Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who's Sorry Now?

When I was a kid, I used to envy Protestants. Especially the United Church kind. They seemed to have things so easy. They drove nicer cars, they had sunnier dispositions, they got better jobs. They were always so cheery and laid back about everything, and not particularly snobby about it, either.

To envy Protestants was wrong, of course. First, envy is bad, as any priest worth his socks would tell you. Second, it was irrational, because after all, Protestants had put themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the sanctifying-grace sweepstakes by denying themselves the sacraments and setting up their own little churches outside the magisterium of Rome and always giving backchat about the contents of some book they called "the bible" and what have you.

Best to do the rational thing, then, and trundle off with one's own crowd every Sunday and every holy day of obligation to participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the ecclesiastical term for squeezing into the pews of a candle-lit and cavernous place thick with the smoke of frankincense while some scary auld vestment-draped geezer ritually conjured to life a Jew who was nailed to a tree in Palestine 2,000 years ago, and then queueing up to the altar to ritually eat the dead Jew, in accordance with the instructions he'd left.

There were specific variations in the ordinaries and litanies through Pentacost and so on but it always ended with P.: Go, The Mass is Ended; R.: Thanks Be to God. And thanks be to God indeed, you might say, because while our crowd was at that, the United Church people were down the road sitting around in their socks listening to old Joan Baez records, drinking orange juice and discussing the unfairnesses endured by the Indochinese and the striking Calfornia grape pickers and speculating thoughtfully about what Jesus would say, and perhaps even reflecting on their good fortune to be allowed to use contraceptives. The lucky, sweet, earnest Protestant bastards.

They were spiritual. We were religious. They were Christians. We were Papists. They voted on points of theological controversy. We left those things up to the Italians to sort out, at the Vatican, which issued edicts that could be safely ignored. They expected their ministers to be social-justice activists, while we expected our priests to visit the sick, bury the dead, administer the sacraments and otherwise keep their big yappers shut. We were cursed with the mark of original sin, which we sometimes displayed on our sooty foreheads on Ash Wednesdays. They were the blessed, the peacemakers. But they don't seem to be so lucky now.

The United Church of Canada is currently busy with its triennial symposium, I think they call it, and church delegates are considering a motion which initially contained some gruesome and antique insinuations about dual Jewish loyalties and bribes and such like, and while the uglier bits were erased so as not to give anyone offence the motion still calls upon churchgoers to Renounce Israel And All Her Works.

My pal Bernie Farber is understandably annoyed by all of this. I'm thinking it could be a lot worse, even if the Jewish Tribune doesn't seem to think so. But there's something else, and it's much meaner than what's been publicly reported. By calling for a "boycott of Israeli products and companies supporting the Zionist policies of Israel," the motion would oblige the members of the United Church to specifically refrain (see page 78, pdf) from buying the products and services of:

"Ambi Pur, AOL Time Warner, Aoste, Apax Partners & Co. Ltd., Aramis, Arsenal FC, Auchan, Bali, Ball Park, Biotherm, Banana Republic, Bryan, Buitoni, Café Pilāo, Calvin Klein, Carnation, Carrefour, Caterpillar, Champion, Clinique, CNN, Coca-Cola, Danone, Delta Galil, Dim, Disney, Donna Karan, DYNK, Estée Lauder, Express, Expo Design Center, Evian, Fruitopia, Gap, Garnier, General Electric, Georgia Lighting, Giorgio Armani, Gossard, HarperCollins, Hanes, Helen Rubinstein, Henri Bendel, Hema, Hillshire Farms, The Home Depot, Huggies, Hugo Boss, ICQ, IBM, Intel, Intimate brands, J. Crew, JC Penney, Jimmy Dean, Johnson & Johnson, Jo Malone, Just My Size, Kimberley-Clark, Kia Ora, Kiwi, Kleenex, Kotex, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, Lea-Perrin, L’eggs, Lerner New York, Lewis Trust Group Ltd., Libby’s, Lilt, The Limited Inc., Lindex, L’Oreal, Loveable, MAC Cosmetics, Maggi, Maison Café, Marks & Spencer, MAST Industries, Inc., Matrix, Maybelline, McDonald’s, Nestlé, News Corporation, News of the World, New York & Company, New York Post, Nokia, Nur Die, Nursery World, Outerbanks, Origins, Perrier, Pickwick, Playtex, Prescriptives, Pryca, Ralph Lauren, Redken, Revlon, River Island, Santex, Sara Lee, Schweppes, Selfridges, Sky, Starbucks, Structure, The Sun, Sunkist, Superior Coffee, Tchibo, Timberland, Time, Tommy Hilfiger, Twentieth Century Fox, Vichy Laboratories, Victoria’s Secret, Villager’s Hardware, Vittel, The White Barn Candle Co., and Wonderbra."

Sweet Jesus Christ on a horse, one might reasonably exclaim. The motion proposes that as Christians, they should shun all that stuff as somehow trafe. This is rather more dismal and austere than giving up the drink for Lent and having to go without fish on Fridays, it seems to me.

The poor, sweet, suffering, condom-having, Mary-ignoring, earnest Protestant bastards.

84 Comments:

Blogger bp said...

"while the uglier bits were erased"...

I would have quoted the language specifically used by the United Church yesterday. It didn't just erase the uglier bits contained in the proposal, it "repudiates and regrets" them.

I maintain that Bernie Farber, the Vancouver Sun editorial board, and almost everyone else weighing in on this topic doesn't understand the process in play here. A proposal has been brought to the General Council from a number of United Church members (almost all of whom are based in downtown Toronto). Unless the proposal is legally out of order, the General Council must consider and vote on it.

You know, like a democracy.

Already, in the first day of deliberations, the GC has rejected the worst language. And as everyone will see, if they just calm the fuck down (I'm talking mostly about the National Post), the United Church will eventually vote down the rest of it.

I agree as much as anyone else that Israeli boycotts are unjust, but overreactions are not helpful to our side.

This proposal notwithstanding, here is the United Church's position on Israel and Palestine. There is nothing extreme or anti-Israeli about it.

http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/releases/090729

10:56 AM  
Blogger bp said...

United Church members still do have more fun, though. ; )

11:12 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

You're a good man, Brian, and like you I hope this comes quickly to nought. The trouble is coming from Bathurst Street, yes? The church where George Galloway was supposed to speak, whose minister is some class of Truther, if I'm not mistaken.

I will see your fun and raise you hilarity, however.

11:17 AM  
Blogger steve said...

A Christian church chastasing a Jewish state, and ignoring the actions of such places as Sri Lanka, China,Burma,etc etc, does not look good.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

To say nothing of the Belgians.

Personally, I've had quite enough of the Belgians.

11:29 AM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

I was baptised in the United Church, and attended services as a child. Later on my family became Pentecostal. In my late teens I moved on to the Anglican Church, finally landing in the waiting arms of the Catholic Church in my adulthood.

The Pentecostals I knew were generally quite fervent, full of fire and brimstone, and given to including Christian rock acts in their Sunday services.

The Anglicans were mostly old, and mostly white, but by gosh if they didn't have some excellent choirs and cathedrals.

The Catholics I met were always aware of the the broader aspect of the church, and the role of the church in the community and in education (I spent most of my life in Ontario).

All of the above had a firm grip on their history, place, and purpose. But the United Church of Canada?

In my mind, for a long time the UCC could be described as a "self-loathing Jew." The UCC has so little faith in itself and its mission, it's beliefs, and purpose, that for the past few decades it's as if the direction of the church has been determined by sticking a finger into the progressive political wind and changing course to match at every shift (Which may be one of the reasons why today it is quite possible to play a full on cricket match in the middle of the average UCC church during the Sunday service and never have to worry about someone getting hit by a stray ball).

But this anti-Israeli stance isn't one of those sudden, modish shifts. The UCC started moving towards an anti-Israeli stance in the 1960's, originating with Rev. Dr. A.C. Forrest, who was editor of the United Church Observer from 1955 to 1979.

You could make a case that Forrest's views where anathema to the church polity, but "The unHoly Land" was published in 1971, and Forrest remained an influential voice in the church for almost a decade afterwards.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Quite so, James. But I dare say that Catholics, Pentecostals and Anglicans can count quite a few Forrests among themselves, too.

12:41 PM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

To that, Terry, I can offer no disagreement whatsoever.

12:44 PM  
Blogger bp said...

James: I agree with some of what you've said, and disagree with other parts of it. If we talked in person, we'd probably find a fair amount of common ground.

The United Church has an enormously diverse membership, and it explicitly tells its membership that diversity of opinion is welcomed. I kinda grew up in the Church, and that's something I've appreciated greatly.

My great aunt Lois Wilson is a former Moderator of the Church (and a former Canadian Senator), and she would abhor this Israel boycott proposal. Other Moderators might not.

There is certainly a hardcore hippie Toronto membership, the kind of people who like to hang out with Galloway, that infects the Church. No doubt.

But let me set you straight on at least one thing: "the direction of the church has been determined by sticking a finger into the progressive political wind and changing course to match at every shift".

Sorry man, but that's bullshit.

The United Church has fought epic battles on matters of conscience, and cause many to leave as a result, but you know what? It was RIGHT.

The United Church recognized gay rights before any other Church and the Canadian government. Today the Anglican Church is just starting to catch up, while the Catholic Church remains deaf and dumb on the matter.

The United Church apologized for residential schools and began reconciliation before any other Church and the Canadian government. The Anglican Church is just starting to catch up, while the Catholic Church remains deaf and dumb on the matter.

That's not opportunistic shifting. That's courage and leadership. Respect it!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

The United Church deserves to be defended in the matter of how it has handled the residential school issue, and the church's detractors should grow up:

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/04/30/TruthAndAbuse/

2:11 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

As an agnostic Jew, I feel a little weird horning in on this Christian bullsession, but i did want to make two small points:

1-I was quite shocked to read in the motion that the boycott supports the "zionist" policies of Israel. That makes "zionist" and by extension "zionism" to be a pejorative in itself, irrespective of what Israel does or doesn't do. Clearly the folks who put this resolution forward don't have a clue or are playing a devious double game. You can't pretend to support Israel's right to exist (if it amended its evil ways, for instance), and yet denounce its "Zionist" policies. Zionism = Israel.

2-This is really nitpicking, but it was bad enough the Romans renamed Judea Palestine just because they were so mad at the Jews for starting two revolts. But when Jesus was alive, and when he was crucified, the place was still called Judea, Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea. The Romans didn't dub the place Palestine until after the Bar Kochba revolt which ended in a.d. 135, a full 100 years after jesus' crucifixion.

anyway, lovely post Terry. and excellent comments too.

supporting the Zionist policies of Israel

4:23 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I'm looking at this list of companies to boycott, and it seems awfully comprehensive: makes it hard to buy clothes or cosmetics, coffee, sexy undies, and bras (along with the stray bulldozer a person might want to acquire).

5:55 PM  
Blogger bp said...

I had read that Tyee column before, but I just read it again. Good stuff, buddy.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Thermblog said...

bp: I'm nitpicking the words from the link you provided. It needs to be nitpicked because this issue keeps coming up in the UCC and because some of the "solutions" proposed really mean the end of a Jewish State. How do you determine what is an "overreaction to that?" As for the democratic process within the UCC, Israel too is a democracy but the UCC heavies still slap an "Apartheid" label on it and wish it gone.

The 1st item on the list is a Pal State with Gaza joined to the West Bank: i.e. Israel has to provide this land and it's an obvious security risk.

They call on the Palestinians to end violence against CIVILIANS then they call on Israel to end violence against the Palestinian PEOPLE. This implies that all Palestinians are off limits but only Israeli civilians are.

There's a call for equality and religious tolerance on both sides. Israel already does that and this reinforces the falsehoods made in other proposals.

Last and the problem with all the peace deals heretofore: there's a call for recognition of Israel by the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab countries: this exempts the ones that aren't nearby as well as Muslim countries generally. (It's like ordering 1938 Germany to cut out the antisemitism where Jews live.) Anyway it's unenforceable but Israel is to make concessions up front, that will endanger her. Peace and recognition aren't even concessions but there is no actual pressure of any kind on the Palestinians or the Arabs.

The correct way to get peace would be to demand peace and recognition from the Arabs first and penalties if they don't stop their BS.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Well that settles it.


Anyone or any organization that makes truck & trade with pond scum like Galloway deserves to be savaged for their terminal stupidity.

I am starting a boycott of the United Church.

2:39 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

What I find frustrating in these debates is that people feel free to pontificate while not even mentioning the occupation of Palestinian land, or that Israel continues to "expand" its settlements in the East Jerusalem, evicting scores of Palestinains from their homes (dispossed how many times) over the objection of internatinal law and even US, its major benefactor's, stated policy. That this is part and parcel of a broader infrustructure of occupation including the wall, ruled illegal by the highest international body, which has been going on for decades a dmenands a system of unequal rights, a weird immigration system which grants priveledges based on religion denied to palestinians who have lived on their land for generations.

Here we are not dealing with the Zionism envisioned by people like Einstein and Buber but a nuclear power, unwilling to follow its obligation under international law and get out, leaving its hundreds of thousadns of soldiers as well as settlers. Now good liberals always claim that they support non violent action to end the occupation, yet that it what the United Church is trying to do. They are calling for a mechanism which is civuil society based where are others have failed and in the shadow of a grotesque war Israel waged on Gaza, killing some 400 children, on top of a cruel seize its an action worth considering.

Of course there are other human rights offenders. Thing is that goo liberals would never defend repression which entailed torture, locking up of thousdands of political prisoners, house demolitions and other such kindred barbarities were in commited by say Sudan, Iran or China. Israel gets way with it because well meaning people write all sort of apologetics to mask what is untolereable. This must stop. Its good to see Sid Shniad and Omar barghouti give a deffierent perspective than the dominant one, found in anti Palestinian racist papers such as the National Post.

http://rabble.ca/news/2009/08/ignore-smear-campaign-united-church-vote-bds-resolution-today

3:50 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Btw, Bernie Farber is a nice guy who has done some good work but lets get serious, he represents an organisation which shamelessly justifies ongoing crimes against humanity copiously documented by any mainstream human rights organisation,and is really in no moral position to smear those who have the basic human decency and courage to speak out against these horrors

4:16 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal:

You almost had a point there. But it stumbles when you suggest that the resolution is simply about ending the "occupation," it fails to consider that the "boycott" strategy is an eliminationist stategy almost as old as Israel, and that it has failed to accomplish anything, and is in fact counterproductive. Your argument vanishes into the ether with your reliance on the Rabble statement, which is a transparently lame attempt by PACBI - to characterize legitimate criticism of the UC resolution as a "smear."

See also:
http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1964

And everybody else: Can we lighten up on the UC a bit? The motion is not and was not UC policy, and delegates just rejected it a few minutes ago.

4:43 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

What do you mean by an "eliminationist stategy"? I think their aim here is to "elimainte" what the international commnitty seems to be unable or unwilling to do themselves. That is the continued siege that Israel is able to impose on all aspects of Palestinians life, whether is be locking up tens of thousands of prisoners, relocating and disposessing Palestinians (which continues unabatted in East Jersusalem, stationing a foreign army on aniother peoples soil, et cetera. If one can’t voice an objection to violence done by Israel without attracting a charge of "eliminationist", then that charge works to circumscribe the publicly acceptable domain of speech, and to immunise Israeli violence against criticism. Whehter you agree with a boycott or not, and some people with impecabble credentials regarding justice on this issue like Salutin do not agree, the aim is tp pressure Israel to remove itself from its colonial and militant relationship with the Palestinians. Israels responsibility here is not much different than British responsibility in India and that is to get out.

And as for your attack on Rabble, I'd take the word of Sid Shniad and the left group Independent Jewish Voices any day over those who seek to rationalise the use of white phosphorus over a civilian population, the imprisonment of political prisoners, the killing of 400 children, the construction of a wall condemned by the highest international judicial body, torure and the brazen theft of land all in the name of a cruel and montrous occupation

5:08 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"But it stumbles when you suggest that the resolution is simply about ending the "occupation," it fails to consider that the "boycott" strategy is an eliminationist stategy almost as old as Israel, and that it has failed to accomplish anything, and is in fact counterproductive."

But such a strategy, employed by civil society groups in the West, where the "Israel is a democracy mantra" acts as a constant cover up for its brutality towards Palestinians, has not really been tried so how can you say its accomplished nothing? More so the very fact that it encounters such opposition and rage from groups like the CJC who have a decades long commitmment to deny the realisties of Palestinian life, and soft peddle Israel responsibility towards those its occupies means that it must on some level threaten their hegemony regarding the debate, especally amongst the liberal jewish diapora many of whom are sickened by the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians in the shadow of the Gaza campaign. Did you happen to see the way a "Voice of Israel" spokesperson was booed and hissed at the Jewish Film Festival as he tried to chastise the audience before the film about Rachel Corrie.

Breakthroughs my friend are startign to occur and a more helpful dialogue is opening up, as always the representatives of power and the status quo dont like it. well things change

5:21 PM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Lighten up is right, I think.

As a long ago former UCC member, I do like to take pot shots at the church every now and then, but we should not forget the powerful role the UCC has had in shaping Canadian society.

The UCC has founded venerable colleges and universities, has had amongst its ranks a number of prominent, and influential Canadians throughout the 20th Century, and even though many of the decisions the church made in the 80's that really spelled then end of the UCC as the major force in Canada that it used to be, in 2009, most of the country has pretty much some around, and sees eye-to-eye with the UCC on those same issues.

5:22 PM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

"Ah-choo!"

Sorry.

I think my nut allergy is kicking in.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal:

By eliminationist, I'm referring to old wine in new bottles, specifically the 1945 Arab League boycott of "Jewish products and manufactured goods" and the Arab League call "to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods."

This is not an attempt to "circumscribe the publicly acceptable domain of speech" for Pete's sake or to to "immunise Israeli violence against criticism."

Sheesh.

The post was intended to poke fun at myself, at the Catholic Church, at the United Church, at the stupid Wonderbra-boycott motion (now gone down to defeat), and even partly at the Jewish Tribune.

I am not sure what you mean when you say the intent of the boycott is to "pressure Israel to remove itself from its colonial and militant relationship with the Palestinians," and I don't think you know what that means, either.

If the intent of a boycott was simply the relocation of the settlers from the West Bank to communities within the 67 borders, then it might be judged on its own merits. Just one problem with boycottmania is it's never clear what the hell the point really is. Even if it were clear, and confined to objectives that did not require Israel to effectively commit suicide, I am still not sold, to say the least, that a boycott strategy would work. There is no indication so far that the boycott-and-divestment strategy serves any useful purpose at all, beyond making Israel-hatesr feel righteous about themselves.

You are quite welcome to find some value in IJV, Neutera Karta, PACBI and the rest.

I don't.

Except for humour value.

t

5:28 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: What I find frustrating in these debates is that people feel free to pontificate while not even mentioning the occupation of Palestinian land.

What I find frustrating is that these theoretical supporters of Palestinians (more on that later) moan and whine about (occupation, wall, prisoners, fill in the blanks), completely without context, as though Israel is doing it only out of malicious intent, and the world is complicit by not stopping the rogue state. In fact, the reason (Western) governments weren't hard on Israel during the Lebanese or Gaza operations is that they well understand why these operations take place and know they would do the same or worse if put in the same situation. The same applies to the occupation as a whole -- no state should be expected to withdraw without negotiations (though that is what the israelis did in gaza, and look where it got them.

This one sided crap sounds an awful lot like upChuck to me.
words like "cruel and monstrous" occupation, 400 children, you hear the same mantra all the time, nary a mention of rockets, Palestinian unwillingness to make real peace, suicide bombings, etc. etc. We've all read it hundreds of times before. And good on the United Church for doing giving those one-sided racist resolutions a hard kick in the ass.

Now to the theoretical. This is not my original idea, it comes from a fellow who goes by S.O. Muffin on Harry's Place, but it's brilliant and applies to these theoretical pro-palestinians like Mikey here, upChuck and the rest:

"One of the curses of our species is all those who love humanity as an abstract concept, except that they hate human beings as a collection of specific individuals.

A particularly odious example of this behaviour is those “supporters” of Palestinians who absolutely love them as an abstract concept (I am being generous, assuming that they don’t use their “support for Palestinians” as an alibi for anti-Jewish hatred), but frankly don’t give a shit for Palestinians as individual human beings.

Can anybody explain to me what can be any other reason for boycotting the Jerusalem Quartet [classical music quartet set to play in london-vc]? One way or the other the nutjobs of either side will not have it their way. Neither Palestinians nor Jews will be ethnically cleansed, expelled or exterminated. Ultimately, in one way or the other, they will need to live together – and, until they can live together, the real suffering of Palestinians, as a collection of individual human beings, will continue, whether under occupation or in refugee camps.

Anybody, like the ludicrously named “Free Palestine” [substitute Mikey, upChuck or the sponsors of those 3 dreadful UC resolutions] who is committed to increasing the hate between the two sides (and cultural boycotts have no other purpose) has a goal in mind which, realistically, means ongoing suffering of Palestinians (as real human beings) while trumpeting Palestinians (as an abstract noun).

But, of course, the more Palestinians suffer, the more [enter Mikey, upChuck or UC resolution sponsors here]can feed his/her own hatred. Like a vampire, he/she feeds on Palestinian suffering."

5:55 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Oh, forgot to mention, among the many things that Mikey seems to have overlooked are just other little factors like Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim extremism, and a macho patriarchal culture where women are so downtrodden you can't even call them repressed, because that implies they had a voice at one time.

And Mikey, have you ever wondered why these ridiculous resolutions always end up being voted DOWN once the rank-and-file get to vote?

6:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Good points, Videchaye, especially this: "And Mikey, have you ever wondered why these ridiculous resolutions always end up being voted DOWN once the rank-and-file get to vote?"

As you know, personally, I blame the Freemasons.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

As for the creepy PACBI crowd to whose wagon IJV is hitched, this is essential reading:

http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000391.html

Especially:"Dialogue with groups formed for purposes of enhancing empathy, health, cultural exchange only should be avoided."

That's what their "boycott" is about. Really nice and peacenicky, like.

6:41 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: What I find frustrating in these debates is that people feel free to pontificate while not even mentioning the occupation of Palestinian land.

What I find frustrating is that these theoretical supporters of Palestinians (more on that later) moan and whine about (occupation, wall, prisoners, fill in the blanks), completely without context, as though Israel is doing it only out of malicious intent, and the world is complicit by not stopping the rogue state. In fact, the reason (Western) governments weren't hard on Israel during the Lebanese or Gaza operations is that they well understand why these operations take place and know they would do the same or worse if put in the same situation. The same applies to the occupation as a whole -- no state should be expected to withdraw without negotiations (though that is what the israelis did in gaza, and look where it got them.

This one sided crap sounds an awful lot like upChuck to me.
words like "cruel and monstrous" occupation, 400 children, you hear the same mantra all the time, nary a mention of rockets, Palestinian unwillingness to make real peace, suicide bombings, etc. etc. We've all read it hundreds of times before. And good on the United Church for doing giving those one-sided racist resolutions a hard kick in the ass.

Now to the theoretical. This is not my original idea, it comes from a fellow who goes by S.O. Muffin on Harry's Place, but it's brilliant and applies to these theoretical pro-palestinians like Mikey here, upChuck and the rest:

"One of the curses of our species is all those who love humanity as an abstract concept, except that they hate human beings as a collection of specific individuals.

A particularly odious example of this behaviour is those “supporters” of Palestinians who absolutely love them as an abstract concept (I am being generous, assuming that they don’t use their “support for Palestinians” as an alibi for anti-Jewish hatred), but frankly don’t give a shit for Palestinians as individual human beings.

Can anybody explain to me what can be any other reason for boycotting the Jerusalem Quartet [classical music quartet set to play in london-vc]? One way or the other the nutjobs of either side will not have it their way. Neither Palestinians nor Jews will be ethnically cleansed, expelled or exterminated. Ultimately, in one way or the other, they will need to live together – and, until they can live together, the real suffering of Palestinians, as a collection of individual human beings, will continue, whether under occupation or in refugee camps.

Anybody, like the ludicrously named “Free Palestine” [substitute Mikey, upChuck or the sponsors of those 3 dreadful UC resolutions] who is committed to increasing the hate between the two sides (and cultural boycotts have no other purpose) has a goal in mind which, realistically, means ongoing suffering of Palestinians (as real human beings) while trumpeting Palestinians (as an abstract noun).

But, of course, the more Palestinians suffer, the more [enter Mikey, upChuck or UC resolution sponsors here]can feed his/her own hatred. Like a vampire, he/she feeds on Palestinian suffering."

6:49 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

sorry about the repeat, don't know why or how it happened.

RE: the liberal jewish diapora many of whom are sickened by the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians in the shadow of the Gaza campaign.

Funny, I always thought I was part of the liberal jewish diaspora. I guess only members of the "As a Jew" crowd now qualify, in Mikey's twisted parallel universe.

8:25 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:49 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"And Mikey, have you ever wondered why these ridiculous resolutions always end up being voted DOWN once the rank-and-file get to vote?"

And you know full well that say 20 years ago to even suggest that the Palestinian people have a right to self determination on the land that they've been dispossed, to refer to ethnic cleansing in the formation of the Israeli state, and to give voice to any kind of Palestinian narraitve which question exodus style mythology in the West was to invite abuse and break all sorts of taboos. These are all things that are by now widely accepted as in the very exsistence of the Palestinian people. So that the United Church talk about an occupation and carries on these debates is itself a victory for people who have l0ong struggled in solidarity for a long dispossed people. Were makign progress. And speaking of rank and file, check this out, it give me hope

http://mondoweiss.net/2009/07/rachel-screening-in-san-francisco-shows-a-growing-movement-tired-of-being-censored-about-israel.html

12:55 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal: I deleted your previous post because libel isn't allowed here. As for your last, you don't seem to be very familiar with Palestinian history. The notion of Palestinian statehood is rather more than 20 years old. Try at almost 65. And the possibility is actually fading, thanks to Palestine's so-called friends.

8:17 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Mikey: With no respect whatsoever, you don't know what you're talking about. Aside from completely evading my point, which is that whenever real people, as opposed to blinkered ideologues, have their say on Israel, they vote YOU down. They always have. But even more, as Terry says, your notion about discussions about Palestinian statehood are ignorant. When I was at university 35 years ago, Palestinian statehood was being debated as hotly as it is now. There was never a "taboo" about discussing it, far from it. So-called "exodus mythology" was ridiculed by what Terry calls the "reactionary left" since it began.

And all this talk about "progress," especially with Jewish groups, is such bullshit. If you knew anything about the Jewish community, you would know that these "as a jew" types have always been around, they just get more media attention now because everything gets more media attention now and because the world -- not just the middle east -- has "heated up." Most liberal jews continue to disavow what they do, as we have always done, because, critical of this or that Israeli policy as we may be, we aren't going to provide fodder for the anti-"zionists" in their hateful quest to do away with Israel. So your "hope" at hearing a few "as a jew" hard lefty radicals boo a Jewish spokesman critiquing the rachel cory play is a false hope, certainly not the first false hope among those of your ideological bent.

Finally, if the kind of "progress" you wish for continues, nothing will change, Palestinian statehood will be delayed for decades more, and the plight of the Palestinians, whose welfare you seem to be so concerned about, will continue to drag on. Which was precisely the point of SO Muffin's post that I reproduced.

Terry: I am guessing the libel you spoke of was directed at me, or am i being egocentric?

9:15 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

V:

The libel was more in Bernie's direction.

9:20 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Tsk Tsk. And that from the same guy who started out by saying "Bernie Farber is a nice guy who has done some good work..."

The venom always comes out with these guys, usually sooner rather than later.

As always, thanks terry.

10:38 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"The notion of Palestinian statehood is rather more than 20 years old. Try at almost 65. And the possibility is actually fading, thanks to Palestine's so-called friends''

Right its because of Palestinians "friends" that Israel continues to insist on its right to "expand" what are illegal settlements in East Jeruselam evicting Palestinian families in the process, its because of these "friends" that Israel still locks up tens of thousands of Palestinina political prisoners under old colonial lsaws of adninstrative detention, its because of Palestinians "friends" that Israel subsidises hundred of thousand settlers to make a life in what is according to international law and basic decency someone elses land, granting them superior rights to the indegenous population and its because of these friends that according to Amnesty International Israel employes torture, the use of human shields, targetting of civilianand otehrt such barbarities to maintain all of this as part of a nasty occupation regime. This isn't to say that very real, hatred and violence does not exist on the Palestinian side but the disparity of power is stagerring and Israel as an occupier bears a responsibility which you seem unwilling or unable to address.

The rationale for Israel's continued occupation often, to me, seems like its comes from the pages of the white man's burden

11:01 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"And that from the same guy who started out by saying "Bernie Farber is a nice guy who has done some good work..."

The venom always comes out with these guys, usually sooner rather than later."

He has done some good work regarding anti racism and social justice advocacy dmomestically. His apologetics for the occupation and Israeli violence on the other hand are porfoundly sad and counterproductive

11:02 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

What nonsense. The rationale for Israel's continuing occupation (of the West Bank, not Gaza, let's remember) is that a) you're supposed to negotiate withdrawals, and, as yet, the negotiations have not borne fruit; and b) given the Gaza experience, there is no way Israel will simply unilaterally evacuate the WB like it did gaza.

Incidentally, and for what it's worth, i've always been against settling the WB. But to presume that that is the main obstacle to peace, rather than Palestinian/Arab rejection of a Jewish state in the ME, is ridiculous.

An article by Robert Malley (not known for his support of Israel) and Hussein Agha states as much. In advocating for a one-state solution, they say the problem is not the shape of the future palestinian state, it's the nature of the Israeli state.

Inadvertently (and i'm sure it wasn't their intention) the authors, including malley, who has been a fierce opponent of Israel, have inadvertently let slip a key truth about the entire peace process -- they make it clear that what the Palestinians want isn’t just the West Bank and Gaza. It's the Israelis who want a Jewish state and would be willing to let the Palestinians havea their own state in return for a real peace.
The real problem, Malley inadvertently points out, is that the core Palestinian desire is not for their own state but for eradicating the -- illegitimate in their view -- Jewish one, regardless of what the borders are.

It can be settled, both sides implicitly concur, only by looking past the occupation to questions born in 1948 — Arab rejection of the newborn Jewish state and the dispossession and dislocation of Palestinian refugees.

Two key quotes:
1-"[The Israeli/Palestinian conflict] can be settled, both sides implicitly concur, only by looking past the occupation to questions born in 1948 — Arab rejection of the newborn Jewish state and the dispossession and dislocation of Palestinian refugees."
and
2-"For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees’ rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel.

You can read the article by Malley and Agha here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/opinion/11malley.html?pagewanted=2

11:29 AM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

The rationale for Israel's continued occupation often, to me, seems like its comes from the pages of the white man's burden

Damn that Zionist Rudyard Kipling!

But "pages" is a bit rich. The poem is 7 stanzas long, dude. Unless you're printing it in 40 point font, I don't see "pages" coming into play here.

Still, Mikey, ye are a great ironist indeed.

Unless of course you don't have a clue about the meaning of the poem at all. Because "The White Man's Burden" is not a call to racial action, it's a lament for the endless burden of civil society against entropy and dissolution.

11:38 AM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Which, come to think of it, probably makes the poem more of an "accurate description" than a "plan."

11:40 AM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Four, uh, you know, future reference.

11:41 AM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Four.... geez....

Is there an editor around here?

11:44 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

The NYT piece, which is quite good, I posted it on my facebook page the other day opens up with this telling piece of reality which is too seldom acknowledged

"Bowing to American pressure, Mr. Netanyahu conceded the principle of a Palestinian state, but then described it in a way that stripped it of meaningful sovereignty. In essence, and with minor modifications, his position recalled that of Israeli leaders who preceded him. A state, he pronounced, would have to be demilitarized, without control over borders or airspace. Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and no Palestinian refugees would be allowed back to Israel. His emphasis was on the caveats rather than the concession.

As Mr. Netanyahu was fond of saying, you can call that a state if you wish, but whom are you kidding?"

11:48 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

You forgot the part about white phosphorous, Mikeal.

Anyway, to answer your question bluntly: Yes, more or less. You say "he disparity of power is stagerring." This is the biggest mistake the self-proclaimed friends of Palestine make. It invites the question: If Palestinian rockets killed a few hundred more Jews, would you then change your position?

But yes. The persistent demonization of Israel, continuously rubbing salt into the historical wounds of the Palestinians, droning on and on about Israeli atrocities, showing "solidarity" through reactionary, anti-cooperation fronts like PACBI - yes. This is at least as much the cause for the continuing suffering of the Palestinian (and Israeli) people as any Israeli intransigence you might cite.

Get over it: You are not helping. Your friends are not helping. Boycott and divestment strategies are not helping.

11:54 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"You forgot the part about white phosphorous, Mikeal"

Actually Amnesty International has that covered http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/israeli-armys-use-white-phosphorus-gaza-clear-undeniable-20090119

As for your claim that its people who are searching for ways to hold Israel responsible to international law and basic justice-- in the absence of a process which is capable of doing that-- and who believe that reconcilation is predicated on the acknowledgement of historic and current greivances of a people who have lost their land, been evicted and lived under occupation, who are responsible as opposed to the actual occupying power who destoys homes, builds illegal walls and maintain hundred of thousands of its citizens and soldiers on someone elses land, well it doesnt get more patronizing and condescending than that. That seems like a familar argument that even the Birtish used to justify their continued colonisation of India, the irrantional Indians, their violence and their confessional identities. Gandhi response to such an argument was rather apt.

The situation of the Israelis is not totally aligned to the British in India and although I dont agree with every nit and piece of this analogy, I think the late biogrpaher of Trotsky and "non jewish jew" Isaac Deutscher gets us somewhere when he made this famous statement about Israel

"A man once jumped from the top floor of a burning house in which many members of his family had already perished. He managed to save his life; but as he was falling he hit a person standing down below and broke that person’s legs and arms. The jumping man had no choice; yet to the man with the broken limbs he was the cause of his misfortune. If both behaved rationally, they would not become enemies. The man who escaped from the blazing house, having recovered, would have tried to help and consol the other sufferer; and the latter might have realized that he was the victim of circumstances over which neither of them had control. But look what happens when these people behave irrationally. The injured man blames the other for his misery and swears to make him pay for it. The other, afraid of the crippled man’s revenge, insults him, kicks him, and beats him up whenever they meet. The kicked man again swears revenge and is again punched and punished. The bitter enmity, so fortuitous at first, hardens and comes to overshadow the whole existence of both men and to poison their minds."

12:18 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"If Palestinian rockets killed a few hundred more Jews, would you then change your position?"

Its not just the casualty rates, where we are enjoined constantly to value Israeli lives over Palestinian, and which speak of a far greater death toll amoung the latter than the former. Its here where I dont think you get it. Its Israel who stations its settlers, expropriates Palestinian lands, refuses to draw its borders, demands land sezirues, walls, checkpoints on someone elses land and maintains a foreing army to patrol all of this. Its not about Israeli intelligence its about an entire infrustructure of occupation which is part of a legacy and ongoing process of theft, colonisation and what a famous Israeli sociologist called politicide. If you miss this then you miss everything

12:22 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"Get over it: You are not helping. Your friends are not helping. Boycott and divestment strategies are not helping."

So who is helping, I wonder? When a group like "Combantants for Peace" get involved in actions like this do you support them or are they too just droning on about Israeli supposed intrangience? I'm curious

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm6RuaR8gS0

12:28 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Of course you like the NYT piece, Mikey. It is a diguised call for dismantling the Jewish state. Of course you don't have the guts to come out and say so, because that would make your true position clear as day.

Interesting how the only part of the article -- which really misses the point -- is the part where Netanyahu is quoted.

So let's not pretend any more this is about "occupation," which didn't exist between 1948-1967 (well actually it did, but it was Egypt and Jordan doing the occupying, so who cares, eh). It's 1948 you want undone, for whatever sick pathetic reasons.

12:49 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Bottom line: THere would be peace, and the Palestinians would have had their state long ago, if they accepted the reality of a jewish state in the midst. Mostly, they still don't, in part because they are egged on by outsiders with dubious motivations like you who insist they settle for the whole pie instead of a portion, when they are, as you note, the weaker party.

You yourself imply, when you talk about "historical" and current, that this isn't really about the occupation, wall, apartheid, at all.

What you fail to see, for reasons that I can't fathom, is just how vain a hope expecting israel to disappear or give up its Jewish character, actually is. The jews returned to their ancestral homeland, fought for the right to declare a state and won. Most other states in the world have had to do the same to become or maintain their independence. The chance of Israel giving it all up is nil, which is why your unrelenting hostility and theoretical support for Palestinians is so damanging for them in fact on the ground, by encouraging them again and again to demand it all in a not-gonna-happen situation.

So come on, tell us if you would accept a Jewish state on the 1967 borders, without qualifications. And if not, please explain why half a dozen "islamic" states are ok, but one Jewish state aint. can't wait to hear the twisted rationale for that.

1:05 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

And one more thing: Going on and on and on about Israeli atrocities, war crimes, blah blah blah without ever mentioning a motivation or a context would be like talking about U.S., British and Soviet war crimes in Germany8 and Japan without mentioninig WWII.

1:10 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Terry Im still interested to hear what you think of Combantants for Peace's approach, that being non violent civil disobedience, of the type I posted above, to the occupation as oppossed to say boycotts, as strategy. Just wondering.

As for Viley, he/she uses a very common tactic of reducing the debate into a series of abstractions so as to render any dissent from whatever position he/she holds, seem intolerant and anti semetic. Viley forgets that self described Zionists like Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook and others did not shy away from denouncing Begin as a fascist and decrying the Deir Yassin massacre. They were engaged in a debate about what kind of "jewish character" would Israel represent. Would it embody a messinic type chauvinism, reliant on imperial powers, drunk with military might or would it seek restitution with Palestinian and forge a future based something other that a kind of manifest destiny. A policy wich says that Palestinian families who have lived for decades in East Jerusalem must be evicted and made homeless is not a policy worth preserving. Its not the "jewish character" which is in doubt but whether Israel can be a state whicvh accomodates its citizens and releases Palestinains from its grip. That's the question. Lets not forget that the legacy if Begin can be seen in Bibi and the current Israeli government.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Vildechaye is doing no such thing, Mikeal. As for Combatants for Peace:

"Combatants for Peace represents exactly the sort of approach that a real international anti-war movement would and should support (rather than the Israel-hating version we're stuck with).

"Another group I've long supported is One Voice, which 'aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and work toward a two-state solution guaranteeing an end to occupation and violence, and a viable, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel.'

"So far, 295,000 Palestinians and 330,000 Israelis have signed up.

"You don't hear 'From the river to the sea' chanted by One Voice or Combatants for Peace."

Mikeal: Your PACBI friends are the enemies of One Voice.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Fabián said...

The hatred shown by this person mikeal is unmistakable. And his ilk always ends up talking about the "character of Israel" (racist, colonialist, fascist,etc), showing that their problem is not the non-existence of another Arab state, but the existence of a Jewish one.

Lets talk about the racist character of a Palestinian state, which will be based on sharia law, and will be founded by the followers of the archterrorist Yasser Arafat. Ok?

Lets talk about the Mufti, friend of Hitler, who started this "all or nothing" approach by the Arabs of Palestine.

12:04 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

I'm not sure what "One Voiuce" actually does in terms of action as it looks more like another bloated NGO. That said if you support the approach of Combantants for Peace, and in the youtube videos you'll see them physically confront and get in the way of houswe eviction and disobey the occupied forces through non violent acts, then Im happy with that. Although Vijey sure wont be content with such a group

12:53 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"Combatants for Peace represents exactly the sort of approach that a real international anti-war movement would and should support (rather than the Israel-hating version we're stuck with)"

In other words you support non violent civil disobedience in the face of the occupation. There are Palestinian groups doing this type of thing with the aid and solidarity of internationals, too. They could use more support

1:03 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Fabian are you blind or just stupid and do you not read my comments, or are you just intoxicated with racism and stupidity. I just said that the "jewish character" of Israel is obvious and must be preserved but the debate is about what kind of state it will be and whether it can and hopefully will move away fromn the grips of jewish chauvanism, exclusionism and domination of an occupied people. Off topic but I just came from a very good lecture given by perhaps the most prominent Iranian dissident on the planet, who years being tortured by the Iranian regime and is a very strong supporter of the movement in the street oif tehran. His name is Akbar Ganji. It seems to me that some of what is going on in Iran, a country neo cons wanted to bomb oh so not long ago, is the broad questioning of the character and nature of that state. A good thing, no

1:13 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Fabian are you blind or just stupid and do you not read my comments, or are you just intoxicated with racism and stupidity.

Funny you'd say that to him, since your "replies" to me clearly indicate you don't read my comments before you respond to them. I've noted a "common tactic" among those holding your noxious views is that when there's little else left in your (admittedly tiny) arsenal and you can't actually counter the points raised because the counter-arguments are simply too factual and historical to be avoided, your critique dissolves into accusations of being "abstract," "intolerant," etc. But there's nothing "abstract" about what I write, I simply counter arguments with historical fact and considered analogy.

RE: "So as to render any dissent from whatever position he/she holds seem intolerant and anti-semitic."

Now there's an abstraction. It's "not any position," buddy, it's YOUR position on Israel/Palestine. And i don't "render" it intolerant, i argue that it IS intolerant and show how. As for anti-semitic, i don't think those words ever were used, but leaving that aside, when you single out the world's only Jewish state for hyperbolic criticism over and over and use the same hackneyed phrases like "apartheid," "Isaeli war crimes" and ignore or gloss over far worse crimes, not only around the world but by the very enemies that israel is fighting (and by their enablers, such as the "islamic republic" of Iran and Saudi Arabia, now there's some apartheid for ya), you leave yourself open to that sort of charge. You may not be an anti-semite, but large swaths of your "argument" leave much room for doubt, to put it as kindly as possible.

And it is surely "abstraction," not to mention gross misrepresentation, to selectively quote Einstein, Arendt, et al, without noting mentioning that for all their critiques of Israel's nature, they were Zionists (by the anti-zionist deefintion, at least, surely),

IN fact, your latest post, like all the others, is like a sample anti-Zionist recipe:
Take a famous jew or two who critique Israeli policy. Ad an "as a jew" type who rejects Israel entirely, throw in a pinch of Deir Yassin, throw in some Menachem Begin's early history (and of course never mention Camp David). Sizzle with an accusation or two of "massacre" and "war crime," and top with a sprinkling of Bibi the Fascist, and you've got your latest anti-Zionist critique, just add bullshit and stir the pot some more.

Finally, if our boy Mikey actually believes that "it's not the "jewish character" which is in doubt but whether Israel can be a state which accomodates its citizens and releases Palestinains from its grip," then he clearly isn't aware that most Palestinians (including the latest Fatah Congress that recently took place, never mind Hamas) have consistently rejected israel's Jewish character; in fact, he's purposefully ignoring what seems to me and so many others is the crux of the issue: Not what type of "jewish character" Israel should have, but whether a country with any type of "jewish character" should exist at all.

And by egging on Palestinians to accept nothing less than an "israel" without a Jewish character, they guarantee decades of further misery for the Palestinians whom they purport to be supporting.

Mikey: Please let me know what, if any, of the above argument is too "abstract" for you.

9:26 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"And it is surely "abstraction," not to mention gross misrepresentation, to selectively quote Einstein, Arendt, et al, without noting mentioning that for all their critiques of Israel's nature, they were Zionists"

Let me respond to this silly charge, buddy. Go back and read what I wrote. I said plainly that both Einstein and Arendt were Zionists, but their Zionism was an open tolerant one, close in spirit to Buber and Ha'aam. Einstein for example warned of the inner damage Judaim will suffer as a result of dominating another people and narrow, blind nationalism. As I mentioned when Menachem Begin, leader of the terrorsit Irgun gang which sdlaughtered hundreds of unarmed Palestinians in Deir Yassin was slated to visit the US, Einstein, Arednt and other Jewish intellectuals wrote a letter to the New York Times opposing such a visit and called Begin a fascist. Its worth noting Ariel Sharon went on the becoke minister of defence under Begin, and in 1982 carried out the disastrous invasion of Lebanon.

This matters because this kind of internal critique within Zionism ended up being prophetic and can still be heard within the margins of society, whether it be the activities of Uri Avnery, or thr writings of Amira Hass and others. When I refer to war crimes I can back that up with documents of support from Amensty, B'tselem and a host of other groups. This idea that we constantly hear that the occupation and theft of Palestinian land is somehow defensive in nature is a nice fairy tale but its simply not creible. We live on a continent where people get steaming mad at each other for stealing a parking spot, how westerners cannot understand the pain of a people who lost their nation and homes is beyond me.

9:54 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Now for a more on the ground view of what's going on, here's some more acts of grassroot resistance from a group that Terry and I both strongly support


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rv89BE3Lbw

10:10 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

And Combantants for Peace response to the attack on Gaza

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/22/as_gaza_plunges_into_darkness_israeli

10:28 AM  
Blogger Fabián said...

"I said plainly that both Einstein and Arendt were Zionists, but their Zionism was an open tolerant one, close in spirit to Buber and Ha'aam."

There is a discussion on whether Martin Buber was a Zionist or a binationalist.

Hannah Arendt wasn't much of a Zionist, actually.

Einstein was too American to be a good Israeli.

Ahad Haam actually was ok with all kinds of Zionists. He just wanted to add a spiritual dimension of the centrality of Israel for the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Of course, he died much earlier than 1948, or you would have seen him fighting in the Hagana or the Irgun.

Your problem is with normal Israelis.

But your biggest problem is that we don't care what you think. You can continue to whine pathetically.

Our enemies will never win.

11:11 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Its interesting to observe the pathology of someome like Fabian who seems t contruct his identity around his "enemies" and makes absurd "lists" of "good" and "bad" characters in history, I suppose, as a way of affirming some sort of compliance test. Einstein and Arendt bad, Haam on the other hand would have surely been fighting amoung terrorists responsible for the massacres and Pallestinian civilians. Weird. Pathological. Creepy

11:29 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

ps I wonder what Fabian would say about a spokesperson and activist with a group Terry strongly supports and holds out as a model for the type of work those interested in peace should mirror, Combatants for Peace


Yonatan Shapira, former captain in the Israeli Air Force, Combatants for Peace: “I don’t think that you have to be a military expert or have a Ph.D. in political science and to be one of these fancy scholars in Washington institutions to know that the results of this scientific experiment that we have in Gaza, for example, locking millions of people—million-and-a-half people without food, electricity, medicine—no one can go out, no one can go in—that’s a military—you don’t have to know anything about history. It’s obvious that you’re going to have people that are going to resist. And I grew up, you know, learning the history of my people and how they resisted in Warsaw Ghetto, where they didn’t have any choice.”

11:32 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

What Mikey doesn't mention is that most of the groups he supports, with the exception of Combatants for Peace, (groups like PACBI, for instance), the zionism of those zionists of whom he approves is still anathema. You don't shout "from the river to the sea" because you're for a more inclusive zionism. Incidentally, I approve of warm fuzzy inclusive zionism too, but 60 years of unrelenting war, hostility and rejectionism have a way of marginalizing those views in the Jewish community and in Israel. Go figure, eh.

And Fabian is correct, ever since the Mufti was put in his position by the Brits in the late 1920s, Palestinian society has, for the most part, rejected any compromise regarding ANY kind of jewish state, and all that before occupation, gaza, warcrimes, ad naseam, yada yada yada. Otherwise, there would already be a palestinian state.

Finally, i like the way you sidle up to Terry with regard to Combatants for Peace. I can recognize a brown-nosing personality a mile off.

11:34 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

And Fabian is correct, ever since the Mufti was put in his position by the Brits in the late 1920s, "Palestinian society has, for the most part, rejected any compromise regarding ANY kind of jewish state, and all that before occupation, gaza, warcrimes, ad naseam, yada yada yada. Otherwise, there would already be a palestinian state."

If I wasnt leaving right now for a game of pick up soccer I'd give you a historical and diplomatic smackdown which you'd feel for days regarding this claim, which really should by now belong to the realm of mythology. But, sigh, somehow I doubt that it would make much of a difference. Im not trying to suck up to Terry but I mention what Conbatants for Peace actually does on the ground, that is non violently resist the IDF and the physical structures and manifestation of occupation because it makes a useful point. They are routinely denounced as extremist and accused of being "anti Israeli" by self styled defenders of Israel like "Stand with Us". Terry correctly doesnt buy this nonsense, regarding Conbatants and is on record as a strong supporter. Instructive

11:43 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

This is getting tiresome. What you sneer at as long-proven historical myth is in fact well grounded in historical fact, it's only the blinkered ideologue anti-Zionist 'historians" who think otherwise. Ilan Pappe's work has been ably discredited by, well, anyone sensible who reads it, and you can spare me the usual list of citations of the usual anti-zionist suspects, it's a conceit for you to think i'd never heard this silly argument before.

Also, I've seen a dozen posts but not a single word about a solution -- unless you want to call hoping for a return to a kind of "hippie" zionism that existed before 60 years of unrelenting hatred and conflict a solution. I wish Israeli zionism could be more the way it used to be too. So do all the peace-oriented Israelis who've all but given up on finding a partner.

I'll tell you my solution: It's roughly the same as Geneva.
1-West Bank and Gaza and most of East J form Palestine, give and take fair and equitable territorial exchanges.
2-Compensation in lieu of Palestinian "right of return" (another pilfered Jewish theme).
3-full recognition etc etc.

Got a problem with that? I'm betting that somehow, you'll manage to find one.

Anyway, i'm passing the mantle of arguing with this ideologue to anybody who cares. It's a dirty job, but sometimes you just gotta do it.

2:50 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Fulford has something worth reading over at the National Post. Here's one section:

The most distressing quality of the attacks [on Israel], however, is their singularity. They leave us with the impression that Israel deserves more censure than any other country on Earth — in fact, more than all other countries combined. Enemies of Israel may sometimes claim that they have also passed resolutions deploring genocide in Africa or dictatorship in Burma. But these views are expressed in comparative privacy. No widespread, long-running movements accompany them.

Does York University in Toronto, so dedicated to justice for Palestinians, also devote a week every year to the fate of the Falun Gong in China? Do Concordia University students in Montreal demonstrate against the mass rapes in the Congo? Does the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which favours boycotting Israeli universities, have anything to say about Tibetan freedom? Have any of them heard of the World Uighur Congress's defence of oppressed Muslims in the Xinjiang province of western China? And when dealing with the Gaza conflict, not one campus group anywhere (so far as I know) mounted a campaign against Hamas killings of fellow Palestinians. They also avoid mentioning the Hamas policy of using women and children as human shields.

So far as we can learn from how they act in public, these organizations appear to have a foreign policy with only one item on its agenda, the same one they would have if they were in fact motivated fundamentally by anti-Semitism."

Good timing, Mr. Fulford. How appropriate!!!

Read the rest at:
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/08/15/robert-fulford-when-criticizing-israel-becomes-ritual.aspx

3:55 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal:

Don't try to drag me over to your "side" by inferring what you like about what I wrote about Combatants for Peace. You're the one with some explaining to do. As recently as last week, Leonard Cohen was still hoping to stage benefit concerts in Israel and Palestine for such groups as Combatants for Peace. Your friends in PACBI told him to go to hell, and especially to say out of the West Bank.

Your friends. Not mine.

7:44 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

M only point was to say that Combatants for Peace which you have lauded, loudly, has also become the fierce enemy of the Israeli far rigth as well as those who believe in the status quo. "Stand with U" denounced them as "extremist" and anti Israel and they has participated with much more frequancy in non violent acts civil disobedience against the further "expansion" of illegal settlemts as well as house evicttion, confronting the IDF in the process. Its goo that you enthusiastically support this work

8:58 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Mikeal:

You really don't get it.

You're the one who favours the status quo.

A strategy of boycotting "Zionist" goods has been a central part of the dysfunctional status quo in the Middle East since the 1940s. The pathetic PACBI pamphlet at Rabble you linked to? PACBI is the most full-throated defender of the status quo today. PACBI is the enemy of Combatants for Peace.

You can't have it both ways.

I merely regard Combatants for Peace as part of the legitimate Israeli-Palestinian anti-war movement, which you oppose by your critical support for boycotts, non-collaboration, divestment and non-cooperation.

I was far more emphatic in my support of One Voice, which you dismissed with a slur.

I'm with Vildechaye on this. You, IJV, and PACBI are yesterday's men. You want to stay mired in yesterday, it's up to you.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Fabián said...

What mikeal calls "far right Israelis" are actually, normal, common, every day Israelis.

"Its interesting to observe the pathology of someome like Fabian who seems t contruct his identity around his "enemies" and makes absurd "lists" of "good" and "bad" characters in history"

Actually, I never did that. I respect Albert Einstein, Ahad Aham, Hannah Arendt (as a philosopher) and Martin Buber. But the first had no problem working with people you apparently despise, the second was a staunch Zionist who died before the Arabs started making maximalist demands, the third was a binationalist with no special love or connection with the Jewish people, and the fourth was also a binationalist who only realized very late that he could not suscribe a single Arab to his vision.

As vildechaye said, you can only argue the way you do if you wilfully deny the Arab rejection of the Jews right to their own land and the violence this rejection brought upon all the people in the mandate.

1:44 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"I merely regard Combatants for Peace as part of the legitimate Israeli-Palestinian anti-war movement"

This is what I dont really get. "Stand with Us" and other groups who seem to assume that any criqitue of the occupation is neccesarilly always dubious, refers to Combatants for Peace, a group of Israelis and Palestinians who work together, protect Palestinian villagers from settler wgo harm them and themselves are often protected by the IDF, and conduct non violent actions against the wall and the very opppresive physical structures of the occupation. Surely such people who actually defend the very policies "Comatants for Peace" seek to undermine and protest against are also the enemies of the "anti war" movement, no? And what "conbantants" does is quite similar too the Israelis against House demoltion and Gush Shalom. represents a growing movement of individuals and groups who believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can never be achieved without addressing and redressing the issue of Palestinian human rights and want to acknowledge that what happened in the past matters that the narratives of both the Nakba and the Holocaust imform the way Israelis and palestinians think about thier experiences and that on a very basic level these stories need to be told and brought to light if two people are going to live peacefullly on the same land.

Again you say that Combatants for Peace is a group that you support and represents what i imagine is a model for the "anti war movement". Fair enough. What do you think then of the fact that groups with atrocious records on the issue of human rights, like StandWithUs, a large self styled "Israeli advocacy group" active on campuses catagerized Combatants for Peace like this.

"e did not identify Combatants for Peace as anti-Israel because we are "left" or "right" or because we want to silence criticism of Israel. Simply put, Combatants for Peace presentations are one-sided (blaming only Israel for the ongoing conflict), ignore context (like Palestinian terrorism and extremism) and make unsubstantiated charges against the Israel Defense Forces and Israel.

The StandWithUs mission is to counter, not to silence, such misinformation and unfounded accusations through education, precisely so there can be informed, open debate. Combatants for Peace does not meet this litmus test."

They sound like the very real enemies of the "legitimate anti war movement" to use your terms.

As for the arguments for or against boycotts as a strategy to undermine the actions "legitimate anti war" groups like CFP protest about I see the merits of both sides as long as the intricacy of the occupation is acknowledged openly and honestly. The late Edward Said, who Christopher Hitchens said in a lovely obituary, personality should have been the human and moral pattern for the middle east, detested the Arab cultural boycott adn always believed that the Palestinian cause was primarily a moral one gorunded on claims of justicve which shopuld be taken directly to the Israeli people, he worked with the great Israeli Daniel Barenboim to start joint music programs for Israeli and palestinians. But better than anyeone he expressed the moral weight of what had happned to the Palestinian people, they had been victis of the victim, dipossesed and made to feel aline on their onw land, and he did this while never embodying a chauvinistc nationalism, his heart always open to reconciliation. we miss him now.

Shouldn’t we be asking, Are you for or against ethnic cleansing, for or against torture, for or against house demolitions, for or against Jews-only roads and Jews-only settlements, for or against discriminatory laws? And if the answer comes, against, against and against, shouldn’t we then say, Keep your ideology, whatever it might be—there’s room for everyone in our camp? i think this is the point

11:05 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Interesting how you introduce another group nobody ever mentioned -- stand with us -- yet avoid (evade) addressing questions about your stated support for PACBI.

And, as always, the continuing burping out of Israel's crimes and misdeeds with nary a peep of context, as i mentioned earlier, this is like attacking the Americans for War Crimes against Germany and Japan in 1943-1945 without mentioning WWII.

I also notice that once again you offer no solutions other than BDS and a vain hope that some warm fuzzy zionism might reappear (a hope which, of course, the Palestinians do not share).

To paraphrase Fulford:
"[You] appear to have a foreign policy with only one item on its agenda, the same one [you] would have if [you] were in fact motivated fundamentally by anti-Semitism."

Maybe you should think about that as you consider your own anti-racist bona fides.

11:30 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

B.C. may be running out of salmon, but if the "standwithus" argument is any indicator, there's TONS of red herring still around.

11:43 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

CAn't resist:

Shouldn’t we be asking, Are you for or against suicide bombing, firing rockets indiscriminately against civilians, for or against other random acts of terror, for or against Jew-free countries (like Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and for or against discriminatory laws (like those against non-Muslims in virtually all countries calling themselves islamic? And if the answer comes, against, against and against, shouldn’t we then say, Keep your ideology, whatever it might be—there’s room for everyone in our camp? i think this is the point.

CAre to join us soon, mikey? I kinda doubt it.

11:05 AM

11:47 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Notice how Vildey unable and unwilling to actually defend the killing of oh 400 children in Gaza, the recent eviction of Palestinian families as part of Israel's illegal "expansion" in East Jerusalem, "Jew only' roads in the West Bank, a montrous wall ruled illegal by the ICJ which cuts of Palestinians from each otehr and their fertile land and other such kindred barbarities changes which he imagines are part and parcel of some deluded 'sefl defence policy" ,as if, changes the subject to the odious regimes of Saudi Arabia and the like, he doesnt include Iran (well the Iranian people are doing some heavy lifting of their own, and I doubt that Vildey support, as its predicated on the oppressions of another people, would be welcome anyway). All of this noise and distraction, as if palestinain self determination is somehow predicated on the behaviour of these police states who dont have a host of mainstream apologists, unlike those who support the policies "legitimate anti war groups", to use Terry descriptions, are themslves trying like hell to undermine and fight back against. Talk about red herrings.

12:00 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

As for red herrings when Hillel and Los Angelos and Brit Tzedek hosted joint Palestinian and Israeli talk by "Combnatants for Peace", a group Terry rightly supports to the extent that he calls them the "legitimate anti war" organisation, the Israeli Consul general in the area falsely "charged" them of being a Palestinian funded group mmeant to perpetuate slanders against the Israelu styate and "StandwithUs" one of the largest campus Israeli advocacy "groups" sullied themselves when the referred to CFP in even worst terms. How exactly does this help? Amd Terry since you are a supporter of "Combatants" whats your response to thesw type of political attacks?

12:14 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

buddy,

you an entire argument based on an an organization nobody's even mentioned, you've never once answered a single question or offered a single solution, and I'm the one with red herrings. Do me a favor.

And you've been banging on about 400 kids ad nauseam, yes well what is one supposed to say to that. I could do the same with suicide bombing, or indiscriminate rocket firing, which you've never even alluded to once in any of your pathetic posts.

what's your point, anyway. everybody knows war is hell, and killing is an outcome to be avoided. By harping on about the dead kids, you imply Israel is killing them randomly and just for the hell of it. I don't see you counting how many kids end up dead in any other war, only in this particular conflict do the number of dead children seem to have get your moral antenna to prick up.
And when only the children that Israel kills matter, it's safe to say that Fulford's formulation that i quoted earlier applies -- and how!

And what nonsense on Iran! First, you dont have a clue how i feel about Iran (or Israel for that matter). But this much i do know about you: Your position on Israel/Palestine is virtually identical to that of the ruling murdering clique of medieval fascist fanatics in control of that country today. so i think, once again, it takes quite a lot of chutzpah to imply that I support this current regime, when clearly you are so in line with its main foreign policy position.


solutions, buddy, solutions. and answers to questions that were actually posed. Real questions, that is, not "how do you feel about 400 dead kids?"

what whiny, deceptive, manipulative tactics will we be treated to next?

12:21 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"Your position on Israel/Palestine is virtually identical to that of the ruling murdering clique of medieval fascist fanatics in control of that country today."

I think that Vildey should be judged on this atrocious and bullshit statement. My 'postion" regarding Israel/Palestine comes from an understanding more broadly of the way on which orietalist and colonial discourse as well as polocu has created a stitation whereass the the indgenous population has found themselves exiled, made homeless and occupied and how this condition has been apologised for and made to sppear as its been done in the view of "democracy" or progress. I've been influenced by the prophetic contribtions of many Jewish left intellectuals, whose politics and cosmopolitican orientation granted them a very early critiqe of narrow messianic nationalism, drunk on military power and unable to listen to those who it seeks to make invisible. Ive also listened to the often silenced voices of Palestinians, heard their storief of loss, their striggles to endure.

For what its worth Palestinian suffering acts as a rhetorical fig leaf for the Saudi government, they could care aboutthe Palestinian plight and there is more than enough evidence which suggests to me that elements of the Saudi ruling class cheared Israel's hammerring of Lebanon in 2006 and the attack on Gaza. These regimes are concerned primarily with sefl preservation although I imagine that you might also view "Combantants for Peace", a "legitimate anti war" group, in Terry's words, to be agents too of Saudi or some kind of nefarious arab plot!

12:42 PM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Terry...

It's late, the music is awfully loud, and I think the neighbours might call the cops.

What started off as a night of classical music appreciation turned into a hardcore punk mosh pit.

Time to shut this party down.

12:50 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

as one of the main protagonists, i agree. shut it down.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

This conversation is closed.

1:32 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Nice. I agree. The points have been made. Over and over

1:39 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:34 AM  

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