Israel: The Jewish-Exclusivist State, Running Out of Borrowed Time

[Caught between its long-discredited mythological claim of “democracy” and its Jewish (Settler-Colonial and Palestinian-Expelling) State reality, the discrediting and de-legitimizing of Israel and the unraveling of its power relations is accelerating by the day.  Even Israel’s closest backers are finding that the defense of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes carries an exceptional political price, so large that it not only damages the credibility of Israel, but the credibility of its backers, with no chance of recovery.   —  Frontlines ed.]

Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia

Philip Weiss on December 6, 2014
omar-barghouti

OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Omar Barghouti’s appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday night felt like a landmark in the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. A large hall at the law school was crowded to overflowing and the mood was celebratory. Luminaries of the community were in attendance, among them Lila Abu-Lughod, Rula Jebreal, Rashid Khalidi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Dorothy Zellner, Lia Tarachansky. Barghouti’s speech was hugely optimistic. He said that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement was racking up victories far faster than the organizers had imagined when they began nine years ago, faster than the South African movement had progressed. And the BDS movement has the “closet” support of the Netanyahu administration, which was doing its utmost to demonstrate the fallacy of a Jewish democracy.

The suspense of waiting for the Israel supporters to say something was a bit of a fizzle, not the big drama it used to be at such events. Law professor Katherine Franke had urged the crowd not to be civil in discussing one of the most challenging moral questions of our time, and at the end, a man at the back said he had a short question.

“Do you believe that the Jewish people have a right to self determination?” And if so, “Where should it be?”

Barghouti said it was not up to him as a Palestinian to decide whether Jewish communities make up a nation, and where they should have a state. Though he pointed out that there was not consensus among Jews globally about whether they are a people; this is a recent debate, and in fact up till the 1945 the majority of  Jews did not support Jewish nationhood. Then he said sharply:

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Israel’s apologists for ethnic cleansing say a Black Icon (MLK Jr) supported the Zionist Apartheid State. The truth?

Counterpunch, March 01, 2012
Hucksters for Israel attempt to make up for in chutzpah what they lack in facts.

On opening night of the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week at NYU — at an event featuring Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat, leading Palestinian figures in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign — apologists for Israel’s crimes showcased one of their more curious myths. Defenders of Israel repeatedly argued in the Q & A section that America’s foremost Black icon, Martin Luther King Jr., was an arch defender of the Jewish state.

Let’s explore the evidence.

Pro-Israel Web sites, politicians and campus activists often reference the source of their claim about MLK’s defense of Israel by citing King’s “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” supposedly published in an August 1967 edition of  the Saturday Review. Here’s the quote they cite:

“… You declare, my friend; that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist’ … And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews… Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.”

This quote even made its way into an excellent exposé of Israel’s deadly decades-long relationship with apartheid South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s  The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South AfricaIn fact, I repeated part of the quote in my own review of the book, much to my regret. Later I discovered that the MLK letter was a hoax.

Antiracist activist Tim Wise published an article on Znet in 2003, “Fraud Fit for a King,”  in which he documents the fact that no such letter appears in any of the 1967 issues of the Saturday Review.

The alternative source provided by Zionists for this apparently nonexistent letter is a nonexistent book by King, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to the authors of Electronic Intifada’s 2004 piece that further details this bamboozle, “Israel’s Apologists and the Martin Luther King Hoax”: ”No such book was listed in the bibliography provided by the King Center in Atlanta, nor in the catalogs of several large public and university libraries.” Continue reading

Open letter: I wish you Egypt!

by Omar Barghouti

I wish you empowerment to resist; to fight for social and economic justice; to win your real freedom and equal rights.

I wish you the will and skill to break out of your carefully concealed prison walls. See, in our part of the world, prison walls and thick inviolable doors are all too overt, obvious, over-bearing, choking; this is why we remain restive, rebellious, agitated, and always in preparation for our day of freedom, of light, when we gather a critical mass of people power enough to cross all the hitherto categorical red lines.

We can then smash the thick, cold ugly, rusty chains that have incarcerated our minds and bodies for all our lives like the overpowering stench of a rotting corpse in our claustrophobic prison cell.

Your prison cells, however, are quite different. The walls are well hidden lest they evoke your will to resist. There is no door to your prison cell–you may roam about “freely,” never recognizing the much larger prison you are still confined to. Continue reading