Against Occupation: Voices within Israel and the Diaspora

Posted on February 12, 2009 by

Dozens of demonstrations against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have occurred throughout Israel since the attacks began on 27 December. On 3 January, over 10,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv against the attacks.

Automatic and therefore unthinking categorization of critics of Israeli occupation and domination of Palestinians as being “anti-Semitic” abounds. Some suppressed and concealed critics in academia and the mass media keep their silence out of fear that they will be tarred as terrorist-loving, anti-Semites, or even self-hating Jews as the case may be. Public political discourse in North America, and apparently in Israel as well, has been deformed and damaged by extreme binary oppositions, so extreme that even the illusory middle ground appears to be the worst of both sides. Simplistic labeling, dismissals, exclusions, scapegoating, fear-mongering, and exaggerated senses of injustice have created a lopsided idea of humanity, where freedom and dignity are to be the property of only the few, those with the most firepower. That is what a terminal culture looks like as it enters into steep decline. Unfortunately, the decline can be even more destructive than the ascent to hegemony.

In terms of the pro-Israel orthodoxy that forbids any criticisms of human rights abuses, war crimes (as amply documented by international human rights bodies such as Amnesty International), and acts of genocide, because presumably such atrocities are an essential part of the Israel right to “self-defense,” then it is not surprising to see some of the fanatical statements like the ones received below. Indeed, some have been deleted because of their excess of profanity. No rational dialogue is possible with extremists who believe that pro-semitism should excuse genocide, even warrant it, a position that in fact will result in making anti-semitism far more respectable. It is also a deeply racist discourse that holds that all “real” or “true” Jews must be on side with the actions of the Israeli state, no matter what. Apparently, however, such fervent and rabid support for Israeli governments did not extend to Yitzhak Rabin, as these fanatics will devour their own while claiming to speak for all. They condemn themselves, and now the world condemns them, apart from the usual allies.

It is therefore important to remember the many organizations, parties and movements within Israel and within the Jewish diaspora that remain committed to changing the destructive course taken by the Israeli state and settlers, and that deserve our support. Guanaguanare has produced an excellent list, with descriptions, titled “Israeli and Jewish Organisations Which Protest Israel’s Actions,” from which the following links were copied. We will both try to provide more resources for action over the coming days.

This is a reminder of the grave mistake it is to confuse state with people, Zionism with Jews, to think of Israel as a unitary, homogeneous entity without significant internal dissent and fragmentation. Needless to say, at this very moment Israel appears to be dominated by a shrill right wing that appears hell bent on genocide if not outright annihilation, fed by and reinforcing a pronounced tilt towards the right among voters. As the danger of another acute crisis draws closer, with wider regional implications, these organizations deserve as much support as possible, moral and otherwise.

If anyone spots organizations that we should list along with the links above, please feel free to contact either Guanaguanare or myself.