Defund The Occupation. Netanyahu is Running Out of Arguments. That’s Why He and Israel’s Far Right (The Norm) are Ramping up Efforts to Criminalize BDS.

The Korean and Korean American Civil Society

Updated to add a link to an EU think tank’s analysis

Here’s a primer on The Conflict. Of course, it doesn’t cover everything you need to know. But it’s an okay start. As we noted in our previous posts about The Conflict, it is up to American Israel to make the decision for a two-state or one-state solution in the near term. In the meantime, liberal Zionists should call for an immediate end to The Occupation of Palestinian lands. We wrote mostly about the Palestinian Cause in our first two write ups about The Conflict. We’re focusing on Israel now.

We’re not here to argue about whether or not liberal Zionism exists. If we really want to engage in dialogue with people, we have to accept how they define themselves to a certain point and understand how they see themselves.

Israel’s far right has been winning in Israel for decades. Israel’s far right is the norm. Netanyahu’s fact twisting and meaning bending have snapped to the point where he resorts to criminalizing free speech in other countries through his network of oligarchs and corporate fascists. All at a risk to Israel’s own democracy and democracy in the Western world. BDS is camping out in his mind.

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, The Zionist dialectic has allowed the Zionist left to look away from the violence of the Zionist far right and the Zionist far right to point to the hopes and dreams of the Zionist left. This dialectic started to rupture when Israel began its settlements and subsequent occupation of the West Bank. The Zionist left believes that occupying the West Bank is a tragic self-negation of Zionism. The Zionist right believes taking more Palestinian land is a jubilant triumph of Zionism. For most Israelis, the occupation has become normalized. The egalitarian kibbutz model of labor or socialist Zionism are quaint holdovers now. Neocon and neoliberal or Neo-Zionism won (the far right). There’s barely a center. “Dovish” Jstreet keeps perpetuating two-state shibboleths, while mischaracterizing and skewing BDS. Jstreet tries to dictate the terms under which they will “approve” of BDS and engage with BDS. It smacks of patronizing patriarchy.

The Zionist left is either increasingly vocal about Netanyahu’s unconscionable policies or increasingly entrenched in a two-state illusion for Palestinians. The two-state shibboleths are not a stasis. It is a continued encroachment and settlement of Palestinian land. The two-state charade is illiberal and violent. It is a defacto one-state solution that thinly shields Israel from international law, which is exactly what Netanyahu wants. Liberal Zionism is at the margins of contemporary Israeli society and politics with no sign of a resurgence. Disputatious Zionism is nothing new. Zionism has many contours and points of view. What is sort of new is that far right Zionists are blacklisting, threatening, and censuring left Zionists and passing ominous laws with greater force and desperation. Instead of looking to them to romance American and international fora about the soft dreams of Zionism, left leaning Zionists are being harshly censured and threatened. It is un-Jewish to not let arguments happen. It is un-Jewish to not let the best argument win. The Praxis of what Zionism has become in Israel is undeniable. The Zionist dialectic is over. They don’t care to continue the diplomat’s game. They have lost the diplomat’s game. BDS is winning the diplomat’s game.

[President] Carter squeezed Israel harder on the Palestinian issue than any American president before or since. He believed Israel would make peace only if forced by the United States, and he saw the denial of Palestinian self-determination as immoral. Summarizing his approach, he wrote:

“Since I had made our nation’s commitment to human rights a central tenet of our foreign policy, it was impossible for me to ignore the very serious problems on the West Bank. The continued deprivation of Palestinian rights was not only used as the primary lever against Israel, but was contrary to the basic moral and ethical principles of both our countries. In my opinion it was imperative that the United States work to obtain for these people the right to vote, the right to assemble and debate issues that affected their lives, the right to own property without fear of its being confiscated, and the right to be free of military rule. To deny these rights as an indefensible position for a free and democratic society.”

THRALL, NATHAN. ONLY LANGUAGE THEY UNDERSTAND: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. PICADOR, 2018.

In 2009, Carter said that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are being “treated more like animals than human beings,” On a visit to the enclave, he condemned Israel’s January bombardment of Gaza and its continuing trade blockade, which he said forbids even children’s toys.”

Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; and treatment of Palestinians has only gotten worse over the years: more violent and more racist. Thus, the language and art semiotics of the Palestinian Cause have evolved with their plight. The narratives of self determination have naturally evolved into civil rights narratives. BDS is winning by internationalizing their cause and collecting a potpourri of supporters.

More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the 50-day summer war between Israeli forces and Hamas militants who fired rockets into Israel.

Earlier in the day, Carter, 90, visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and laid a wreath on the grave of former leader Yasser Arafat.

Carter was accompanied by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway and fellow member of his Elders group.

But Carter was shunned by Israeli leaders who long have considered him hostile to the Jewish state.

Perhaps, not enough has been said about Palestinian suffering under a one-state reality. It’s only gotten worse. But what about the psychological toll and moral degradation of the oppressors in a perpetual war of territorial maximalism. Netanyahu’s demagogic of “the entire world is against Israel” reinforces collective punishment of Palestinians for the sins of antisemitism in Europe and America. Palestinians are collectively punished for the not so stealth sins of Saudi Arabia. Palestinians are collectively punished for the acts of Arab dictators in neighboring countries and American meddling in foreign affairs. We’ve mentioned before that Israel has extensive backdoor diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, America’s other bestie in the Middle East. This trifecta is responsible for fomenting and igniting instability in the Middle East. It is not the Palestinians, a dispossessed and stateless people of 7 million refugees.

Israel tests new weapons on Palestinians before they’re sold on the international market. Israel is often described as America’s number one military welfare state :

In 2016, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid,
covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid
($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU
replaced a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which ran through FY2018.
Israel is the first international operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Department of Defense’s fifth-generation stealth
aircraft, considered to be the most technologically advanced fighter jet ever made. To date, Israel has purchased 50 F-35s in
three separate contracts.
P.L. 116-6, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, provides the following for Israel:
 $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), of which $815.3 million is for off-shore procurement;
 $5 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) for refugee resettlement
 $2 million in a homeland security grant;
 Reauthorization of U.S. loan guarantees to Israel through September 30, 2023; and
 Reauthorization of War Reserve Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) through Sept 30, 2020.

However, barely anything is said about the fact that Israel is the world’s 6th, 7th or 8th largest arms exporter, depending on the year . The numbers are staggering for such a small country. 2018 exports were worth $7.5 billion. American Israel work hand in hand to fuel America’s vast military complex that’s responsible for human rights violations and war crimes all over the world.

Israel has been accused of selling weapons and military services to human rights violators around the world for decades, including to apartheid South Africa, Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and in recent years to South Sudan, despite a near-universal arms embargo over the bloody civil war there.

Most recently, Israel has been accused of supplying Myanmar with “advanced weapons” during the country’s ethnic cleansing campaign against its Rohingya Muslims. The Foreign Ministry admitted last year to selling Myanmar weapons in the past, but said that it had frozen all contracts earlier in 2017.

Israel’s Genocidal Arms Customers:

For the past few years, a group of nine Israelis led by human rights lawyer Eitay Mack has sought to peel back the layer of secrecy shrouding Israel’s collusion with some of the worst genocide regimes in the world. They have done so by filing freedom of information requests with their country’s defense ministry, seeking documents concerning Israeli arms deals, consulting contracts, and training of the armed forces in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Serbia, South Sudan, and Rwanda during decades of ethnic conflict in those nations. They’ve sought to learn the extent of the trade, what weapons were supplied and to whom, how the weapons were used, and how long the trade continued.

In every instance, the ministry denied their request, and they were forced to appeal to the Supreme Court. In every appeal, the court has sided with the military and ruled that such information was legitimately sealed from public view in order to protect the security of the nation.

As a side note, we want to mention Israel’s infrastructure problem. A problem it shares with America. So much invested in military spending. So little in infrastructure. Both countries have degrading infrastructure problems.

Ronit Lentin, associate professor of sociology, Trinity College of Dublin. She is Israeli and describes herself as born in Palestine.

Given the reality that Netanyahu makes a mockery of a two-state solution, by word and by deed, Palestinians have no choice but to respond with BDS. Given the reality that Israel is refusing to outwardly declare the one-state reality of Palestinians in The Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza; Palestinians have no choice but to respond with BDS. BDS is a non-violent movement. BDS is winning psychologically.

State Crime Journal Palestine-Israel

The issue’s contents include:

  • Introduction by Penny Green and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
  • ‘The Quantum Mechanics of Israeli Totalitarianism’ by Mark LeVine
  • ‘Palestine/Israel and the State Criminality: Exception, Settler Colonialism and Racialization’ by Ronit Lentin
  • ‘Colonialism and Apartheid Against Fragmented Palestinians: Putting the Pieces Back Together’ by Rinad Abdulla
  • ‘Evicting Palestine’ by Penny Green and Amelia Smith
  • ‘Children’s Rights, State Criminality and Settler Colonialism: Violence and Child Arrest in Occupied East Jerusalem’ by Bella Kovner and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
  • ‘Theorizing State Crime’ by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Yossi David and Sarah Ihmoud
  • ‘Assessing Nonviolence in the Palestinian Rights Struggle’ by Victoria Mason and Richard Falk

Here’s a reading list:

Israeli Soldiers Speak Out

“In granular detail, the tens of thousands of words narrated on Friday told of the humdrum and the terrible: the humiliating treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, shootings and random assaults. Over the years the Israeli military’s response has been that these stories are the exceptions, not the rule, accounts of a few bad apples’ actions.

“What we wanted to show by reading for 10 hours is that the things described in the testimonies we have collected are not exceptional, rather they are unexceptional,” says Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of the group and a former soldier himself.”

Opinion: ‘I joined the army out of love for Israel… but I was just playing the part of the British soldier’

“It was then that I realised that the occupation didn’t end with my army service – it has been the daily reality of millions of Palestinians and thousands of soldiers for more than 51 years now. I knew that my little brother would go through the same process of moral degradation that we all go through as soldiers in the territories.

At first, I hated shooting school children with rubber-coated bullets when they threw stones at checkpoints. They were, after all, children. But after a few months in Hebron, we would high-five each other every time we hit one.”

This part reminds us of a Korean tactic during Japanese Occupation. When Japanese soldiers beat Koreans, we trained ourselves to not cry. The harder they hit, the less we whimpered. The idea was to camp out in their psyches. To make them feel their own moral degradation for becoming monsters.

Re-thinking Israel-Palestine. Racial state, state of exception.

I am acutely aware of my problematic position as an exiled Jewish-Ashkenazi member of the perpetrator group. However, it is worth noting that beyond empathy or solidarity,   the preoccupation of many Israeli scholars with Palestine has to do with orientalising the Palestinian other (Said 1978), or worse, with many Israeli researchers being security services veterans (Rabinowicz 1998: 134), contributing to the colonial power/knowledge regime.   In much Israeli research on Palestine, the Palestinians are erased, their voices subsumed by the powerful coloniser. Does this emanate, as I argue in Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialising the Palestinian Nakba (2010), from unresolved melancholic longing for the land we destroyed?

Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, call Israel a racist regime.

“Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

“The signatories also echoed other fringe Israeli academics who criticized Germany’s recent law equating BDS to anti-Semitism.

“We agree with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who called on the German government not to endorse the recent anti-Palestinian Bundestag resolution,” continued the letter.

“We also agree with Ishay Rosen Zvi, a Talmud professor at Tel Aviv University, who decried the attempts in Germany and elsewhere ‘to erase differences between criticism of Zionism, criticism of Israel, criticism of the policies of the government of Israel and antisemitism.’”

We closed by noting how un-Jewish it is to squash institutions of higher learning, ideas, arguments, and refusing to let the best argument win. We accuse Netanyahu of Scholasticide. It is un-Jewish to silence research and voices in academia.

The Attack on Palestinian Universities

Silencing pro-Palestinian professors – Israel’s academic army

New Website Outs 85 Israeli Professors Critical of Israel

Anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, pro-BDS’: California’s proposed ethnic studies curriculum gets an F from Jewish caucus Patronizing and racist attempts like this to silence BIPOC solidarity with Palestinians only solidify BIPOC even more. It makes us identify even more with the silencing of Palestinian voices. We know far right propaganda and histrionics well. No one group is exceptional and beyond criticism. Stop these ridiculous and patronizing arguments. Stop pretending that there aren’t Jewish and Israeli voices of dissent against Netanyahu and American Israel. We can read.

The draft provides sample courses in four main areas: African-American Studies, Hispanic Studies, Native American Studies and Asian American Studies. Supporters say the goal is to create inclusive and supportive environments for children of color.

Conservatives in particular have been critical of the curriculum, although the nonpartisan Los Angeles Times also complained in an editorial that the curriculum “feels like an exercise in groupthink, designed to proselytize and inculcate more than to inform and open minds.”

The newspaper also notes that the curriculum discusses activist groups like the Black Panther Party and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, but “usually offers one side and one side only.”


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