusion of Palestinian Muslims from the balm of her grief would certify the church’s bona fides to the critics without.

During the course of the two-day conference, celebrated leftist patriarch Noam Chomsky held forth in his soporific New York Times-quoting style on the topic of Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions and although he seemed to concede that BDS could kind-of-sort-of possibly be a pretty good idea at some unspecified future point he warned sternly that the groundwork has not been laid for its success and much organizing and education must be done first. Chomsky’s deep structure might therefore translate: “Take your time. Take lots of time. Let’s not rush out and inconvenience the Jewish state any time soon”. I prepared a question for the Professor on my conference-issue card asking if this meant that he had changed the position he took in 2001 when he told the Harvard Crimson, “I’ve probably been the leading opponent… of the campaign for divestment from Israel and of the campaign about academic boycotts”.David Weinfeld, “Chomsky’s Gift”, Harvard Crimson, Dec. 12, 2002. But Chomsky toddled off at the panel’s conclusion after taking only one question from the audience so I was unable to learn the answer.

Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions likewise exuded a bossy ambiguity. A native Minnesotan who plugged in his “birthright” but then apparently was dismayed to discover that his fellow Israelis were not so very nice, Halper exhorted the assemblage to take the apartheid-in-the-occupied-territories route because (this was said hurriedly, emphatically) “the single state is a non-starter”. The glaring, nay screaming contradiction of opposing both apartheid and a single democratic state thus hung in the air. Nevertheless, Halper made me wax nostalgic putting me in mind of my local UFPJ shop steward who waggled her finger at me some years ago and declared that a mysterious entity which she was pleased to call “our community” did not want to hear about the single state, and if I continued to rudely bring it up, I should go form my own group. She may even have concluded her scolding in the playground idiom of my youth, “So there!” but I cannot swear to it.

Canon Ateek delivered unto us ringing and eloquent words about Zionist apartheid. But he also stated that although Palestinians do not like the two-state solution they will have to accept it because the West — and here the good Canon sounded puzzled — “wants a Jewish state”. This bizarre Western desire was not elaborated upon however and thereby hangs the crux of the matter. In fact it hung right up there with the Halper Contradiction, suspended above the enormous sanctuary of Old South filled to capacity with mostly middle class white folk.

The West indeed wants a Jewish state, a state where the majority of the citizenry (perhaps all, if the Lieberman boys get their way) enjoy sole ownership of stolen Palestinian real estate based on some sort of DNA qualification. Why the West (and this includes the liberal, progressive and democratic West) wants this is a question that has never been effectively addressed by any pro-Palestinian or progressive group as far as I know. And it is this precisely this Western desire that lies at the core of the so-called difficulty of the problem. As you may recall after 9/11 there was a load of sanctimonious rubbish written about how Islam was in dire need of a Western-style “enlightenment” to bring it up to speed. But the fact that a majority of Western Christians and Jews harbor such a non-negotiable, religious/racist desire suggests that they would be better employed examining their own commitment to enlightenment principles rather than snottily preaching to others.

Imam Mahdi Bray, Farid Esack and Desmond Tutu offered up ringing condemnations of Israeli apartheid but to be sure they were all black and therefore on some level invisible to the nearly all-white audience. White privilege runs strong and deep in the likes of Old South as Rev. Nancy was careful to demonstrate. The Archbishop was uniformly charming although I felt he did make too much of us all being “the children of Abraham”. I’ve never understood the monotheistic regard for Abraham who abandoned one wife and son to die in the wilderness and then hawked the other about as a harlot to the local royalty. Not a particularly appealing father figure by any cultural measure. I rather agree with the great but deliberately ignored Lebanese historian Kamal Salibi who suggested that Abraham represents the West Arabian god of impotence.

Still I was in a Christian milieu, so I forgave the Archbishop because he comes from circumstances in which scripture might be said to carry some weight against oppressors although this was really only possible in South Africa because the West did not “want” a Boer state the way they “want” a Jewish state in Palestine. South African real estate — in spite of Boer hallucinations — was never coveted or covenanted the way Westerners feel that Palestine has been contracted personally to Protestants and Jews. Because the Bible constitutes the property deed to Palestine it is impossible to use it effectively in the struggle against the Zionist project because its supporters can simply flip to Genesis 13:15 and smirk “So there”!

Then up spake the bespectacled David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice with Methodist Global Ministries. Wildman wielded religious metaphor to level accusation directly at the sea of well-fed white faces as he bade them examine the log in their own eye, in the eye of their churches and in the eye of the American left, a log that has long silenced debate on Palestine. Wildman charged that this silencing contributed directly to the apartheid now in place in Palestine and harked back to the example of the enormous anti-nuke demonstration in NYC in 1982 one week after Israel invaded Lebanon, when speaking out against Israel was explicitly banned by the organizers. It was bracing to hear Wildman use this little-known incident which I believe heralded the subsequent demise of the American left. For a millisecond I thought “Well shucks, put me down for a Methody”.

“Our reason for turning to Palestine is that Palestine is our country”

So now let us go a-logging. I am looking at an old postcard circa 1879 entitled “Oriental Group in Palestine Park”.The History Project, UC Davis The scene comprises a gaggle of Americans clad in oriental dress clustered round a Protestant chapel. The revelers are frolicking in Palestine Park, a scale model of the “Holy Land” constructed in 1874 on Lake Chautauqua, New York by the Reverend John Heyl Vincent as a visual aid for the legions of Sunday school teachers who flocked to the Chautauqua Institute to bone up on biblical history and geography. This first ever example of a theme park — that quintessential American construct — featured:

…a life-size Tabernacle built to the specifications given in Exodus, a pyramid, a model of Jerusalem, and a small scale replica of the biblical Holy Land itself—complete with a ten-foot-long Dead Sea, a smaller Sea of Galilee, and markers for important biblical sites—landscaped into the rocky terrain of the shoreline …which serves as the Mediterranean Sea.Timothy Beal, Roadside Religion, 2005, p. 28.

Established in 1874, the Chautauqua Institute spawned hundreds of “assemblies” throughout America, their popularity lasting until radio and cinema decimated their customer base. First and foremost the model at Chautauqua was liberal and Protestant. Upper and middle class Americans flocked to the Institute and its branches, first to imbibe Protestant party line and later to indulge in an array of adult ed courses, what Rudyard Kipling called “the apotheosis of popular information”. Chautauqua’s visiting luminaries included Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, George Gershwin and at least nine presidents. Ida Tarbell, famed muckraker of Standard Oil, happily recollected cavorting on Palestine Park’s Mount Hermon as a girl.

Although there were many smaller precursors on American church grounds, Palestine Park is the iconic example of what geographer John Kirtland Wright called geopiety, “a deep religious devotion to a vision of the Holy Land concocted from a ‘curious mix of romantic imagination, historical rectitude, and attachment to physical space’ [emphasis added]”.Ibid., p. 27-8. Geopiety is a particularly Protestant obsession originating in England in the 16th century and culminating in the Balfour Declaration. Long before Herzl revved up the Jewish branch of geopiety, the Archbishop of York pugnaciously encapsulated the concept in 1875: “Our reason for turning to Palestine is that Palestine is our country. I have used that expression before and I refuse to adopt any other”.Issam Nassar, “In Their Image”, Jerusalem Quarterly, October 2003.

The Archbishop may have been ready for a fight, but Wright’s mix is not in the least curious. Palestine Park is no quaint bygone exhibit of exuberant 19th century American religiosity. Although the “historical rectitude” of situating biblical events in Palestine has melted away as biblical archaeologists continually come up empty-handed, Protestant theology maintains its fervid “attachment to physical [Palestinian] space”. Americans supersized their geopiety, objectifying it not only in Palestine Park but also countless miniature biblical re-creations in 19th century Sunday schools and sanctuaries across the country. Public constructional geopiety climaxed at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair which featured a ten-acre Jerusalem Exhibit in the center of the fairgrounds with full-scale replicas of such Palestinian landmarks as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Temple Mount, Solomon’s “stables” and the Wailing Wall. Imported “natives” provided picturesque accents for fairgoer’s amusement. Direct descendants of Palestine Park abound today in such venues as Holy Land, USA (VA), The Holy Land Experience (FL), Golgotha Fun Park (KY) and God’s Ark of Safety (MD).

Although today’s biblical theme parks have a definite red state tinge, youthful Protestant congregants in all states are still subject to Old Testamentary teaching and its obsession with property. In the liberal blue state Congregational Church of my youth, we Sunday school students built a scale model of the Tabernacle using specs from Exodus and surplus tile from teacher’s bathroom renovation. While we converted tiles into cubits, Johnston’s map of the Holy Land hung on the wall behind us and later when I was confirmed at age sixteen the testament bestowed on me featured the same map on the frontispiece. Only a few years ago during a rummage sale at a nearby ultra-liberal UCC church I spied the same map hanging in the choir room where the soft goods were on offer. Palestine Park and its derivatives are simply tangible examples of historic Protestant ownership regard for Palestinian real estate. It is precisely this theological component that now underpins Western insistence on a Jewish state in Palestine.

So while the great-great-grandparents today’s Palestinians were tending their fields and orchards and plying their crafts all unawares, Americans in Arab drag acted out their ownership fantasies in a Palestine theme park. Mind you, Palestine Park and the American tradition of biblical re-creation is only a small part of what is a long dense tradition of mainstream Protestant Zionism which includes such 19th century political milestones as: London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Among the Jews (1809); London Memorandum on the Restoration of the Jews (1839); Gawler’s Association for Promoting Jewish Settlement in Palestine (1852); and the Blackstone Memorial Petition presented to President Harrison entitled “Palestine for the Jews” (1891).For a detailed historical chronology of Christian Zionism, see Mohameden Ould-Mey, “The Geopolitical Genesis and Prospect of Zionism”, Political Geography, 2003.

All of these proto-Zionist constructs (which by the way contained elements of anti-Semitism) were created to realize Biblical prophecy for political ends. An even more pervasive and influential strain of this Protestant desire is scattered profusely through British and American literature, culture and nomenclature. All of these political and religious desires constitute what the late Israel Shahak identified so eloquently as the “weight of history”. It is important to understand that to this day this historic desire weighs on the Christian West on all levels — from right wing dispensationalists to the liberal clergy to the ranks of the anti-war progressives. That the West “wants a Jewish state” — whether consciously or not — is what enables the continuing bloodshed and injustice in Palestine and even Iraq. It is crucial that these desires be “dragged into the light” using Shahak’s example:

… politics is an interaction between realistic considerations… and ideological influences. The latter tend to be more influential the less they are discussed and ‘dragged into the light’. Any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it. This is especially so if its discussion is prohibited, either formally or by tacit agreement. When racism, discrimination and xenophobia [is] being fueled by religious motivations it is like its opposite case, that of antisemitism and its religious motivations.Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of 3000 Years, 1994, p. 2.

The unexamined historical weight before us is the Protestant theology of real estate — the long Protestant theological desire for a Zionist project. Self-examination is particularly difficult when religion is involved. Former President Jimmy Carter writes candidly of his life-long “infatuation” with Israel and describes the giddiness he felt the first time he visited Israel, a giddiness experienced by the thousands of British and American travelers who flooded “their” Palestine in the 19th century and then published equally giddy accounts of their travels which enormous body of work constitutes a literary phenomenon unprecedented at any other time or place. Nevertheless, Carter — like Halper — is unable to violate the “biblical” borders of Israel: Apartheid is to be found only in the occupied territories and Palestine Park itself is a “democracy”. Progressives, smugly thinking themselves liberated from such baggage, are particularly loath to examine the personal impact of this historical religious weight and instead seek refuge from the effort by hiding behind the issue’s “complexity” and other ruses. No doubt they are all held back by a certain reluctance to relinquish their G-d given right to frolic in Palestine Park.

J.A. Miller is a grandmother activist from the Middle West who spent many years traveling and studying in the Middle East. She has published essays on Counterpunch, Dissident Voice and StateofNature. Her poetry also was included in Remi Kanazi’s 2008 anthology Poets for Palestine. Miller is currently writing a book on the Protestant origin of the Zionist project. She can be reached at: Read other articles by J.A..

30 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on December 12th, 2007 at 5:34am #

    Perhaps I could put this article into the debate and add some reality.

  2. gerald spezio said on December 12th, 2007 at 9:57am #

    Big Zionism here;

  3. jaime said on December 12th, 2007 at 10:22am #

    A few points…

    “…Halper exhorted the assemblage to take the apartheid-in-the-occupied-territories route…”

    It never ceases to amaze me how many euphemisms there are for deligitimizing and demonizing the modern State of Israel. The writer, Ms. Millier refuses to actually call the place by its proper name, instead using terrorist nomenclature like the Hamas or Hezbollah or other euphemisms.

    The plight of Christians in the Palestinian areas is given very short shrift in her piece. There have been Christians in the area since the time of Jesus.

    see: Gaza’s Christians fear for Lives

    I’d be surprised if she was aware of or cared about their predicament today. The approximately 2400 Christians in Gaza are simply terrified these days, as the Hamas consolidates its grip religiously as well as politically.

    This was my first news that Jeff Halper has done a 180 degree turn on his big notion of the single nation state, which he has been a leader in promoting for years and years. Guess even he figured out that you can’t very well cobble a state together, when a significant portion of the players are intent on exterminating the others.

  4. jaime said on December 12th, 2007 at 10:23am #

    A bit more about the Christians in Gaza:

    “…Christians living in the Gaza Strip told the Post that they were very worried about the increased attacks on members of their community and religious institutions. “The latest incident is aimed at sending a message to all the Christians here that we must leave,” said a Christian leader. “Radical Islamic groups are waging a campaign to get rid of us and no one seems to care.”

  5. jaime said on December 12th, 2007 at 10:25am #

    Thanks GS, that’s an up-to-date study too. Well, for here, anyway.


  6. gerald spezio said on December 12th, 2007 at 10:41am #

    Would the Zionist Propaganda Colossus with its toiling peeyar yuppies be smart enough to continually publicize Martin Luther King’s “I’ve Seen the Promised Land” speech as perfect peeyar for the Zionist’s Promised Land of all Palestine and beyond?

    King’s “Promised Land” speech is everywhere these days

    Whose interests are served by this sentence by Miller?
    “The unexamined historical weight before us is the Protestant theology of real estate — the long Protestant theological desire for a Zionist project.”

    NPR just did another “piece” with the MLK “Promised Land” theme.

    J A Miller’s “piece” leaves many readers with a Biblical and scriptural “justification” for Zionism’s promised land. requiring the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

    Miller throws out Jimmy Carter’s “life-long infatuation with Israel.”

    But she doesn’t even mention Carter’s book, PEACE NOT APARTHEID.

    Our fearless editor, Joshua Frank, could label Miller’s piece, “convoluted.”

  7. jaime said on December 12th, 2007 at 1:03pm #

    Zionism isn’t necessarily synonymous with “genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

    Zionism is the concept of the existence of a land for the Jewish People.

  8. gerald spezio said on December 12th, 2007 at 1:14pm #

    Zionism is the fundamentalist concept of the Palestinians’ land for the fundamentalist Judaic people..

  9. hp said on December 12th, 2007 at 2:18pm #

    Phony baloney parasite democracy. Too bad we can’t all close our eyes, wish real hard and it would just disappear..

  10. dan elliott said on December 12th, 2007 at 6:06pm #

    Just some quick props for author Miller. The Christinane-Zionist aspect of the problem is one that has been neglected far too long & too much, incl. by yrs truly.
    I recently shelled out for a book by one Greg Felton titled “The Host & the Parasite”. That it was published by Dandelion Press does nothing to enhance its credibility in my eyes, nor does Felton’s recital of various versions of the Conventional Wisdom according to various 911 Truth hobbyists — but he includes a big chunk of research into the early days of US Xstian Zionism which revealed to me how ignorant I am in that area.
    Of course Darby et al exemplify only the overt, relatively extreme trend; from infancy a certain amount of Zionism is inhaled by US Protestants with the air they breath. Nobody notices it, just as nobody now notices all the other omnipresent pollutants.

  11. Joseph Anderson said on December 12th, 2007 at 10:05pm #

    Copy — Open Letter:

    From: Joseph Anderson
    Sent: Tue 11/27/07, 1:47 PM
    To: Noura Erakat, Palestinian-American legal activist, 2007 Boston Sabeel Conference speaker

    Dear Noura,

    I was listening to Democracy Now this morning and Amy Goodman was playing the recorded October 26-27, 2007, Sabeel Conference speeches of Noam Chomsky and Desmond Tutu. I see from the program that you also spoke at –and perhaps helped to organize?– that conference. So, that is why I email you. I will share my thoughts with others in the CC.

    (I was surprised that Amy played Chomsky’s speech first, since Tutu apparently gave the keynote address. If one didn’t know that, one would have assumed that Tutu followed behind Chomsky, and that maybe Chomsky gave the keynote address.)

    In fact, Chomsky opened by saying:

    “Well, I’ve been asked to talk about the apartheid paradigm and the proper response here, so I’ll do that, though not without some additional reservations. We have to recognize that there will be no clear answer as to the question of whether the apartheid paradigm applies in Israel or in Boston, right here, or elsewhere. The genre has, after all, only one example: South Africa. [I guess that Chomsky doesn’t think that the almost century of legal and *Constitutionalized* American Southern Jim Crow, and little things like the American Black Codes, and various forms of American anti-miscegenation (anti-“race-mixing”) laws, qualified as another example.] And there are similarities elsewhere in many dimensions, and it’s fair enough to bring them up, but there’s very little point debating whether they are close enough in one or another case to count as apartheid, because that will never be settled, we know that in advance.”

    But, in fact, Tutu pointed out that what’s been going on in historic Palestine since Zionist colonialism has been *WORSE* than apartheid. So, *who* is Chomsky deferring to when he said that “there’s very little point” in making the comparison? I’ll offer my answer: Chomsky always *fundamentally* defers to the ultimate sensibilities, when not wishes, of Israeli/Zionist Jews (like some of his old Zionist Jewish friends living in Israel — where *he* used to live). The *oppressors* must morally approve of boycotts, divestments and sanctions; the *oppressors* must morally approve of the apartheid comparison; the *oppressors* must morally approve of a reunified state (even in theory). When it comes to Chomsky and *only* Israel, we must always consult the *oppressors* first, defer to their sensibilities, and the oppressors always gets the ulitmate moral veto: that is his determination of what is even moral “practical” support.

    The recordings did not make the Democracy Now listeners privy as to whether there was any Q&A afterwards, but if Chomsky went unchallenged after his speech, then –in my most humble opinion– I think that’s pathetic that he can apparently just spoon-feed people his distortions, obfuscations, underminings and even outright lies. In fact, Chomsky’s got his own little propaganda machine going — to deceive progressives/leftists. Anyone supporting the Palestinian cause who is hanging onto Chomsky (or inviting him to speak) merely because he’s a white left guru will be taken to a *dead* end. Chomsky also falsified the history of the anti-South African apartheid divestment movement. It didn’t start only *after* some great international consensus was built up: it started as an educational and consciousness-raising tool to *build up* the consensus for divestment, as well as economic, cultural, and athletic boycotts, against apartheid South Africa.

    I just wanted to express to you that, in my most humble opinion, I am surprised that someone like Chomsky would even be invited to speak — someone who seems to subtly work to actually *UNDERMINE* the Palestinian cause as a *practical* issue. Chomsky gives subtle cues to this whenever he speaks long enough. The reasons I hold this position can be exemplified by my FWD’d email below, as well as the articles I list below. (And aside from that, Chomsky has never *renounced* political Zionism as, indeed, a racist political ideology.) In fact, just as Chomsky said at the beginning of his speech, his response to the Palestinian struggle is, indeed, pretty abstract. I’d humbly suggest reading my email below first to get an additional overview of my intellectual and moral objection to his speech and then read the articles, as your busy time permits.

    “Gnome Chomsky” — a *GREAT* little poem!

    Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict — interview with Jeffrey Blankfort

    Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict — by Jeffrey Blankfort

    The Left and the Israel Lobby — by Joseph Anderson

    I hope you find this information of some interest:

    Take care,


    Berkeley, California

  12. gerald spezio said on December 13th, 2007 at 6:18am #

    In case you missed the MAP of BIG ZIONISM;

    You won’t have to be bewildered about why there is never any peace in Palestine.

    Fundamentalist Judiasm wants it all and will lie, distort, manipulate, and murder to get what they want.

    “Israel from the Nile to the Eupfrates.”

    “God likes us best!”

  13. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 15th, 2007 at 8:21am #

    Thank you, Ms. Miller and Joseph Anderson.

    Thank you, Ms. Miller. For what I’d term wry-JessicaMitford-reporting, but have never before encountered. I attended a book club discussion of The Devil in the White City, about 50 miles outside the SF Bay Area, a couple of years ago. But I hardly spoke a word, so parochial and narrow were the comments by the others.

    And I’m still returning to this most enlightening description of protestant *world fairs* in the 19th century, with Palestine as their holy land.

    And Joseph Anderson. Thank you for extending Ms. Millers’ opening comments regarding Professor Chomsky and confirming my conviction that the world and the resistance movement in America have passed this great beacon by. In my opinion we owe the man our thanks, however, not derision.

  14. greybeard said on December 15th, 2007 at 8:36pm #

    The portion of James Petras’ book, “The Power of Israel in the United States”, on Chomsky is a great read. For some one as informed as Chomsky is, why he avoids arriving at the moral conclusion of condemning Israel’s policies–backed by the moral pressure of boycotts, etc.–is astonishing. Tribal loyalties may explain it; Blankfort thinks that Chomsky is always looking out for what is good for Israel. But Ted Kaczynski was turned in by his own brother, who saw what his moral duty was, and did it.

  15. gerald spezio said on December 16th, 2007 at 7:42am #

    Joshua Frank is the toiling editor of DV, and Joshua says that Zionism isn’t even a factor in the Palestinian land grab by the Israelis.

    James Petras’s scholarly and detailed book, THE POWER OF ISRAEL IN THE UNITED STATES, documents the murdering power and intrigue of the murdering Zionist agenda.

    Is Joshua Frank working to advance the murdering Zionist agenda?

  16. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 16th, 2007 at 8:06am #

    greybeard. Thank you for jumping in. After entering “greybeard” in the “enter search term” box above, I see you have been as trenchant as you are sparing in your postings.

    gerald. The word “working” is ambiguous in your question: are you asking if Joshua Frank is intentionally working to advance the Zionist agenda? Or do you intend to be ambiguous, presumably in order to not appear to be a fool?

    Lloyd Rowsey

  17. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 16th, 2007 at 8:59am #

    greybeard. I plan to read Petras. I believe Chomsky considers himself more valuable as an information-resource than as an activist or even advocate. Such I believe is the position of many academics. I recently saw a video of a presentation in Boston by N.C. (last spring?) in which he very obviously ducked a question as to whether he thought it was a good idea for students to rally for kicking military recruiters(?) off campuses, a la Mario Savio. Does Petras say or imply that Chomsky slants information, or avoids it, in his “reporting” on Israel’s policies?

  18. gerald spezio said on December 16th, 2007 at 9:50am #

    Is this beautiful lady, Anne Baltzer, trying to understand and help her fellow man , or is she another propagandist trying to throw pepper in our eyes?

    Watch, weep, rejoice, & hope.

  19. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 16th, 2007 at 10:08am #

    I have never heard so clearly stated a rage
    May it not desert you, gs, in your age.

  20. gerald spezio said on December 16th, 2007 at 12:06pm #

    Let us not desert our suffering fellows and their innocent children in Palestine and Iraq who are being murdered everyday for Israel.

  21. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 16th, 2007 at 1:02pm #

    It is no question of deserting the suffering and innocent, gs.

    Certainly they are being murdered, gs. But for Israel? In Iraq as well as in the Levant? In any case, it doesn’t follow that aiming one’s venom and efforts — after all, we all have limited amounts of both — against Israel is more likely to reduce the murder than aiming it at the Chimpunk’s America (I almost wrote, Amerika. Doubtless you remember that sixties’ spelling) . Ron Jacobs writes persuasively about this.

  22. gerald spezio said on December 16th, 2007 at 1:43pm #

    When one observes the mad dog Zionists pleading for more destruction and murder in Iran, what happens to the – “It’s all for the oil” theory?

    Re-read “A Clean Break” written in 1996 by Zionist monster Richard Perle and his murdering Zionist pals for a stated prelude to the Zionist designs for murder in Iraq and Iran;

    Ron Jacobs toils to obscure the clear causal chain of Zionism.

  23. Ravinder said on December 17th, 2007 at 8:14am #

    >>…But Chomsky toddled off at the panel’s conclusion after taking only one question from the audience so I was unable to learn the answer…

    I too attended this conference in Boston October 26. Chomsky, as ever, was willing to take more questions from audiences. But unfortunately, that day’s proceedings were lagging behind schedule as Desmond Tutu was suppose to deliver the keynote address around 1:30pm. I don’t know about the one question which J.A. Miller is referring to. But I remember very clearly Chomsky did answer Miller’s question (check on youtube or sabeel’s web page for full video) about his controversial stand on Israel. He spoke about 15-20 minutes. All this happen when many of the audiences were already leaving for the lunch after the organizers had decided to skip the discussion following the panel’s talks. So the brief account which Miller gave about the conference in beginning of her article above is a near misrepresentation of what happened on that day.

  24. Joseph Anderson said on December 17th, 2007 at 6:24pm #




    As an African American, I’M GLAD THAT NOAM CHOMSKY CERTAINLY WASN’T AN “ABOLITIONIST” back in the days of American slavery.

    He would have monotonicly intoned at length against the *excesses* and abuses of slavery — but *OPPOSED* a *true* democracy and a singular, re-unified, truly democratic country with absolutely equal rights for all people.

    He would have *OPPOSED* calling slavery _white-supremacy_, _racism_, _chattel apartheid_ or _(internal) colonialism_– “because there’s too much disagreement from the Confederacy”, the *oppressors*, which [quite naturally] *opposes* those terms.

    He would have said that The Slave Plantation Confederacy Lobby *has no* power and doesn’t really even exist, so there’s no point in opposing and working against it, “except if you might stretchingly, in some wild imagination, call it a lobby in some vague, amorphous, highly abstract form” — that “there’s no point in using such terms (as the Confederate lobby, racism, apartheid, even slavery, as opposed to ‘certain excessively unpalatable and overly-exploitative employment abuses’)” — that “we have to recognize that there will be no clear answer as to the question of whether the slavery or chattel apartheid paradigm applies” — and that, in fact, it’s highly *offensive* to the Confederacy, the plantation system, the slave owners and slavery supporters themselves: the *oppressors*.

    He would have condescendingly said that Confederacy-questioning, anti-*unequivocally*-slavery-centric academics, “deserved credit”, he off-handedly supposed, but are misguided: that, “they didn’t factor in *the windsail energy lobby* with its interests of thousands of windsails on our seafaring merchant ships necessary for any thriving internationally-oriented country!” [Actually, two highly-acclaimed and highly-appointed “Realist” imperialist establishment professors who realized that expanding chattel slavery and a predominantly agrarian economy throughout the expanding nation was incompatible with an industrially aspiring world power.]

    He would have opposed any form of divestment, boycotts or sanctions against the Conferderacy or even against corporations that did business with the Confederacy or the Plantation plutocracy, and therefore would help to sustain it. He would have said that such measures against the Confederacy would merely hurt the *slaves* — “would merely hurt the very people you’re trying to help!”

    He would have insisted that it was *world capitalism & imperialism* –*NOT* the Confederacy or its white-supremacist national slavery ideology– that was “the *real* problem”, and that we had to defeat world capitalism & imperialism FIRST! — the people from whch the Confederacy is *really* taking its orders. *Don’t* morally attack or call for sanctions against the boys in *Richmond*.

    He would have said that the Confederacy doesn’t approve of divestments/boycotts/sanctions against it and that it would be _UNREALISTIC_ to just expect it to just let millions of Black slaves be free with equal rights! — that there would be the problem of “too many free Blacks” — and therefore “A NON-STARTER”.

    He instead espouses the high-noon carillon concert call of deliberate, micrometic *grrrradualism* — or going for the Marxist/Anarchist utopia, *FIRST*, of abolishing ALLL capitalism, imperialism and, supposedly, ALLL states and borders, before abolishing the immediate suffering of millions of people. (Really, a “leftist” excuse to do, effectivey, *NOTHING* practical.)

    [Well, the Palestinians have been held STATELESS for the past *60 years* and their land has no respected BORDERS, so I guess *that’s* certainly in keeping with Chomsky’s “Anarchism”.]

    He would have condoned slaveryism in the Confederacy — as long as the Confederacy agreed that those Blacks in the North could be nominally “free”.

    He would have used his personal cottage industry “Unquestioned White Leftist Walk-on-Water Guru” status (still regularly homaged and promoted, who’s editors and groupies permit no serious expert/competent contention, on that ante-bellum broadsheet, ‘Democracy Now’) and otherwise carefully culitvated “leftist” promulgations to actually *OPPOSE* and *SUPPRESS* any demands to abolish slavery in *both* the Union and the Confederacy.

    Finally, IN HIS, BY NOW, *BILLIONS* OF SPOKEN AND WRITTEN WORDS, he would have *NEVER* RENOUNCED the white-supremacist ideology and institution of SLAVERYISM–participated in by *both* white European Christians and, to a lesser extent by virtue of Anglo-American demographics, white European Jews.

    Oh!!: And it would have turned out that Chomsky *himself* used to *live* in Ole Dixie, used to *be* a _pro-slavery_ “Marxist/Anarchist” — became a “daring”, *fully and senior tenured* academic given the high honorific, “University Professor” by one of the *establishment’s* most top academic institutions in the world — and *STILL HAS* old, feel-good, “Peace Now”, “liberal”, *PRO-SLAVERY* friends and, perhaps, even relatives still, then, living in the Confederacy!

    And so it be’s…

    Joseph Anderson,

    Berkeley, CA

  25. J.A. Miller said on December 18th, 2007 at 7:40am #

    The careful reader will find Chomsky’s Sabeel speech (available on Democracy Now) thoroughly depressing which is the usual effect of the Great Master’s speeches.

    Chomsky stated quite baldly that the “genre” of apartheid has “only one example: South Africa”. Perhaps the Professor regards apartheid as merely some sort of school of artistic endeavor. Worse yet, these words were a direct slap in the face to Archbishop Tutu who spoke after him and who has stated on several occasions that Israeli apartheid is worse than the South African variety.

    Chomsky also stated that there is “no clear answer as to the question of whether the apartheid paradigm applies in Israel or Boston” and that there is “little point” in debating the similarities of the two apartheids because the debate will “never be settled, we know that in advance.” Thus does Chomsky trivialize the issue by the irrelevant mention of Boston and then preempt and shut down debate about the very topic around which the Sabeel conference was organized.

    Perhaps Chomsky is still the self-proclaimed “leading opponent for years of the campaign for divestment from Israel and of the campaign about academic boycotts”. Near the end of his Sabeel speech after recounting some of Israel’s crimes he basically calls for inaction: “The kind of popular measures that were effective against apartheid by the late 1980s are not only ineffective in the case of Israel-Palestine today, but in fact sometimes backfire in harming the victims”.

    Please see the excellent three part article by Jeff Blankfort at voltairenet for further analysis and information:

  26. Joseph Anderson said on December 18th, 2007 at 11:56am #

    From: Joseph Anderson
    To: [150+ recipient list]
    Subject: _Palestine Park_, Dissident Voice — “This is a superb piece of writing”
    Date: Wed 12/12/07 8:35 PM

    “I very rarely, if ever, send out articles (even important ones), but this is a very incisive, intellectually urgent, and particularly important one for the left. — J.A. [Joseph Anderson]”


    Kudos! Excellent article, J.A. Miller!

    I particularly note a sentence in your follow-up comment just above: “Near the end of his Sabeel speech after recounting some of Israel’s crimes he basically calls for inaction” — or ineffectual (anything the Lobby/Zionists *don’t* strongly object to) busywork.

    Yyyep: *THAT’S* THE CHOMSKY WAY! — of *appearing* critical, at length, of Israel while UNDERMINING any *practical* methods of moral opposition.

    Blankfort (and in their own similar words other _serious_ social & global justice, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and, thus, anti-Zionist Jews) called it correctly and frankly about Chomsky (and other, especially, also characteristically, Israel lobby deniers, dismissers and minimizers; boycotts, divestments and sanctions opposers; and, sometimes openly, ideologically, “Jewish state” advocates– some of the most well-known Jewish lecture circuit “progressives/leftists” in the U.S. and Canada):


    It’s time to call –or hold– them to account.

  27. Lloyd Rowsey said on December 18th, 2007 at 5:23pm #

    Gee. Just out of curiosity, Anderson, did your copying Palestinian Park to “150+ recipients” include the posted comments following it, in particulat the posts of greybeard and myself?

  28. Deadbeat said on December 20th, 2007 at 12:08pm #

    J.A. you forgot to mention one of Chomsky oft repeated excused that he would have said about slavery … “Facts on the Ground”.

    . I believe Chomsky considers himself more valuable as an information-resource than as an activist or even advocate

    Chomsky writings, speeches, and books and his celebrations by the “left” makes him an advocate — unfortunately he’s one of Zionism’s best advocates.

  29. Deadbeat said on December 20th, 2007 at 12:19pm #

    According to Blankfort, Chomsky was against MIT’s divestment from Isreal. Also I the “J.A”, I was referring to was John’s brilliant analogy of Chomskyism had he been around during slavery days.

  30. Daddy14 said on October 22nd, 2009 at 11:12am #

    Thus, to the extent the ratio of deaths-to-pop- ulation at risk may have declined between 1990 and 2001, future deaths due to malaria would be under- estimated. ,