Archive for the ‘Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!’ Category

This article appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly in December of 2004.. We are printing it here under fair use principles . It provides vital historical analysis of the term antisemite and antisemitism.

Today the real victims of Western anti-Semitism are Arabs and Muslims, argues Joseph Massad*

There is much misunderstanding about the term “anti-Semitism” among Jews, Arabs, and European Christians. The term is bandied about as a description of attitudes deemed anti-Jewish, and on occasion anti-Arab, but much of its use is anachronistic and ahistorical. While Zionists and their supporters have been using the charge of anti-Semitism against any and all who oppose Israel and its policies, especially, although not exclusively, in the Arab World, Arabs have taken offense countering that they are “Semites” and therefore by definition cannot be “anti-Semitic”. What are the merits of such arguments?

Perhaps some history will help: The term “Semite” was invented by European philologists in the 18th century to distinguish languages from one another by grouping them into “families” descended from one “mother” tongue to which they are all related. In this context, languages came to be organised into “Indo-European” and “Semitic”, etc. The philologists claimed that Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, etc., were “Semitic” languages, even though philologists could never find a parent Semitic language from which they all derived.

In the 19th century and with the rise of European biological racism, those who hated Jews could no longer rely on religious difference to mark out post- Enlightenment Jews as objects of their hatred. As religion was no longer part of the argumentation that could be used in a “rational and scientific” Europe, a new basis for the hatred of Jews had to be found. This did not mean however that certain religious ideas could not be rationalised. They often were. In keeping with the Protestant Reformation’s abduction of the Hebrew bible into its new religion and its positing of modern European Jews as direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews, post- Enlightenment haters of Jews began to identify Jews as “Semites” on account of their alleged ancestors having spoken Hebrew. In fact the ancient Hebrews spoke Aramaic, the language in which the Talmud was written, as well as parts of the bible. Based on this new philological taxonomy and its correlate racial classifications in the biological sciences, Jews were endowed with this linguistic category that was soon transformed into a racial category. Accordingly, haters of Jews began to identify themselves as “anti-Semites”. Thus the object of hatred of European anti-Semitism has always been European Jews.

The claims made by many nowadays that any manifestation of hatred against Jews in any geographic location on Earth and in any historical period is “anti-Semitism” smacks of a gross misunderstanding of the European history of anti- Semitism. While oppression of, discrimination against, and hatred of communities of Jews qua Jews are found in many periods of European history, the basis for this hatred is different from modern anti-Semitism, as its inspirational sources are not rational science and biology or Enlightenment philology, but religious and other political and economic considerations that scapegoated Jews. This may not be important for those who want only to produce a lachrymose history of European Jews, but it is crucial to the understanding of how the identities produced since the European Enlightenment are different from preceding periods, and that they function as new bases for nationalism, racism, oppression, discrimination, and liberation, and for the modern mechanisms put in place to institutionalise such identities and categories of humans.

The defensive claim made by some that Arabs cannot be “anti-Semitic” because they are “Semites” is equally erroneous and facile. First, I should state that I do not believe that anyone is a “Semite” any more than I believe anyone is an “Aryan”, and I do not believe that Arabs or Jews should proudly declare that they are “Semites” because European racists classified them as such. But if the history of European Christian anti-Semitism is mostly a history targeting Jews as objects of discrimination and exclusion, the history of European Orientalism and colonialism is the one that targeted Arabs and Muslims, among many others. This does not mean that Arabs are not considered Semites by European racialist and philological classifications; they indeed are. Nor does this mean that much of the hatred of Arabs today is not derived from a prior anti- Semitism that targeted Jews. Indeed it is. The history of European Orientalism is one that is fully complicit with anti-Semitism from which it derives many of its representations of ancient and modern Arabs and of ancient Hebrews and modern Jews. As Edward Said demonstrated a quarter of a century ago in his classic Orientalism, “what has not been sufficiently stressed in histories of modern anti-Semitism has been the legitimation of such atavistic designations by Orientalism, and… the way this academic and intellectual legitimation has persisted right through the modern age in discussions of Islam, the Arabs, or the Near Orient.” Said added: “The transference of popular anti-Semitic animus from a Jewish to an Arab target was made smoothly, since the figure was essentially the same.” In the context of the 1973 War, Said commented that Arabs came to be represented in the West as having “clearly ‘Semitic’ features: sharply hooked noses, the evil moustachioed leer on their faces, were obvious reminders (to a largely non- Semitic population) that ‘Semites’ were at the bottom of all ‘our’ troubles.”

This is important, as many people in the Arab world and outside it think that European Jews are the ones who called themselves “Semites”, rather than European Christian racists who invented the term. Of course this misunderstanding is understandable given the fact that Zionism, which adopted wholesale anti-Semitic ideologies, would also call Jews “Semites” and would begin to consider Jews as Semites racially from the late 19th century to the present. In this sense not only do many Arabs think that “Semites” is a Jewish-invented category but so do many European Jews who were (and in some contexts remain) victims of this anti-Jewish designation.

But this is different from the spurious claim that “Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are Semites.” There are Arabs today who are anti- Jewish, and they borrow their anti-Jewish rhetoric not from the Palestine experience but from European rhetorics of anti-Semitism. The point is that Arab Christians and Muslims can be anti-Jewish just as Jews can be, and American and Israeli Jews often are, anti-Arab racists, even though many among these Jews and Arabs use the category “Semite” for self-classification. Indeed a large and disproportionate number of the purveyors of anti- Arab racism in today’s United States and Israel as well as in Western Europe are Jews. But there is also a disproportionate number of Jews among those who defend Arabs and Muslims against Euro- American and Israeli racism and anti-Semitism. The majority, however, of those who hate Arabs and Muslims in the West remain European and American Christians.

It is often pointed out by Zionists and their supporters that holocaust denial in the Arab world is the major evidence for “Arab anti-Semitism”. I have written elsewhere how any Arab or Palestinian who denies the Jewish holocaust falls into the Zionist logic.

While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly “moral” argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else’s homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.

Anyone who believes in social justice and opposes racist oppression must be in solidarity with all holocaust victims, especially European Jews, 90 per cent of whom were exterminated by a criminal and genocidal regime. Such a person must equally be against the Zionist abduction of the holocaust to justify Israel’s colonial and racist policies. The attempt by holocaust deniers to play down the number of holocaust victims is obscene, as whether one million or 10 million Jews were killed, the result is still genocide and this would never justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Such obscene number games on the part of holocaust deniers are hardly different from Zionist Jewish denial of the Palestinian nakba and are also similar to the continued Zionist attempts to play down the number of Palestinian refugees. While the nakba and the holocaust are not equivalent in any sense, the logic of denying them is indeed the same. I should stress here that the Palestine Liberation Organisation and most Palestinian intellectuals have spoken and written since the 1960s of their solidarity with Jewish holocaust victims and have attacked those who deny it took place. Unlike the official and unofficial Israeli denial of the expulsion of the Palestinians and the numbers of the refugees, those who deny the holocaust among Palestinians have no position whatsoever inside the PLO nor any legitimacy among the Palestinian intelligentsia.

Today we live in a world where anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred, derived from anti-Semitism, is everywhere in evidence. It is not Jews who are being murdered by the thousands by Arab anti- Semitism, but rather Arabs and Muslims who are being murdered by the tens of thousands by Euro- American Christian anti-Semitism and by Israeli Jewish anti-Semitism. If anti-Semites posited Jews as the purveyors of corruption, as financier bankers who control the world, as violent communist subversives, and as poisoners of Christian wells, the Arab and the Muslim today are seen as in control of the oil market and therefore of the global financial market, the purveyors of hatred and corruption of civilised Christian and Jewish societies, as violent terrorists, and as possible mass murderers, not with some Semitic Jewish poison but with Semitic Arab nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (which are nowhere to be found). Thus Michael Moore feels vindicated in telling us in his recent film, Fahrenheit 9/11, about the portion of the American economy controlled by Saudi money while neglecting to mention the much, much larger American share of the Saudi economy. Anti- Semitism is alive and well today worldwide and its major victims are Arabs and Muslims and no longer Jews. The fight should indeed be against all anti-Semitism no matter who the object of its oppression is, Arab or Jew.

* Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York.

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The Blacklist Continues:

Emma Rosenthal & Andy Griggs are once again under attack by those who don’t support their work in Palestine solidarity.

As owners of DragonflyHill Urban Farm, they recently experienced a barrage of 1 star reviews from over 1700 people who had never been to DragonflyHill Urban Farm but were upset with a review left by DragonflyHill Urban Farm on an Amazon page.

People who had never been to their urban farm pretended they had, making outrageousImage of two hands holding each other. Text: If you're truly intersectional in your activism and advocacy you're going to make a lot of enemies. claims about filth and vermin, others claimed that the hosts discriminated against Jews and Iraelis. Others wrote hate speech and threats, while others simply posted in their 1 star review Am Yisroel Chai  in both Hebrew letters and in transliteration (Long Live Israel.).  (How the hosts could have had so many Israeli & Jewish guests and were simultaneously discriminating against them, is a mystery best solved in the conclusion that it just isn’t possible for this small business to have even had 1700 clients in the course of 2 days, especially considering that their Aibnb profile provides 275 reviews collected over a 2 year period. (Airbnb reviews can only be left by people who have stayed with the host through Airbnb. Facebook reviews have no similar burden of proof. Anyone can post a false review. )

The full account of those events can be seen here on the DragonflyHill Urban Farm blog, and here on the facebook page of Emma Rosenthal.

Partial image of a tweet, excluding the name on the account and the photo of the account owner, Text says: text: JUN 25TH, 2:36PM Michelle Mendelovitz Kappo getting what you deserve!!!!!!! AM ISRAEL CHAI!!!!🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱 Cant wait until your out of business😂😂😂😂😂

Image of a direct message sent to Cafe Intifada’s Emma Rosenthal via twitter. We initially posted the image of the entire message, including the name and photo associated with the account. We have since removed the photo associated with the account as well as the name on the account because we have been notified by the person who owns the account, that the account had been hacked and that the person did not actually send the message, it was sent by the hacker.

After about 2 days of this attack, people supportive of Palestinian human rights started to strike back and responded with messages and reviews of support. Some of the people supporting this tenuous and tiny business were people who have known the activists associated with this space, and others were people who simply were outraged that the establishment had been targeted in such an unscrupulous manner.

Enter White Supremacist Opportunists

Emma Rosenthal, one of the owners of both Cafe Intifada and DragonflyHill Urban Farm has long been targeted by both zionists and  white supremacists (with the popular racist argument “Your name is Rosenthal” as if that explains her point of view, simply because she has an Ashkenazi Jewish name).

After a handful of reviewers used the DragonflyHill facebook page to launch their own racist agenda, and DragonflyHill Urban Farm responded by stating that support for white supremacist anti-Jewish opportunism within Palestine solidarity was not welcome any more than supporters of Israeli brutality and zionist racist assertions that Palestinians do not exist, they then started to turn their attention against DragonflyHill Urban Farm, blasting them with comments to other supporters, that DragonflyHill Urban Farm is zionist. The definition of zionism IS NOT anyone who disagrees with white supremacist opportunists.

The delineation between white supremacist opportunists in Palestine Solidarity and true Palestine solidarity activism, in support of actual Palestinian liberation and human rights, is best summarized in Rosenthal’s essay:  Guilt by Disassociation: The Landscape of American Exceptionalism in the Guise of Palestine Solidarity

In response to these attacks by Christian identity white power advocates, DragonflyHill issued the following statement, with a link to Rosenthal’s powerful essay.

“We are now coming under attack by some of the people who used our platform to attack Jews and conflate zionism with Jews and Judaism. They initially gave us 5 stars and are now using our review platform to tell people we are zionists simply because we won’t go along with their white supremacist, U.S. settler colonialist platform.

We are not zionists, but we are clearly NOT white supremacists, a truly ugly appropriation of Palestinian solidarity. Jesse Higuera who initially gave us 5 stars is upset that we don’t embrace his racist attitude toward Jews. supporting Palestine has nothing to do with Jews and Judaism. Zionism is not Judaism. Most zionists are not Jews, they’ re christian fundamentalists and many many Jews are not zionists. It is racist to conflate the two.

We do not need or want the support of white supremacist opportunists who support Palestine, simply because they hate Jews more than they hate Arabs and Palestinians. We support universal human rights and we are against racism including antisemitism.

“There are two basic tendencies within what is broadly known as Palestine solidarity with implications in regard to U.S. global policy and social activism as well. One tendency, and the one that I identify with, comes from a tradition of anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist work, which often includes a critique of capitalism at its root. In no context does it see the U.S. as a neutral party, an agent of benevolence or the Great White Hope. It views Western support for Israel as an extension of and consistent with western imperialism, colonization and conquest. This tendency doesn’t deny the power of the zionist lobby (The Lobby), but sees that power not as an exception but rather as functioning well within the lobby system itself and the entire infrastructure of U.S. empire and capitalism. Many of the members of this tendency, myself included, have been attacked, surveilled and blacklisted by the The Lobby and the zionist establishment. The problem isn’t with The Lobby in particular, but rather with the political structures that allows for powerful corporate lobbies to exist at all and with how The Lobby exists to support those systems. This perspective asserts that The Lobby doesn’t just consist of Israel, its Jewish U.S. supporters or the self proclaimed “Jewish” organizations (the ADL, Stand with Us, AIPAC). It also includes the vast number of Christian zionists and the Christian fundamentalist churches, the oil industry, the construction industry, the security industry and by no short measure, the arms industry, all of which profit quite favorably from escalating Israeli militarism. (In the U.S., While there are less than 6 million Jews, zionist and anti-zionist, there are over 40 million Christian zionists.) Israeli brutality and militarism is consistent and in dialogue with, and developing alongside the growing militarization of police forces within U.S. cities, the prison industrial complex, and urban warfare as well as the militarization of the border with Mexico and U.S. empire.”

https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/  “

One Jesse Higuerra initially posted support for DragonflyHill Urban Farm, giving the small business a 5 star review, but including with his review his own racist agenda. When DragonflyHill responded with a statement distancing itself from that agenda and requesting the Higuerra remove his review, that his particpation was not appreciated, Higuerra started to spam other reviews with attacks on DragonflyHill.  While DragonflyHill can monitor comments and posts to its page, the review process on facebook allows all sorts of abuses to go unchecked, both in the initial review and in the comments, leaving DragonflyHill no recourse but to denounce the reviews that would pretend to support DragonflyHill with values totally in contradiction with their positions on social justice and anti-racism.

We have been notified that one (already edited) image was from a hacked account. We cannot verify if the names associated with these hateful messages are the people actually responsible for this harassment.


DragonflyHill made quite clear that Fry’s claim to have attended a shabbat service at their home was indeed false.  “Jimmy Fry has never been here”

Higuerra whose facebook profile can be found here:
Continued to post similar attacks on many of the supportive reviews. Strangely though, part way through his sabotage he liked a 1 star review that stated “Israel Forever”. Though he did seem to qualify it with an assertion that Israel killed 6 million people in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

screenshot of a facebook review Text: ‎מלך השטיחים‎ reviewed DragonflyHill Urban Farm Community — 1 star 9 hrs · Israel is forever! DragonflyHill Urban Farm Community 2 Comments 1 Jesse Higuera LikeCommentShare Comments Jesse Higuera Jesse Higuera Well, f israel, but these people are really stupid, and deserve less than one star. Like · Reply · 7 hrs Jesse Higuera Jesse Higuera Image may contain: text

In Response:

In response to these attacks, DragonflyHill Urban Farm is asking people to support them in the following ways:

  1. Support their business and avail oneself of the many services they provide their community.
  2. Like their facebook page. It is their goal to raise the number of “likes” to 1700, one for each of the bad reviews. (Facebook has already begun to delete some of the reviews.)
  3. Donate to their nonprofit: The WE Empowerment Center which supports grassroots organizing and creative efforts in their community and beyond.For disclosure purposes, Cafe Intifada is a project of the We Empowerment Center, combining art with activism.


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Open Hillel is promoting the film “70 Years Across the Sea: American Jews and 21st Century Zionism”, about the divide in the Jewish community over models of zionism and the current State of Israel.
But the film thesis is very problematic, ignoring the deeper issues of power, class and imperialism, and centering the discussion on Jews and not Palestinians.
Gratefully the film (trailer) didn’t repeat the tired old argument that this is a generational divide, which further obscures the power basis of Israeli hegemony. The thesis of this film, though, at least according to the trailer, is very dangerous, repeats stereotypes of Jewish power, obscures the power of U.S. empire and its appropriation of Jewish suffering and the Jewish narrative.
It repeats the false assertion and stereotype of diaspora Jews as weak and passive, and Israelis as strong and active. The resistance to the Nazis, to the pogroms, to injustice in general is a disapora narrative that is obscured by the zionist narrative. We cannot fight for a free Palestine, and justice for Jews in the diaspora if we perpetuate these harmful stereotypes that locates Jewish strength in occupation , assimilation and as agents (or worse, as the controlling operatives ) of U.S. empire and locates Jewish weakness in ethnic identity and resistance/passivity in the diaspora.
The Israeli occupation isn’t a liability, it’s genocide, and it didn’t start in 67, it started in 48. Calling it a liability assumes that there is a just zionist solution, and centers the occupation of Palestine, around a zionist and imperialist narrative and seeks a compromise with a fair and just society that grants equal civil and human rights to all and not within a neoliberal or neoconservative debt dependency structure of the U.S.
The “power” of UhMurikan Jews is a narrative of upper middle class and wealthy Jews, and white supremacist ideology, and doesn’t apply to all Jews in the U.S.. That power to the extent that it exists, is predicated on support for Israel, and support for U.S. empire in general. It’s also a delusion, a fragile membership of court Jews and house Jews.
The real power of U.S. support for Israel comes from the Christian zionists, who number in the tens of millions, which explains why organizations like the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center, and Stand With Us can ignore the Jewish community and support a zionism to the right of most Jews, including most zionist Jews.

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There have been a few articles and several social media posts mocking the proposal that people wear safety pins to proclaim, in this new UhMurikan landscape, that “I am a safe space.” It’s a way for those of us in an unfamiliar place or under attack to identify an ally who will defend us or accompany us if we encounter violence, hate speech, threats or intimidation because of our real or assumed membership in a targeted group. One article appeared, written by a white presenting cis het presenting man, in the Huffington Post, that bastion of social responsibility and grassroots mobilization. (Snark!)

 Of course the safety pins are NOT ENOUGH.They’re a symbol, a statement, a promise and a commitment.

Are these publish worthy leftists also for the abolishment of: buttons and t-shirts (which must be manufactured, marketed and sold), banners, signs. How are these any different? Are we against any symbolism? What about ribbons? arm bands?

This petty self promotion  and put down of other activist efforts is tiresome. After all not EVERYONE gets Huffington Post press access.

The safety pin solidarity started in England after the passage of Brexit with the targeting of immigrants.  In England there may have been an issue with the pins, that it was a white thing: an insufficient badge of respectability, guilt, remorse, penance. But in the U.S., Occupied Amerikkka the targets are MOST OF US. And there are still people totally complicit from all demographics, so the symbol is important, easy, accessible, inexpensive, UNFUCKINGMARKETABLE, so we can let people know we are ready to take action; (and then we need to come through; that we are here for each other). After all with the increased rhetoric and the emboldened extreme right, white supremacist (rebranded, normalized, alt-right),  only white Christian cis het, ENabled, body normative men aren’t targeted. The vast majority, the rest of us are!

For way too long activism has moved from the grassroots, to self promotion, individualism,  survival of the fittest, scarcity resources and competition. Allies who aren’t movement stars (there’s a clear double standard here!)  are told they should just not show up, not take up space, sit down, shut up, listen, read more, go shopping.  There has been very little engagement in what real allyship might be, what solidarity looks like, how we check each other and check ourselves, from a position of responsibility, accountability and transparency, and not from a place of obedience, acquiescence and silence.  Hopefully the broad targeting of so many of us is a wake up call, that we need all our bodies on the line, and that we can’t do this in separate groups (which fuels the alt right’s rebranding, as it appropriates that language with claims that it is simply a civil rights movement for white people and that we all have our place in our separate nations.)

Maybe the movement stars who are so used to making it all about themselves:  the self promoters, the individualist who have for too long used “activism” as their own personal starting line in that great competition for speaking engagements, publicity and  non-profit managerial positions can show some solidarity instead of crapping on this very basic grassroots organizing effort. Maybe we can move the dialogue from whose voices matter to how we can assure our movement is as large and inclusive as possible (day care, DISability access, language translation, financial accessibility). Maybe we can start to have the difficult discussions around transparency and accountability around unlearning racism, sexism, ableism,  ageism, classism and all the other ways marginalization keeps us down and apart.

So let this be the start and not the end. Let the lists of other ways of showing solidarity, of putting our bodies, minds, reputations on the line for each other begin, but let us start with “AND” and not “BUT”.

Sure the safety pins are not enough, and your grandstanding is getting real tired, too.





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By Emma Rosenthal

An important discussion has inadvertently come to a head within the Palestine solidarity movement that focuses on the nature of solidarity, agendas within movements, white savior syndrome, the nonprofit industrial complex and alliance building and accountability. While the differences exposed by this discussion have been an issue within the movement for sometime, the discussion is long overdue. 

This all came to a  head when Alison Weir, founder of If Americans Knew, (IAK), and president of the Council for the National Interest, (CNI), responded publicly to the internal decisions, communicated to Weir in personal letters,  of two other Palestine Solidarity organizations; Jewis Voices for Peace (JVP)   and The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO)  that it was inconsistent with their anti-racist human rights agenda to work with Weir or her organizations. Weir and her supporters were outraged over the decision by these two groups to dis-associate from her.

What is curious is the response of Weir and her supporters here  and here  including assertions that this was:  the act of zionist infiltrators,  McCarthyism,and that Weir was being silenced, censored and attacked (“by zionists”).  Most notable in the responses to these internal documents is that in calling out what both organizations believe to be in contradiction to their anti-racist principles, they were being “divisive” and “playing into the hands of the zionists.”

No one is silencing Weir. Not working with Weir isn’t silencing her. She is not entitled to every panel, conference and coalition. The definition of zionism* isn’t “disagreeing with Alison”.

With public recognition comes public scrutiny.  At the very least, books get reviewed, and to disagree with a particular author or to choose not to create a forum with or for that author isn’t McCarthyism or a personal attack or censorship.  Despite the protestations of her followers, no one is infringing on Weir’s employment, ability to travel outside the U.S., arresting her, blacklisting her,  keeping her from other forums or from creating forums of her own. She is not at risk for imprisonment, deportation or execution.  (THAT would be McCarthyism, a movement that singled out Jews and Blacks disproportionately.) In pointing that out, I would hope we could focus on fair and honest argumentation and avoid insults, ad hominem and strawmen. We should avoid terms that define a person in ways that they would not define themselves  and instead identify ideas and actions that are racist, white supremacist and zionist and explore their impact and significance.   In that context, a person who is truly anti-racist would want to check themselves out of concern that unintentionally they may have done harm. “I’m not racist but…” is not the response of accountability.  Furthermore “Alison doesn’t have a racist bone in her body” obfuscates the issue and avoids actual accountability.

It was Weir that made this discussion public,  but it is much bigger than her, or her organizations with implications for social justice activism and advocacy in general.  I hope in this article to inform that discussion in a deeper way than has been offered up until now, and I expect in its wake will come even more discussion and understanding, as well as unfortunate insults, ad hominems, strawmen and abuse. I would hope those who believe in their positions would chose to articulate  them in ways that add to our greater understanding and leave insults and derailing obfuscations to those whose positions have little substantiation beyond their own opportunism and bigotry.

This article will not focus on Weir in particular, but rather on the key issues, ideologies and contradictions  that fuel the differences of the current dialogue. Notably this discussion involves core assumptions and entitlements. Without the willingness to explore the root of these premises no one is qualified to then assert that racism isn’t an underlying factor, regardless of all good intentions and “better judgement.”

Divisiveness: or don’t talk about the elephant.

The assertion that those who raise the issue of racism (sexism, ableism etc) are divisive is a common defense against and a way of derailing any discussion of racism and oppression within social justice activism. But discussing already existing divisions doesn’t create them. Denial doesn’t make differences go away. A healthy movement should be able to air differences and account for them, determine which differences are deal breakers for forging alliances and which are healthy in that they allow for a diversity of opinions, experiences and voice.

Discussing Differences: Two Major Tendencies

There are two basic tendencies within what is broadly known as Palestine solidarity with implications in regard to U.S. global policy and social activism as well. One tendency, and the one that I identify with, comes from a tradition of anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist work, which often includes a critique of capitalism at its root. In no context does it see the U.S. as a neutral party, an agent of benevolence or the Great White Hope.  It views Western support for Israel as an extension of and consistent with western imperialism, colonization and conquest.  This tendency doesn’t deny the power of the zionist lobby (The Lobby), but sees that power not as an exception but rather as functioning well within the lobby system itself and the entire infrastructure of U.S. empire and capitalism.  Many of the members of this tendency, myself included,  have been attacked, surveilled and blacklisted by the The Lobby and the zionist establishment.  The problem isn’t with The Lobby in particular, but rather with the political structures that allows for powerful corporate lobbies to exist at all and with how The Lobby exists to support those systems.  This perspective asserts that The Lobby doesn’t just consist of  Israel, its Jewish U.S. supporters  or the self proclaimed “Jewish” organizations (the ADL, Stand with Us, AIPAC). It  also includes the vast number of Christian zionists and the Christian fundamentalist churches, the oil industry, the construction industry, the security industry and by no short measure, the arms industry, all of which profit quite favorably from escalating Israeli militarism.  (In the U.S, while there are less than 6 million Jews, zionist and anti-zionist, there are over 40 million Christian zionists.) Israeli brutality and militarism is consistent and in dialogue with, and developing alongside the growing militarization of police forces within U.S. cities, the prison industrial complex, and urban warfare as well as the militarization of the border with Mexico and U.S. empire.

Within this tendency though, and Weir points this out to JVP,  is the tolerance by some of “soft zionism”.  JVP should address internally as well as publicly its refusal to denounce zionism if it’s going to be consistent with its assertion that it does not work with racists. The attempt by “soft zionists” to present zionism as somehow consistent within a larger human rights narrative is impossible.  In my opinion, Weir is quite correct in this assertion.

The other tendency’s ideology is based in white supremacist assertions and ideology. This tendency sees the problem as an ethnic/foreign one, with one outside agent (Israel) with its internal agents (usually diaspora Jews, with little or no discussion of the vast number of Christian zionists) having “undue influence” via The Lobby, on the U.S. government. This tendency breaks down into two groups:  The first group espouses  outright ideological white supremacy: KKK, Nazis, David Duke, Stormfront, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, David Icke, Gilad Atzmon, among others, who identify particular Jewish qualities as the core issue and envision themselves engaged in an existential struggle against “World Jewish Domination” and the rising numbers of people of color. Generally they openly fear the growing number of people who are not white, both within occupied Amerika and the world at large, and are overt in their concern for the “eventual extinction” of white people.  They don’t actually care about Palestinians. They just hate Jews more and see Palestine as the front line of a global struggle against white annihilation. They use terms like Jewish power, Jewishness, ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) and  the Hollowcause;  they doubt that there ever was a Holocaust but assert that if there were it was because the Jews brought it upon (them) (our) selves.

Then there are the neo-liberal/neo-colonialists, whose premise is also white supremacist,  in that they support ruling class interests that favor and promote white power and privilege.  They include Mearsheimer and Walt, Jimmy Carter, Kathleen and Bill Christison, Paul Findley, Anne Wright and Ray McGovern. Their concern is with particular market interests and U.S. foreign policy strategy.  They frame their concern in terms that are white supremacist because they assume U.S. largess and exceptionalism, like “American interests”,  “American core values, “American founding principles”,  “America’s good name and good will”  and the need to “appeal to middle (aka white) America”.  While Weir and her supporters painted all those who call out this inherent racism, as zionists, interestingly, zionism is not so much of a problem for most of this group, but rather the extent of Israeli (perceived) power and disobedience as a client state.  Many of the neo-liberals (including Paul Findley–who, as a U.S. congressman, never opposed South African apartheid, U.S. intervention in South and Central America or the Vietnam War) qualify their critique of Israel with support for a two state solution that would include a specifically Jewish state, run by and with particular advantage to Israeli Jews.  (In case you missed that, it’s essentially zionist, unless by zionist, one mean “Jews”.)  While The Lobby advocates a war economy, the neo-liberal objective is to create markets and promote industry and debt dependency,  which is difficult under extreme military conflict. We could refer to this group and their two state solution as Maquiladora (sweatshop) labor and Halal McDonalds. However to expand markets the neo-libs need the absence of war. They need a passive population to serve the interests of multinational corporations.

The adherents to ideological white supremacy and neoliberalism focus on what they see as the undue influence of Israel on U.S. policy and in many cases present the U.S. as the victim, even the ultimate victim of zionist brutality and aggression.  They are not, for example, offended or concerned that a U.S. spy ship  (the U.S.S. Liberty) was in the Mediterranean spying on Israel and Egypt,  because they recognize that as a significant right of “American” exceptionalism.  They don’t concern themselves with the fact that this was a military target and as such, not innocent, in the way civilians are innocent. They are offended that the ally they gave “so much money to” (bought and paid for) would bomb “our” spy ship.  They are not offended by settler colonialism, racism, apartheid, manifest destiny. The concern of this tendency isn’t with imperialist power, capitalism, hegemony or settler colonialism per se, but rather with what they see as the threat: Israel and by extension,  the Jews. Those who harbor ideological white supremacy locate Jews and Jewishness, as the problem. The neo-liberals focus on Israel: a foreign power, that exercises these systems of oppression outside of what they identify as (their) U.S. interests.

This is to say these two tendencies represent very different ideologies and motivations. One is a movement against racism, imperialism, capitalism and empire. The other sees Israel as an obstacle to imperialism, capital and empire, and rejects any suggestion that this agenda might be fundamentally problematic, supremacist and unjust. This is the root of the objection to Weir, IAK and CNI.  It isn’t personal, it isn’t McCarthyism (which requires the power of the state!). It’s simply a different and opposing politic.

White supremacist opportunism has colonized this movement, columbused* this movement, taken it on as its own, framing it in Amerikanisms, as if the Palestinians were superfluous to their own struggle. Senior Editor Gordon Duff of “Veterans Today”’ referred to Palestinian activists  as “Supposed Palestinian Activists.   Greta Berlin referred to Ali Abunimah, as “Ali Ayatolah,”  Atzmon referred to Palestinian activists  en masse as demonstrating “intellectual intolerance” and to Ali Abunimah as a Sabbath Goy answerable to his Jewish masters.  And many  Gilad Atzmon and Greta Berlin supporters disregarded a widely diverse call from Palestinian activists and scholars, that racism, including antisemitism* has no place in the Palestinian movement here and  here; as if Palestinians had no right to direct the message and the terms of their own struggle.

If Americans Knew, according to its own web page, states:  “she (Weir) founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.”  This false and entitled “objectivity” disregards the politics of experience and pretends that only those not directly impacted negatively can be trusted to come to rational or objective conclusions and make legitimate assertions, or at the very least, to run and direct an organization intended to inform “Americans”. This is so essentially supremacist and in this regard, IAK provides the most ideological framework for stripping the Palestinian struggle of Palestinians and for disregarding the insights of Jewish anti-zionists when it comes to  navigating the distinction between real anti-Jewish racism and  false accusations of antisemitism against any and all critiques of Israel and zionism. One can scroll the pull down menu at the top of the IAK web page and barely find any mention of Palestinians at all. It’s truly striking and offensive – Palestinian struggle without Palestinians, where Palestinians, little more than statistics, with their “personal or family ties” aren’t to be trusted to direct the movement or present “objective” viewpoints. This is the job for the fair-haired Amerikan saviors.  who “read dozens of books on the topic.” 

In one recent statement Weir defends this segregated approach to organizing, citing the value of ethnic-specific organizations, though she doesn’t think anti-zionist Jews or Palestinians know what antisemitism is as she has yet to call out anything within the movement as antisemitic including Atzmon and a host of Holocaust deniers with whom she is closely affiliated and in Atzmon’s case, has publicly defended (against the better judgement of Palestinian activists). She claims that the ethnic makeup of her organization is important to reach a particular constituency. NO DOUBT!  and that’s pretty much the point. Unless one is reaching out to white Amerika to confront their racist entitlement,  from an anti-imperialist anti-racist perspective, one is just reinforcing their entrenched bigotry to the benefit of the ruling class,  especially if one uses language that reinforces that hegemony.

Opportunistic white supremacy advances an agenda in which the Palestinians are superfluous to the struggle and the movement. It pretends that since zionist organizations assert that all and any critiques of Israel and zionism are antisemitic, then nothing is. It uses the Palestinian struggle and other popular concerns to normalize and advance a U.S. imperialist agenda that is racist to its core, and to normalize it, even on the left, significantly on the left.  It is not only anti Jewish,  it is anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Native American, anti-Asian, anti-the global south, anti-Arab, anti- everyone the U.S. foreign and domestic policy has hurt, attacked, stolen from and killed, over the last hundreds of years.  Hiding behind scapegoats and particularly Jewish stereotypes to perpetuate an exceptionalism it only opposes when those who embody it are Jewish or “foreign”. The problem with Israel in this context obviously isn’t settler colonialism, or racism, or imperialism, or genocide. It’s the understanding that it is carried out by and for Jews.

But it isn’t. It’s being carried out by U.S. empire– a reality which is easily eclipsed by focusing on  Israel and the Jews, as if in the fight for human rights, U.S. interests were in any way noble. As if the U.S. had a good name to destroy, had core values that were virtuous, as if the U.S. ruling class had suddenly lost the ability or the will to advocate for itself. The appeal to middle (aka white) Amerika betrays and abandons every other movement for liberation and justice.  And this is a key difference: One tendency joins the Palestinian struggle to global struggles for human rights and the other tendency, to white Amerikan entitlement and empire. This is not a minor difference and in recognizing these fundamental contradictions one is not divisive. The existing division is wide, deep and longstanding.

That members of this second tendency may be Jewish or Black or from a group targeted by white supremacy, doesn’t preclude them from espousing and advocating white supremacy. White supremacy is an ideology, and as such can be advanced by anyone. Jewish and Black white supremacists provided a greater illusion of objectivity to the racist assertions.

To be clear, I am not saying we must work on every issue and for every cause. I am not calling out specialization and specification. Yet surely in deciding to devote our attention to one particular cause, we must not sell out others or sell short the larger issues of social justice and we certainly should not colonize causes for what is basically an imperialist objective.

Those within the second tendency have colonized this movement for their own white supremacist agenda, with no concern for the consequences of their analysis and refusing to consider the racist implications of their assertions. White Amerikans will not bear the brunt of any association of Palestinian liberation with anti-Jewish stereotypes and ideology. Victims of U.S. empire will, targets of white supremacy will, Palestinians and Jews will.  Palestinians most of all.

Zionism is racism not only because of the relationship it establishes regarding Jews and Palestinians, it is racist because it is a settler colonialist enterprise of U.S. and western empire.

Between ideological white supremacy and the neo-libs there is incredible overlap in both ideology and endorsement as well as in underlying core assumptions.  That members of these two groups not only express their entitlement to the support of the anti-imperialist tendency, but that they rely on and align with each other is not insignificant.

And there are a few leftist cheerleaders, or those who would have us think they are leftists, for example, Counterpunch magazine,  James Petras,  Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan who either advocate a Lobby exclusivist perspective or promote those who do to the exclusion of other points of view. These leftists also tend to promulgate conspiracy theories, many of which are rooted in traditional antisemitism and distract activists from supporting human rights and opposing U.S. empire. The promotion of unsubstantiated conspiracies as fact, makes addressing documentable grievances more difficult, as they get caught in the cacophony of the unbelievable. Conspiracism as a ruling class tool,  abandons documentation and material dialectics and replaces them with unsubstantiated accusations,  magic secret societies and outright lies. When Sheehan granted Mckinney and Atzmon quarter on her soapbox she not only refused to allow any other voice to counter Atzmon and the racism that Palestinians have rejected, she blocked and unfriended those of us who attempted a dialogue and critique in the form of comments.

European Christian Origins of Zionist Ideology

In response to two organizations declining to work with Weir, several of her supporters signed a petition defending her.   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform  Many of the leading names on the petition were predictable, and include many Holocaust deniers, former U.S. governmental officials and CIA and miltary operatives. If Weir doesn’t appreciate their support she needs to disassociate from them (and in some cases, endorsing them).  Endorsement is more than “guilt by association” it is complicity by affiliation and alliance.

I was especially surprised to see Lawrence Davidson’s name among the signatories. Davidson has done deep and considerable work documenting the European Christian fundamentalist origins of zionist ideology.  and   He documents that European Christians envisioned a Jewish state in historic Palestine centuries before Hertzl’s first pen or the founding Zionist Congress and well before the Irgun or Stern Gang set off their first bombs.  Davidson demonstrates how the European Christian interpretation of the Biblical texts has been used to justify western colonization and imperialism: manifest destiny, conquering the wilderness, Pilgrims, the promised land, a city on the hill.

It wasn’t Jews who named Zion National Park, who named Amerikan cities Hebron and Bethlehem.  zionism is essentially a Christian ideology, not a Jewish one. t is settler colonialism, arising as political zionism in the context of 19th century nationalism and imperialism, then promoted decades later to a desperate people after a genocide of catastrophic proportions. Zionism is simply one element of Amerikan empire. Israel’s conquest and domination of Palestine is one more notch on the bedpost of U.S. enterprise.

Follow the money. Just follow the money. I know, I know, the whole rich Jew thing makes that sound silly, but put that stereotype aside and FOLLOW. THE. MONEY. While it is my considered belief that there is no form of political zionism that is not racist, the extreme example we have today is the zionism of empire (Western and Amerikan), bought and paid for. To assert anything else, is only believable because of stereotypes of the powerful Jew, Jewish dominance and Jewish money. To keep asserting these is to give cover to empire, which in turn gives cover to settler colonialism, capitalism, apartheid and racism on a global scale.

A Call for Accountability

Could the neo-liberals at least dis-associate from Ideological white supremacy and admit that there may be SOME sectors of the Amerikan ruling class that benefit from this arrangement and that at the very least campaign finance and the lobby system are systemically, and not specifically flawed?  Could they argue their position vis a vis U.S. foreign and economic policy within the context of U.S. government? Fundamentally that’s rhetorical and unlikely, because their entire premise is one of exceptionalism, empire and obfuscation.

When Lobby exclusivists claim there are no U.S. interests they are hoping we don’t notice the blood money of criminal “justice” system, security, construction, oil and arms; (where 75% of the ‘aid’ money donated by empire to Israel must be spent on US defense product and the other 25% goes to Israeli companies which are floated on the NASDAQ).

“U.S. interests” is a corrupt and outrageous basis for human rights advocacy.  If we are concerned for Palestinian human rights, it must be unconditional and not dependent on entitlements, not zionist entitlements, and not Amerikan entitlements. IAK and CNI should be honest that within the ruling class they represent a sector that may not benefit from (current levels of)  U.S. support for Israel. But to deny any interest is just columbusing* the whole discussion; “We is smart, we is kind, we is important” and thus can retell and untell any story  to make “us” look righteous. But it’s not righteousness. A society that is founded on empire and conquest is hardly the moral authority nor is its support for a smaller version of itself so surprising. U.S. support for Israel is totally consistent with U.S. policy in general: to support those regimes that support U.S. corporate interests.  And this is the basis for those who make this challenge: IAK’s premise is racist on face, not just because of anti-Jewish rhetoric or stereotyping, though the whole assertion of its premise is believable because of anti-jewish stereotypes of Jewish power, money and control; it is racist because it ignores and denies the fundamental and racist similarities between these two settler colonialist societies, and abhors the smaller while vindicating the larger.  It asserts in its very name that IF AMERIKANS KNEW they would do the right thing. But Amerikans do know. They know about slavery, Jim Crow,  police brutality, racism  reservations, immigration laws, and the growing prison system. They know about cuts to welfare, education and social services. They know about drone warfare and “honoring the troops”.  A huge sign is visible from the 5 freeway in San Diego County at the Pendleton Marine Base that proudly states “No Beach Out of Reach.” Does that not offend most Amerikans driving by, or does it fill them with pride? Who could appreciate such an arrogant and murderous imperialist attitude toward all the beaches in the whole world?  Do Amerikans not know that?  At the very least, the powerful funders and founders of IAK and CNI know. The Christisons and Ray McGovern, CIA operatives for many years, have known.  So on what basis do we believe that IF AMERIKANS KNEW about U.S. support for Israel, that (middle) Amerikans would do the right thing, would act any differently than they have on any other issue of Amerikan racist entitlement? Perhaps in pointing fingers and blaming a fifth column of (Jewish) outsiders, they assuage their guilt and reinforce their white savior syndrome. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/  When these organizations lead with “U.S. interests” how much confidence can we have in what “the right thing” might actually be? And if (middle) Amerikans really don’t know, how opportunistic is it to obscure U.S. historic and ongoing hegemony while calling on (middle) Amerikans to take on Israeli iniquity?

If settler colonialism is wrong, it is wrong. If stealing the best land, genocide, displacement, brutality, exploitation and militarism is wrong, if apartheid is wrong and Bantustans (modeled after Native American reservations) and extra-judicial executions, and false imprisonment, and lack of due process is wrong, if racism is wrong, if apartheid and border walls are wrong,  then there is no anti-racist basis for holding up the U.S. as a beacon, an example of magnanimity, as a paragon of justice. A human rights agenda that begins with Amerikan interests and harkens to some mythological and historically dishonest Amerikan goodness is a racist agenda on a racist premise, in its entirety, from the initial conquest, to ongoing policies toward indigenous Native Americans, to the racist criminalization system, wherein more people are currently incarcerated (in what is considered by many to be the new slavery—the privatized prison system) than were ever enslaved under Amerikan chattel slavery.  The focus on “the Jews” or on Israel, or The Lobby,  separate from or in contradiction to its benefactor, serves to obscure and exonerate capitalism and imperial predation. The racist impact and significance is much deeper and broader than antisemitism.

If their appeal to “middle America” is strategic, then they are lying to the “American people”, and appealing to their racist and jingoistic assumptions. If  the intention is truly to assert Amerikan exceptionalism, the basis is racist: It might be colonialist, it might be neocolonialist. Regardless of the motive, as long as the basis is western interests over regional self-determination  then  they are fighting racism with racism, and the result will always be racist.

If Weir and her supporters aren’t racist, then they as must we all, need to challenge entitlement, comfort, and the belief in their de facto goodness and rightness:  as white people, as Amerikans. If they expect Israel to be held accountable for systemic racism, then so too must Amerika.  For those who won’t, your double standards are showing, and yes, the words for that are entitlement, racism and supremacy.


*Amerikan: I use this spelling to distinguishes between the U.S. and the American continent which consist of several nations and peoples. The U.S. is a settler colonialist entity, founded on a religious based doctrine of conquest and manifest destiny, contingent on massive and ongoing genocide, slavery and exploitation.

*Columbusing:  Staking claim to land and territory and then changing the narrative so that you’re a hero.

*Antisemitism: Racism against Jews, including Jewish magic, power, undue influence and wealth, Jews as outsiders, pariars. Antisemitism is an important (and ideologically central) aspect to ideological white supremacy and serves to distract the population at large from the problems of capitalism (wealth, undue influence, power) and blames those problems on the Jews.   Joseph Massad explains in detail. 

*Zionism: While the Second tendency (as described in this article) often define zionism along ethnic terms, or as anyone who calls out antisemitism, it actually refers to the belief in a specifically Jewish state, regardless of the ethnicity of the person who provides that support.

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This article was previously published by Al Jazeera, and was pulled. For that reason, and under fair use purview, we are reposting the article here. For more information on the censorship of this article by Al Jazeera, go to:  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/al-jazeera-management-orders-joseph-massad-article-pulled-act-pro-israel

The article has been published on other sites as well. At Cafe Intifada we consider this article to be a significant contribution in understanding the relationship between ideological white supremacy and zionism.

By Joseph Massad

Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question”. What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible that would link the modern Jews of Europe to the ancient Hebrews of Palestine, a link that the philologists of the 18th century would solidify through their discovery of the family of “Semitic” languages, including Hebrew and Arabic. Whereas Millenarian Protestants insisted that contemporary Jews, as descendants of the ancient Hebrews, must leave Europe to Palestine to expedite the second coming of Christ, philological discoveries led to the labelling of contemporary Jews as “Semites”. The leap that the biological sciences of race and heredity would make in the 19th century of considering contemporary European Jews racial descendants of the ancient Hebrews would, as a result, not be a giant one.

Basing themselves on the connections made by anti-Jewish Protestant Millenarians, secular European figures saw the political potential of “restoring” Jews to Palestine abounded in the 19th century. Less interested in expediting the second coming of Christ as were the Millenarians, these secular politicians, from Napoleon Bonaparte to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne, the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, sought to expel the Jews of Europe to Palestine in order to set them up as agents of European imperialism in Asia. Their call would be espoused by many “anti-Semites”, a new label chosen by European anti-Jewish racists after its invention in 1879 by a minor Viennese journalist by the name of Wilhelm Marr, who issued a political programme titled The Victory of Judaism over Germanism. Marr was careful to decouple anti-Semitism from the history of Christian hatred of Jews on the basis of religion, emphasising, in line with Semitic philology and racial theories of the 19th century, that the distinction to be made between Jews and Aryans was strictly racial.

Assimilating Jews into European culture

Scientific anti-Semitism insisted that the Jews were different from Christian Europeans. Indeed that the Jews were not European at all and that their very presence in Europe is what causes anti-Semitism. The reason why Jews caused so many problems for European Christians had to do with their alleged rootlessness, that they lacked a country, and hence country-based loyalty. In the Romantic age of European nationalisms, anti-Semites argued that Jews did not fit in the new national configurations, and disrupted national and racial purity essential to most European nationalisms. This is why if the Jews remained in Europe, the anti-Semites argued, they could only cause hostility among Christian Europeans. The only solution was for the Jews to exit from Europe and have their own country. Needless to say, religious and secular Jews opposed this horrific anti-Semitic line of thinking. Orthodox and Reform Jews, Socialist and Communist Jews, cosmopolitan and Yiddishkeit cultural Jews, all agreed that this was a dangerous ideology of hostility that sought the expulsion of Jews from their European homelands.

The Jewish Haskalah, or Enlightenment, which emerged also in the 19th century, sought to assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture and have them shed their Jewish culture. It was the Haskalah that sought to break the hegemony of Orthodox Jewish rabbis on the “Ostjuden” of the East European shtetl and to shed what it perceived as a “medieval” Jewish culture in favour of the modern secular culture of European Christians. Reform Judaism, as a Christian- and Protestant-like variant of Judaism, would emerge from the bosom of the Haskalah. This assimilationist programme, however, sought to integrate Jews in European modernity, not to expel them outside Europe’s geography.

When Zionism started a decade and a half after Marr’s anti-Semitic programme was published, it would espouse all these anti-Jewish ideas, including scientific anti-Semitism as valid. For Zionism, Jews were “Semites”, who were descendants of the ancient Hebrews. In his foundational pamphlet Der Judenstaat, Herzl explained that it was Jews, not their Christian enemies, who “cause” anti-Semitism and that “where it does not exist, [anti-Semitism] is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations”, indeed that “the unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America”; that Jews were a “nation” that should leave Europe to restore their “nationhood” in Palestine or Argentina; that Jews must emulate European Christians culturally and abandon their living languages and traditions in favour of modern European languages or a restored ancient national language. Herzl preferred that all Jews adopt German, while the East European Zionists wanted Hebrew. Zionists after Herzl even agreed and affirmed that Jews were separate racially from Aryans. As for Yiddish, the living language of most European Jews, all Zionists agreed that it should be abandoned.

The majority of Jews continued to resist Zionism and understood its precepts as those of anti-Semitism and as a continuation of the Haskalah quest to shed Jewish culture and assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture, except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe. The Bund, or the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, which was founded in Vilna in early October 1897, a few weeks after the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in late August 1897, would become Zionism’s fiercest enemy. The Bund joined the existing anti-Zionist Jewish coalition of Orthodox and Reform rabbis who had combined forces a few months earlier to prevent Herzl from convening the first Zionist Congress in Munich, which forced him to move it to Basel. Jewish anti-Zionism across Europe and in the United States had the support of the majority of Jews who continued to view Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement well into the 1940s.

Anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts

Realising that its plan for the future of European Jews was in line with those of anti-Semites, Herzl strategised early on an alliance with the latter. He declared in Der Judenstaat that:

“The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want.”

He added that “not only poor Jews” would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, “but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them”. Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that:

“The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”

Thus when Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government’s Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order, as he put it, to save the country from the “undoubted evils” of “an immigration which was largely Jewish”, was hardy coincidental. Balfour’s infamous Declaration of 1917 to create in Palestine a “national home” for the “Jewish people”, was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain.

The Nazis would not be an exception in this anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts. Indeed, the Zionists would strike a deal with the Nazis very early in their history. It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement was signed between the Zionists and the Nazi government to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine and which broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews. It was in this spirit that Zionist envoys were dispatched to Palestine to report on the successes of Jewish colonization of the country. Adolf Eichmann returned from his 1937 trip to Palestine full of fantastic stories about the achievements of the racially-separatist Ashkenazi Kibbutz, one of which he visited on Mount Carmel as a guest of the Zionists.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of most German Jews, it was the Zionist Federation of Germany that was the only Jewish group that supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, as they agreed with the Nazis that Jews and Aryans were separate and separable races. This was not a tactical support but one based on ideological similitude. The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar. It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.

While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes.

After the War, the horror at the Jewish holocaust did not stop European countries from supporting the anti-Semitic programme of Zionism. On the contrary, these countries shared with the Nazis a predilection for Zionism. They only opposed Nazism’s genocidal programme. European countries, along with the United States, refused to take in hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the holocaust. In fact, these countries voted against a UN resolution introduced by the Arab states in 1947 calling on them to take in the Jewish survivors, yet these same countries would be the ones who would support the United Nations Partition Plan of November 1947 to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled.

The pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis

The United States and European countries, including Germany, would continue the pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis. Post-War West German governments that presented themselves as opening a new page in their relationship with Jews in reality did no such thing. Since the establishment of the country after WWII, every West German government (and every German government since unification in1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated. There was never a break with Nazi pro-Zionism. The only break was with the genocidal and racial hatred of Jews that Nazism consecrated, but not with the desire to see Jews set up in a country in Asia, away from Europe. Indeed, the Germans would explain that much of the money they were sending to Israel was to help offset the costs of resettling European Jewish refugees in the country.

After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, and that the horror of the Jewish holocaust was essentially a horror at the murder of white Europeans. Since the 1960s, Hollywood films about the holocaust began to depict Jewish victims of Nazism as white Christian-looking, middle class, educated and talented people not unlike contemporary European and American Christians who should and would identify with them. Presumably if the films were to depict the poor religious Jews of Eastern Europe (and most East European Jews who were killed by the Nazis were poor and many were religious), contemporary white Christians would not find commonality with them. Hence, the post-holocaust European Christian horror at the genocide of European Jews was not based on the horror of slaughtering people in the millions who were different from European Christians, but rather a horror at the murder of millions of people who were the same as European Christians. This explains why in a country like the United States, which had nothing to do with the slaughter of European Jews, there exists upwards of 40 holocaust memorials and a major museum for the murdered Jews of Europe, but not one for the holocaust of Native Americans or African Americans for which the US is responsible.

Aimé Césaire understood this process very well. In his famous speech on colonialism, he affirmed that the retrospective view of European Christians about Nazism is that

it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices; and they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimised it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilisation in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.

That for Césaire the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough. But since the rehabilitation of Nazism’s victims as white people, Europe and its American accomplice would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rehabilitation of European Jews after WWII was a crucial part of US Cold War propaganda. As American social scientists and ideologues developed the theory of “totalitarianism”, which posited Soviet Communism and Nazism as essentially the same type of regime, European Jews, as victims of one totalitarian regime, became part of the atrocity exhibition that American and West European propaganda claimed was like the atrocities that the Soviet regime was allegedly committing in the pre- and post-War periods. That Israel would jump on the bandwagon by accusing the Soviets of anti-Semitism for their refusal to allow Soviet Jewish citizens to self-expel and leave to Israel was part of the propaganda.

Commitment to white supremacy

It was thus that the European and US commitment to white supremacy was preserved, except that it now included Jews as part of “white” people, and what came to be called “Judeo-Christian” civilisation. European and American policies after World War II, which continued to be inspired and dictated by racism against Native Americans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial settler state away from Europe, were a direct continuation of anti-Semitic policies prevalent before the War. It was just that much of the anti-Semitic racialist venom would now be directed at Arabs and Muslims (both, those who are immigrants and citizens in Europe and the United States and those who live in Asia and Africa) while the erstwhile anti-Semitic support for Zionism would continue unhindered.

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s. In the 1960s, West Germany even provided military training to Israeli soldiers and since the 1970s has provided Israel with nuclear-ready German-made submarines with which Israel hopes to kill more Arabs and Muslims. Israel has in recent years armed the most recent German-supplied submarines with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, a fact that is well known to the current German government. Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Der SPIEGEL in 2012 that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years”. Berlin financed one-third of the cost of the submarines, around 135 million euros ($168 million) per submarine, and has allowed Israel to defer its payment until 2015. That this makes Germany an accomplice in the dispossession of the Palestinians is of no more concern to current German governments than it was in the 1960s to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who affirmed that “the Federal Republic has neither the right nor the responsibility to take a position on the Palestinian refugees”.

This is to be added to the massive billions that Germany has paid to the Israeli government as compensation for the holocaust, as if Israel and Zionism were the victims of Nazism, when in reality it was anti-Zionist Jews who were killed by the Nazis. The current German government does not care about the fact that even those German Jews who fled the Nazis and ended up in Palestine hated Zionism and its project and were hated in turn by Zionist colonists in Palestine. As German refugees in 1930s and 1940s Palestine refused to learn Hebrew and published half a dozen German newspapers in the country, they were attacked by the Hebrew press, including by Haaretz, which called for the closure of their newspapers in 1939 and again in 1941. Zionist colonists attacked a German-owned café in Tel Aviv because its Jewish owners refused to speak Hebrew, and the Tel Aviv municipality threatened in June 1944 some of its German Jewish residents for holding in their home on 21 Allenby street “parties and balls entirely in the German language, including programmes that are foreign to the spirit of our city” and that this would “not be tolerated in Tel Aviv”. German Jews, or Yekkes as they were known in the Yishuv, would even organise a celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday in 1941 (for these and more details about German Jewish refugees in Palestine, read Tom Segev’s book The Seventh Million).

Add to that Germany’s support for Israeli policies against Palestinians at the United Nations, and the picture becomes complete. Even the new holocaust memorial built in Berlin that opened in 2005 maintains Nazi racial apartheid, as this “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” is only for Jewish victims of the Nazis who must still today be set apart, as Hitler mandated, from the other millions of non-Jews who also fell victim to Nazism. That a subsidiary of the German company Degussa, which collaborated with the Nazis and which produced the Zyklon B gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers, was contracted to build the memorial was anything but surprising, as it simply confirms that those who killed Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and in the 1940s now regret what they had done because they now understand Jews to be white Europeans who must be commemorated and who should not have been killed in the first place on account of their whiteness. The German policy of abetting the killing of Arabs by Israel, however, is hardly unrelated to this commitment to anti-Semitism, which continues through the predominant contemporary anti-Muslim German racism that targets Muslim immigrants.

Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition

The Jewish holocaust killed off the majority of Jews who fought and struggled against European anti-Semitism, including Zionism. With their death, the only remaining “Semites” who are fighting against Zionism and its anti-Semitism today are the Palestinian people. Whereas Israel insists that European Jews do not belong in Europe and must come to Palestine, the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism. Whereas Zionism insists that Jews are a race separate from European Christians, the Palestinians insist that European Jews are nothing if not European and have nothing to do with Palestine, its people, or its culture. What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews. That the two largest American pro-Israel voting blocks today are Millenarian Protestants and secular imperialists continues the very same Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition that extends back to the Protestant Reformation and 19th century imperialism. But the Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism.

Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is “the Jewish people”, that its policies are “Jewish” policies, that its achievements are “Jewish” achievements, that its crimes are “Jewish” crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticise Israel is criticising Jews and must be an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of “the Jewish people”, and that therefore it must be criticised, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people. This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism. Yasser Arafat’s speech at the United Nations in 1974 stressed all these points vehemently:

Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leadership. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression; they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination…Zionist theology was utilised against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism… is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin. For when what is proposed is that adherents of the Jewish faith, regardless of their national residence, should neither owe allegiance to their national residence nor live on equal footing with its other, non-Jewish citizens -when that is proposed we hear anti-Semitism being proposed. When it is proposed that the only solution for the Jewish problem is that Jews must alienate themselves from communities or nations of which they have been a historical part, when it is proposed that Jews solve the Jewish problem by immigrating to and forcibly settling the land of another people – when this occurs, exactly the same position is being advocated as the one urged by anti-Semites against Jews.

Israel’s claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents “the Jewish people”. But it is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.

Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognising Israel’s anti-Semitic claims. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism. They affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.

Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.

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(Update 1/5/13:  Stanley Jordan announces on his Facebook page that he’s not going to be performing at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, that his performance has been cancelled. )On December 24, Stanley Jordan made the following statement on his Facebook wall, asking for information to assist him in deciding how to respond to requests that he honor the BDS picket line of Israeli apartheid. While in the end, Jordan decided to cross the picket line (see the next entry on this blog), what ensued was an amazing discussion of the issue of solidarity, tactics and history of the Palestinian struggle for human rights and against Israeli settler colonialism and Western imperialism.https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=316499341791766&id=14690024059++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Stanley Jordan · 13,603 like this

December 24 at 9:22am ·

  • I’ve received several messages from people requesting that I cancel my performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel. I promised a detailed response, so here it is. I would like to start a dialog right here to discuss this topic. Next to global warming the Middle East conflict is the biggest issue of our time, and it’s too important for black-and-white responses that ignore the nuances. And we truly need an open dialog with a spirit of mutual compassion for everyone involved. For my part, I want to use my talents and energies in the best possible way for the cause of peace. This purpose is deeply ingrained in my soul’s code, and I’ve known it since childhood. So the only remaining question is: How can I best accomplish this goal? I invite you all to weigh in. I’d like to start the discussion by recommending a wonderful book called, “Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East,” by Rabbi Michael Lerner. I’ve been reading a lot on this topic but this book stands out for me because it resonates with my own feelings. I encourage everyone to read it as background for our discussion. And please keep your comments clean and respectful. Let’s model the type of dialog that will eventually lead to a solution.http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Israel-Palestine-Strategy-Transform/dp/1583943072

    Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East


    A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of …
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    • Chuck Aring chilling thoughts Mr. Jordan. thank you for being you.
    • Annemarie Parrish Peace happens! Healing happens, and music is a great tool for peace!
    • Paul Fisher Hi Stanley, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, hope all is well with you and your family!

      Obviously the path to peace is prohibitively long and complicated, and deserves everyone’s energy, so I’ll add my 2 cents with this – my Mom was involved in helping to build the organization Seeds of Peace, who’s charter is to develop positive relationships between children from opposing backgrounds (initially Palestinians and Israelis, and now many many more nationalities and backgrounds), with the thinking that if they grow up respecting the differences among them instead of seeing them as divisions, Peace has a chance. See more here:


    • Patrizia Meloni Stanley….it’s very good!
    • John Diamond It’s Christmas. Good Tidings to all. May we have Peace on Earth. Thank you for helping, Mr. Jordan.
    • Jay Hunt Do not cancel!!! Play music, that’s what you do. In times of stress music is a great reliever healer. My favorite of yours has always been your rendition of Stairway to Heaven. It brings a good peaceful feeling to everyone in the room! Play on!!
    • Cynthia Farrell Music for peace! May God be with you and your family/friends as you travel to Israel.
    • Darren Miller Be a musician and play, let the politicians deal with that stuff.
    • Eric Geller Definitely go to Israel. If you start boycotting middle eastern countries, think about how every other country there treats its women and minorities.
    • Neno Svrzikapa Let your guitar do the talking  , and if you get invited to play in Palestine one day you should play there too.
    • Heather Angeloff Go where your heart leads you.
    • Lilo Chachamovits You know Mr. Jordan a few years ago I started looking for an answer to the following question: What does the words Human Being means? I got to only one satisfying answer: Human Being means Being Human. You see, it’s a verb which means action, something that we need to do actively. 

      I believe Peace is something that we need to find, and it takes a lot of action (as in Being Human) to get to it. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are looking to the wrong place in order to find it. The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. What happens in the world is merely an image of what’s happening inside of us. Peace will be made by people who already found it. Who have found already inner peace. This way the work that needs to be done is to put all our efforts to evolve spiritually and achieve the conscious state which we refer to as Human Beings…get rid of our egos.

      Music can be a true expression of love and of someone’s inner self. It’s a powerful language of spirituality, which allows us to clean our thoughts and connect our mind with our heart, bringing a true understanding of life, of purpose, of peace…and you are a master in pouring your whole soul into your music and into your playing. 

      I live in Israel and I was a volunteer at the Peres Center for Peace. They have many wonderful projects involving Palestinians and Israelis…but I’m quite sure that they are still lacking a music project there. I believe that a partnership between you and them would allow the development of a pilot music project focused completely on promoting peace. And with this case model it would be able to spread the project all over the world, bringing warmth and care to a lot of people.

      I was involved with social business and sustainability projects for a while when I lived in Brazil. I had the dream that I could help change the world, I wanted to live in a better world, I actually can see this magical place people refer to as paradise happening right here, right now. By reading what you wrote here I felt you can see the same. 

      I realized that in order to change the whole world we simply need to change ourselves. I would love to be involved in a project like this. You are welcome to come for a cup of tea in my house when you are here in Israel.
      May the inspirational flows keep on blowing through your soul.
    • Stanley Jordan I’d like to hear from someone who supports the boycott. And perhaps there is more than one boycott organization–I really don’t know. My question is: What is the goal of the boycott, and what evidence do you have that my cancelling my show would help that cause?
    • Maury Peiperl Play on Stanley; your music will mean more for peace than your silence.
    • Meir Rivkin Dont punish your fans, they deserve u
    • Dan Sants Hello Stanley … This is Dan from Praia do forte, we met briefly at the backstage of tamar one day before your presentation on saturday! Wanted to quickly express my comment on this … Id see it better if you were there, at least being there you have the power of the word, of sending them a message about this situation! All though Im a little desapointed with atitude of Isreale towards keeping building the jewish housing, and desrespecting the UN, I believe that it is at times like this when we musician can somehow influence people with our music! The same music that makes someone come from playing on the street to be playing for the world and changing it in a way! You could def help much more by being there than being away from there! Tudo de bom, feliz natal! DS
    • Uragoner Too 1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
      3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
      4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
      5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
    • Judy Haus Bradley I believe both parties are right in their feelings, beliefs, and desires. I don’t think politics or politicians will ever solve it. I believe it will be solved when the common people on both sides take over and decide to work it out between them. Play, Stanley! You can be a positive force for peace with your music and your message.
    • Vittorio Malatesta Play for Israel, play for Palestine the day after, and let them understand that they love the same things.
    • Cameron Keys Perhaps you could meet with the other excellent musicians at the Red Sea Jazz Festival and see if the artists could improvise a collective statement of solidarity among cultures. This could be done before, during, or even after the festival. Perhaps you could request that the concert promoters place an open invitation to local pillars of the jazz community (on all sides and in-betweens of the cultural conflict) who would join in your expression of solidarity? Those are my constructive proposals.

      Since the festival is so near at hand, it would be disrespectful to the concert promoters and fans to back out. To justify cancelling your performance I think it would be necessary to make a big stink, i.e. to make a rather elaborate ceremony of the cancellation so that it has maximum impact. But that is assuming someone could persuade or convince you that cancellation would accomplish something tangible in this elaborately difficult circumstance. 

      I could play Devil’s Advocate, since no one else is forthcoming. A common argument goes like this: Israeli leaders have a choice between expansion and security. They have faced this choice many times since the 1970s. Each time they have chosen expansion, which has perpetuated insecurity. UN Security Council Resolution 242 offers a way forward that all involved parties have expressed some agreement with. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_242) With the UN granting Palestine “non-member observer state” status through a democratic vote in November 2012, now is the time to move forward toward a “just peace”. However, Israel has since this time announced initial plans to move forward with settlements in disputed territory, which is counter-productive and unnecessary. You should therefore cancel your performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival as a formal acknowledgement of the unacceptability of this Israeli policy. 

      Cancellation in itself will not produce benefits commensurate with the costs to your fans. If you simply cancelled without an eloquent and powerful justification, your reputation in the eyes of promoters and fellow musicians would also suffer unnecessarily. 

      I very much like the work Erik Truffaz did with electronic musician Murcof.


      United NationsSecurity Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242) was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter.[1] The resolution was sponsored by British ambassador Lord Caradon an…
    • Art Zasadny Play! Music spreads love…
    • Cameron Keys Of course, the situation I describe in the Devil’s Advocate argument is far too simple to account for reality. In truth, UN 242 is not an unambiguous or univocal document. For example, if Israel ceases expansion and claims that UN 242 is the reason for its decision to cease expansion, this opens the flood gates (from Israel’s perspective) related to territorial disputes that affect several million Israelis currently living in areas of Judea and Samaria. Further, UN 242 seeks freedom of navigation and ‘peace within secure and recognized boundaries’, which are abstract terms that mask immense disputes. Israel claims that freedom of navigation entails defenselessness; and the secure and recognized boundaries associated with arrangements prior to the 1967 Six-Day War are not recognized as secure or acceptable by Israel. Thus, if Israel backs off on the rhetoric of expansion, these long-standing conflicts emerge once again, and Israel’s rhetorical stance and physical security are perceived to weaken. This explains in part why Israel continues to choose expansion: because, from the perspective of their leadership, the alternative to expansion is not actually security, as many (such as Chomsky) have claimed.
    • Cameron Keys I wonder also what John Zorn would do if he was in your shoes, Stanley. …
    • Stanley Jordan Although Michael Lerner is a rabbi, his book is very balanced. I like the idea of searching for a spiritual solution. So far we’ve relied only on military, political and economic solutions- That approach has not been sufficient, and much of it has even been counterproductive.
    • Sue Gemmell Of interest: The Peace Factory connects between people in the middle east, see http://letthemtalk.org/


      peace, technology, poetry
    • Matthew Peter Morgan Thank you and I agree. There is only the spiritual evolution left to shift. How else can we get through without using physical force? We must continue the spiritual discipline that will then move the rest of the people in this direction.
    • Elise Hendrick We can start by respecting what is in effect a picket line called for by the occupied Palestinian population themselves.

      One of the key planks of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestiture, and sanctions is a clear opposition to any form of normalisation, by which they mean “encounter sessions” and other feel-good “dialogues” that do not explicitly acknowledge and seek to overcome the racist oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population.

      The language of “conflict” is misleading in the extreme, which is its purpose. The idea is to give the false impression of two equal sides who just don’t get on well. The reality is that one “side” has the 4th most deadly military in the world and has created an elaborate system of racist laws and “facts on the ground” in order to gradually destroy any semblance of social cohesion in the indigenous population.
    • Bob Perillo Yeah, the 4th most deadly military in the world, and backed by the world’s remaining superpower. Some “conflict.”
    • Gabriel Ash Hello Stanely, first, thanks for reaching out and trying to learn more about the question. I am an one of the many involved in organizing BDS campaigns. I am also a Jewish citizen of Israel, but I no longer live in Israel. I would like to make below a number of comments. 
      The conflict in Palestine does not have “two sides.” It is a situation of severe and overwhelming oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine by a colonial state. In the same way that you wouldn’t talk about “two sides” in relation to slavery, apartheid in South-Africa, or the genocide of native-Americans . Of course, in each of these cases, those who were engaged with apology for maintaining the oppression claimed otherwise, and the same is true in the case of Israel. So that’s the fundamental political divide. To say that that “two sides” is a wrong perspective is not to deny that Israelis exists, are human, have lives, etc. It means one thing, that the burden of ending the oppression is on Israel. Therefore, the challenge “to make peace” is misleading. True peace can only mean, as Martin Luther King defined it, “the present of justice”. The primary role of any person of conscience as I understand it is to put pressure on those who benefit from injustice to relent and open the possibility of justice and equality. That is the only road to peace. 
      BDS is a picket line, put by Palestinians who asked you, me, and everyone in the world who cares for justice to put that pressure by, among other things, boycotting Israel. I recommend the following detailed analysis about the role of culture in politics. http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2080
      You ask, how you can act as an artist to use your music in the cause of peace. The first task, it seems to me, is to listen. But in listening, please do not forget that your ability to listen is slanted by the medium. Being on facebook, for example, is not a neutral fact. It takes money, access to technology and free time to be able to converse with you on facebook, and the same is true on every other media. The voice of the oppressed is by definition the one that is less loud, less easy to hear, because part of oppression is of course the denial of access to those resources, and also because oppression is “normal” and therefore supporting it is comfortable. Please take that in consideration. If you listen passively, you will hear “both sides”, but in fact, you will hear the voice of power, the voice of the neutral buzz that power generates as the background musak of reality. To really listen, you have to listen actively, filtering that power out. 
      By going to play in Israel, you will be crossing a picket line, thus taking a political stand, one of dismissing the appeal of the oppressed. You will be playing in venues that will be segregated. The indigenous people of the land will not be allowed to come to your shows even if they wanted or knew about it. You may bring Israelis any message you want, but the one that they will hear louder is the one that your very presence will convey: your support for the normalcy of the situation, your acceptance that they should have the “right” to enjoy your music, and every other thing good in life, while actively denying it to others. They will also hear the message that you told Palestinians off and that will be an encouragement for doing nothing. As we know from what happened to others, the Israeli foreign minister will publicise your visit and point out that you too ignored the boycott call. You will become a recruit for maintaining the occupation whether you like it or not. 
      I urge you to go visit Palestine, to go play in Palestine, to bring Palestine in your music, but do not participate in official, “normal” business. You will not be bringing peace closer, you will be conveying the message that life goes on, normally, and it’s ok to keep millions of people under the gun while one is listening to music.


      This paper was prepared for the 7arakat Conference: Theatre, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion November  2012 and was first published in the 7arakat conference E:Proceedings. IntroductionInternational artists find themselves standing at a crossroad between their desire to support all forms of artisti…
    • Rima Najjar Dear Stanley:
      I would like to reiterate Gabriel Ash’s point that ‘the conflict in Palestine does not have “two sides.”’ It simply doesn’t – not in the sense that the two sides have legitimate grievances, and in order to resolve them we should hear both sides and find a solution in the middle. I am a Palestinian who does not live in Israel/Palestine simply because I cannot. I don’t have a choice like Gabriel, because I am not Jewish. I hope very much that you will heed the Palestinain call to boycott the event. I believe boycott and divestment is the only chance left for us to effect change in Israel (as happened in South Africa). Israel is officially an apartheid, racist, settler colonialist entity in the heart of the Middle East. The political process will never, ever effect change and the power equation is so uneven. Please help us.

      It’s Chrsitmas, and so here is a song for you from Bethlehem:


      Filmed at the Church of the Nativity by our friends at Ethnographic Media for their upcoming film Little Town of Bethlehem, which follows the story of three …
    • Kevin Hornbuckle The boycott is the only way to peacefully protest Israel’s deadly subjugation of Palestine. Lobbying Israel does not work, nor do appeals to US lawmakers who force us to massively subsidize Israel’s occupation and theft of Palestinian land. The commenters on this thread who are urging a ‘peace from within’ justification to play at the jazz festival are giving spirituality (if you will) a bad name. Solidarity with the peacemakers is materially significant only by supporting the boycott. The bombing of Gaza was a gross, detestable international crime. To play on as if business-as-usual is to be complicit with Israel’s ability to commit more such crimes.
    • Emma Rosenthal Even if you decide to be neutral, you cannot go and perform in Israel. The only neutral position is to not go. Going is an act of complicity, of normalization (as has been well explained by Rima, Elise Hendrick and Gabriel Ash,) If you choose to support the boycott, don’t go, and say why you are not going. If you choose to be neutral, don’t go, and simply say you are not taking a side, have other commitments, can’t make the trip at this time. But under no circumstances is going and being neutral an option.

      Of course we would appreciate the strongest statement in support of human rights possible. But many artists have thought they could simply go in a neutral capacity. Some felt that if only THEY spoke to people from “both sides”, they could bring peace. There have been lots of talks, mostly used as a vehicle to postpone a resolution, while Isreal continues to expand settlements, steal water, land, resources, arrest people without charges or due process, commit exjudicial executions, control an entire subordinate and indigenous population. Dialogue doesn’t create peace unless peace is the intent. and Peace cannot be had at the barrel of a gun.
    • Emma Rosenthal Many artists think they can break down walls by performing, that art alone is transformative. But artists can hold walls up with their art, just as easily, easier in fact, even without that being the intent. A few artists who understood the situation the Palestinians face, felt that they could both break the boycott and support social justice. They found out that they could not. Pete Seeger disappointed many fans who knew him from years of social justice activism. He later realized exactly how his presence in Israel hurt the cause of social justice. 

      ” “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” “



      Below is a press release issued by Adalah-NY and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. For more background seetheseposts:
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, as you know South Africa’s ruling party (ANC) has officially endorsed Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel. In September, the Irish parliament voted to ban Israeli settlement imports. Earlier this month, an Israeli newspaper reported that the EU was looking into boycotting settlement goods, after Israel defied calls to stem construction of illegal settlement units in the West Bank. You can help the tide turn.

      The ANC added a clause to its pro-BDS resolution lashing out at Israel’s mistreatment of Africans, which culminated in the mass deportation of South Sudanese from Israel this year: “The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union.”
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, I’m an Israeli activist who’s been involved in dialogue, protests, political parties, petitions etc since the 1980s. Please don’t disregard our experience: in Israel, just like anywhere else, entrenched interests won’t move out of the way because of “dialogue.” Those profiting from the occupation are well aware of it and still prefer their profits. Playing there won’t change that. But joining the worldwide boycott movement is a valuable non-violent way of building pressure that will eventually create change. Please think of us Israelis as well as show solidarity with the immense suffering of palestinians. It will be really valuable if you take a stand. There is no occupation that ever ended through dialogue alone, with no pressure. Please don’t perform there!
    • Tom Pessah “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” frederick douglass
    • Rima Najjar As Tom Pessah says, Stanley, think of both Israelis and Palestinians: “Not only is Israel harming Palestinians, but it is harming itself.” – Desmond Tutu
    • Tom Pessah a palestinian friend of mine is barred from traveling to Jerusalem, the city where she was born. So many are. So many will be missing from your audience if you chose to perform.
    • Rima Najjar Me too, Stanley. I teach at a Palestinian university walled off from Jerusalem, which is literally a few yards away as the crow flies. I am a Palestinian American and was denied entry to the West Bank twice – had to hire lawyers to re-enter. Now I have an entry permit that says, “not permitted to work” and “Judea and Samaria only” – meaning I cannot enter Jerusalem and I am working illegally. My grandfather’s house in Lifta, a village to the north west of Jerusalem, is inhabited by a Jewish family. The rest of the village is in ruins.
    • Cameron Keys I am so glad people have offered serious arguments here. While I find them persuasive, I do not find them yet convincing. It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful. This would allow you the artist the freedom to determine the manner of your involvement: you could play, or not play; remain silent, or speak out. You could literally place yourself in that situation and feel with your own heart in the moment whether it is right to speak out, and if so, how. This is all to say that I am not convinced that your presence at the Festival is inherently a sign of complicity. In fact, your presence has more potency than your absence, for the reasons I have just enumerated.
    • Rima Najjar I am sorry, Cameron, but I find that your own argument is unconvincing. As Emma Rosenthal points out above:

      Many artists think they can break down walls by performing, that art alone is transformative. But artists can hold walls up with their art, just as easily, easier in fact, even without that being the intent. A few artists who understood the situation the Palestinians face, felt that they could both break the boycott and support social justice. They found out that they could not. Pete Seeger disappointed many fans who knew him from years of social justice activism. He later realized exactly how his presence in Israel hurt the cause of social justice. 

      ” “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” “
    • Tom Pessah Cameron, crossing the picket line will not be “equally acceptable”, it will be a clear sign of disrespect towards the call of over sixty Palestinian civil society organizations who have called for the boycott, as well as their many supporters around the world. http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=868 I see no reason to ignore them.


      ‎”The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure– in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at …
    • Cameron Keys Are Rima and Tom suggesting that the meaning of Stanley’s presence at the Festival would be determined solely by the perceptions of civil society organizations, or Israeli media, etc? What about the freedom of the artist — for example, perhaps Pete Seeger could have done something different at the virtual rally that would have prevented him from looking as if he supported the Jewish National Fund? He could have worn a special t-shirt — simple things like that can change perceptions and change the meaning of an artist’s presence. Let us keep making these good arguments and expressing tensions, I feel we are getting closer to some set of choices that embodies a spiritual solution.
    • Gabriel Ash Cameron Keys: The freedom of the artist is a matter of law. None of the people arguing here have any power to physically or legally prevent Stanely from playing in Israel, and if we had such power, we would not have used it. By asking artists to abide by the boycott call, we do not COERCE anybody, and we do not infringe on any right. The call of conscience is not in opposition to freedom, on the contrary, the only meaning of freedom is the freedom to act in accordance to conscience. So the fact that we are adamantly saying that it would be wrong, morally and politically, for artists to disrespect and ignore the Palestinian request of solidarity, does not undermine the freedom of the artist, on the contrary, it is an appeal to precisely that freedom. Artists can do wrong like anybody else. To point that out is not to infringe on their freedom.
    • Rima Najjar Yes, Gabriel – this would be a moral and political act on Stanley’s part. But Stanley is also concerned with the question of whetther his boycotting the performance will make any practical difference. I just want to say that I believe it will – and not onlly because other measures to get Israel to do the right thing have failed so miserably in the past (backfired, some of them, as Stanley himself puts it), but also because, as a tactic, boycott of this nature coupled with divestment have been shown to be effective in South Africa.
    • Rima Najjar Cameron, speaking of freedom of expression, please see this from Amnesty International:
      Israel anti-boycott law an attack on freedom of expression



      The law makes it an offence to call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements.
    • June Rugh Stanley, I hope you will take a clear stance against the apartheid state of Israel by respecting the boycott/BDS movement, which was originated by Palestinian organizations and is supported by many forward-thinking Israelis, as well as by many in the United States and throughout Europe – and gaining wider support every day. The venerable folk singer/activist Pete Seeger (age 92) recently decided to endorse the boycott, after doing extensive research. You say that you want to use your talents and energies in the best possible way for peace, which is wonderful. The boycott is a clear, nonviolent way forward to peace *with justice* and I hope that you, as a widely respected musician, will see the profound necessity for supporting it.


      Below is a press release issued by Adalah-NY and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. For more background seetheseposts:
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, I am prepared to be very patient and work through any questions you might have about the intrinsic spiritual logic of the boycott. As we strive together for understanding toward the truth, so that liberation and healing may be facilitated it may be worth considering that Gandhi and Martin Luther King also saw their people’s struggle for freedom through non-violent resistance as a journey of the spirit.
    • Gabriel Ash On the question of effectiveness. Nobody can promise what will or will not be effective. It is the nature of political acts that there are necessarily uncertain with regards to their effects. The general arguments as to why the boycott is effective involves two parts. One, dialogue attempts have proven to be not only ineffective, but positively sapping, in that it allows governments and other actors to pretend they are engaged while not doing anything that challenges the reality of oppression. Two, for historical reasons Israelis are deeply concerned, indeed obsessed, by their identity as part of the “West” (as slogans such “the only democracy in the Middle East” reveals). Therefore, Western artists have an enormous power to pierce into Israeli consciousness by being clear that Israel is beyond the pale in its behavior. Desmund Tutu made the point that it was precisely that kind of dynamics that made the boycott of South African sport teams effective and a powerful contribution to the end of apartheid. 

      “Many of you will remember how effective the sports boycott of the 1970s and 1980s was in conveying to sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organise its life on the basis of racial discrimination. Your refusal to kow-tow to racism was the sanction that hurt the supporters of apartheid the most, and for those of us who suffered the effects of discrimination nothing could have shown us more vividly the principal value enshrined in the preamble to the Spirit of Cricket, which Lord Cowdrey and Ted Dexter later helped to introduce to the laws of the game, the value of which is all the more powerful for the simplicity of its statement, and that of course is fair play. For 20 years, as the sports boycott tightened and apartheid stopped generations of South African sportsmen and women, both white and black, realising their full potential, you and others like you drummed into us what the world saw as fair play and what it saw as unfair play. I have not the slightest doubt that what you did played a major role in persuading the supporters of apartheid to change their ways and, in the negotiations that followed F.W. de Klerk’s courageous decision to release Nelson Mandela in 1990, to agree on a constitution based on the principle, also enshrined in the Spirit of Cricket, of respect for others.” (http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/spirit/mcc-spirit-of-cricket-cowdrey-lecture/2008-cowdrey-lecture-full-text,990,AR.html )

      But I want to return to the crucial point about uncertainty. Devising political strategies is hard and the only chance it has to be of value is that is comes from a deep and long engagement driven by the people at the heart of the struggle. It is presumptuous to come out of a blue and decide “I think this is ineffective. I think that is effective.” BDS is not a whim. It is a national strategy, organised by over 100 associations, based on years of engagement and experience. The right thing to say about effectiveness is “I don’t know, but this is what THEY think would help them” and if one want to help, this is where one begins.
    • Stanley Jordan To be honest, it’s very frustrating for me because these borders undermine everything my music is about. I’ve already played multiple times in Israel, UAE, Lebanon and Turkey, and i’ve played in Egypt as well. I am currently the headliner of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. I committed to this performance before the recent wave of fighting and before I knew anything about the BDS boycotts. I don’t understand why I can’t play for Palestinians–it makes no sense at all! If they can’t come to where I am, I’d love to find a way to bring my music to them.
    • Rima Najjar Interestingly enough, “pale” in the expression “beyond the pale” that Gabriel uses above referred historically to the term “Pale of Settlement” as applied to the area in the west of Imperial Russia where Jews were permitted to reside. Ironically, the illegal settlements and settlement blocs Israel is so busy erecting on Palestinian lands are depriving Palestinians of resources, livelihoods as well as dignity.
    • June Rugh Stanley, Your fellow musicians, Stevie Wonder (scheduled to perform at a gala for Israeli Defense Forces) and jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson (scheduled to perform at a women’s music festival in Holon, Israel), both recently canceled their performances in Israel out of respect the boycott. So you’d be in good company. There is a strong parallel here to the musicians who ultimately refused to perform at the very lucrative Sun City resort in South Africa in the 1980s, in protest of the then-apartheid state of South Africa. This culminated in Steven Van Zandt founding the group Artists United Against Apartheid, and recording the “Sun City” anti-apartheid protest album in 1985 with over 40 artists including Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Cliff, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, Arika Bambaataa, Jackson Browne, U2, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, and Joey Ramone. 
      If you’re looking for a model of politically and spiritually enlightened activism combined with artistic excellence, there it is. You are a musician of profound talent and deep integrity, and I truly hope you will see the parallel and follow a similar path.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, come and play in Ramallah – as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But that will be meaningful (morally and politically) only if you boycott the Israeli performance. But, since Israel controls all borders, you might not be allowed in.
    • Karen MacRae You can’t play for the Palestinians because they have been placed under military occupation, their movements restricted, their human and civil rights have been stripped, apartheid conditions imposed and most importantly, Palestinian civil society has issued a call to all conscientious citizens of the world to honour their boycott, their picket line, as a method of resistance to attain their liberation. They have requested you specifically to support them. Do you understand? They are asking you not to. Oppressed people are requesting you to honour their request. This isn’t about you. It’s about them. This is why you can’t play. I suggest you cancel until everyone can share your music together, equally, regardless of what religion/ethnic background they may have been born into. Then go.
    • Rima Najjar Dear Stanley – I realize this is difficult for you. Your plans have all been laid out and maybe we seem very remote from your life. Please give it serious consideration and thank you for opening this forum to allow us to talk to you. As June Rugh says above: “If you’re looking for a model of politically and spiritually enlightened activism combined with artistic excellence, there it is. You are a musician of profound talent and deep integrity, and I truly hope you will see the parallel and follow a similar path.”
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Yes, these borders also undermine everything we are about, everything every free human being. But neither Palestinians, nor the activists here who ask you not to cross the picket line, have set up these borders. These borders are forced on us. They are there to prevent people from enjoying freedom, land and yes, music too. We are fighting them. Please be part of that fight. When you cross a border with a Visa issued by a government that prevents millions of people from moving freely, and allow you to pass simply because you are not a Palestinian, you are not crossing any border, you are helping to maintain the border. I understand it is frustrating. Please try to imagine how frustrating it is to live under apartheid.
    • Sa’ed Adel Atshan Stanley, I am a very big fan of yours, and truly appreciate your willingness to engage in this discussion and to hear Palestinian voices in particular. I recently wrote an article regarding Joy Harjo’s performance in Tel Aviv and the BDS movement. Please consider reading it. Thanks for your time.http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/mobile/tags/sa%E2%80%99ed-adel-atshan


    • Lisa Hayeem Carver A few years ago a group of Arab and Israeli musicians got together and did some music for the cause of peace- I think they are still around and you may be able to connect with them- I can’t figure out how to attach the link, but if you search for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d_i2F2LlF8, or put in r “shalom2salam” on youtube you can find one of the songs and information.


      A beautiful song with an inspiring message. There are many Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs working for peace, and this Middle-Eastern jazzy song should be …
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Stanley, I hope you can listen to Palestinian spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah make the case for the cultural boycott around 32 minutes into this video and to read her arguments below, thank you.

      Palestine and the Cultural Boycott by Rafeef Ziadah


      A Palestine Solidarity Campaign film. http://www.palestinecampaign.org/ The Case For Cultural & Academic Boycott Of Israel with introduction from Ken Loach Sp…
    • Rima Najjar Here in the West Bank, we call that “normalization” (response to Lisa Carver’s post above). It’s acting as if Israel is a normal state simply going about its business, like any other country, to engage in artistic expression. Fact is, Israel is not a normal state like any other. It is apartheid, racist, expansionis and settler colonialist. Acting as if it’s “normal” undermines the Palestinian cause. It doesn’t matter if you are Arab, American or Brazilian. “By crossing the border, you are helping to maintain the border”.
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, if you are searching for a model of spirituality: in the 1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great Jewish leaders of his generation, marched together with Dr. King.http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e4/SelmaHeschelMarch.jpg . He said “when I march in Selma, my legs are praying.” Just as Heschel joined Dr. King’s call, respectfully and modestly, out of solidarity, we are asking you to perform a similar act of solidarity, to link hands with palestinians and their supporters around the world, including Israelis who want a just peace, like me. Refusing to perform will send a stronger message than anything you can say while you are there.

      as Sa’ed wrote, supporters of the boycott include Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Roger Waters, Jewish Voice for Peace.

    • Rima Najjar Together, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King during the height of the civil rights movement in the United States, we—the Palestinians and humanitarians worldwide—shall overcome.
    • Stanley Jordan I am perfectly willing right now to boycott the settlements and the settlers, These are clear-cut violations of the 1967 borders. But to expand the boycott to Israel as a whole raises the question: How far does this go? I’ve played extensively in Muslim countries such as UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well? Also, the USA has been accused of covertly aiding Israel in oppressing the Palestinians. Does this mean I have to boycott my own country too? If we musicians boycott every country that commits atrocities, there would be no music in the world! This would undoubtedly lead to even more conflict and less understanding. Some of you are Israelis who support the boycott, and I really admire your courage, by the way! But why should we outsiders bare the economic brunt of the boycotts? You want me to quit my job, so then shouldn’t you be quitting yours too? After all, any economic activity aids Israel and can be seen as de facto normalization. There’s no attack here– I’m just asking. And thanks everyone for the respectful discussion!
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, I’ll start by responding to one part of your message at a time. “Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well?”

      Well, you are making a faulty analogy here – a fallacy. You are assuming that because two things are alike in one or more respects, they are necessarily alike in some other respect. Let’s assume that the laws you mention exist and are detrimental to Jews. How does this come close or compare to to the Palestinian situation and the justice they are calling for? It doesn’t.
    • Rima Najjar You say, “the USA has been accused of covertly aiding Israel in oppressing the Palestinians. Does this mean I have to boycott my own country too?” No, the logic of the boycott of Israel doesn’t extend that far. However, it would be great if you wouuld oppose your country’s policy in a meaningful way – like addressing members of Congress to counteract AIPAC’s power.
    • Emma Rosenthal You make a really good point–but the settlements don’t exist on their own. They are supported and maintained and expanded by the state of Israel. Nothing happens in the settlements that isn’t Israeli policy. Settlements didn’t bomb and seize Gaza, settlements didn’t build the wall or operate check points, or harass Palestinians in airports or deny equal rights to Palestinians inside the 67 borders. Settlements don’t prevent Rima from going to Jerusalem or getting a job or having legal status in her own land, or visiting and reclaiming her ancestral home. One cannot separate the settlements from Israel. Israel certainly doesn’t. If the issue were just the settlements, Israel could have taken care of that issue unilaterally.
    • Stanley Jordan Rima,–I agree that atrocities and suffering are not all equal. I’m merely asking where do we draw the line? Can we agree that reasonable people can disagree as to where to draw the line? I’m sure there are people who will say sincerely that I should be boycotting some of these other countries as well.
    • Rima Najjar You say, “But why should we outsiders bare the economic brunt of the boycotts? You want me to quit my job, so then shouldn’t you be quitting yours too?” It sounds like you are looking at this from a financial point of view (rather than the ethics and morality we have been discussing). As a Palestinian, I say, no. If going to this performance in Israel is your livelihood, don’t starve your family. Afterall, life is so bitter here for some Palestinians that they are the labor that builds illegal israeli settlements and that has built the wall. Man got to eat.
    • Emma Rosenthal Also, the call to boycott comes from the people directly impacted by that boycott. It comes from within Palestinian civil society, which exists throughout all of occupied historic Palestine. At this point anyone suggesting a 2 state solution is being disingenuous, as Israel shows no real interest in that proposal. It demands control over the entire territory, but with different laws and benefits to the different communities. The only just solution is full equal and civil rights in all of historic Palestine. At this point, and because of Israeli policy (called, establishing facts on the ground), there is no other possibility. Israel, while it was participating in dialogue, was busy, very busy building roads and settlements and walls and road blocks to assure that there would never be any real, any viable 2 state solution. There already exists a one state solution, the only demand is that it be a just one. When Israel presents other options perhaps we could seriously discuss them.
    • Alex Reza Also, I think the reason we support and abide by BDS is because Palestinian civil society as a whole has called for this after many years of attempts at peaceful negotiations with Israel that have gotten nowhere. BDS is a tactic towards achieving a just peace, not a goal in itself.

      Regarding the countries you mention with whatever problematic laws they may have- there are probably movements in those countries to change those laws, and we should support those movements. However, to my knowledge, none of those movements believe that boycott of the countries will improve the situation or further their cause. However, Palestinians, after decades of thoughtful work, have come to this conclusion. We should support activists in these communities by respecting the work they have done and the solidarity they have asked us to show.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say: Can we agree that reasonable people can disagree as to where to draw the line? I’m sure there are people who will say sincerely that I should be boycotting some of these other countries as well.

      Well, you are drawing the line at the start line. It’s easy to take any argument to its absurd conclusion. As for people who would sincerely say you should, they are being absurd.
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Thank you again for your engagement. Let me try to answer your question. 

      1. The boycott here is not an abstract moral posture. We are not asking you to boycott Israel because Israel is bad. Lots of things are bad. There are horrible government all over the world committing terrible acts. Boycott is a strategy, developed in view of a. what’s possible. b. what is likely to have impact. c. what’s legitimate. Part of that is that it requested by the victims on the basis of a rational argument. This is what you can do to help put pressure on Israel to stop doing a,b,c. If the victims of the Egyptian government asked you to boycott Egypt on similar grounds (feasibility, legitimate demands, legitimate target, likelihood for impact), then absolutely, you should boycott Egypt. But you shouldn’t boycott Egypt just because it has a government that does something wrong in the abstract. Then, you’d be right, you’d have to boycott everything. But this is not what is asked here. 

      2. The target of the boycott is based on responsibility and impact, not symbolism. Israel, the state, and behind the state, the society, not the settlements, is responsible for the oppression of Palestinians. The settlements are ONE aspect of the oppression. They are not the sovereign entity making the decision to oppress. It is Israel that builds settlements, and it is Israeli society that elects politicians who build settlements. The settlements do not build themselves.

      3. While there is value in boycotting settlements, this is almost irrelevant to the cultural boycott, as artists are never asked to go to settlements. You cannot help Palestinians that way. It would be a meaningless gesture. 

      More in a separate comment
    • Emma Rosenthal When Palestinians and supporters protest anywhere in Israeli controlled territories– in any part of historic Palestine, Israel responds with incredible brutality. The weapons we are seeing at demonstrations in the U.S. are practiced on demonstrators in Israel/Palestine. Demonstrations aren’t respected. They are attacked by the soldiers. There is no non-violent means, aside from boycott that Palestinians can participate in, without being subjected to incredible state brutality. This is a non-violent international protest of support that has had already an enormous impact and is very terrifying for Israel’s supporters because it challenges the regime.
    • Gabriel Ash About the economic question. Our economic decisions, for all of us, are part of our lives and part of our impact on others. Every political demand has economic impact on other people. Examples: when nurses strike, why should patient suffer? Is it legitimate to protest against overuse of prisons if this threatens the jobs of prison wardens? Responding to a political demand involves costs, and those who oppress work hard to spread the costs so as many as possible would benefit from oppression and try to keep it going. Forgoing sales of tickets in Israel is a cost, and it does affect artists. Is it an unreasonable cost? Palestinian society is asking you to make a small sacrifice so that they too can live in dignity and enjoy things that you and I take for granted, like being able to travel.

      • Rich Siegel Mr. Jordan- I am a Jewish-American musician (pianist/vocalist/songwriter) and I’d like to respectfully request that you honor the boycott, that you please do not “cross the picket line”, please do not disrespect the request from the people of Palestine. I have written a song and produced a video around it, which includes two talks- one given by me, the other by my co-writer, also Jewish. The video does not directly address the issue of BDS, but it does discuss how some Jewish Americans, like myself, have educated ourselves beyond the tribal loyalties that we were raised with, and come to support the people that our own people are oppressing. I respectfully request 12 minutes of your time. Thanks and Merry Christmas! http://www.vimeo.com/6630724

    • Rima Najjar The fact is, Stanley, the Palestinian people are oppressed by Israel in a very particular way and we are asking you, from a humanitarian point of view, to help us achieve self determination. You should know that Israel will capitalize on your presence there, your good name, to show/tell the world that it is a “normal” country. You will normalize apartheid and ethnic cleansing by participating in this activity. If it’s a question of money, I wish I had it to give compensate you.
    • Karen MacRae I think it’s important to note that those other countries are routinely condemned and punished for the crimes they have carried out. Israel is not. It’s It holds the dubious honour of having violated the most UN resolutions in the history of the UN. (or thereof) The question isn’t so much are they singled out but rather shouldn’t they be held to the same standards as those other countries? If there were any campaigns launched in those other countries, yes, moral people should and would endorse those campaigns unconditionally as we are endorsing the Palestinian’s campaign. Supporting BDS is a part of a global commitment to human rights and equality.
    • Emma Rosenthal I would like to remind people that while it’s very important to respect the boycott, it is also important to respect the Palestinian call to keep the issue focused on human rights, and not “Jewish tribalism” and Judaism, that this is a struggle against settler colonialism and western imperialism, and the ethnicity/religion of the dominant group is not what is at issue, at least to those who are making the call.
    • Gail Nelson The Palestinian boycott call targets cultural institutions, projects and events that continue to serve the purposes of the Israeli colonial and apartheid regime. See sponsors of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. And, courage to Stanley Jordan, for his deep consideration of the plight of the Palestinian people, the refugees, and those in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. If only more artists would share his concern for human rights, this world would be a better place!http://www.redseajazzeilat.com/en/sponsors/


      Red Sea Jazz Festival – Sponsors
    • Bob Perillo Cameron Keys : “It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful.” That would be like calling for a boycott of Ford while you’re at the local dealership getting ready to drive away in your new Explorer.
    • Stanley Jordan Thanks to all for your messages. I’ve been traveling today and I need to get some sleep. I’ll read everything in the morning and respond. Good night!
    • Rima Najjar No matter what you decide, thank YOU Stanley Jordan for giving us the opportunity to talk to you and God bless.
    • Emma Rosenthal “The “apartheid Israel state” is worse than the apartheid that was conducted in South Africa, Willie Madisha, the Congress of SA Trade Unions president, said today. He said Palestinians were being attacked with heavy machinery and tanks used in war which had never happened in South Africa. Cosatu and other organisations supporting Palestine have called on government to end diplomatic relations with Israel and establish boycotts and sanctions such as those against apartheid South Africa.”



      from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, July 10th The “apartheid Israel state” is worse than the apartheid that was conducted in South Africa, Willie Madisha, the Congress of S…
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=4116
      “COSATU salutes the decision by the South African Ministry of Tourism not to attend the 86th Session of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Tourism Committee conference to be hosted by Israel in Jerusalem. By its decision, South Africa now joins Britain, Spain and Turkey who have all refused to attend the conference.”


      COSATU salutes the decision by the South African Ministry of Tourism not to attend the 86th Session of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Tourism Committee conference to be hosted by Israel in Jerusalem. By its decision, South Africa now joins Britain, Spain and Turke…
    • Andy Griggs http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1917


      This letter is published with author’s permission. June 9, 2012 Dear Publishers at Yediot Books, Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE.  It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason:  As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell…
    • Elise Hendrick “Cameron Keys : “It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful.”

      Yes, it would be a powerful tool in the hands of regime propagandists, who could then say (and rightly, at that) “What a load of hypocrites this BDS mob are! They collect their appearance fees, and call for boycott from the stage!”
    • Rima Najjar Over Xmas Eve & Xmas Day, Israel announced 1,200 new settlement houses http://bit.ly/WDAlu6 & a settlement universityhttp://bit.ly/ReWdwE


      Plan includes 930 apartments for immediate construction and around 300 that could be built at a later time.
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley Jordan: “I am perfectly willing right now to boycott the settlements and the settlers, These are clear-cut violations of the 1967 borders. But to expand the boycott to Israel as a whole raises the question: How far does this go? “

      It’s an understandable question, but Israel has already answered it. Those illegal settlements are fully integrated into existing Israeli institutions. The impunity of marauding “ideological settlers” who routinely harass, brutally attack, or even murder Palestinians, and destroy their homes and farms, is guaranteed by the Israeli military and the Israeli police. The funding for the construction of those settlements is at least partially fronted by the Israeli government. The tax incentives for people to illegally move into the illegal settlements are offered by the Israeli government. As far as the Israeli regime is concerned, Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel are as much part of Israel as Tel Aviv and Haifa. 

      Drawing the line at settlements is certainly appealing for the reasons you mention, but the line is illusory.
    • Rima Najjar Homes Demolished in Israel and Palestine

      0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and over 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967



      If Americans Knew is dedicated to providing Americans with everything they need to know about Israel and Palestine.
    • Peter Lippman Boycott is a very honorable traditional method of resistance of injustice and I encourage you to participate in the world-wide academic and cultural boycott of Israel – not just the Occupied Territories. The economies of the Territories and Israel proper are thickly interconnected and a contribution to one of them is a vote of confidence for the entire system of apartheid.
      The use of the term “apartheid” in the context of Israel and the Territories is not hyperbole – the situation of two different sets of laws for two peoples on the same land and in the same legal system fits the definition of apartheid perfectly.
      A boycott against Israeli apartheid is not anti-Semitic; it’s not against Jews, nor is it even truly “anti-Israel.” It’s a pro-human rights measure and, for that matter, it’s a moral, non-violent form of action – one we can take without waiting for our “leaders” to take a moral stance.
      Thanks much for opening up to this discussion.
    • Rima Najjar FROM Letter from Alice Walker to Publishers at Yediot Books
      Dear Publishers at Yediot Books,

      “Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE. It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason: As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.”
    • Gabriel Ash excellent analysis of how incoming musicians are recruited to serve state interests.



      The interesting thing about Israel is that its government and registered citizens have a wonky spatial perception, which feeds off itself: In Israel, you’re not in the state, the state is in you. D…
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, for your convenience, here is a summary of the heart of the article Gabriel Ash posted: As a BDS activist, whose main focus is cultural boycott, Tali Shapiro has come up against a very common Israeli claim (individuals, small business, and government officials) that “culture has nothing to do with politics”. 

      Shapiro goes on to explain that, in fact, CULTURE HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS, because, in branding Israel, much of Israel’s propaganda is based on the blurring of the lines between the individual and the state (and army). This is how it works:

      1.Cultural product is commissioned by an official Israeli body or non-Israeli institution that serves Brand Israel or similar propaganda purposes.
      2.Product is funded by an official Israeli body, but not commissioned (no political strings).
      3.Event is partially or fully sponsored or funded by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution.
      4.Event or project promotes false symmetry or “balance”.
    • Joe Wazwaz Open Letter to Stanley Jordan; You oughta know it’s apartheid, don’t support IDF Israel.
      Dear Stanley Jordan

      We are writing to you to ask that you not cross the Palestinian picket line by supporting the IDF in Israel in your trip to Israel. As we write, the people of Gaza, who live in the world’s largest open-air prison, are being subjected to nightly airstrikes by Israel, a few miles from where you would be playing to a segregated audience. Last week, humanitarian activists trying to break the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza were kidnapped in international waters, tasered and imprisoned in Israel. Their crime? Showing solidarity to the Palestinian people.

      Last month the United Nations issued a report: “Gaza in 2020, a Liveable Place?” [1] focusing on Gaza’s precarious situation, particularly regarding power supply, water, education and employment. Gaza’s 1.6 million people, most of them refugees and over half of them children, are held in a tiny piece of land with their movements controlled by Israel and their basic human rights denied, they are also terrorised by drone planes and military incursions regularly. Can you imagine that human beings are being treated like this? Can you imagine supporting for the state that does this? Amnesty International, an organisation that you have supported, has documented Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, as have many other NGOs. [2]

      Were this Israel’s only breach of human rights, it should be enough for you not to support in Israel. However, Israel is also guilty of gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In November 2011 the Russell Tribunal on Palestine determined that Israel is practising apartheid against the Palestinian people. [3] Its session in New York this month saw submissions from Stevie Wonder, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Roger Waters among others and made the following findings:

      “Among these violations of international law, several of them are criminally sanctioned: war crimes (Israeli settlements, inhumane treatment, torture, indiscriminate attacks, home demolitions, forced population transfer, collective punishment, 1996 ILC Draft Code of crimes against the peace and security of mankind, Art. 20; 4th GC, Art. 147, Rome Statute Art. , crimes against humanity (persecution defined by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute cited here as expression of international custom, Art. 7), and the crime of Apartheid (1973 UN Convention, Art. 1 ; on Apartheid and persecution, see 2011 Capetown findings of this Tribunal). Because of their systematic, numerous, flagrant and, sometimes, criminal character, these violations are of a particularly high gravity.” [4]

      Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the situation thus: “I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. International Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory … Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong … to perform in Israel“. [5]

      As a means of resistance to this apartheid, Palestinian civil society, like its South African counterpart during their struggle, has called for a boycott of Israel until it complies with international law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. The PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) call [6] for BDS, made by over 200 civil society organisations, is growing in international support daily and the list of artists respecting the call includes: Santana, Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson, Massive Attack, Jello Biafra, Faithless, Leftfield, Gorillaz, Pixies, Gil Scott Heron, Stevie Wonder and many more who have refused to play for apartheid. If there is any doubt that the state uses artists’ performances in Israel as endorsement of its policies, this quotation from the Israeli foreign ministry where it stated that it “sees no difference between propaganda and culture”, should dispel that. Indeed, the official state twitter was boasting about your upcoming performance when it was announced. [7]

      Just this week the African National Congress (ANC) International Solidarity Conference voted to support the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, cementing the links between the two struggles against apartheid. [8]

      When a performer playing last week asked his Israeli interviewer if Palestinians could attend the concert, the response was: “We have to check.” Playing to a segregated audience is not worthy of you, Stanley Jordan, and would be a terrible disappointment to many of your fans.

      Every day the Palestinian people endure Israeli oppression with dignity and immense courage – all they are asking is that you do not cross their picket line. In solidarity with them, we are asking you to not to play for apartheid. Mr. Stanley Jordan, please cancel.

      Warmest Regards,
      Don’t Play Apartheid Israel
      We are a group of 950 members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians and other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.
    • Fadwa Al Qasem There are many books I could recommend to you, but I’d rather you visit Gaza for a while. Or one of the 19 Palestinian refugee camps in Palestine (or Lebanon, or elsewhere), East Jerusalem, Ramallah .. meet some Palestinians in Palestine, sit under one of the many segregation/ separation walls, cross a check-point or two under gun point, and read the reality that Palestinians live with everyday – then make up your own mind.
    • Radi Annab If you perform in Israel, you will be supporting an apartheid, racist state. Only through boycott will it change.
    • Raymond Deane Stanley: as a musician and a Palestinian Rights activist I urge you not to lend yourself to the Israeli propaganda machine by participating in the Red Sea Jazz Festival. Music can indeed be a source of healing, but when the conditions under which it is disseminated are controlled by an oppressive state then it can itself – even contrary to the deepest intentions of its performers and creators – become an instrument of oppression and exclusion. The state of Israel knows how to use every tool at its disposal in order to whitewash its ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people – a persecution that is (de facto) supported by your government and mine – and uses those tools ruthlessly, because on a moral, ethical and legal basis it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Your presence at the Red Sea Festival will serve to legitimise the regime that engages in this persecution and this whitewashing, and your best intentions – and I know that your intentions are pure – will be debased and instrumentalised. PLEASE listen to the call from the persecuted Palestinian people – PLEASE cancel your participation in the Red Sea Jazz Festival.
    • Roy H W Johnston Raymonf you have triggered an intense discussion, but could this perhaps be steered in the direction of the message of the Lerner book, which appears to be a factor in the situation?
    • Raymond Deane I don’t think I’ve triggered anything, Roy; I’ve been triggered by a discussion that had already started. Not having read Rabbi Lerner’s book, I can’t comment, although I’ve read a great many of his articles and essays. While I get the impression that he (and the Tikkun movement in general) has much of value to say about how people can reconcile once a measure of political justice has been established, I fail to see any useful recommendations as to how we can arrive at that condition. One thing musicians and other artists can do, however, is to avoid lending themselves to abuse by the Israeli state apparatus. The question of whether one should boycott other countries that also have a criminal record keeps rearing its head – the answer has to be twofold: have the oppressed in those countries ASKED for such a boycott (which is the case in Palestine), and does a boycott of those countries have the slightest chance of being effective? This is particularly relevant in the case of the cultural boycott – just how can you impose a cultural boycott on Syria, for example, or the DRC? It’s not feasible, because these regimes aren’t in a position to exploit culture for their ends. Israel is, and does. “Boycott is a tactic, not a principle” – Mandela.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, I too am learning from this discussion, which you have so kindly started. When you asked the question, “Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well?” It was clear to me that this is the kind of red herring question that hasbara (Israeli propoganda) trots out every time their legion of proponents prceives a threat, like the call for cultural boycott. This forces everyone to go off on tangents. What I learned from posts by Gabriel Ash and Raymond Deane is the bottom line: The Cultural Boycott of Israel is a tactic that has a good chance of succeeding. We are not discussing abstract philosophical questions here.
    • Radi Annab Stanley, just some useful info for you: A few days ago, “With an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the Palestinian Right To Self Determination; the vote passed by 179 votes while only seven countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against, and three countries abstained. . . this vast majority vote is continued international support to the Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and liberation.”http://www.imemc.org/article/64779


      With an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the “Palestinian Right To Self Determination”; the vote passed by 179 votes while only seven countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against, and three countries abstained. The IMEMC is a media collective….
    • Emily O’ Sullivan Stanley, first of all thanks for making a genuine effort here and taking time to engage before making your final decision. I understand that you would find it difficult to cancel after committing to playing the red sea festival but it has state funding and as pointed out by others here your participation would be manipulated regardless of your intentions. 

      Although the violations and breaches of human rights and international law go far beyond settlements, one does not have to look far to connect one of the sponsors of the event to settlements. Limor Livnat, the minister for culture, uses her role in a bid to legitimise and strengthen illegal settlements (http://www.timesofisrael.com/government-agrees-to-fund-jewish-museums-in-the-west-bank/). Settlement building is one of the more blatant manifestations of dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel.

      It is difficult to travel to the West Bank or Gaza without inadvertently reinforcing the borders and Israeli apparatus of apartheid – passing through Ben gurion one says ‘holy land’ instead of the West Bank and denies any connections with ‘arabs’ when quizzed by security staff in the airport. I am both familiar and uncomfortable with this and unfortunately in travelling to WB had to do so myself. Ironically, this is a luxury. However uncomfortable this may be for international and Israeli activists, most Palestinians are not even permitted to travel through Tel Aviv airport. Most of us opt to bite our tongues in these instances and weighing it up decide it’s worth it to play along. (Although there have been 2 ‘flytillas’ where people attempt to enter the west bank via Ben gurion with the stated aim of visiting Palestine. This has resulted in activists being arrested, turned back and prevented from boarding their flights in the first place). We are not asking you not to visit Israel but are asking you not to so in a way that publicly and prominently normalises what is happening. In playing at a state-sponsored event you would publicly be endorsing a system of apartheid, normalizing it and lending yourself 
      to the whitewashing of these injustices.


      Culture Minister Limor Livnat approves measure to give millions of shekels to institutions in settlements
    • Stanley Jordan OK, I’m back, and I’ve been reading through the messages here. And one thing I must say right off the bat: I’ve been particularly moved by the accounts from Palestinians on what you are coping with on a daily basis. And I just really want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that I am listening. Thank you for your contribution and for your courage.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, it looks like you are empathising with the Palestinian people, living as they do under apartheid and occupation. I hope you listen to your heart and take courage from the strength that the Palestinian people display every day. All they are asking from you is that you don’t cross the picket line – I hope you make this act of solidarity.
    • Stanley Jordan The main thesis of Michael Lerner’s book is that a change in consciousness is crucial. He says that the solution will require mutual generosity and compassion. Of course many may say that that will take a long time to happen. I hope you’re wrong, but you might be right. Either way, the point is, the solution will not be found until this change of consciousness occurs. One very positive thing I see in the BDS boycotts is that they shift the battleground from the military domain to the economic and cultural, which is certainly a more humane from of battle-but it’s still battle nonetheless. What resonates with my own heart is to step outside of the very frame that insists that some form of conflict is the only option. Some of you may feel that conflict is necessary–at least for now. But even if necessary, I’m sure that it’s not sufficient. That’s why I find this book to be right on. And he does offer specifics such as a call for a Global Marshall Plan, to be first implement in the Middle East.
    • Tom Pessah just to add to what people have said – Stanley, you now have an opportunity to do something deeply meaningful. Expressing sympathy is important but building real pressure to change oppressive behaviors could really make a difference. If you abstain from doing so you won’t make the lives of oppressed minorities elsewhere in the Middle East any better. Taking action in area X inevitably means not taking action in area Y but we have to start somewhere and starting here is important and valuable. There is no reason why palestinians should continue to suffer until all the other problems in the world are resolved. Things won’t change without significant pressure from the outside. Please listen to those who have been dealing with these issues for decades. We’ve had plenty of musicians visiting Israel with messages of peace, but the suffering continues.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, I wouldn’t characterise the BDS movement as “conflict” but as resistance. The Palestinians are a militarily occupied people and, like any other people, they are resisting this in many ways and modes – mainly by existing. One of the most powerful tools that can actually shift the situation from one of apartheid to one of equality is the boycott. This will not happen at government level, it is through civil society and you now have the opportunity to be part of it. That creates real pressure for change and that’s what is needed.
    • Stanley Jordan http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Israel-Palestine-Strategy-Transform/dp/1583943072


      A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of …
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say, “What resonates with my own heart is to step outside of the very frame that insists that some form of conflict is the only option.” I embrace the vision of a bi-national state with both Jews and Palestinians living democratically and with dignity in historic Palestine. To reach that frame (in Lerner’s words: to embrace each community in a spirit of genuine caring), we need a principled and sustained campaign to impose a cost for Israeli government abuses of Palestinians. That’s because Israel holds ALL the cards (every single one and then some) at present.
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, I come from Australia, another settler colonial country where, like Israel, the Indigenous people have been genocided and are being genocided on an ongoing basis. On top of this, for many decades until it ended in the 70s, the Australian government had a policy called the ‘White Australia policy’ to conserve the ‘white majority’. Lerner’s position is similar. He is concerned that ‘Jewish Israel’ with a Jewish demographic majority be retained. This is a racist position, as was Australia’s immigration policy. Palestinians are entitled to their right of return under international law and Lerner proposes only some implementation of this fundamental right, lest the racist demographic balance be disturbed. How is this ‘mutually compassionate’? Racism is never compassionate. 

      Additionally, at present, according to Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi, 43 Israeli laws discriminate against non-Jews within Israel, and Palestinians are subsequently second class citizens in their own homeland, a homeland where, she describes, even the relationship of Indigenous Palestinians with it is being alienated from them as history is duplicitously rewritten to suit the powerful party, turning Palestinians into invaders of their own homeland. In the Occupied Territories, Palestinians subsist in ever-diminishing enclaves as illegal Jews only settlements expand and military zones are declared by Israel on their lands. 

      The government of Israel has thumbed its nose at the international community and in the last few weeks has declared 5,500 new illegal Jews only homes will be constructed on Palestinian land. Yet the international community is supine. Netanyahu, the PM of Israel established his expansionist, oppressive goals a couple of years ago in a speech he gave at the Bar Ilan University which make Lerner’s ‘compromises’ hollow and politically unviable as a position to pursue. Outwardly, noises are made by the Israeli government that it is working toward ‘negotiating’ for peace and two states, as does Lerner push his version of 2 viable states, but in reality, Netanyahu’s stated plans which have real political backing are for the solidification of the existing discontiguous, non-sovereign bantustans in the Occupied Territories, where Palestinians will not have free right of movement to the outside world, as the borders will still be controlled by Israel. This outcome is patently an enhancement of the existing apartheid. 

      Yet, some Israeli politicians are not satisfied even with Netanyahu’s plan. They would prefer that all Palestinians are expelled from Israel and that the Occupied Territories be subsumed completely with further expulsions later on. In the light of these political realities, Lerner’s position is unrealistic and supports the status quo.

      Palestinians have called on people of conscience, as did the ANC when faced with bantustanisation and overwhelming racism, to make a stand with them in order to stop this hideous iniquity. I am appealing to your conscience and intelligence to stand with them and recognise that when a grassroots movement for liberation with consensus from the oppressed themselves has a global momentum because it is grounded in truth and justice, then together, we can win.
    • Evan McHugh McAwesome I vote BDS, with a slew of examples why listed above.
    • Rima Najjar What Sylvia Posadas says above is true, Stanley : Lerner’s position is unrealistic and supports the status quo.
      Here is an alternative vision that also sees both sides but from a Palestinian perspective: 



      A “visionary”* approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–one state for two peoples–that is more urgent than ever It is by now a commonplace that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian violence is to divide the territory in two. All efforts at resolving the conflict have come down t…
    • Tom Pessah ^^ it’s an alternative vision that sees both sides from the perspective of equal rights, without privileges
    • Rima Najjar Right: “Peace cannot require Palestinians to acquiece to the denial of what was done to them. Neither can it require israeli Jews to view their own presence in Palestine as illegitimate or to change their belief in their right to live there because of ancient and spiritual ties.”
    • Rima Najjar And the status quo in Israel, Stanley, is racist. Lerner says toward the end of his book something to the effect that as long as Palestinian Israelis can vote, it’s OK for them not to have equal rights (afterall they are better off than in other Arab countries), because to him, the Jewish privilige in Israel is paramount.



      Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official “peace process” and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls “the demographic problem,” Ben White identifies as “the democratic problem,” whic…
    • Emma Rosenthal Using artists to normalize Israeli aggression is not a form of consciousness raising, it normalized Israeli hegemony and brutality. There is no neutral way to participate in a state sponsored event. That even this non-violent action is seen as “too confrontational” means that Palestinians and supporters have no recourse, none what so ever.. Even those resistance movements based on spirit and consciousness, such as those lead by Gandhi and King, were highly confrontational, and indeed included boycotts. 

      It is very disheartening to see spirituality used as a pretext for perpetuating ongoing atrocities and used as an excuse to cross the picket line. We’ve seen this over and over again. No one has crossed the picket line to find that their actions made any change whatsoever. Lerner has no program, and he has no Palestinian base either. Spirituality and consciousness without action, without sacrifice, without behavior that supports the vision, is hollow, is narcotic. 

      A change in consciousness would mean an inability to support the current consciousness of brutality and oppression and the cynicism that would exploit art and music in its service. It would mean honoring the boycott. It might mean issuing a statement that expresses the desire for a change in consciousness, but it would indeed refuse to entertain brutality, refuse to sing for emperors and soldiers.
    • Samira Barghouthi So honestly Stanley Jordan, why did you want this discussion? Were you hoping for more support so you could continue the performance with a clear conscience? Discussion is good but it is discussions that lead to the never-ending story of the Palestinian suffering. YOU MUST FIND THE ANSWER WITHEN AND IN YOUR MOST INNER REALITY! Do what you think you would if you knew you only have a week to live.
    • Rima Najjar Speaking of sacrifice: We must remember that every right we enjoy has been wrestled from the hands of power at great personal cost by ordinary people like you and me.
      One example:
      The Palestinian detainee Samer Issawi after 137 days of hunger strike seen here in the Israeli occupation court 12/13/2002



      On the right: The Palestinian detainee Samer Issawi after 137 days of hunger strike in the Israeli occupation court 12/13/2002On the left: Issawi before being chewed up by the Israeli occupation court system. Read this review of THE DOCUMENTARY FILM “THE LAW IN THESE PARTS” about how the legal system Israel uses to rule the occupied Palestinian territories was put into place and how it has functioned over the 40-plus years of its existence. This may sound like a dry, legalistic endeavor, but the result will surprise you.http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-law-in-these-parts-review-20121214,0,5532140.storyBE INFORMED
      LEARN ABOUT ISRAEL’S SORRY EXCUSE FOR INDEFINITE DETENTION OF PALESTINIANS WITHOUT CHARGEThe Israeli occupation has detained Palestinians without charge or trial for years, and attempted to legitimize the practice with the adoption of the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law in 2002, which was conceived to enable the Israeli state to circumvent a ruling of its Supreme Court in 2000, which ruled illegal the detention of Lebanese men held hostage for more than a decade.Just prior to Israel’s 2008/09 offensive on Gaza, more than 900 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were detained in Israeli prisons, serving sentences for “security” offences and deprived of family visits. Such detentions have continued both in the Gaza Strip and increasingly in the West Bank, especially after the vote for Palestinian status in the UN.Israel’s actions are violations of international human rights law, most significantly, the Geneva Conventions and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state unequivocally that imprisonment without opportunity for appeal is a breach of the fundamental principles of justice.http://ufree-p.net/uploads/Excuse%20for%20Indefinite%20Detention%20without%20Charge%20.pdf
    • Drew Mcewan The boycott of Apartheid and the armed struggle of the South African people brought Apartheid to its knees. The boycott of Israeli goods and all cultural and sporting connections, will, with the continued resistance of Palestinians bring Zionism to its knees. There is no middle ground, no cretinous excuse of promoting dialogue through performing in that state. An act of performing in Israel is a cowardly crime against the Palestinian people.
    • Emma Rosenthal Yes, you must create the conditions that allow for a change in consciousness. Apartheid is the antithesis of compassion. It disallows it. You cannot step over bleeding bodies like they aren’t there, and call it, peace. You cannot pass to the head of a line because others are excluded, and call it peace. 

      Performing for empire does not bring a change of consciousness. Martin Luther King would call this the negative peace. Being part of a music festival in the middle of such a brazen violation of human rights would perpetuate the negative peace.
    • Gabriel Ash Stanely, one day a friend of a friend came to my house (by way of the common friend) for some afternoon tea. we talked about many things, and somehow the conversation came to politics and to Palestine. That man then said, if I can paraphrase, “when I think about people anywhere who suffer violence, I try to think good thought and to send them positive energy with my thinking.” Is that what you mean by “spirituality”?

      What we’re asking you is to take a stand and join an action in a way that will have a impact in the world. Because circumstances have that you are able to do something meaningful and more powerful than most people can. It’s your decision by definition, and you can ignore the request. You can decide that your career, your business relation, your convenience, etc., come first. In doing so you won’t be different than the vast majority of people. It’s quite normal to ignore suffering, oppression and violence and to do nothing about it. It won’t make you a worse person than the average. Well, maybe a tad worse. But pretty close to the average. 

      But please don’t call it “spirituality.” The spirits are turning in their graves.
    • Rima Najjar ” I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.” – Martin Luther King
    • Emma Rosenthalhttp://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

      “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”


      ‎16 April 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, m…
    • Rima Najjar YES! ” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” MLK
    • Sylvia Posadas At one of his addresses, Lerner claimed that there has to be a change in social consciousness in the way there had to be a change in consciousness about the patriarchy before feminism could succeed. However, beyond an analysis of the patriarchy, it is sexism that holds back women, and beyond an understanding of racist hegemony, it is racism which prevents Palestinians attaining their just rights. 

      Infused with respect for human rights, the Palestinian-led boycott logically and directly aims at ending this racism.
    • Stanley Jordan Sylvia, I’m not aware of Lerner advocating any racist policies and I’d be very surprised if he did. But please take note of his main point–that we all need to fundamentally change how we relate to one another. Will we live our lives from love, or from fear? I agree with his point that, until this spiritual change happens, there is no policy change that will fix the problem. That said, Rima, I have gotten the book by Ali Abunimah that you recommended, and I’ve already started reading it. It looks quite good. You say Lerner’s position is unrealistic. Have you read his book? Are you saying there isn’t one single realistic sentence in there? I just want to make sure we all keep our minds open, and so I will tend to question blanket statements. The solution will include nuances, and a more compassionate way of relating. Even Ali Abunimah begins his book with fond memories of a time when relations with Jewish people were warm. This is exactly the kind of thing Lerner is talking about.
    • Emma Rosenthal Thought alone does not bring about change, regardless of what new age spirituality asserts. It is with action that we bring our vision into reality, and in the context of social justice: joint action.
    • Rima Najjar Kapitan Taking a stand for justice and against Israeli apartheid would be especially powerful at a time when Israel just conducted a brutal siege on Gaza’s civilian population, and just announced plans to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Palestinians and human rights activists all over the world are watching. Join other principled performers who have refused to cross the picket line!
    • Emma Rosenthal It’s important, Stanley, to look at the details of the proposal. Lerner advocates a two state solution, where Israel remains an essentially Jewish state, with protected rights for that Jewish majority. When ever a state must make borders to assure one group maintain a majority, the demographic efforts and controls result in extremely racist policies. 

      Besides, there is no viable 2 state solution. The facts on the ground have assured a continuing 1 state solution– but it’s an repressive, apartheid state. the 2 state solution has never really been a sincere proposal, as limited as it is. At this point in time it’s just a distraction to any real discussion. If a viable 2 state solution were even a remote possibility, Israel could have created that, unilaterally. Even in the midst of Oslo, Israel never stopped settlement expansion. It never intended to cede an inch of the best land.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley Jordan, you ask me: “You say Lerner’s position is unrealistic. Have you read his book? Are you saying there isn’t one single realistic sentence in there?” I have been reading Lerner’s book (at your recommendation) from the Amazon (open the book) site. I haven’t come across any concrete strategies like the one Abunimah suggests. In fact, when he is asked about a bi-national state, his answer clearly indicates that he is not for it. Can you point me to a realistic (and by that I mean concrete) strategy that Lerner suggests that would NOT be advanced by a principled and sustained campaign to impose a cost for Israeli government abuses of Palestinians?
    • Emma Rosenthal Any Zionist vision of a 2 state solution has always assured the continued Israeli control over Palestinian land. 

      Eqbal Ahmed confronted a group of students I was part of, back in the day, during the beginning of the boycott of South Africa. He pointed out that our concern was rooted in similarities, not differences between South AFrica and the U.S. 

      Apartheid is based on 2 U.S. systems of oppression– 1. Native American reservations, and 2. Jim Crow. One system quarantines and separates an oppressed population, even participates in its genocide. the other deals with issues of convergence, where the 2 groups- dominant and oppressed, come into contact, assuring the dominance of the dominant group., and the exploitation of the labor of the oppressed group. 

      Even if the solution for the territories occupied since 1967 could be resolved with a 2 state solution, the rights of Palestinians in a rigidly maintained Jewish majority state would be significantly curtailed. 

      The only just solution is a one state solution, based on equal civil and human rights for all, and since a 1 state reality already exists, talking 2 states is a negative and illusory assertion with no basis in spirituality nor materialism. 

      Lerner tries valiantly to make Zionism, just, and perhaps, for that he should be commended, but it is an essentially settler colonialist narrative that disregards the rights, the mere existence of another people. It cannot be done.
    • Emma Rosenthal Rima, it’s also important to point out that Lerner has no base of support among Palestinians, who see his proposal for what it is, not for what it appears to be.
    • Rima Najjar Israel as a Jewish state balks at the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Why? Because a Jewish Israel has been created as a result of the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel.
    • Emma Rosenthal Yes I left that out. Lerner’s proposal does not even begin to address the issue of refugee right of returns. I have that “right” as a diaspora Jew, but Palestinians who still have the keys to their homes and the deeds to their land, cannont return. Where is that justice?
    • Varda Epstein Peace can only come through communication. What better way to communicate than through music? Israel is ready to discuss peace at any time, with no preconditions. We are open to peace. I think that by playing in our country, you show you are open to communication and peace, because you are willing to communicate your art to those of us who are willing to listen!
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, here is Lerner: ‘We at Tikkun have suggested that Israel take in twenty to thirty thousand refugees each year for the next thirty years, because at the expectable growth rate of populations that number would not undermine the demographic balance and yet would appear to be a rather significant act of atonement.’

      What Lerner proposes, as I referred to above in my comparison of his stance with the White Australia policy, is a racist solution to ensure a continued racist Jewish demographic majority. He is opposed to the removal of racist privilege for Jews in Israel. 

      Thus, as I’ve previously said, he is guaranteeing the status quo, because without equal rights for all, and real human and political rights for disenfranchised Palestinians in the Occupied Territories over whom Israel governs and will continue to govern in a de facto sense with Netanyahu’s plan, the status quo will indeed continue – more expansionism, more brutality, more oppression, and more apartheid. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/peter-beinarts-cognitive-dissonance-on-threats-to-israels-demographics.html


      Michael Lerner and Peter Beinart seek to preserve Israel’s Jewish majority from the right of return
    • Emma Rosenthal The festival is being held in Eliat– the Sun City of Israel. Do you really want to be a part of that?



      lol Its the first snow in Connecticut. And in Eilat we go to the Beach.
    • Rima Najjar Thank you, Sylvia Posadas, for explaining it so concisely and so well.
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aopKk56jM-I


      Not long after Band Aid and We Are The World focused musical attention on poverty and famine, a collection of artists took a similar approach in the struggle…
    • Emma Rosenthal Then and now ^
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Lerner is problematic for a lot of reasons mentioned by others, but I’ll give him credit for being a kind of gateway drug. A lot of people started to think about Palestine with Lerner and then moved beyond him. But to talk about what is the right policy misses the point. We’re not crafting policies. We talk precisely about how to relate to each other. It’s true, no government can “solve” this problem. It’s the role of people to bring change by changing they way they act and relate to others. But what does that mean in practice? It seems to me where Lerner fails is precisely in drawing the conclusion. To stop acting from fear is to stop accepting the normalcy and violence and oppression, because it is fear, fear of loss, fear of consequences, fear of ridicule, fear of punishment and, fear of deprivation that make all of us accept the way things are. To stop acting from fear is precisely what people are doing when they demand and insist on that oppression has to stop.
    • Rima Najjar And on the Palestinian side, we need to stop acting from outrage. For us to be able to do that, the oppression has to stop.
    • Andy Griggs It seems odd to hear people advocating dialogue while perpetuating the status quo through the 4th largest military in the world, with the support of the first largest military in the world. If boycott is wrong, then surely Israeli military might is wrong. If the goal is conversation, than at the very least, people need to be able to converse, which can’t be done with checkpoints, aparthied walls, exjudicial executions, administrative detention without due process, and military attacks on civilian populations. 
      The call for conversation and music in this context assumes the normalcy of Israeli brutality and apartheid infrastructure, while denouncing any positive efforts for change on the part of Palestinians.
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151214642918422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      DEAD END! Where civilians, and especially children, are certain to become “collateral damage.”Israel blockades the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea. Many of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are a few miles away from the land of their ethnically cleansed former villages, across the border wall in southern Israel.”Framing events in Gaza in the colonial context is vital for understanding the nature of the violence, as well as the separation and sealing off of the territory, a microcosm of fragmented Palestine. The colonial paradigm brings the focus back to the Nakba, to the foundational act of ethnic cleansing and ongoing policies of exclusion. It is a reminder that the answers for Gaza are the same as those for Jerusalem, the southern Hebron Hills and the Galilee: decolonisation, implementation of the Palestinian people’s rights – and international sanction of Israel until such a goal is realised.” – Ben Whitehttp://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/20121216124912496638.htmlArtist: Artist Mahmoud Alarawi
      https://www.facebook.com/alarawiArtGaza: One of the most-densely populated places in the world and characterized by extreme poverty and ongoing conflict, Gaza is a difficult place for children to grow up. The recent eight-day conflict in Gaza and southern Israel weighed particularly heavily on children, with hundreds of homes destroyed and evidence of psychological trauma in many of the 225,000 children attending UNRWA schools in the Strip. – The Palestine Chronicle
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151174984088422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      WHAT PRICE ASHKELON of the “sparkling white beaches matched by white-faced apartment buildings, green lawns and several wide boulevards”?The man in this photo looks so much like my grandfather Ali Ismaeel al Najjar of Lifta. The man and the tents are there to illustrate an article on the expulsion of Palestinians from al Majdal Asqalan, 20 km north of the Gaza border, which is now the Israeli city of Ashkelon that you hear mentioned in connection with Hamas rockets.The 11,000 Palestinian inhabitants of al Majdal Asqalan (known for their weaving industry) were expelled by Israel 1948-’50 and trucked to Gaza, where they have remained to this day as refugees, denied the right of return. Some were first kept in a fenced-off ghetto.The years of internment in refugee camps from 1950 until the present have been years of “brutal occupation, constant strife, military raids in their neighborhoods, destruction of facilities, denial of everyday life, denial of livelihood, denial of access to the sea, denial of access to the outside world.”http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15274
    • Karen MacRae Stanley, in 1987 a Sun City documentary was made by your principled and concerned peers as a united condemnation of those who believe races and cultures should keep their respective places, you asked a very thought provoking question: “Why isn’t it happening more often?” Indeed. It’s a very good question. It’s an even better question now. How will you answer?
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150632416148422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      My aunts on my father’s side Samira and Nawal Najjar and their grandmother (mother of Ali Ismail Mahmoud Khalil al Najjar, my grandfather) in Lifta, Palestine in 1947 with a Jewish neighbor/playmate (Miriam). [SADLY, HERE IS HOW FB DESCRIBES THE RUINS OF LIFTA today: LIFTA, YERUSHALAYIM, ISRAEL – seeEthnic Cleansing 101: The Case of Lifta Village:
      http://electronicintifada.net/content/ethnic-cleansing-101-case-lifta-village/5493Photos: http://www.liftasociety.org/media/photos
    • Rima Najjar Andy Griggs, to add to what you are saying, here is a litany written by Amira Hass on Dec 24, 2012 in Haaretz: Apropos apathy, allow me to provide last week’s headlines that never were, or were buried immediately, regarding the nine attacks on Palestinians by settlers: seven injured, three torched cars and graffiti slogans in Hebrew. Also, 200 olive trees were uprooted, bringing the total number uprooted or damaged by invisible hands since January to 8,200, not including the 450 removed by Israeli authorities from Nahalin under the excuse that they were on state land.

      Also, not including arrests, dispersals of demonstrations, injured demonstrators, 313,000 people in 113 communities who have no access to water because of Israeli construction injunctions, the demolition of the Beit Nuba school and other demolition orders, the Israel Defense Forces’ shooting of a fisherman and confiscation of his boat in Gaza, and firing on people who make their living collecting scrap metal 500 meters from the wall that surrounds the Gaza Strip, two people were injured.
    • Stanley Jordan The critiques of Lerner’s book are very helpful, and it will take me some time to go through them before I can respond intelligently. But let me just say, that I’m not stuck on any one particular author or proposal to fix this problem. The main reason the Lerner book impressed me, and why I wanted to use it to kick off this discussion, is because it addresses what I broadly call the “spiritual” element–which includes how we relate to each other, how we communicate, how we fundamentally view our lives and our world, our self-image (for example, do I see myself as a victim or a victor), our emotional state (do i operate from love or from fear), this list could go on and on. You can also think of this as the subjective world (as opposed to the objective world) or Ken Wilber’s “Left Hand Path”. Some folks have argued here that the problem cannot be solved in that domain, and you are right in the sense that that domain by itself is not sufficient. But I still think it is a necessary part of an overall approach. Consider this: Look at all the temples, churches, mosques and synagogues in the world. The very presence of these places shows that people do believe the spiritual approach in life is somehow effective. Count me as a believer too, and when we all see that our own religions already have within their sacred texts all the instructions we need to get along beautifully, and we only need to apply our own teachings, this solution could come faster than you think.
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, do you see the idea of boycotting as opposed to spirituality? wasn’t there something very spiritual about Rosa Parks and the montgomery bus boycott, when people offered each other support for months until their rights were recognized? a lot of the civil rights movement was inspired by clergymen and organized in churches, and boycotts of discriminating institutions were a key part of that.
    • Emma Rosenthal You might want to check out the works of Gandhi, King (beyond the I have a Dream, speech), and also the writings re Liberation Theology. In Palestine, look to the works of Naim Ateek and Sabeel.
    • Emma Rosenthal Here is the initial call for BDS. You can see that there are religious groups that contribute to and support this call, which represents the broadest sector of Palestinian society. 



      Palestinian Civil SocietyCalls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
    • Tom Pessah “4.2.6 Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations, NGOs and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful resistance. These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice. The aim is to free both peoples from extremist positions of the different Israeli governments, bringing both to justice and reconciliation. In this spirit and with this dedication we will eventually reach the longed-for resolution to our problems, as indeed happened in South Africa and with many other liberation movements in the world. 

      4.3 Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a new society both for us and for our opponent”



        Bethlehem, December 11, 2009IntroductionThe KAIROS Palestine DocumentWe, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: the temples, mosques, and churches have been around for three thousand years, so it is not a statement of disbelief to say that having written instructions in itself does not solve much. If it did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we? Interestingly enough, the very core of the ideas that make those instructions is that the existence of churches and mosques and temples doesn’t matter, only our actions matter. 

      Here is the Prophet Amos on that question of boycott, specifically, God boycotting the music of his worshipers: 

      Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
      Amos 5:22-24

      And here is the same sentiment from the Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

      cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.

      I don’t know enough about Islam but I’d be surprised if the same idea was not part of it.
    • Elise Hendrick Martin Luther King, Jr certainly had no problem boycotting a racist regime, and I don’t think anyone can seriously accuse him of having lacked spirituality.
    • Stanley Jordan Samira, you ask why did I want this discussion? Fair question, and I’ll address it now. The reason is because, for the first time in my life, I’ve been asked to cancel a gig for political reasons. I’m not a politician–I’m a musician. I do gigs for a living–that’s what I do. I take my life’s work very seriously and I’m being asked to cancel it based on something that I know very little about, and a subject–can we all agree here?–that is riddled with misinformation. Clearly due diligence is required. So I started this discussion so people could give me a crash course in the situation–and I’m trying my best to keep up. My other motivation was to provide a respectful space where people can air their views. I saw they were doing it anyway, so it seemed there was a need. I know I have a lot to learn, Thanks for your patience.
    • Karen MacRae Martin Luther King Jr, in fact gave the Montgomery boycott a significance it would otherwise not even had due to spirituality. He almost broke down after criticisms from white officials that he was an obstacle to resolving the segregation policies at the time. He describes an experience of the Divine after praying that renewed his spirits and deepened his understanding of his life and the Montgomery struggle. It was around that time he committed himself to Gandhian principles that converged with his Christianity which he didn’t waver from. The Montgomery boycott birthed, as we know, a new era for African American’s tumultuous path to justice and equality.
    • Elise Hendrick “The reason is because, for the first time in my life, I’ve been asked to cancel a gig for political reasons”

      Wouldn’t it be the second time? My understanding is that you took a very clear stand on not playing Sun City.
    • Elise Hendrick It is definitely true that there is a very well-oiled noise machine dedicated to distracting from the actual issues facing the Palestinians and those who wish to be in solidarity with them, though this was also true in the case of apartheid in South Africa, where the regime engaged in diligent efforts to declare itself the only democracy in its region, an outpost of liberality and civilisation in a backward continent, a country that provided an otherwise unavailable living standard for the indigenous population, a country doing its best to achieve peace in the face of a “terrorist threat”…in the end, roughly the same crap Israel and its apologists dump into the discourse by the lorryload today.
    • Stanley Jordan Elise, I was never booked at Sun City to begin with. Not playing a gig and canceling a gig are two very different things.
    • Karen MacRae It’s also interesting to note that the specious opposition to BDS against Israel mirrors the specious opposition to BDS against South Africa. Themes, now turned cliches, such as ‘BDS is counterproductive” and “Hurting the population” have been deployed and designed to deflect from the apartheid analogy in order to excuse Israel’s horrendous treatment of the Palestinians. Other examples of this theme are “South Africa wants peace and good relations with it’s neighbours” “Singling out South Africa” “South Africa lives in a tough neighbourhood; South Africa is an asset to the West.” Sound familiar? These themes didn’t make the case for South African apartheid and they will not solidify the case for Israeli apartheid either.
    • Karen MacRae Stanley, if you were asked not to play Sun City, would you have cancelled your gig? If you say yes as I think you would have judging by the comments you’ve been quoted as making at the time, then it seems safe to assume you would cancel the gig you’ve been asked to play in Israel which is effectively the same scenario.
    • Elise Hendrick “Stanley Jordan Elise, I was never booked at Sun City to begin with. Not playing a gig and canceling a gig are two very different things.”

      My mistake. However, the fact remains that you made a very clear, public, and political statement on the subject of playing Sun City.
    • Stanley Jordan Yes, I was involved in United Artists Against Apartheid–The Sun City Project. I have also done benefits for Amnesty International, The Daniel Pearl Foundation, and Jazz for Obama, among other things. I have supported principled causes through my music. but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig. Another thing: The relationship between Israel and South Africa has come up repeatedly here. I have to sign off for today, but I will return tomorrow and we can talk more about that then. Thanks everyone!
    • Cindy Peck Pereira Stanley, I’m going to make an understatement here, but this is a complicated issue. Unfortunately what you do now will be interpreted by some as taking sides. You are doing all you can to become informed about the history of the conflict. You have a personal value system that ultimately will help you make a decision about performing. I pray for you a calm spirit and peace to fill your heart.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, if you were involved in AAA then I cannot understand why you don’t see that the situation is the same or worse now for the Palestinians. Apartheid was wrong as practised by South Africa and is wrong as practised by Israel. This could go on all night but ultimately you have to takre responsibility as an informed, thinking person and either decide to play for apartheid or decide to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. That’s conscience. Do it, please.
    • Karen MacRae “I have supported principled causes through my music. but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig” What? I don’t understand this statement. Are you saying if you had accepted a gig at Sun City, you would have played Sun City because if you cancelled the gig it would have compromised your principles? Even knowing the situation?
    • Steven Young Stanley, you are an Artist with a deep social and political awareness and activism. I’ve seen it in person here in Sedona. Do what your Heart tells you to do. Please don’t bow to the pressure of others with their own agendas (either way). You can’t please or displease everybody all the time. If you decide to participate, perhaps in your own way, you can make a very powerful statement towards the goal of peace, human rights and the like through your music. A ripple here and a ripple there can start to stir waves of change…
    • Jane Cutter Please don’t go. Please respect the boycott. Listen and learn from the Palestinians about the apartheid conditions they face and act in accordance with their request for a cultural boycott. the cultural boycott of South Africa made a difference and helped end apartheid there–your respect for the boycott can make a difference today.
    • Jay Kilby My advise is pretty simple from our similar childhoods my friend. Music is the universal language. It captivates us all and for one brief moment, it gives us a way to forget what is around us and dwell together in its peace.
    • Rod Such I’m familiar with Rabbi Lerner’s opposition to the Palestinians’ call for BDS, and I find his argument unpersuasive and decidely unspiritual. Lerner argues that this is a conflict between two traumatized people–Israeli Jews because of the Holocaust and Palestinian Arabs because of the Nakba, that is Israel’s forced expulsion of nearly 1 million Palestinians–and therefore, boycott will only add to the trauma and will not convince Israeli Jews to stop oppressing Palestinians. His argument doesn’t convince for two reasons. First, you could easily say that white Afrikaners were also a traumatized people because of what they endured during the Boer War when the British not only massacred them but also placed them in the world’s first concentration camps. But no one made this argument during the boycott of South Africa because it would have been laughable. White South Africans were immeasurably privileged and powerful and directly oppressed black and colored South Africans, much like the oppresion Israeli Jews now exercise over PLestinians, both within Israelwh
    • Rod Such Within Israel, where Palestinians make up 20 percent of the population and face 26 provisions in Israel’s basic laws that discriminate against non-Jews, and in the Occupied Territories, where Palestinians live under authoritarian military rule. Even so, BDS is not directed against the Israeli people but against the Israeli state, which maintains this system of oppression and privilege. Many Israelis are now beginning to support BDS through the Boycott from Within. Please don’tundermine them. Support the call for BDS issued by Palestinian civil society and supported by the African National Congress, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Gil Scott-Heron, and African-American intellectuals like Angela Davis and Bill Fletcher, not to mention IsraeliJews likeJeffHalper, Dalit Baum, EitanBronstein, and others who are seeking a kind of spiritual redemption for Israel to reverse course. No nation and no people can be free as long as they oppress another nationoranother people.
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley: “but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig.”

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by this. If you still adhere to the principles that led you to speak out against playing Sun City, then it would be compromising your principles NOT to cancel this gig. 

      “Another thing: The relationship between Israel and South Africa has come up repeatedly here.”

      In this context, there are two things that are worth remembering:

      1. Apartheid is a crime recognised by international law with defined elements. As such, speaking of apartheid in Israel/Palestine does not require any analogy to be drawn between Israel and apartheid South Africa; it merely requires those elements – which essentially amount to the existence and maintenance of a system that determines first- and second-class citizenship based on race or ethnicity – to be present. In the case of Israel, it would be absurd to deny that they are, given the numerous outright racially discriminatory laws in the areas of housing, citizenship, education, health care, marriage, and urban planning, not to mention the state and quasi-state agencies that exist (Jewish Agency, etc.) with the express purpose of keeping the line between first- and second-class citizens intact.

      2. A number of leading South African voices from the struggle against apartheid in that country have stated, based on their experiences, that not only is the racist regime in Israel/Palestine LIKE what they suffered under South African apartheid, but that it is even worse.
    • Rima Najjar Gabriel Ash: You say, “I don’t know enough about Islam but I’d be surprised if the same idea was not part of it.” You are right: “The place of faith is the heart and the intellect. In matters of intellect and heart, not only can a person deceive others but also at times he himself can remain in deception. He considers himself to be a mu’min (believer) whereas actually he is not. For this reason, two testimonies needed to be required for it: a person’s words and a person’s deeds. Since words can be untrue, hence a person who only professes faith through words is not regarded as a mu’min and it was deemed essential that a person’s deeds also testify to his faith. Thus the Qur’ān said: O you who believe with the tongue! Believe through your deeds.” – Farāhī, Majmū‘ah Tafāsīr, 2nd ed. (Faran Foundation, 1998), 349.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley Jordan: You say to Samira Barghouthi, “I started this discussion so people could give me a crash course in the situation–and I’m trying my best to keep up.” I respect you with all my heart for doing this. You have provided here a space for people to exchange ideas and to try their best to steer away from the misinformation rampant around us. You are learning from everybody here about something that you really have no need to bother with except for being a good human being and for having the power that comes with your musical talent to make a little difference in this case. I myself have learned a lot from the smart and dedicated people writing on your page and thank you, also, for that.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say, “what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig.” 
      What you have here are two competing values – the value of keeping your word in a business contract and the value of assisting many who are suffering under oppression. Your decision will rest on what you choose to value more in your life.
    • Emma Rosenthal If you determine that Israeli apartheid is wrong, that BDS is a legitimate and non-violent protest of that wrong, you are in a unique position. Actually, canceling your gig makes a stronger public statement than not accepting the gig. So it affords you the opportunity to do even more within your principles than had you known of the boycott in advance and had simply turned down the offer.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say you are interested in talking about the South Africa analogy. Chapter Five in Ali Abunimah’s book is titled “Learning from South Africa” (page 134). At the beginning of the chapter, he writes, ” Drawing parallels between Israel-Palestine and apartheid South Africa makes some people very uncomfortable …. But my purpose here is not to argue that Israel is or is not as bad as apartheid South Africa …. but to consider a recent experience where people with fundamentally incompatible views of history …. could emerge in peaceful reconciliation.”
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151229662333422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      SAVE SAMER!‘Save Samer, he is dying’: Samer Issawi and the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers
      by Malaka Mohammed on December 26, 2012″Today, Wednesday the 26th, I woke up thinking of the last episode in Samer’s story; of his heart; of his mother; and of an innocent family. He has been charged with spurious charges and denied a fair trial in the Israeli military courts. Now, he has been on hunger strike for 152 days, deprived of his freedom and proper medical care.”Photo: Samer’s father Tariq, and sister Shireen, holding a photo of Samer in the family’s East Jerusalem home (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ Alternative Information Center)http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/issawi-palestinian-strikers.html
    • Radi Annab Stanley, regarding the South African analogy, please see below recent article. In a historic decision, South Africa’s ANC has made support for Israel boycott its official policy.
      “The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel. “http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/historic-decision-south-africas-anc-makes-support-israel-boycott-its-official


      The vote by the ANC’s National Conference is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, thought you might appreciate this:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151201598558422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      FROM A STONE-THROWING INTIFADA TO A “MUSICAL INTIFADA”ON THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST INTIFADA, THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED IN IT ARE ALL GROWN UP – BUT THE INJUSTICE, FRUSTRATION AND RAGE REMAINIn 1988, a photographer in the West Bank snapped a photo of a scrawny 8-year-old with tears in his eyes, hurling a rock at an Israeli soldier. The photograph symbolized the rage and frustration of the intifada. More than 20 years later, that boy, Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, has grown up to become a visionary musician, the founder of the Ramallah-based Al Kamandjati (The Violinist, in Arabic) and the force behindOperation Mozart
      June 24, 2011Children and their “musical intifada” prevail at Qalandiahttp://ramallahcafe.com/?p=414Listen to Ramzi’s story on NPR here:
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151196168378422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      SEE THIS INFOGRAPHIC (DIVIDE and CONQUER) IN GREATER RESOLUTION HERE:http://972mag.com/visualizing-occupation-divide-and-conquer/51479/Sources:
      Palestinians living within 1948 borders of Israel
      Demography of the West Bank
      UNRWA statistics on refugees
      B’Tselem: Fishing restrictions in Gaza StripMichal Vexler is a designer and an activist. This work – a part of a series of infographics regarding the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population – is presented here with her permission.
    • Rima Najjar And about your struggle, Stanley, with what you see as a conflict re: breaking your contract, you could look at it in this way: You made the contract in good faith – before you had knowledge about who was sponsoring the event and how such events and the international performers who are recruited help “brand” Israel as normal, when in fact it is perpetrating a gross injustice and oppression against the Palestinian people in so many ways, it is difficult even to count. That faith is now broken.
    • Radi Annab … and to add to Rima Najjar, the Israeli government has had no qualms in violating international law and several UN Security Council resolutions, year in, year out. Unforrtunatley, the U.S. vetos every UN vote that does not favor this atrocious apartheid racist state of Israel.
    • Emma Rosenthal The chart Rima provides doesn’t quite cover the incredible discrimination against Palestinians inside the 1967 borders, where there re several laws that distinguish them from Jewish Israeli citizens, not least of which, marriage laws, which allow Jewish Israelis to marry non-israelis, who then can get legal residential status. Palestinian Israelis who marry Palestinians from other regions (see the other categories on that chart), cannot bring their partners into (pre 67) Israel. 

      There are several unrecognized villages in Israel, Palestinian villages, where refugees settled after the nakba. These villages have no public services– water, electricity, education, etc. They exist within the 1967 borders. 

      Palestinian Israelis continue to experience extreme discrimination in housing, education and jobs.
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.amazon.com/Palestinians-Israel-Segregation-Discrimination-Democracy/dp/0745332285


      Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official “peace process” and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls “the demographic problem,” Ben White identifies as “the democratic problem,” whic…
    • Rima Najjar Thanks for the HRW link, Emma Rosenthal; I hadn’t seen it before.
    • Gail Nelson I think that one does not have to support ALL aspects of the boycott, in order to cancel plans in Israel. Earlier this year, the noted French philosopher Jacques Rancière canceled his plans to appear in Israel, stating: “I am personally opposed to collective punishment against all citizens of a State and in respect of its researchers, without taking into account their own attitude to the policy of this State. So I do not respect or violate a decision that I have not personally signed. But it appears that, in the present situation, the content of what I could say in response to the invitation that was sent to me has become completely secondary to this simple alternative, and it is not today for reasons of fatigue, my ability to satisfactorily meet the dual demands of the situation thus created.” http://thesip.org/2012/01/ranciere-cancellatio/
    • Tom Pessah “The Report finds that Israeli practices in the OPT exhibit the same three ‘pillars’ of apartheid:

      The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

      The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

      The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”



      The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) has released a study indicating that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The s
    • Lauren M. Tozzi Please do not perform in Israel. Perform in the West Bank…or Gaza!
    • Emma Rosenthal “One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament. 

      Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent. ” -Elvis Costello, on canceling his scheduled performance in Israel.


    • Emma Rosenthal http://boycottisrael.info/content/thank-you-letter-gil-scott-heron-over-50-organizations


      By announcing the cancellation of your scheduled performance in Israel, you join the growing ranks of artists of conscience in solidarity with Palestinian civil society. As you recognized in your iconic anti-Apartheid anthem “Johannesburg,” when “brothers over there are defyin’ the man…they need to …
    • Emma Rosenthal You have been asked by thugs and murders to support their regime, to assist them in creating a negative peace– the illusion of peace on a foundation of abuses and oppression. There is no honor in honoring any agreement you made with them. They and their mission are not honorable. Their appropriation of you and all you stand for is not something with which you must be complicit.
    • Kim Jensen Dear Stanley, thanks for engaging in this dialogue. My husband is a Palestinian. I support BDS all the way. There are many many oppressive regimes in the world, true. But the Palestinian people have been enduring a systematic ethnic cleansing for 64 years without redress and with the support of the US and Western powers. What makes this very distinct is that the vast majority of Palestinians have requested that this picket line not be crossed. To not play would be to support non-violent struggle for long lasting justice for both people. And that stand is a million times more important than any single concert that you may play or not play. The universal language will meet with the universal demand for freedom for ALL!!!!!!
    • Kim Jensen I meant the universal language of music meets with the universal demand for freedom…
    • Stanley Jordan I’m going to look at more of the references here before going deeper into the analogy between Israel and South Africa. But for now let me say this from my own experience. When I did the Sun City Project in the 1980s, I had already been well aware of the boycott there. Even as an undergraduate at Princeton in the late 70s I took part in the protests to get the university to divest from South Africa. So there is no way that I would have ever booked a gig at Sun City to begin with. I’ve played multiple times in Israel, most recently just 4 years ago, and there was no talk then about a BDS boycott. I knew all along the situation was bad, and I even visited the Palestinian section of Jerusalem in 1991. But this boycott is news to me, and I was certainly not aware of it when I booked the Red Sea Jazz Festival.
    • Emma Rosenthal https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152367421080594&set=a.10150195678405594.437700.108596595593&type=1&theater


      Palestinian girl “Ahed Tamimi” awarded the “Hanzala Courage” prize by the Başakşehir Municipality in Istanbul, Turkey.

    • Emma Rosenthal Do you really want to contribute to normalizing this:

    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAwS78KELOc


      Israel soldiers arresting Nariman Tamimi, an activist from Nabi Saleh,while her daughters cling on to her trying to free her, at the entrance to Nabi Saleh’s…
    • Ana Luz Robinowitz ^ Where’s the honor in supporting this behavior? In singing to these brutes? In keeping your “word” with those who use that word to justify these attrocities?
    • Stanley Jordan Gabriel, you said BDS is organized by over 100 associations. Are any of those organizations anti-Israel, and can you show me a reference or link in which the BDS movement as a whole clearly and unequivocally recognizes the right of Israel to exist?
    • Stanley Jordan One result of all this diligence: The world will know that any action I take in support of the Palestinian People is freely chosen, sincere, and not coerced in any way.
    • Karen MacRae Four years ago, the boycott was in it’s infancy. Now, there is much more support, much more awareness. There are a number of reasons you didn’t know about the boycott. Perhaps your last gig wasn’t in conjunction with the state as it is now which would likely explain why you didn’t know. The boycott targets events that are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation. Therefore, any international artists are urged not to perform, lecture or present their work complicit in this case, the Jazz festival, with these institutions.
    • Emma Rosenthal A state gets its right to exist from the consent of the governed. Until all people under control of the state have that right– to move freely, to vote, to go to school, how can we even discuss the state’s legitimacy? 

      And what do you mean by “right to exist”? As a specifically Jewish state, with specific rights for Jews that others don’t have? How is that legitimate? Would the ANC ever have accepted South Africa’s right to exist as a White state, conferring special privileges to Whites only? 

      BDS makes 3 basic demands:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      For those who demand that Israel continue as a supremacist society conferring specific rights to some over others, these demands equal an existential threat to its existence. The same was said about racist South Africa. 

      “The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

      Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
      Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”



      The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BD…
    • Emma Rosenthal The idea that activists are being coercive is also something that gets thrown around a bit. But we’re not the ones offering huge paychecks and making wild accusations.We’re not the ones deciding who can and cannot enter a country, can and cannot perform, got to school, go to work, live, marry, raise children. All we have is the truth and our tenacity. We have no power to coerce anything.
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley: No state in the world has a “right to exist”. The only state that has ever claimed one is Israel, and the absurdity of the concept becomes manifest the minute one tries to apply it universally (as any right must be applied). If states have a right to exist, then hasn’t a serious crime been committed against East Germany, for example, or the Soviet Union? What about the Holy Roman Empire? That was a state, and, if states have a “right to exist”, then we have an obligation to rebuild the Holy Roman Empire in order to ensure its continued existence.

      International law – for good reason – does not give states a “right to exist”, either in their present form or in any form at all. This notion of a “right to exist” came into the discourse shortly after it became impossible to deny that all Palestinian factions had recognised the one right Israel, as a state, actually can claim under international law: the right to exist peacefully within recognised borders (though the latter bit is a bit of a sticking point for Israel, since they refuse to state what borders they claim, and the state has expanded well beyond the only borders it is legally permitted to claim). The notion of a “right to exist” was just yet another ploy to avoid any kind of negotiation with the indigenous population.

      Often, Zionists gloss the term “right to exist” as “legitimacy”, and that’s where the real problems come in. Why should anyone recognise the legitimacy of any state, let alone a state that was built on the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 people, and is explicitly racist? What is legitimate about a state that has first- and second-class citizenship based on ancestry (or anything else, come to that)? And why should any self-respecting Palestinian accept the legitimacy of a regime that seeks to condemn him or her to permanent, irrevocable inferior status?
    • Elise Hendrick If states have a “right to exist”; then the rights of the apartheid regime in South Africa must also be restored.
    • Zoë Lawlor The organisations calling for BDS are not “anti-Israel”, they are anti-apartheid, anti-occupation, anti ethnic cleansing, anti home demolition, anti war crimes, anti roads for one group of people only, anti the imprisoning of 1.6 million people in a tiny area, anti the regular bombing, killing, maiming and terrorising of those people. They are anti injustice.
    • Emily O’ Sullivan It’s not at all easy to pull out of a concert you’ve committed to and I’m sure most of us can appreciate the fact that it is a genuine predicament. Ultimately though, weighing up all the contributions here, if you find that you do support the Palestinian call to boycott state-sponsored events or even if you don’t support the call but wish to remain neutral it’s not too late to pull out of the performance.

      The important thing is to stick to your principles. Now that you have been made aware of the Boycott (which was in its very early stages when you last played Israel) you have more knowledge than you did when you originally committed therefore the parameters have shifted. We ask only that you base your final decision on whether or not is consionable for you to proceed with the performance.
    • Haithem El-Zabri “can you show me a reference or link in which the BDS movement as a whole clearly and unequivocally recognizes the right of Israel to exist?” —> umm, see, this is exactly THE problem. what does “the right of israel to exist” mean? whether you recognize that or not, it means to exist as a “jewish state,” i.e. whereby if you are a jew of any nationality in the world, you can just move to israel and become a citizen with all kinds or rights and privileges that are denied to the NATIVES, while the natives continue to be discriminated against and ethnically cleansed (something that is happening every day under our noses). why should such a racist oppressive state have “a right to exist”?? does that fit with your principles and ethics? why not a state for all its citizens with EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL? until israel stops being a racist state, i think it is an absolute no-brainer to boycott it. i’m sure you know what the right thing to do is. i hope your conscience will ensure that you do it. peace..
    • Karen MacRae Israel’s demand to exist is very disingenuous. Israel wants to be recognized as a Jewish state. When it makes this demand, it is effectively demanding that Palestinians must acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state on on the lands of former Mandate Palestine. Acknowledging this would mean Palestinians are acknowledging that Israel has more of a right to live on ancestral Palestinian lands than they do. it’s like asking African Americans to not only recognize that slavery existed, but also must recognize slavery had a right to exist. This is just beyond outrageous for any rational principled person to even comprehend. It’s so so racist.
    • Zoë Lawlor NO state has the right to exist as an apartheid state.
    • Emma Rosenthal Please show me a single Israeli governmental document that shows a Palestinian right to exist– as a people or as a state? OSLO, and many subsequent documents attempted to reconcile a 2 state solution, which in my opinion is still an apartheid solution. There was no mention in OSLO of a recognized Palestinian state.
    • Tom Pessah people have a right to exist, communities do, regimes don’t. The Islamic Republic of Iran has no right to systematically discriminate against minorities by privileging Muslims. Its laws have no “right to exist”. Iranians as people obviously do. So, similarly, any discriminatory legal framework exercised by the Israeli government has no right to exist, but Israelis and Palestinians do, of course.
    • Karen MacRae Besides, the Palestinians and Hamas have already recognized Israel’s right to exist on the green line which is what BDS is essentially basing their calls on. Read the first guideline.
    • Rima Najjar Where does one get the right to form a state by expelling much of its indigenous population, erasing their villages (400+). renaming them and building over them and then gojng on to discriminate against those who remained? And then there is the question of borders that Elise Hendrick has brought up – the constant expansion through settlements, the expropriation of land and water resources, the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem through various means and its illegal annexation, the demolishing of homes, uprooting thousands and thousands of olive trees, building the wall on Palestinian land and on and on.
    • Rima Najjar The right term is self determination – to detremine your own fate freely. Israel is determining both its own course of action and that of the Palestinians – to its complete advantage, of course, because it has the power to do so!
    • Karen MacRae Yes, Rima you are right. The real term is self determination and that is indeed a concept under international law. Unlike a state’s “right to exist” which is not.
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: It is not my appropriate role to represent the way any Palestinian organization would answer a loaded question like you just asked. The BDS call and the list of signatories is here. And you can ask them these questions yourself. http://www.bdsmovement.net/call. I assume among the signatories you will find those who are closer to you in ideas and those who are further from you. The same will be true of me and anybody else. Allow me however to point what is “loaded” in the questions.

      The call for boycott is a self-contained demand for for fundamental human and civil rights. It is a common denominator. Obviously, each person who supports this call is not obliged to fully agree with any other. I am a socialist. I believe only a socialist transformation can provide a future for all in the region. I also support the BDS call. The BDS call does not call for socialism. Some people who support the BDS call don’t agree with me. I believe they are wrong. They believe I am wrong. Do we have to agree on everything in order to agree that all people deserve their human rights as defined by international law? We’re asking you to act in solidarity with the Palestinian people as a whole in their struggle for equality and justice, not to join any specific organizations with a particular political line beyond that. 

      The call for boycott is based on a series of demands for fundamental human and civil rights as recognizes by international law. Does the validity of fundamental rights depend on the character of the petitioner? Let’s assume that you will find an association supporting BDS that is made of really wretched people, hardened criminals, pedophiles and really unpleasant people that you would never want to have in your house. Indeed, let’s assume that I’m like that. What then? have they forfeited their human rights? Is it ok to break into their house at 4AM, traumatize their children, and jail them without a trial because they aren’t nice or someone who supports them isn’t nice? Do you think people whose opinions or character you disagree with in your own society should be stripped of their rights and treated the way Israel treats Palestinians? The central issue here is (severe) racial discrimination. The very question you ask implies that racial discrimination is justified under certain conditions (if the victims fail to meet certain conditions.) Let me return the question to you. Under what conditions do you think it is legitimate to discriminate, murder, imprison, expropriate property, etc., on the basis of race, nationality, national origins, ethnicity etc.? 

      What is “Israel’s right to exist”? What right has any state to exist? This term is a propaganda term. The only right states have in international law is the right to secure borders. This right can only be recognized by other states. That is the principle of non-aggression which prohibit states from breaching the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other states. The BDS call is issued by civil society groups representing individuals. Non of the signatories has an army or commands a state and threatens the integrity of Israel’s borders or sovereignty, (or could, since Israel has to this day refused to declare what it considers to be its borders). I understand you are a US citizen. Have you been asked to “recognize the right of the US to exist” as a pre-condition for enjoying your civil rights? If you were to declare tomorrow that you think the US should dissolve itself, would that justify stripping you of your civil rights? torturing your children? confiscating your property? 

      Some who use this language are quite clear that what they really mean “Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state,” namely, that Israel has the right to maintain a particular constitutional order that is based on discrimination to the extent necessary to preserve a particular ethnic domination. I personally am opposed to that and hold that not only Israel does not have that right, but it has the obligation to lose that constitutional order. That is not necessarily the opinion of every Palestinian but it is certainly not unheard of. But let’s put opinions aside. What kind of right is that? Which other country demands recognition of its right to have a particular regime? Am I obliged to recognize the right of Saudi Arabia to be a monarchy? Are you? Are you infringing anybody’s right if you declare your support for democracy in Bahrain? Do you think those challenging Iran’s Islamic constitution are guilty of rejecting Iran’s “right to exist?” Do you think the people in Tahrir Square challenged Egypt’s “right to exist”? Was the call to abolish slavery a challenge to the US “right to exist” (wasn’t that exactly what the slaveholders argued when they seceded?) 

      Having said all that, and I while I insist that that nobody is obliged to do anything to deserve fundamental rights, I would like to call your attention that the BDS call appears in Hebrew on the BDS official page, and specifically says “We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.” I also call your attention that the BDS call is limited to demanding that Israel complies with all its international law obligations. Do you think a state can comply with its legal obligations without existing? Or that international law, which is the basis of all rights states have, is inherently incompatible with Israel’s existence?

      Now, the last part of the question is about being “anti-Israel.” Since anti means “against”, everyone who acts against the state of Israel can be called “anti-Israel.” And indeed we are constantly defined that way. Koby Snitz, Israeli mathematician and BDS supporter, was interrogated by the Israeli security services last week. The security services define BDS as a state security issue, i.e.,supporting it endangers the state. (MLK was seen a security state by Edgar Hoover, so that’s hardly original.) Is that what you mean by the term “anti-Israel”? Because that is how the term is usually used. I think BDS is anti-oppression, anti-injustice,and anti-racism, whether it’s anti-Israel is a matter of definitions, including a matter of how you define Israel. 

      Thank you for your engagement and please continue to ask questions. It’s a good way.


      Palestinian Civil SocietyCalls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
    • Karen MacRae Gabriel’s post is so much much worth more than just a “like.”
    • Zoë Lawlor Absolutely! Great post Gabriel, really. And yes, states recognise states. We only hear this about Israel.
    • Rima Najjar Gabriel Ash, if what Socrates said is true – that the unexamined life is not worth living – then your life must be truly worthwhile!
    • Elise Hendrick Yeah, the idea that political parties can recognise states, let alone have any obligation to do so, is about as nonsensical as caring whether the premier of New Brunswick recognises East Timor.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley Jordan’s page has turned into a true education.
    • Jennifer Wood I vote “no” on performing in Israel.
    • Stanley Jordan Emma, thanks for the info. Of the demands you have listed, #2 I can support right off the bat. #3 looks reasonable, but it references a UN resolution, which goes outside of my knowledge, so I’d need to understand better what the resolution actually says, and what it means in context. #1 goes extremely far outside of my knowledge, as I’m not qualified to evaluate issues of border disputes and where the borders were as of any given year. I’m fine with going back to the 1967 borders, as I mentioned earlier. But to go back before then? I have no idea what that means or where that is, let alone what would be involved in implementing it. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who has been informing me here, and I’m willing to learn more. But I have to be honest–this one looks like it will take considerable time for me to understand. If the message of the boycott is to avoid performing in Israel until Palestinians are treated fairly and humanely–that’s one thing. But if you ask me not to play there until the borders are rolled back to a particular configuration–that’s way beyond my current level of understanding. However, i do know this–if you roll it back far enough, Israel no longer exists, and I don’t view that as an acceptable outcome.
    • Stanley Jordan Rima, Ali Abunimah recommends a one-state solution, which I found a little surprising, because I have been assuming for years now that a two-state solution was pretty much the most widely-held goal. I’d be curious to know, is this one-state solution favored by a majority of Palestinians? One interesting thing about this idea–with two states you can hate each other and it doesn’t matter. But with one state, you must have good relations in order for things to work, which brings us back to Lerner’s idea of a change in consciousness.
    • Stanley Jordan Gabriel, your post was brilliant. Thank you so much!
    • Emma Rosenthal Stanley, that question has been addressed in this thread repeatedly, but basically, Israel, with the settlements, which are not a separate entity, but rather part of Israeli governmental policy, has made a 2 state solution impossible. A one state solution already exists. It’s an oppressive, apartheid solution, a combination of Jim Crow (inside the 1967 borders) and reservations/concentration camps (beyond the 67 borders). A 2 state solution does not address the rights of Palestinians inside the 67 borders. (the importance of these borders is key– the 2 state proposal roughly suggests that Israel would exist and withdraw to its pre 67 borders, and Palestine would exist in the West Bank and Gaza — though now there’s some talk of keeping those two separate governmentally as well as geographically. ) Israel’s apartheid wall though is within what would be the Palestinian territory, inside the West Bank, and Israel has continued to expand settlements in Jerusalem and expel Palestinians. A one state solution would be approximately half Jewish and half Palestinian Christian and Muslim (there are Palestinian Jews, btw, who also are second class citizens). 

      But none of that is what BDS calls for. BDS has no position on one state or two state. 

      Let me break down the 3 basic demands:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;

      This is in reference to the “occupied territories” and what would be at least nominally, the basic Palestine, under a 2 state proposal. 

      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; 

      This is in reference to Palestinians inside the pre 67 borders, or what would be “Israel” in a 2 state solution. 

      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      This is key. It is in reference to those Palestinians and their descendants who were driven out of their homes in 1948, and some, again in 1967. Some of whom still have the deeds and keys to their homes. (A good book to read is Homeland, which tells their stories). Refugees have right of return under international law, and so have the right to their homes in all of historic Palestine. Furthermore, while denying right of return to Palestinians, Israel grants right of “return” to anyone who is Jewish, anywhere in the world, without any proof of any lineage to the region. It’s incredibly racist and discriminatory. I have the right to “return” to Israel, even though as far as I know, my family never lived there, and if we did it was centuries, maybe even thousands of years ago, but Haithem El-Zabri cannot, even though his family was expelled only decades ago. 

      The U.N resolution is simply that document by the U.N. that reinforces and asserts that inalienable right.
    • Emma Rosenthal oops, i’m not finished that one so refresh, in a second before reading it ^
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, the BDS call is there for people to support and learn from – it’s not up for negotiation though in this kind of context. You keep referencing the existence of Israel but what about the existence of Palestine? The one state solution envisages a state based on equality for ALL its citizens, I cannot see what is not good about that. The two state solution not only is inequitable, it is absolutely impossible. I appreciate you taking the time to read up on this but really and ultimately you should listen to the Palestinian voices. Imagine being asked to play apartheid South Africa and then looking through the white colonialist prism…. it’s not a sustainable position for someone of integrity.
    • Emma Rosenthal okay, now i’m done
    • Emma Rosenthal The problem with the 2 state solution is it doesn’t answer the question of the inalienable rights of Palestinians in what would be Israel under that model. Nor does it address what would happen to the Jews in settlements in the West Bank. Palestinian identity is very connected to their homes, villages, the land. Moving someone from Tel Aviv to Jenin would not be justice. So even a 2 state solution has to deal with the rights of Palestinians within any Israeli state. A 1 state solution would be based on universal human rights and equality. It would also mean that the Jews living in the settlements, not all of whom are there for ideological reasons, would not have to leave their homes and their communities. They would simply have to learn to live with the people around them, share the resources and stop what is housing discrimination and segregation in the extreme.
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley Jordan: “If the message of the boycott is to avoid performing in Israel until Palestinians are treated fairly and humanely–that’s one thing”

      Essentially, yes, Stanley, that is all that is being requested of you.
    • Emma Rosenthal Precisely. 
      demand 1– That Palestinians have full autonomy in what are the “Occupied Territories” and that the apartheid wall, which is in that territory, come down. 
      demand 2: That Palestinian Israelis inside what is Israel (minus the Occupied Territories) have full equal rights with Jewish Israelis, and 
      demand 3: That Palestinians who have been displaced and expelled be allowed right of return– a right given to all Jews all over the world, are granted by Israel. 

      Some would argue that this would pose an existential threat to the state of Israel, and I would ask them, how is it that full equal civil and human rights are an existential threat? What kind of a state is it, that is existentially threatened by equal rights?
    • Emma Rosenthal Let’s talk about the elephant in the living room: the vast history of Jewish suffering, which happened for the most part, in Europe, not in Historic Palestine. My rights as a Jew are not upheld by the oppression of Palestinians. My rights as a Jew are secured in a universal struggle for human rights for everyone. Palestinians are not my enemy. They do not threaten my existence. Racism has threatened my existence, as it now threatens Palestinian existence.
    • Stanley Jordan I’ve benefited greatly by learning and using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which is, essentially, the study of the structure of subjective experience. I keep returning to the concept of subjectivity in this thread because I believe this inner path is under-appreciated and underutilized. I hope you all know by now that I do want to support the Palestinian People. But I have to admit, I do have an issue with this idea that canceling my upcoming gig is the only way I can be supportive. What NLP shows is that our way of thinking has a profound effect on the possibilities we experience in life. Limited thinking leads to limited results. And quite often when we are denied adequate tangible tools, this inner dimension becomes even more important. This discussion has opened my mind considerably, and I thank everyone for that. In turn, I also ask the BDS supporters to open your minds to the possibility that I may be helpful in ways that are different from what you had originally thought.http://www.amazon.com/Get-Life-You-Want-Neuro-Linguistic/dp/0757307760/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356660411&sr=1-8&keywords=NLP


      When people and therapists alike have a problem they can’t fix, they call Richard Bandler because he delivers–often with miraculous results. Hailed as one of the greatest geniuses in the field of personal change, and the father of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Richard Bandler has helped tens of …
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, you may well be helpful in other ways that one cannot imagine, yet a breach of the boycott will negate the subjective experiences of oppression and the tactic to which Palestinian people have individually committed.
    • Kim Pearson Stanley, would there be a way for you to connect with a group like Combatants for Peace and incorporate them into whatever you decide to do?http://cfpeace.org/?page_id=2


      The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many…
    • Emma Rosenthal Cancelling your gig isn’t the only way you can be supportive, but it is one way, it’s a start. Keeping the gig is clearly what the Israeli government wants you to do, as part of a clear strategy of normalization and legitimization. You cannot support the Palestinians and cross that picket line. Nothing you do, from then on, will have any credibility, short of denouncing your choice in the first place, and if that anticipated regret is honest, why put yourself through that?
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, I’d be interested too, as someone who used NLP with oppressed people for years, in any ideas you have, other than normalisation methodology i.e. equivocating the oppressor and oppressed in ‘peace and dialogue’ which obscures the real power relationships, in empowering Palestinians, and in particular how NLP could assist the chosen tactic of Palestinian people of boycott, divestment and sanctions. My own experience with NLP was in employing it as a tool to work ethically with people’s chosen and inherent motivations for empowerment.
    • Zoë Lawlor Well the Palestinians have the subjective experience down on this issue and they are asking for people not to play – it’s that simple. they are not asking for people to play and then say they will help in other ways more ‘acceptable’ to them – they are asking people not to cross their picket line.
    • Karen MacRae Stanley, it has nothing to do with ‘opening our minds.” The Palestinians, the oppressed, the victimized have decided BDS was the method is the best way to their liberation. The best way FOR THEM. We are supporting their call because they requested us to, not because it was our idea. So, you can tell the Palestinians that the method they chose to bring about their own freedom might not be the most helpful way and they should open their minds to other methods. I most unequivocally will not because I am not capable of the sort of arrogance that would allow me to lecture oppressed people, oppressed people my tax dollars fund in oppressing, how they manage their own resistance. This is what I object to. The position of privilege lecture. It’s the same as telling Martin Luther King, or Gandhi that their methods striving for dignity and their rights was somehow debatable, unhelpful, “negative.” In fact, that’s what white people said to Martin Luther King Jr. They said it to Gandhi. They said it to Mandela. But these privileged whites were wrong. Their methods played a major role in the civil rights movement. It played a part in India. It played a huge role in ending apartheid in South Africa. And you show us a book on how to live the life we want. You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m dumbfounded.
    • Sylvia Posadas In my experience with NLP, one doesn’t have to even know the problem someone has, in order to empower them to deal with it. It’s a really unintrusive counselling tool where the client does the work for themselves. This means one doesn’t have get them to ‘confess’ or ‘tell them what to do or how to live’, just identify their strongest strategies and help them reinforce them. 

      BDS is Palestinian people’s strongest strategy – ethically we should be reinforcing that with NLP.
    • Zoë Lawlor @Karen – absolutely – it is NOT up to outsiders to tell people how best to resist the oppression they are subjected to.
    • James Martin Performing in Israel is a sign that you are endorsing Apartheid! Or it may suggest that you are just some sort of person who just wants to spread some sort of fame and drive up the profits regardless of the consequences! Legitimating the actions of Zionism IS comparable to legitimating the actions of South African white minority over the indigeneous community. We were successful in South Africa, we are asking for your support in Israel to be successful in ending Apartheid. Apartheid has no right to exist in the world we are trying to create!
    • James Martin What is insulting in my comment? I’m defining the behavior of someone who would perform in Israel. I see nothing insulting in my comment! You are overreacting!
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley Jordan: “If the message of the boycott is to avoid performing in Israel until Palestinians are treated fairly and humanely–that’s one thing”

      That is precisely what the BDS appeal is all about. It is not a permanent boycott of Israel or all things Israeli (though Zionist propagandists do love to claim the contrary, knowing it’s a lie). It is a boycott of the Israeli state and its core institutions until such time as all the Palestinians, whether they’re ’48 Palestinians with Israeli passports or ’67 Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and occupied East Jerusalem, – not to mention the refugees who have been forced into the vast Palestinian diaspora – are genuinely and fully guaranteed their most basic human rights – freedom, self-determination, and legal, social, and economic equality. 

      ” But I have to admit, I do have an issue with this idea that canceling my upcoming gig is the only way I can be supportive.”

      The question that arises, however (regardless of your intentions), is what you will, in effect be supportive of. The Israeli regime quite openly treats all forms of cultural exchange as propaganda, as a means of “proving” that Israel is an open, democratic, diverse society and moving the focus away from house demolitions, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, land theft, and a state so openly racist that it considers every birth in the indigenous population to be part of a “demographic threat”.

      I stress that the question is not your intentions, which seem to me to be good, but the effect of your actions, the way in which a decision by you not to cancel your performance in the apartheid regime will be used by the regime and its apologists, and please do not doubt that it WILL be used.

      It will be used, as a way of crowding dead and mutilated Palestinians – who don’t much attention to begin with because atrocities are such a bummer – out of the news cycle and the public’s attention in order to facilitate further crimes. If you go, there is nothing you will be able to do in order to prevent your presence being exploited in this fashion – your words can be edited or cut from the footage, inconvenient quotes left out of the press releases, because you’re not the one who gets to do the framing – the regime is, and they spend a lot of time and money finding ways to turn an event into its opposite and to twist people’s words beyond recognition if it somehow helps them project the image they’re trying to project. 

      The Palestinians, most of whom will not be allowed anywhere near your performance, have decided that the best way to further their interests is for artists like yourself to refuse to dignify the regime with their presence, in order to deny the Israeli government the opportunity to whitewash all that institutionalised ugliness with a fresh coat of faux pluralism. The BDS appeal has been around for years now, and not a single Palestinian organisation of any weight (indeed, to my knowledge, not a single Palestinian organisation full stop) has ever come out against the tactic. As such, it seems fair to say that the Palestinian consensus on one of the best ways that those of us who aren’t there to demonstrate with them and bear direct witness to their violent oppression, is that we should simply deny the regime our patronage. 

      A number of artists have already done so. Some of whom, such as Elvis Costello, have made excellent statements explaining their reasons for cancelling gigs in the apartheid state that draw attention to the suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people and our responsibility to do what we can to put an end to it. Adding your voice to the growing list would be an extremely strong statement – stronger, indeed, as Emma Rosenthal noted above, than had you simply turned down the gig to begin with – in favour of freedom, equality, and justice for the Palestinians.
    • Stanley Jordan Karen, your comments are well-taken and I’ll address them now. Please forgive me if any of my comments came off as arrogant in any way. That was never my intention. I am, however, the one who is being asked to cancel a gig. I have contracts in place that affect many others than just myself. And it’s not just because of a business deal that I feel bound to keep my word, but also because of my commitment to my music. This is what I have to offer in this world to everyone. You tell me that canceling a gig will do more good than playing it, and I do see how you arrive at this conclusion. I’m a student of music therapy, and in MT we have a thing called “Behavioral Music Therapy”, which includes using music as positive/negative reinforcement to influence behavior. This can include the withholding of music, so I do understand the principle. But to believe it is the only or the best approach to use seems very limiting to me. I assure you the feeling behind my comments is all about love and respect, and a sincere desire to give my very best.
    • Ty Masta I did’nt read da whole rant but just want to say I lOVE YOU……… STAN DA MAN!!!!!!!!
    • Satkirin Khalsa You’ve got my support! “Be the change…” Love, Peace, and Kindness…..
    • J Kēhaulani Kauanui Do the right thing; cancel the gig, and honor the request of Palestinian civil society. It’s a credibility issue – don’t play for apartheid. Take a stand against colonialism and military occupation. You will be cherished and remembered for it – for taking a principled stance.
    • J Kēhaulani Kauanui http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/singer-cassandra-wilson-cancels-israel-show-i-identify-cultural-boycott-israel


      US jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson has canceled her gig this weekend at the Women’s Festival in Holon, following appeals by boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists encouraging her to respect the Palestinian call for boycott.