The tide is turning against Zionist extremism

These changing perceptions are the result of the rise of alternative forms of media, which have broken through the mainstream media’s imbalanced and inaccurate portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

By My Catbird Seat

 

BDS – Global civil society solidarity with Palestinians

 

by Mark LeVine

Al Jazeera, America

 

Poor Sheldon Adelson. Even fellow billionaire Haim Saban has had enough. So toxic has the self-described pro-Israel conservative become that Saban, a major supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, can no longer bring himself to deposit his millions with Adelson, even when the goal is to combat the latest mortal threat to Israel’s existence (or, rather, unchallenged legitimacy): the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

Sheldon Adelson is a Republican and Haim Sabbah is a Democrat.Sheldon Adelson is a Republican and Haim Sabbah is a Democrat.

 

Saban had reportedly pledged support for Adelson’s $50 million effort to oppose the growing BDS movement against the Israeli occupation at U.S. universities. The movement’s focus on academic and cultural activities directly challenges Israel’s portrayal of itself as a modern, liberal democracy. It has thus touched a raw nerve across academia and U.S. politics and has led many university administrations to adopt strong stands against it as a way of demonstrating their support for academic freedom.

Saban won’t be donning a keffiyeh anytime soon, but it’s clear that the increasingly politically conservative mainstream American Jewish leadership bears closer resemblance to the current Republican presidential field than to the broad base of American Jewry, which remain among the most strongly liberal demographic groups in the country. American Jewish college students in particular tend to be progressive, which is why college campuses have become ground zero in the battle over Israel’s image.

 

The tide is turning against Zionist extremismThe tide is turning against Zionist extremism

 

For decades, the one issue that has been the exception to the broadly progressive streak within American Judaism has been Israel. The Jewish state has received unchallenged support by most Jews despite its decades-long occupation of the West Bank and the pursuit of policies toward Palestinians that, were they practiced by any other country, would be overwhelmingly opposed by American Jews.

This support has rested on three conditions. First, American Jews have seen Israel as under a constant and mortal threat by the surrounding Arab and Muslim world. The 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 wars had to be successfully depicted as defensive and necessary to prevent the destruction of the Jewish state.

In 1948 the recent memory of the Holocaust naturally gave such threats particular salience. But the passing of the Holocaust generation and the ever-widening body of research challenging the argument that Israel’s wars have always with wars of no choice (in Hebrew, ein breira) have gradually weakened the claim that Israel has always been the victim of others’ aggression.

Second, the occupation has been portrayed and understood as primarily about security. Most American Jews would not support an occupation based on conquest and displacement, while one based on security leaves open the possibility for a land-for-peace compromise once Israel’s legitimate security needs are met.

 

Palestine being wiped off the Map by brutal Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing.
Palestine being wiped off the Map by brutal Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing.

 

But it is increasingly clear that the occupation has never been about security — if it were, Israel could legally have maintained a military occupation without moving a single settler into the occupied territories.

Now, with the majority of Israeli political elites openly declaring their desire to annex most of the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state under any circumstances, the security argument for maintaining the occupation no longer holds much water.

Third, Palestinians have been portrayed as irrational, hate-filled others who cannot be reasoned with. As long as Palestinian anger and violence leave no partner for peace, then there is no reason to examine Israel’s policies too closely. Palestinian terrorism, whether by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1960s and 1970s or Hamas in the decades since, has legitimized this discourse.

Anti-BDS initiatives are doomed to fail, particularly when they attempt to bully universities and even Jewish students into muting criticism.

However, the renunciation of violence by the PLO in 1988, the Palestinian participation in the Oslo peace process and the low level of Palestinian violence in recent years have all weakened this argument. Moreover, Israel’s response to Palestinian violence has been so disproportionate that even many of Israel’s supporters have questioned its motives.

 

What the Zionist lobby fears most is free speech. (via Aljazeera)What the Zionist lobby fears most is free speech. (via Aljazeera)

 

These changing perceptions are the result of the rise of alternative forms of media, which have broken through the mainstream media’s imbalanced and inaccurate portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, a new generation of very assimilated, media-savvy young Arab-Americans has emerged on college campuses, often participating in the very same progressive activities and clubs as their Jewish-American peers.

Coalitions bringing both groups of students into contact have become far more common, creating new relationships and deeper mutual understanding despite and ultimately in place of hostility and mutual recriminations. Even where conflicts have been particularly intense, professors and administrators have over time come together to create platforms, such as the Olive Tree Initiative, that have brought the two sides together on campuses and even in Israel and the Palestinian territories for open and critical discussions.

 

BDS – The New York Campaign
BDS – The New York Campaign

 

Into this mix has come the BDS movement against the occupation. Its growing popularity among many academic professional societies is matched by an increasing willingness among American Jewish students to discuss and openly support the movement. Groups such as Open Hillel and Jewish Voices for Peace — the fastest-growing Jewish group in the U.S., which openly supports full BDS — are pushing the boundaries of acceptable criticism of Israel on campuses and beyond.

It is precisely this dynamic that led conservative Jewish leaders such as Adelson and initially Saban to fund an opposition campaign. But such initiatives are doomed to fail, particularly when they attempt to bully universities and even Jewish students into muting criticism.

 

Sen Dianne Feinstein along with her husband Richard Blum (left )Sen Dianne Feinstein along with her husband Richard Blum (left )

 

For example, Richard Blum — an investment banker, a University of California regent and the husband of California Sen. Diane Feinstein — recently threatened the University of California with his wife’s wrath if it didn’t enact a new speech code that would silence most speech critical of Israel. No sooner had he made his threat than Jewish Voices for Peace and the Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights released simultaneous reports that document a relentless and completely unethical campaign of attacks and intimidation of students and faculties across the country to suppress all serious criticism of Israel.

Even a decade ago, such reports would have had a hard time reaching a wide audience, in or outside the Jewish community. Today they quickly go viral, becoming impossible to ignore. And their arguments are amplified by the almost daily videos from the occupied territories that show Israeli soldiers and settlers attacking, arresting and beating children, shooting Palestinians and even pouring concrete into homes. Sooner or later, the weight of reality becomes so overwhelming that any attempt to deny it only makes those in power look worse.

I am sometimes asked if I have any regrets about publishing our book. As of today, my only regret is that it is not being published now. After the humiliations that Obama has endured at the hands of the Israel Lobby and the Hagel circus, we would sell even more copies and we would not face nearly as much ill-informed criticism. — Stephen Walt, co-author of the book.
I am sometimes asked if I have any regrets about publishing our book. As of today, my only regret is that it is not being published now. After the humiliations that Obama has endured at the hands of the Israel Lobby and the Hagel circus, we would sell even more copies and we would not face nearly as much ill-informed criticism. — Stephen Walt, co-author of the book.

This is the moment Israel and its supporters have reached, not just with the world at large but with an increasing number of American Jews as well.

As the inherent contradiction between Israel’s self-image as a modern, democratic and progressive country and the reality of a half-century-long brutal occupation become clear to all, the erosion of support for Israel by the emerging generation of American Jews will continue and likely increase, with profound consequences not just for Israel but also for the future of the American Jewish community.

Mark LeVine University of California at IrvineMark LeVine is a professor of history at the University of California at Irvine and a distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
He is a co-editor, with Mathias Mossberg, of “One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States.”

Also see:

In photos: #SolidarityWaveBDS protests around the world 

 

Source: http://mycatbirdseat.com/2015/10/93555the-tide-is-turning-against-zionist-extremism/

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5 Responses to “The tide is turning against Zionist extremism”

  1. Nicky says:

    Two world wars for these greed riddled malcontents, mutilated by circumsision and consequently brain altered creatures. AND THEY STILL WANT ANOTHER world war.
    I do wonder if the barbaric practices favoured by the semite group of religions is at the root of why they need to invent a nasty version of the Good God. Cant see the real Loving God in the peace within anymore due to there mutilated bodies maybe.
    Talk about sins of the father inherited by the sons (or Daughters if a Muslim type semite).
    I do despair.
    As time goes by I grow increasingly anti ALL semite religions for the damage they have wreaked upon any good society that builds a heaven here on earth. for it seems to me that this bunch that came out of Africa (home of the beginings of slavery) Will asset strip it and destroy it, all in the name of total world domination. and for what? To inherit the next life in the hell created by them in the last.
    I have some news for them. Regardless of the bullshit “spells they perform” there is no escaping your actions/Karma. I speak as an uncuircumscisesd son with a circumcised self serving arse of a father. knowing it is my duty as a son to honour, All that can be done is to upanishad, “sit down beside” him to get a better awarenes of his plight , On the upside he did not mutilate me, Not for altruistic reasons though, That is a given. Trying not to use that horrid semite master/slave word, “understand” By using a Master/Disciple version, “upanishad”. of Saraswati civilisation origin.
    Yours, A blue eyed resident of the now privatised UK, Currently being sold down the river and experiencing an exodus of its wealth after our “Leaders” Gave the zionists all they require. Israel.
    A base to abscond to when caught theiving.

  2. beLIEve says:

    Khazar zionist “excrementalism”.

    Smothering the world in their own inimitable brand of “unique-mess”

  3. Lynn says:

    They haven’t any alies left in the world. They have been found guilty of every crime and murder they have instigated.
    Running scared now Russia is on their doorstep. Unlike Isis who never once attacked them. They are a dying State now. No more covert operations or false flags. They are finished. They will be brought to book.

  4. salty says:

    on February 12, 2016

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=128916

    This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli “miracle”, the manifestation of the Zionist “dream”.

    I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us “self-understanding” Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic “understanding”, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix. The attitude which I thus exhibit here is an extremely unpopular one in Israeli and Jewish culture. It is the vein of the “moser” – the one who “snitches” against the “Jewish nation” towards the goyim.

    Well, get over it. There are far more serious issues at hand.

    I have to tell you first that our evaluation of Israeli history omits so much atrocity from our side. Indeed, much of it is still classified – even back to 1948. Yes, you may have heard about the Deir Yassin massacre, it is often taught in school books, yet portrayed as an aberration, perpetrated by “extremist”, “rogue” factions before the Declaration of Independence (although the leaders of those extremist factions became our Prime Ministers). But what of the dozens of other massacres perpetrated by – us – in 1948, indeed by the very IDF? Have you read about Al Dawayima, which was apparently worse than Deir Yassin? Yair Auron just wrote about it in Haaretz, I translated and put it out here and on my Facebook page. Go and read. It’s a letter which is out for the first time in full, but it’s no secret as such – excerpts of it have been out for decades – as have many other testimonies and documents, for those who care to seek and look.

    When you sum up the systematic mass executions, the many gang-rape cases (which have been slow to be uncovered, because they involve shame on both fronts), the crushing of children’s skulls with sticks, the ripping out of fetuses from their mothers’ wombs – all, and many more, perpetrated by “us”, the “good guys”, the “cultured elite” – often in situations which presented no danger, just out of pure gratuitous sadism and hate for the “Arabs” – then you may begin to realise, that Israel is not in a war of survival, a war of an elite and advanced culture in a “bad neighborhood” of backwards Arab sub-culture.

    Let me put it out there, clearly and directly:

    We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still

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