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As Mainstream Comes Down Hard on Palestinians, Sanders Cites Human Rights Violations in Gaza

As Mainstream Comes Down Hard on Palestinians, Sanders Cites Human Rights Violations in Gaza

Philip Weiss

Not surprisingly, mainstream American politicians were unequivocal in condemning Palestinians for the rocket attacks that went back and forth between Israel and Gaza over the weekend. Below are several statements from Democratic pols and liberal Israel support groups showing that there is no room in the mainstream US discourse for criticizing Israeli violence or speaking about Israel’s 13-year-long blockade on Gaza or its slaughter of Palestinian demonstrators at the fence over the last year, let alone its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Evenhanded? One side has all the power, the other has nothing.

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There’s Sen. Sanders and then a whole lot of crickets* running for the Democratic nomination for POTUS.
J Street & Co. campaign fundraisers must have $200-300 million laying around just to hand out to the likes of Swawell, Castro, Ryan, Moulton, etc., to stop the progressive movement of Sen. Sanders and his fellow Sandernistas.
All that money to bring chaos to the MENA, S. America and Africa but none for M4A, infrastructure, education, new clean energy grids…Don’t look too closely at these Democratic candidates, please. They’ll all start resembling Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Diane Feinstein. And, eventually just morph into AbidenBots.

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I certainly won’t be renewing my J Street membership after this.

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Even though there are plenty of issues concerning foreign policy I disagree with Sanders with I admit he has been on the right side of the Israel-Palestine issue.

To the US MSM, it’s always the Palestinians who “started” it. This blindness is the result of a carefully crafted and regularly nurtured Zionist narrative, and its underlying myth of “a people without a land, a land without a people.”

According to this narrative, it’s never the Palestinians responding to being dispossessed and caged into open air prisons, but poor Israelis responding to “terror.”

It’s never the Palestinians upset at having their land forcibly “partitioned” out from underneath them in order to provide primarily European Jews a safe haven from horrible persecution, it’s instead Zionists “defending themselves” against hordes who are attacking them for no apparent reason whatsoever other than their “anti-Semitism.”

When it comes to “peace talks,” it’s not the Palestinians agreeing to part with nearly 90 percent of historic Palestine despite having been forcibly imposed upon all these decades, it’s the Israelis graciously “offering” to part with their land to these “irrational and ungrateful” natives.

What started out as a propaganda ploy to ease the guilty consciences of well-intentioned Zionists has now been transformed over time in the US MSM into “historical truth.” That is why the Zionist narrative poses such an obstacle to a just and lasting peace.

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I just now realized something. I had NO trouble seeing the ‘truth’ even though I am just as besieged by propaganda as the rest. I have Comcast cable and have the same networks in my channel listings. I have used Facebook and Twitter and visited a great deal of news and political websites.

What’s the difference between myself and those who suffer from the blindness?
I have my theories and opinions of course. However, it just sort of dawned on me that if people today still can’t distinguish between ethical and immoral actions and obvious propaganda, we are in a hell of a lot of trouble. I also am not counting on Americans to use their vote wisely either.

Come to think of it. I think it may be time for those of us who can use critical thinking and logic and are ethical and have empathy to start looking for a wonderful plot of land to start our own commune away from the idiots.

I support the right of Jews and Palestinians to go on living in our shared homeland, but I don’t agree with Sanders’ view that Israel has the right to exist. In fact, the only workable futures that involve Israel’s continued existence are morally indefensible, and this is the elephant in the room.

Settlement and annexation have made the idea of a Palestinian state separate from currently-acknowledged Israeli territory look increasingly bleak. The status quo is a single state with three sets of laws: one for Jews, one for non-Jewish citizens, and one for Palestinian refugees. All of these are, effectively, subject to Israeli law; the third category is the most marginalized. Israel is effectively an apartheid state, even acknowledging that the reasons for Jewish return to Palestine are not comparable to the reasons for Dutch and British settlement in South Africa.

The only realistic solution is a single state-of-all-its-citizens, Palestine, with substantial reparations for families of Palestinian refugees. The two-state solution is a fantasy, and the status quo is morally indefensible.

I largely agree, but the reason “European Jews” lived in Europe is because we were lucky enough to escape genocide in Palestine at the hands of the chief European power of the time (Rome/Byzantium), and at no point did we ever become a fully assimilated people. To equate us with our oppressors is a subtle form of antisemitism that can creep into these discussions.

I’d love to see a world where Jews are at peace with our neighbors all over the world; I think we’re so much more than what the State of Israel wants to reduce us to. We are, in fact, a shining example of how states are completely unnecessary for the maintenance of nations/cultures. But to call us “Europeans” when we are still today being killed for being outsiders to the West is breaking us down at every turn. “European Jews” are European in the sense that we were colonized and oppressed by Europeans, who even now continue to use us as their scapegoats whenever popular discontent arises.

I also think your assertion that the State of Israel was primarily a refuge for “European Jews” is demonstrably false, but this has been discussed elsewhere and is not something I want to get into once again.

AIPAC owns the congress, zionists own the MSM. enuf said…

I did not say exclusively European Jews. If you read my post carefully, I explicitly said “primarily European Jews,” as they comprised the largest segment of those initially escaping the horrors of the Holocaust at the time of the Zionist Project. Certainly others also availed themselves of such refuge.

Nor was my use of the term “European” meant to imply that those Jews who lived there had fully assimilated. It was to point out that vast majority of Jews coming to Palestine during the Zionist Project had not resided in (or native to) Palestine, but had been in Europe for nearly the past 2000 years.

And before we start on “rights of return,” Zionists who claim that they are returning to a residence in Palestine after an absence of over 2000 years, but those indigenous Palestinians who were displaced less that 75 years ago (who still have keys to the homes from which there were evicted) have no such right of return, is simply the height of disingenuousness.

I am aware of the expulsion of Jews from Palestine by Rome/Byzantium. But Jews were actually living in Jerusalem for hundreds of years prior to 1900. This was made possible, it bears noting, by the Islamic leader Saladin, and thereafter the Islamic Ottomans, who encouraged this repopulation of Jews in Jerusalem nearly a thousand years ago, notwithstanding the blatant Islamophobia of many Zionists.

Nevertheless, left out of the Zionist narrative (focusing exclusively on the good intentions of creating a Jewish refuge) are those upon whom Zionists forcibly imposed themselves in order to create this refuge. What’s worse is that some of these Zionists now dare to pretend that the Palestinians don’t even exist, hence the myth of “a people without a land, a land without a people.” That is why this narrative is such an intransigent obstacle to peace.

Nor did I ever equate Jews with their European oppressors: I pointed repeatedly to the crimes of Zionists (and their allies) and their forcibly imposed project upon Palestine’s indigenous population. Based upon the rest of your post, it appears that your erroneous conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism seems unintentional.

But make no mistake: those who intentionally equate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (both Zionists and racists, but for different reasons) are equally guilty for the bigotry that follows.

First of all, you appear to be making the assumption that I don’t support Palestinian right of return, which I do. 100%. I also support the abolition of the State of Israel and significant reparations made to the Palestinian people, something I stated already in the post prior to the one you’re replying to. I know that Zionism was always a mistake and many Jews knew it was a mistake from the very start. It was tragic and horrific in the effect it had on the non-Jewish population of the land. I support a strong Diaspora Judaism where “Israel” is again de-centered, because I have no intention of living there and I don’t want to see all the nations of the world building walls to keep each other out.

Secondly, there are some factual inaccuracies in your reply: for example, the genocide and depopulation of Jews from Palestine didn’t happen 2000 years ago; it happened gradually over the course of Roman/Byzantine rule and led all the way up to the Arab invasion, which many Jews participated in, hoping for (and receiving) relief from the brutal reign of the Byzantines. And then further depopulation of Jews happened during the Crusades, making the period of time in which Jews were being expelled much more recent than you’re claiming. Not only that, but Jews were constantly on the move, rabbis were often called to visit distant communities, and there are many examples of Jews moving between the communities of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

To call the early Zionists “European” is to ignore all of this. And you seem a bit confused as well: the Holocaust ended up being the source of a significant amount of European Jewish immigration, but Zionism began over 100 years before that. While the first settlers were indeed primarily coming from Europe, the very first Zionists were Yemenite Jews, who, contrary to what you’re claiming about Jews returning in large numbers almost 1000 years ago, were only allowed to return to Palestine right around that same time. Earlier repopulations were very limited by design.

As much as I do acknowledge that Jews in the Muslim world were always treated far better than in Europe, this wasn’t constant; it depended on who was in power, what current material conditions were like, etc… Some Muslim rulers treated Jews well; others did not. The Yemenite Jewish community had a long history of mistreatment at the hands of their Arab and Ottoman rulers. At the hands of European Jews in Israel/Palestine too, yes, but colonized people often internalize the attitudes of our colonizers, and “European Jews” are no exception to this rule.

The problem with the last thing you’re saying is that just because Westerners are talking about Palestine doesn’t give them total immunity against all accusations of antisemitism, and most Western leftists seem to believe it does. Ironically, this creates a sort of Dunning-Krueger effect among Western anti-Zionists, where no effort is ever made to avoid antisemitism because it’s seen as impossible within an anti-Zionist context. A perfect example of such casual antisemitism going unchecked is your implication that Nazis and Zionists are equally to blame for the rise in antisemitism.

You’re dealing here with multiple axes of oppression, and it’s possible for you to reinforce one while trying to fight the other. This is most common among white European anti-Zionists, far less common among Palestinians - and even if it happened among Palestinians, I would excuse it, because no one likes their oppressor.

Paragraph 1: I am glad you are opposed to Zionism. We are happily in agreement here.

Paragraph 2: As I stated in my post, I was speaking of the period from 1187 when Saladin (recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders) and moving forward thereafter with the Ottomans until 1900, when Jews were encouraged to return.

Of course there were Jews in Jerusalem even before then, but only a tiny number compared to the overwhelming number elsewhere (hence my word “primarily” and my specific mention of Jews having living there for hundreds of years). Of course this was due to persecution. Not really sure what significant differences you are trying to argue with.

Paragraph 3: The architects of the Zionist Project were primarily European and heavily influenced by European political theories. They were also supported by European colonial powers (ironically by some Europeans as an effort to get rid of Jews in their countries). There is no denying these facts.

I never said there were not small numbers of other non-European Jews in Jerusalem (like Yemeni Jews and others) hence again, my phrase “primarily European.” I also never said that Jews immigrated in large numbers a 1000 years ago. I stated that they were encouraged to do so for the first time meaningfully since the Crusades by Saladin about a 1000 years ago, and by the Ottomans thereafter, and those who chose to take them up on the offer remained there for hundreds of years. But at no time during these periods were Jews more than a tiny minority of the residents of Palestine until the Zionist Project. Again, not sure what significant differences you are arguing with here.

Paragraph 4: While there were certainly instances of intolerance of Jews in Islamic lands, these unfortunate and tragic events were minor compared to the systematic and institutionalized persecution of Jews throughout Europe for nearly 2000 years, from Rome/Byzantium, the Crusades (which often began with warm-up" pogroms against local Jews), the Spanish Reconquista, and culminating in the horrors of the Holocaust. Again, not sure what significant differences you are arguing here.

Paragraphs 5-6: There is a simple way to see the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Look at words. If people speak of the crimes of “Jews” rather than those of “Israel” or “Zionists,” then you have your answer. I agree that some cross that line (intentionally or accidentally - much like you did unintentionally in response to my post) but the answer lies in supporting anti-Zionism as equally as criticizing anti-Semitism, and with equal zeal.

Which brings us to the last line of my post which you completely misunderstand, " [b]ut make no mistake: those who intentionally equate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (both Zionists and racists, but for different reasons) are equally guilty for the bigotry that follows."

Zionists do it intentionally to use anti-Semitism as a shield against criticism of their crimes, in effect demeaning the term and minimizing the very real and horrible anti-Semitism that exists in the world.

Racists do it simply because they are unable or unwilling to see the difference between the two: in their small reptilian racist minds, all Jews are Zionists…