Monday, March 26, 2012

Psst, Wanna Hear a Joke About the Global March to Jerusalem?

The Joke: From Iran's official news source, Press TV, we read that on Saturday an international convoy of 'peace activists' from Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India arrived to a warm reception in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on the way to Jerusalem to join 'millions' of others on March 30th in order to breach Israel's borders to 'take back' Jerusalem and unravel the Zionist edifice .

What, you didn't get the joke? You didn't get that on their way to reoccupy Jerusalem, these peace activists would have had to avert their eyes and ears from the massacres taking place in Syria? That they would have had to ignore the crimes against humanity occurring  right under their noses, in order to march towards the only place they deem worthy of protest?

Homs, Syria: Among the 47 women and children found with their
 throats slit during a massacre by Assad's gangs. Did marchers step over
their bodies on the way to Jerusalem?

Even more chillingly humorous are reports that the Syrian army has been planting landmines along its borders with Turkey and Lebanon at routes used by refugees trying to escape the killing machine that has now murdered more than 8,000. You may well ask how it was that these peace activists found safe passage along those borders without the assistance of Assad's henchmen.

You will also be forgiven for not being aware of the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem because the mainstream media has yet to cover it. You will probably only hear about it if/when it turns violent, as last year's Al Naksa Day border protests did. Then it was reported that Assad paid some farmers to attempt to breach Israel's border with Syria in order to provoke the IDF and divert attention from the escalating violence against his own people.

Earlier last week, what seems like another caravan of 'delegates' (it's so hard to tell who is doing what with overlapping reports attempting to produce the illusion of great numbers) stopped in Tehran and were greeted by Ahmedinijad who cheered them on them with the words, “..the Palestinians must rule the land. No matter how strong the enemies are, they will be destroyed and we must prepare for the great day in which arrogance will be wiped from the face of the earth”. 

It takes very special people to so compulsively resist the cognitive dissonance inherent in forming alliances with brutal, repressive regimes and, here in the US, we have some of our very own who signed on as sponsors. Predictably, they include such revered scholars as Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Cornell West and Judith Butler. President Obama may be shocked to discover Rev. Jeremiah Wright among those names and California voters may be amused to find former candidate for Congress, Marcy Winograd. No one will be surprised to find Medea Benjamin, the Code Pink agitprop pro, who makes a mockery of her avowed feminism by giving her blessing to the sexist, homophobic, not to mention murderous, Iranian regime.

For more information and to prepare yourself for what may turn ugly this coming Friday, I recommend the following reads:

CIF Watch's brilliant alternative GM2J website.
Petra Marquardt Bigman's Global March to Jerusalem: Denying Jewish Rights and History
Ben Cohen's, Another Flotilla Looms, This Time on Land
JCPA's comprehensive context
Alex Joffe's Marching to Jerusalem
Rolene Marks It Takes Tutu to Tango

Friday, March 9, 2012

Best Summary of One-State Conference Yet

Leila Farsakh: Jews will have to reconnect with their
Susan Akram: All refugees must return to
the same dwellings they left.
Marc Ellis: Becoming un-Jewish is the first
Ilan Pappe: We do this for ideological reasons, not
because we are truth seekers.

Without further ado, here is the best piece I've seen about the goings-on at Harvard Kennedy School's One-State Conference last weekend. Some will complain that this is written by a conservative critic, but, hey, if the (far) left is comfortable holding hands here and here with the most regressive forces on the planet, I'm willing to give space to those who may be to my right. So let me start you off with Janet Tassel's The One State Conference at Harvard: March Madness:

"I'm looking for Rick Santorum.  I guess he preferred to go to AIPAC." Thus lamely, Stephen M. Walt broke the ice in the opening panel of Harvard's One State Conference Saturday. With these lines, Walt, the co-author of The Israel Lobby and professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School, delivered one of the very few light-hearted remarks at the deadly serious two-day conference.

In the packed auditorium, Walt was unique, too, in saying nice things about the two-state solution, which is apparently now known as "partition," and which in any event was pronounced dead by every other speaker.  "At first glance," he said, "the two-state solution still looks good: the Green Line separating two states for two peoples." Forcing these two people together in one state would be a "mess." But why have we failed at two states? He blamed, on the Palestinian side, "the Palestinians' lack of unity, personal corruption, and a series of tactical errors following the Oslo Peace Process," including poor public relations.  All of which naturally necessitated "reliance on suicide bombers." 

Of course, "the real culprit is Israel. Their leaders have never been interested."
At this, one grew dizzy recalling names from all over the Road Map, from Madrid to Oslo to Camp David to Wye River, from Taba to Annapolis to Gaza, this last, by the way, still considered "an occupied prison."  But none of these destinations was mentioned.  Meanwhile, Walt went on to harpoon Netanyahu and also to castigate the United States, calling it "Israel's lawyer," defending as usual the stronger party,  thanks again to "domestic politics," aka the Israel Lobby. Even Obama came in for criticism -- for "raising hopes at Cairo, and later retreating by working to prevent Palestinian membership in the UN." Strange as it may seem, Obama was frequently chided at this conference -- while simultaneously being lionized at AIPAC.

Being at the One State Conference was a disorienting experience; somehow one had been translated to an alternate, not quite parallel universe, a cloud cuckoo land blooming with exotic pathologies.  But navigating this terrain requires an awareness of its guiding  principles, which include Marxism, multiculturalism, globalism, secularism, sexuality (any kind), inclusivity/diversity, and gender equity.  And it is helpful to have a command of the vernacular (college students will not need this guide).  For example, every chronicle, every story, is a narrative:  a hegemonic narrative, a nationalistic narrative, one that is heteronormative, colonial or postcolonial, feminist, transgressive, progressive, regressive, or repressive.

However, having navigated this paradise, one unfortunately finds the obligatory serpents, in this case organized religion, capitalism, racism, imperialism, and of course, Zionism, which conveniently encompasses them all.

Interestingly, it is a land where certain words are never uttered; for example, Sharia. Apparently, it doesn't exist there.

Walt, like many others, managed to incorporate many of the requisite shibboleths into a couple of sentences, as in "Israel's support depends on far-right, xenophobic racists and fanatical Christians.  But there is a community there that cares about human rights, and this opens a space for us." And: "The Old Testament is not a good guide for political action." The Qur'an, along with Sharia, was not mentioned.

Stay with this, it gets funnier.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Harvard One State Solution Soundbite - Updates*

Little bits and pieces are emerging from the 'academic' conference held at Harvard this past weekend. Here's one such from Boston University law professor Susan Mussarat Akram: there is no legal basis for the existence of Israel.

"Israel’s claim of a state, on the basis of exclusive and discriminatory rights to Jews [sic], has never been juridically recognized. In other words, the concept of the Jewish people as a national entity with extraterritorial claims has never been recognized under international law."

Given that Akram appears very early in the program schedule of the conference, her claim helped set a delegitimization tone for the event. Why else would anyone want to re-litigate the past rather than seek a solution based on two states for two people?

*Update - here is a summary of the first day's program from an attendee. It sounds as if the whole thing was phoned in by the predictably anti-Zionist speakers.

Here's another with a salient quote about Ilan Pappe:

“'Gaza and the West Bank are the biggest open-air prisons in human history,' Pappé declares in an address speckled with references to Nazi-era Germany. He receives two standing ovations. Scathing condemnations of Israel are always more cathartic when delivered in an Israeli accent."