Posts tagged Palestine

UN documents, Passover, Peace

I havn’t written here in awhile. I have been caught up with school and life and the likes….BUT, in doing some research I found a website that has access to documents and correspodance dealing with Palestine since the British Mandate period after WWI.

Here is the UN page dealing with Palestine

and here is the page with documents predating the state of Israel (pre 1948)

If you are interested in the peace process (and you shoudl be) I encourage you to thumb through these websites. I am definitly sick of relying on news media sources, even progressive ones. I think they are good in exposing stories and circulating them, but the people really involved in creating a peace in Palestine are working through governmental agencies and not just news outlets.

Here is an exerpt from a PLO official letter dated from Febuary of this year:

In this regard, in follow-up to my previous letters to you regarding Israel’s illegal colonization activities, I regret to inform you of the demolition and eviction orders recently issued by Israel, the occupying Power, in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. In the past week, the occupying Power ordered the eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in the centre of East Jerusalem by ordering the evacuation of 27 homes there. This was followed by a decision during the current week to order the eviction of 1,500 Palestinians from their homes in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

Contrary to the false, empty pretext given by Israel, the orders clearly aim at the illegal confiscation of Palestinian property and land and the forced displacement of more Palestinian civilians from East Jerusalem. These unlawful and provocative orders by the occupying Power have stoked already heightened tensions, threatening to further destabilize the fragile situation on the ground and, moreover, have been thoroughly rejected by the Palestinian people and their leadership.

As we have repeatedly warned, the direct and deliberate intent of all of these illegal colonization measures is to entrench Israel’s presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to facilitate its attempts to illegally acquire and de facto annex even more Palestinian land. Such destructive, racist and colonial policies and measures constitute grave violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and the Security Council has, in numerous resolutions, clearly declared the illegality and invalidity of such measures by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

These unlawful measures are seriously undermining the contiguity, integrity, viability and unity of the Palestinian Territory. Moreover, as has been widely recognized, this relentless land grab is gravely jeopardizing — if not completely destroying — the prospect for physically realizing the two-State solution for peace, on which there exists an international consensus.

The international community, including the Security Council, must act to address these dangerous developments. Israel, the occupying Power, cannot be permitted to continue to so flagrantly and grossly breach international law without consequence. The international community must demand Israel’s compliance with all of its obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, by which it is bound as the occupying Power, and demand the cessation of all of its illegal policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Hope and belief in the potential for making peace a reality are rapidly diminishing in the face of such incessant Israeli breaches of international law and violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people under its occupation since 1967. Peace and security in the Middle East can never be achieved by colonization, displacement, disenfranchisement, collective punishment and oppression; it can only be achieved by respect for international law, human rights and United Nations resolutions. Urgent action is thus required by the international community, including all relevant United Nations bodies, to stop this illegal behaviour by Israel, which runs totally contrary to and is destroying the purpose, spirit and goals of the peace process, to the irreversibility of which the Security Council declared its commitment in resolution 1850 (2008).


This was written by the permanent observer  to Palestine, Riyad Mansour. He is right, peace and security cannot and will never come from colonization, collective punishment, and displacement. Which is exactly the policy of Israel towards Palestine. The settlements in Palestine and the demolition of Palesitinian homes is the current day colonization.  When Jews all over the world celebrate Passover tonight and the important fight against oppression, I hope they remember who are the oppressors now.  Israel, the Jewish Nationalist State has taken the star of David and made it into a flag of oppression and war. I hope Jews who are global citizens and care about all human beings will sit down to the cedar tonight and vow to fight Israel and its present administration. They have almost irrevovably hurt Judaism and it is up to us to reclaim Judaism to stand for a peaceful philosophy, not a nationalist and militarist state.


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RIP Natasha Richardson

I was so saddened to hear of Natasha Richardson‘s tragic death today. I cried for her and her family, and it really reminded me that each day has to be lived fully with integrity. In reading about Natasha’s life, I read about her mother Vanessa Redgrave.

Vanessa Redrave has been a radical activist for most of her life. Her outspokenness is inspirational. In 1977 she won an oscar for her role in Julia which was about the terror of the Nazi regime against Jews. Because she had also produced and narrated a documentary about the plight of the Palestinian people, many people in the Zionist propaganda machine tried to block her nomination. In her acceptance speech for Julia, she addressed and thanked the Academy for not being swayed by the “Zionist hoodlums.” I personally think this is great. Later a Jewish screenwriter broke from the script and stated how much he hated people using the Oscars to spout their politics.

Here is the clip of both:

This reminds me that I should not shy away from being outspoken and opinionated regardless of the feelings I might hurt or the attacks I might receive. 

What I admire most about Redgrave’s politics is that she felt so deeply for both the Jewish people’s suffering and that of the Palestinians. She understands the difference between Jews and Zionists. I want to contribute to teaching people about the difference. I want more and more Jews to stand up against Zionist Israel. 

Israel is becoming more and more isolated according to a new york times article. The world public opinion is turning away from them as the truth of their expansionism and militarism is becoming more widespread. It is an interesting article, I suggest you take the time to read it. It talks about the new public imaging and rebranding that Israel is going to implement. I think it will be pretty hard to rebrand after the last 60 years of war. The only rebranding they can do is to seriously embark on a peace process, which the new Bibi administration says is not on their priority list!

Anyway, back to the Natasha Richardson. I truly pray for your family right now. Just in a few days these peoples lives have been changed. When celebrities die it impacts us because we felt we sort of knew them. But it reminds me that so many nameless people are dying, not by tragic accidental deaths, but by preventable violent acts of war. The tragedy of one mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend dying can impact people exponentially, and for the rest of their lives. Imagine the rage, shock, and horror when this is not an accident, but the result of a process of occupation and violence. 

I pray for Tristan Anderson who is has also is suffering from a head injury. He will hopefully pull through, but his injury was not a ski accident, but the Israeli Military firing a high velocity tear gas canister into his head. 

I recently had to write a paper on my personal philosophy of history. I wrote about radical history, and the practice of history for the goal of social change. Radical history is not always popular, but it is important. The radical element in the way I practice history will probably marginalize my audience, but it is still important to speak the unpopular truths.

Anyway, this has been a sort of incoherent blogpost…but thats okay…I just thought the clip of Vanessa Redgrave was pretty great, and I wanted to say how sad and affected I am by Natasha’s death.

Its just so sad:


Rest in Peace Natasha…

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Rabbis against the occupation


I really believe it is the job of Jewish Americans to stand up against Zionist aggression and crimes committed by the Israeli government and the IDF.

This along with many other organizations are beginning to expose the truth of what Israel stands for, and these organizations are making it possible for Jews to reclaim their reputations in international community. Protesting Israel is not anti-Semitism. Protesting Israel is standing up for human rights which is the concern of not just Jews but all people.

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And yet more musings on Israel, Holocaust, Zionism, and world peace

So I think that I might be loosing my sensitivity about the Holocaust.  I need to check that, because I do not want to come across as someone who doesn’t understand how truly awful the deliberate and scientific persecution of Jews (and gypsys and gays) was.

But, I keep thinking about trying to value all life equally, and that the way we (the generations since the Holocaust) think about the Holocaust is too singular. Meaning, that we need to be more angry about current genocidal practices than past ones. When I say we should move towards forgiveness, I by no means think that we should forget the Holocaust. I mean, I am a historian so I obviously think it is incredibly important to remember our shared past, which includes some of the darkest acts possible by fellow human beings. In stead of talking about the politics of how we remember the Holocaust, maybe we should learn from it. And by learning from it I don’t mean perpetuating the idea that there is evil in this world and that Jews are not safe unless they are armed with nuclear weapons. I don’t mean that Anti-Semitism in our  (global) history is too omnipresent for there ever to be an era of newfound good feelings and mutual respect among religions and ethnicities. I just am looking towards the perhaps unrealistic idea that there can be a new world order with mutual respect amongst everyone. 


The situation in the Middle East is intolerable, just as the situation in Germany and greater Europe in the 1930s and 40s. We (global community) did not do enough then. Maybe back then the answer would have been more public outcry, less appeasement and isolationism, and yes perhaps more military action against Nazi aggression. Today, I do not think that the answer is in military action. The threat of nuclear and biochemical weapons is too great, we cannot afford to use violence to solve any problems anymore. 

So what does that leave us? Diplomacy, World Courts and International Laws, and Education. I think the lesson of Vietnam can be that you cannot win over hearts and minds with nepalm. The lesson of Iraq is that preemptive war does not bring peace, and the lesson of Iran is that interventionism has blowback effects and that when there are countries that have paternalistic and imperialistic ideas on how to run the world, the people of the world suffer.

The situation in Gaza right now is a tragedy, and not just for those living there, but for Jews all over the world. The Jewish identity is being dragged into a war that MANY do not support. By doing research, one can find countless groups of Jews who organize with each other and with Muslim groups to advocate for the end of the occupation. By doing even more research one can find evidence of the contraversy over the Zionist state in Israel. It was not supported by all Jews and a incredible propaganda movement was unleashed to convert American Jews to the idea that there had to be a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

The history of the modern world has unfolded often tragically, especially for the Jewish people. But now that Jews have a degree of political and economic power, it is time to show the world what good they can do for world peace. 

May an era of forgiveness, justice, and peace be in our future.

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Former IDF Members Speak Against IDF

I like to post links to articles and videos that I think show that not all Israeli’s and Jews are drinking the current Zionist koolaid.

Here is an article by one such man, Simcha Leventhal  who served on the IDF from 2000-2003. 

I am so grateful to the people who speak out against the moral degradation of Israel Nationalism and Policy.

If you don’t read the link, please read this on his call to challenge the Israeli Government’s War Policy:

Challenging them, we must quote not only the numbers of dead civilians, many of them women and children, but we must also say openly that the methods used by our military were ones with known results. Our government knew in advance that the artillery shells would result in hundreds of civilians dead and wounded and thousands of homes destroyed. When they decided to move forward anyway, they did so in complete disregard of international law, dragging our military to a new moral low.


Here is a video with the testimony of another former IDF member speaking his truth on the IDF and the immoral occupation of Palestine:

His message is that we need a true moral debate on the implications of the occupation on both Israeli and Palestinian societies, and to do this, more IDF members and Israelis must speak their truths on the immoral actions of their government.


Here is a much longer video on the testimonies of two veterans of the IDF:



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No comment

This is awful…I don’t even know what to say. 

But I am glad it aired on the widely watched news program, 60 minutes

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more musings on israel

I read an interesting article about self-deception and what is and has been happening in Israel since its inception. The article asks why it is that Israel (the nation state, not the people) believes that they can fight terror by killing terrorists, and that not showing restraint and allowing civilian casualties will contribute to an end of Palestinian terrorism. How is it that they don’t understand that by killing civilians they are creating more terrorists?

I was watching democracy now the other day and a guy was interviewing different jews in two different protests in new york. One protest was in support of Israel and their campaign in Gaza. One woman said that Palestinians hate jews and that Israel wont be safe until they get rid of all those arabs. The interviewer asked how she felt about civilian deaths, and she said something about the 6 million civilian deaths during the Holocaust. Ok the interviewer says, but the Palestinians didn’t have anything to do with the Holocaust, yes the woman says, but they are continuing it, ok says the interviewer, but what about Palestinian children, they surely are innocent here, and the woman said we have to kill those children in order to protect ours.

WHAT?!? ( i had tears in my eyes)


Another girl, younger than me, was interviewed and said that Jews fight back now, you can’t fuck with Jews, they (?) are persecuting Jews for the trillionth time, it won’t stop until we stop it.  ”we have to wipe them all out” “those who are dying are suffering the wrath of god” 







However, there was also a protest of American Jews who abhor what Israel is doing and are against the occupation. This was relieving to see.  One man, at the protest, a playwright, called out the incomprehensible and tragically misguided policy of Israel, and stated that as a Jew and as an American he wanted an immediate ceasefire an end to the occupation and real peace talks. I agree. But according to some I guess they would not be considered either real Jews or real Americans.

How sad is this? People do not get angry at Israel and their tactics for dealing with conflict with their neighbors because of their religion. They get angry because they do not show any restraint when it comes to killing innocent civilians.

The Geneva convention states the international law when it comes to the treatment of civilians during a time of war. Israel has said that this law does not pertain to the situation in Palestine.  The international court of justice ruled in 2004 that the building of the partitioning wall was illegal. Time and time again, Israel has held itself above international law and the Geneva Conventions, that were hosted in most part to address the atrocities of the Holocaust and the massive amounts of civilian deaths during World War II.

It seems that Israeli exceptionalism is a force not easily swayed. Israel and America have this in common, these nation states do not believe that they have to play by the international rules that other countries do.

American Exceptionalism was a concept authored by Alexis de Toqueville in his book Democracy in America. He argued that America was different than other nations in the way it originated and that part of the American psyche is the belief that Americans differ than other nationalities because they are from all different places and come together as Americans on ideals and ideas rather than region. Israel is like this also. The creation of Israel was on an idea, Zionism, that Jews from all over the world should have their own nation. Israel and America both were created on ideas that were in their views so great and so important that it allowed them to disregard the human life already existing in the lands in which they chose to place their nations. In the earliest years, Americans disregarded the indigenous peoples already living in the land, and then the manifest destiny of the 1840s led them to believe they could disregard the Mexicans already living in the land, and went to  war to steal the land. Israel likewise believed their mission to have a great Jewish Nation was so important that it outshone the self determination of the people already living in the land, in this case the arab Palestinians.

Israel and America have much in common. The smugness in which these two countries go to war to get what they want or to serve their interest in what they think is right is toxic to a world with international laws and international respect for humanity.

Until we have a world that does not tacitly support the doctrine that allows these two countries to view themselves as exceptions to international law, there will be no peace on earth.

I, an American citizen, do not think America is exceptional. And likewise there are many Israelis who do not think their country is exceptional either. But the sum is greater than the parts unfortunately in this case and a profound change in ideology has to come in order for America and Israel to see themselves as right sized, as nations among nations, and not superior to the international laws that we hold other nations accountable to.

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