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Why Natalie Portman is not the Real Story

Why Natalie Portman is not the Real Story

Catherine Rottenberg

Natalie Portman is no anti-Zionist. She has a long history of supporting Israel and has often been described as a liberal Zionist. Let's not forget that she directed and starred in, A Tale of Love and Darkness, expressing her immense admiration for Amos Oz, an iconic Zionist and one of Israel's best novelists.

To quote a once-ubiquitous cigarette commercial, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” My respect for Ms. Portman (which began she portrayed Evey in “V”) will increase in direct proportion to the distance she puts between herself and the slimy Dershowitz.

And no, of course she’s not the real story, but her celebrity has drawn welcome attention to the real real story.

Well, if not exactly a St. Paul’s Damascus conversion experience; Ms. Portman’s willingness to suffer something for the cause of, non-violent protest for humanity, sounds similar to those sent earlier to the Jewish people to remind them of social justice, like Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah.
America’s religious nationalists (Trumps evangelical base) might well take
note of what the Jewish and Christian command, “to love the neighbor” is all about.


Overall this has been a nonviolent protest in Gaza although there have been reports of some participants having guns or grenades. It sounds a little some nonviolent marches and rallies in the US where some violent black bloc protesters show up and wind up dominating the headlines. This has turned into a tragic situation in Gaza because Israel has decided to use lethal means to prevent Palestinians from getting through the fence and into Israel. One would think there are better alternatives available to a modern army. Many American Jews are very frustrated with the Israeli government because it will not stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem even though the Palestinians have made that a precondition for peace negotiations. Obama requested that settlement building be halted and he was ignored. Israeli citizens have the power to vote in a government that has a better chance of reaching a peaceful agreement with the Palestinians than the right wing Likud government but they haven’t so far and appear to be trending right with dwindling support for the left wing Labor Party. With extremists on both sides wanting the entire land of Palestine and unwilling to settle for anything less the possibility of peaceful compromise appears to be growing more remote.

Important article. Well said.

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Good point, super-clearly developed - that Portman is an index: an index both of Israel’s increasingly violent repression of Palestinian demands for justice, and of changing U.S. attitudes towards that repression.

Important web sites:

https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/ (JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE)

http://cfpeace.org/ (COMBATANTS FOR PEACE)

http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/ (BREAKING THE SILENCE)

http://ifamericaknew.org/ (IF AMERICANS KNEW)

The Palestinians are humans which means they are capable of compromise. There are also Jewish religious extremists who will not be satisfied unless all the land is a Jewish state. As I said there are extremists on both sides who want all the land. There are also people on both sides who are willing to compromise to reach a peace agreement. Fatah has been involved in negotiations for peace on a number of occasions. Right wing Jewish extremists parties are part of the government because the Likud Party needed them to form a government which makes a peace agreement difficult. Both sides have people wanting to negotiate a peace agreement for a two-state solution and both sides have people who do not want that to happen and want the all the land.

Overall----this has been an extremely violent “protest” organized by the corrupt and genocidal Hamas despots. The Palestinians have not adhered to any previous treaties with Israel and there should be no “preconditions” ever allowed to restart any kind of negotiations. That would be a recipe for a repeat of the Oslo farce. While the Israeli democracy has made over a dozen offers of a two state solution, the Palestinians have not even counter offered in response to any of them.

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The version that I read in the NY Times was that the protest was organized by a peaceful grassroots organization and that Hamas got involved for its own purposes. Your comment is simply filled with falsehoods. Anyone who has followed this issue knows that Arafat came near to signing a peace agreement when Bill Clinton was involved. There should be preconditions because the settlements are illegal (it is illegal to build settlements in occupied territory). The settlements should be halted. The UN says so, Obama says so, and many American Jewish leaders say so, and many orderinar American Jews say so.

Biblical Israel means nothing in this situation with regard to determining borders. Nobody settles land disputes based on the Torah or Bible. What matters is what the international bodies like the UN decide and the results of military actions and negotiations. The early Zionists were secular not religious. Israel has gone along with the UN and the Arabs did not when Israel and Transjordan were established. I think that is Israel’s strongest argument. Looking back it was probably unrealistic that there could ever be peace in the region when Britain issued the Balfour Declaration but it happened and we have to live with it. We can not turn back history. So now we have millions of people living in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank and they still are in conflict all these years later. The Arab nations came up with a peace plan where Israel would go back to pretty much the 1967 borders. That seems like a reasonable plan to use in negotiations. Right now the situation in the West Bank and Gaza is intolerable from a human rights perspective. Probably most American Jews find it abhorrent. Hamas clearly is a problem. Before there was an Hamas the prospects for a peaceful solution seemed much better. The Israeli settlement movement is also a problem. Before that occurred the prospects of peace also seemed better. It would seem to be in most peoples’ interest to find a peaceful solution and overcome the obstacles to peace caused by the religious extremists on both sides.

I write with respect for the perspectives both of GuildF312S and of Catherine Rottenberg.

In that spirit, I suggest – I urge – that when someone takes an action with which “we” agree (I agree with Portman) “we” not respond by criticizing the speaker for prior or contemporaneous insufficiency.

Say what you will of the Black Panthers, one could do worse than to adopt their perspective: “Use what you got to get what you need.”

In the same spirit, I suggest that the “story” is about neither Portman nor “the changing conditions that have pushed her to make this decision.”

The “real story” is about putting an end to Israeli occupation of Palestine. Every contribution to that effort is a “real story.” To welcome, and make use of, Portman’s contribution is in no way to denigrate the contributions of others. Nor does grading the alleged impurity of Portman’s “anti-Zionism” support the contributions of others. She and “the others” are not in a contest for who is most “real.”

Is not the response most helpful to the work of those others, to whom Catherine Rottenberg refers, Great! Another voice heard in support of what “we” think is right.