A tribute to Vivian

I know you will be greeted up above by your Palestinian and Israeli partners in activism, and the thousands of other victims of this pointless war.

Nothing prepared me for yesterday’s bitter news of Vivian’s tragic end. I felt deep despair, like a bottomless sink-hole had opened under the foundations of humanity, where thousands are already buried – men, women, children, innocent Palestinians and Israelis. People who had wished for peace, and did not live to see that wish fulfilled. 


My life has been defined by genocide of Jewish people. I look on Gaza with concern

...I have focused on the kind of speech that enables and justifies genocide. To justify mass killing by self-protection, by the claim that its targets pose an existential threat, is the classical justification for genocide.
To my fellow Jewish people: the actions of the State of Israel are being committed in the name of our preservation worldwide. It is incumbent on those of us who are Jewish to clearly and openly call for a halt to Israel’s assault on Gaza. If we do not succeed in stopping the bombing, our children and grandchildren are at risk of inheriting a double identity: not just as targets of mass killings of civilians, but also as those who stood by when mass killings were committed in their names.



The Left Is Not “Anti-Jewish”

What we are witnessing is an effort to get people to see slogans like “Free Palestine” as anti-Semitic and the protests as threats to Jewish existence.


Two States: To the Palestinian Peace Movement: A Plea for Solidarity

(…and why a “one-state solution” is probably off the table) 

I know that my thoughts on this issue will displease many. I am used to it. I know there are many serious, deeply sincere proponents of Palestinian rights and a just peace who have supported a so called one-state solution. Many of us, myself included, have continued to support the two-state option. Because the slaughter in Gaza is so relentless today, and a quick end to the violence there is desperately needed, it is imperative that advocates of human rights agree on a viable endgame for a just peace in Palestine. Only then can we present a coherent case to the wider world. Time is of the essence. 

Read more: Two States: To the Palestinian Peace Movement: A Plea for Solidarity

Gaza Ghetto: Lessons from History

It is hard for many people to get their heads around what is happening in Gaza today. Whatever “side” you are on, the sheer brutality is hard to bear. Israel seems bent on amplifying a strategy that has never worked before. There are certain points on which reference to history really sheds a clear light on this ongoing carnage (and on why it will probably fail to bring peace). 

In 2006, Hezbollah in Lebanon staged a raid on an Israeli patrol across its immediate border with Israel. Israel responded with overwhelming, disproportionate force (as they are doing in Gaza today). They claimed they would eliminate the threat of Hezbollah once and for all (like they are claiming about Hamas in Gaza today). Their attack killed many hundreds of Lebanese civilians and wreaked havoc on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. There were immediate calls for a ceasefire (just like today), but the US resisted them for a long time, falsely believing they could give Israel time and cover to ‘finish the job’ (just like today). Both the US and Israel ended in an embarrassed retreat. In fact, Hezbollah inflicted enormous pain on Israeli forces and emerged stronger than before. This was basically the formula for every one of the repeated attacks Israel has launched against Hamas in the years since then.

In a 2014 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Henry Siegman, a very reputable Jewish-American leader, spoke out about Palestinian resistance (https://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/13/henry_siegman_leading_us_jewish_voice). He basically said that the Palestinians had never done anything that the extreme Zionists who now lead Israel had not tried before. My own research bears this out. I think he was thinking in particular about Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in the 1940s. 

Siegman grew up with a father who was a noted Zionist. Guests at the family dinner table included Yitzhak Rabin, later to become the Israeli PM who, when he moved towards peace, was assassinated by a Jewish terrorist. Siegman later became convinced that Zionism had taken a tragic turn and spoke out against it. Of all the many horrors of the last century, the episode of the Warsaw Ghetto is surely the best scenario to compare with the slaughter in Gaza today. 

Read more: Gaza Ghetto: Lessons from History



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