Re: [sixties-l] teeny tiny protests on Sproul Step

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: 10/09/00

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    John, to say that ""both Palestinians and Israelis bare responsibility"
    for the killing of the 12-year old boy is simply to accept the Zionist
    propaganda that has long dominated the US media to an extent unequaled
    anywhere in the world including, ironically, Israel whose mainstream
    press carries stories on Israeli atrocities that no paper in the US
    would have the courage to print.
    Your statement assumes that Israelis have some right to maintain a
    settlement in Gaza, and that ist continued belligerent occupation of
    Palestinian lands is not something we should take a position on. Would
    you have said the same the same thing in defense of South African
    apartheid which had the same degree of legitimacy?  I doubt it. It is
    something that even the international community, attested to by several
    UN resolutions, has long denied.
    Hezbollah did not exist until Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and only
    arose when the secular leadership failed to mount any resistance to
    Israeli occupation of the the southern part of that country and the
    brutal, racist treatment of its inhabitant which I personally witnessed.
    Although provided with arms by Syria and Iran it was and is an
    indigenous Lebanese resistance organization, made up primarily of
    Lebanese Shia who understandably resented and resisted Israel's
    occupation of their land. To think that either Syria or Iran can turn
    this resistance on and off at its will is to accept, again, the Zionist
    propaganda which dominates virtually every part of the US media
    spectrum. While one need not subscribe to their religion, is it any less
    legitimate than what one finds among Orthodox Israelis who support to
    the bloody hilt their country's outrages against their neighbors?
    Even before the existence of Hezbollah and Hamas in Israel (the latter,
    ironically instigated by the Israelis as a counterforce to the PLO), it
    was difficult to build a movement criticizing Israel and this was due to
    several factors which are considered taboo subjects among the left.  One
    is the power of the Israeli lobby, which not only is represented in
    Washington by AIPAC and is known simply, with both fear and respect on
    Capitol Hill, as "the lobby," but is represented in every major city by
    the Jewish Community Relations Councils and other well-funded national
    Jewish organizations such as the ADL, the American Jewish Congress and
    the American Jewish Committee. One of their most successful tactics is
    to send low-level public officials. e.g., school board chairs,
    supervisors, city council persons, etc., on paid trips to Israel,
    inculcating them with pro-Israel propaganda, so by the time some of
    these folks seek higher office, such as Congress, they have already been
    to Israel and are safely in the Zionist camp.
    Also the pro-Israel lobby has a "take no prisoners" approach to
    politicians who have the temerity to criticize Israel or say kind words
    about the Palestinians. For those members of Congress such as Pete
    McCloskey, Charles Findley, Gus Savage, etc., it has represented a
    career-ending decision.  As one un-named Congressman told the New
    Republic's Morton Kondracke during the time of the Palestinian intifada,
    that it's not out of love for Israel that members of Congress decline to
    speak against the yearly $3-4 billion dollar aid package to Israel, "but
    the fear that you'll wake u the next morning with your opponent having a
    $500,000 war chest to run against you."
    On the left, the movement, such as it is, has many Jewish participants,
    who while not supportive of Israel's actions, nevertheless, are fearful
    of doing anything that might provoke "anti-semitism," even if their
    silence ultimately means a death sentence to countless Palestinians or
    Lebanese. And they are supported in this fear by many non-Jews who are
    also hesitant to criticize the actions of American Jews in behalf of
    Israel for the same reason. To put it bluntly, as a Native American
    leader once told me, "The problem with the left is that there are too
    many liberal Zionists."
    I have written at length on this issue in an article entitled Occupied
    Territory"  Congress, the Israel Lobby and Jewish Responsibility, for
    the City Lights Review "War after War: in 1992, which I would be happy
    to e-mail to anyone who requests it.
    I should add that between 1988 and 1995 I edited the Middle East Labor
    Bulletin during which time I published more articles translated from the
    Hebrew Press than any other national publication. In one of the issues,
    I devoted a special section to Israeli criticism of the US lobby that
    supposedly exists in its behalf. If people are interested in receiving
    those articles, please e-mail me as well.
    Short of that, I would suggest that people wanting to be informed on
    what is happening on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians and
    between Israel and the Lebanese go to and read the
    columns of award-winning journalist Robert Fisk from Beirut or reports
    from the front by Phil Reeves.  Somehow the situation seems less
    complicated to them as they are much closer to the scene.
    Jeff Blankfort
    > Date: Fri, 06 Oct 2000 11:09:00 -0700
    > From: John Johnson <>
    > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] teeny tiny protests on Sproul Steps
    > I think it will have hard to mount a campaign around Israel.  There is a
    > basic link our culture has with Israel.  The Palestinian movement can be
    > complicated to understand for many.  Hezbola and similar groups seem
    > centered on a very pro Muslim agenda, which doesn't resonate here.
    > The current situation as reported is also a bit confusing.  Both claim
    > ownership of a hill, both with a long history.  Its not even up to us to
    > decide whos rights there.
    > The actors in a sense seem to be equally liable.  As the cameraman who took
    > the video of the 12 year old being shot said,  "both Palestinians and
    > Israelis bare responsibility for that.
    > It will take a longer more detailed campaign to clarify the issues.
    > John Johnson
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