26 February 2016

"Major American Jewish Leader Changes His Mind About Israel"

Rabbi Michael Lerner posted an item at the Tikkun website 22 February 2016 entitled  Major American Jewish Leader Changes His Mind About Israel

It is the title of Lerner's introductory comment to an article submitted to Tikkun by David M. Gordis which is entitled "An Amazing Turn for a Major Leader of the American Jewish mainstream: David Gordis Rethinking Israel."  In it he states:

"[. . .] Here is the article he [Gordis] submitted to Tikkun. We publish it with the same sadness that Gordis expresses at the end of this article, because many of us at Tikkun magazine shared the same hopes he expresses below for an Israel that would make Jews proud by becoming an embodiment of what is best in Jewish tradition, history, and ethics, rather than a manifestation of all the psychological and spiritual damage that has been done to our people, which now acts as an oppressor to the Palestinian people "

Gordis has an impressive CV, mentioned in Lerner's introduction, and is highly placed and  influential in, if not the entire Jewish community, at least the religious Jewish community.  As such the fact that Gordis speaks of "seeing the light", as it were, seems something akin to an epiphany on his part, and as a person in his position, when he has actually puts it in writing.

Gordis' article is an article worth reading (as is Lerner's introduction) even though it is a bit heavy with analysis of Israeli politics:  An Amazing Turn for a Major Leader of the American Jewish mainstream: David Gordis Rethinking Israel.  But one need not become bogged down in the complexities of internal "schizophrenic" Israeli politics to understand the big issue.  And the big issue is THE issue i.e. the ideology and movement of political zionism as embraced by the government of Israel.   As often as the Israeli government has labeled the Arab nations as being "schizophrenic", in actuality to understand the problem is to understand it is a matter of projection on the part of the government of Israel.  It is understandable how the hypocrisy and prevarication might create some type of mental instability in decent people.  Living with the contradictions on a daily basis, as a way of life, and being required to hate and kill because of them has the potential to devastate anyone.  I suggest reading Lerner's introduction and Gordis' article, if you have not already done so, before continuing on with my comments - if you so choose.

I would add two comments about the Gordis article, the first I want to add a comment to Gordis' "what happened" paragraph, near the end of his article.  The modern day successes of Israel which he points out, have been at the cost of Palestinian lives, homes, and livelihoods.   It is a fact he does not acknowledge in the article.  But to truly understand what he seems to be realizing he will need to understand such is the case.  Not only that but the successes of Israel mentioned by Gordis have also been largely financed by the U.S.A and as such are not only at karmic cost to Israel but also to my nation.  This makes them my business and the business of all Americans, since our taxes are paying for Israel's crimes.  Surely Gordis realizes that how one succeeds determines the extent to which that success is ethical, thus the extent to which karma builds up or is neutralized.

It must also be pointed out that modern day Israel's accumulating of karmic debt is at cost to the entire Arabic speaking region (and beyond into those adjacent nations that are also predominately Muslim).  Because, the region has been in increasing political turmoil since the leaders of the ideological political zionist terrorist groups within Palestine declared Israel to be a nation in 1948; then proceeded to people the government of modern day Israel with their numbers and claim that the land of Palestine was to be modern Israel where only Jews would be allowed to live.

Since that land-grab event Israel's territorial imperative efforts have punctuated the adjacent Arabic speaking region with brief, deadly wars, while appropriating Palestinian Territory (which it both occupies and continues to confiscate in an illegal manner),  Egyptian territory, Syrian territory, and from the start there have been openly stated designs on all the land between the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates.  Once the U.S. became militarily involved 25 years ago in what became the start of the on-going reactionary sporadic combat that it has been involved in since that time, it became clear that Israel's region of intended combat, and  threatened combat, with the purpose and intent of creating destabilizing political unrest, have all been primarily focused on the entire Arabic speaking region and adjacent predominately Muslim nations. 

U.S. military involvement started at the end of the term of George H.W. Bush, as many of us recall, and as many of us by this time have learned from history.  It continued on through the Clinton administration, then through the George W. Bush administration, and into the Obama administration, and most recently the Trump Administration.  Five presidents.  And during George H.W. Bush's administration we thought Viet-Nam was a lesson learned debacle that would not be repeated any time soon.  Clearly that was not the case. 

The karmic debt with which the 25 years of U.S. military involvement with Israel's neighbors  has burdened our nation is with nations Israel has identified and insisted are not only it's "enemies" but also enemies of the entire world of nations!  So, I have to state, once again, that our nation's unconditional support of Israel's ideological political zionism, makes the criminally manipulative politics of the government of the political zionist government of Israeli my business - because the "success" of irreligious political zionim using and abusing religion to create a modern day Israel exclusively for Jews only is built entirely on the criminalitiy of the political zionist leadership.  And for the same reasons it is, again, the business of all Americans, too many of whom continue to prefer deniability by choosing to ignore the problem even though the symptoms of it have been increasing exponentially for many decades - evidenced by increasing international and domestic unrest and political instability because of Israel considering neighboring nations to be enemies..   Given harsh reality, Gordis' change of heart does seem somewhat monumental - at least it will seem so when he eventually recognizes the serious problems that have been created because of how the government of Israel has achieved it's so-called successes.

As to my second comment - what Gordis speaks of, though he does not say it in so many words - it is about the effort of the ideology of political zionism (not religious zionism) aiming to transform the religion of Judaism into being analogous to the ideology of political zionism.  As Gordis points out, Judaism is not being exemplified by the nation of modern day Israel: 

"Present day Israel has discarded the rational, the universal and the visionary.  These values [Judaism] have been subordinated to a cruel and oppressive occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the worst in the western world and distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist [interpretation of] religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best."

Did he ever get that right!  His comment is about the effort of the ideology of political zionism which has not ceased trying to transform Judaism into something it is not, solely for the purpose of fooling everyone into believing Judaism supports a political ideology that is not equivalent to Judaism, but instead is  antithetical to Judaism.  [The brackets in the Gordis' excerpt, above, are my inserted comments. Additionally, any use by me of the singular term "zionism"  refers to the stategic movement that is ideological political zionism.]

One can not help but feel sympathy for Gordis' seeming despair.  Everyone who has realized something is awry between the reality of what Israel says and actuality of what Israel does (the crimes it wants to convince the world it commits in the name of G_d and Judaism), has started out feeling the same way.  And the something that is awry is that Judaism and the ideology of political zionism are not equivalent and in fact bear no resemblance to one another. 

Is Gordis tempted to imagine that Judaism is a fanatic obscurantist and fundamentalist religion?  Well let us hope not because it is not.  Does Gordis realize that the ideology of political zionism does not represent and is not equivalent to Judaism?  Well. it seems he does.  Let us hope so because it is not.  Clearly it is not Judaism that creates a "cruel and oppressive occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the worst in the western world."  It is zionism.  But nowhere does he mention zionism and until he does differentiate between Judaism and zionism, by referring to the problem with it's actual name, (the ideology of political zionims)  how can we be sure?  It seems that he is recognizing it is his job too to make sure there is a clear differentiation between Judaism and the ideology of the political zionist government of Israel.  But that can not be done without actually labeling the ideology that is antithetical to Judaism for what it is i.e. zionism,   It is understandably daunting and complex work associated with one's entire belief system seeming to have become destabilized, so it is not easily accomplished at first because of the associated  emotional devastation.  Although, by the time folks actually admit the problem to others they have usually admitted it to themselves, thus have processed some of the emotional devastation.

What we do know, and what it seems Gordis is in the process of realizing, is that ideological political zionism has been fanatically and obstinately determined to make Judaism and the ideology of political zionism into one and the same, first in the eyes of Jews upon which the strategy of zionism's first success depends, then in the eyes of the world of nations and their people.  So what does it mean when the nations of the world buy into Israel's unreasonable facsimile which it promotes to the world of nations as Judaism?  Clearly nothing good.  Think about it. 

The zionist effort has been occurring far longer than a century, in fact closer to two centuries, actually.  It's banner was, simply, not so publicly and visibly being waved until the late 1800s as the political movement's leaders become confident their strategy of using and abusing Judaism would eventually produce success.  Would it reflect reality to suggest the zionist leaders were irreligious?  Well, applying Occam's Razor it is either that, or they were crazy uneducated ill-intended religious extremists as bad as any religious extremists in today's world. Think about it.

Theodor Herzl became the spokesperson for Zionism at the end of the 19th century.   People  have wondered if Herzel was as naive about what he was representing as many of us would like to believe he was, given he is said to not have been exposed to the much earlier Zionist writing at the time he published his pamphlet "Der Judenstaat" (The Jewish State) in 1896.  Perhaps that is when he come to the attention of the zionist leadership as an opportunity to be exploited?  Could it be that his lack of knowledge about the ideology of their political zionism, at least at first, would have made him the ideal believable PR person for the movement?  Think about it.

But here's the thing, in wrapping up my comments about what we can only hope is the start of Gordis dispensing with the government of Israel's superimposed "schizophrenic" ways, by fully embracing what he is already experiencing as zionism's harsh cruel reality.  Both the success of the nefarious zionist effort (to transform Judaism negatively in unrecognizable ways for the purpose of using as a weapon, to manifest it's grandiose land grab), and the lack of zionism's success, continue to dependent primarily upon Jewish folks, ethnic and/or religious, whether practicing or not - upon Jewish folks recognizing that the problem is the effort of the movement of the ideology of political zionism wanting to convince the world it is the nefarious equivalent to Judaism; recognizing like Gordis has started to that zionism's "fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist" perspective is not equivalent, by any stretch of the imagination, to the "rational, the universal and the visionary" values of the religion of Judaism.

And make no mistake - the ideology of political zionism was always a danger first and foremost to Judaism, then when it wanted to appropriate Palestine also to all inhabitants of Palestine regardless of their religion and ethnicity, then to everyone else.  To the extent that zionism fools Jewish folks who do not rise to the occasion required, for understanding of the problems and setting the record straight, it also fools everyone else.  That's a big karmic debt for the Jewish individuals  to take on whose preference happens to be embracing deniability as a way of avoiding the actuality of the problem of Israel's political zionist government. 

Gordis has taken his first step because he seems to have chosen Judaism instead of the unreasonable facsimile which is the nefarious land grabbing grandiose movement and ideology of political zionism.  As such there is reason to believe he might choose to continue to rise to the occasion.  Time will tell.  Let us wish him well and God's speed in dealing with what comes next.  It will not be easy though it will be easier than it was for those who arrived, earlier, at the point, where he was last year in February 2016.  Those folks are now, potentially, all part of a moral support system for him and subsequent arrivals to reality.

16 February 2016

U.S. Peripatetic Policy on Apartheid Goes Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Why do we, the people, allow our government to be exclusively selective about it's support and non-support of discriminatory apartheid that targets specified groups of people as punishment for their religion and/or ethnicity and/or race?  Apartheid punishment targets select groups of people for the purpose of economically insuring their quality of life is unconscionable; for the purpose of making them victims, repeatedly for decades, of physical attacks which result in damaged health, disability, and/or death within a targeted population. 

A Democracy Now! video from 6 May 2015 makes that clear.  Ex-U.N. Official John Dugard: Israel's Crimes are "Infinitely Worse" Than in Apartheid South Africa

The immediacy of the problems spoken of in the video still needs to be resolved after more than half a century.   Note that juxtaposition of “immediacy” and “half a century” is incongruous, as incongruous as the on going problems. 

Why is this video pertinent today nearly a year later?  Well, because of some provisions in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015  which made it through both houses of Congress and is waiting for the President's signature.  But the bill exacerbates the long standing apartheid problems perpetrated by Israel and obstructs the same peaceful means to resolve them that eventually highly contributed to South Africa resolving it’s apartheid problems -  those peaceful means being worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions - BDS.  

As much as apartheid was a crime being perpetrated by South Africa, it is also as much of  a crime, and moreso in some ways, that is still being perpetrated by the Israeli government on Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territories.  That crime has been perpetrated since 1948 when Israel was declared a nation by people within several terrorist groups who, after they had been responsible for numerous massacres in Palestinian villages, then peopled the government of the modern day nation of Israel which they wanted to establish in the entire region of Palestine.

The Israeli government wants to claim that Palestinian Territory it occupies belongs to Israel.  But it is land that belongs to Palestinians which Israel occupies in criminal ways according to International Laws to which Israel is signatory.  (If you want a refresher on those laws you can find links to them here: United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions, Protocols, and Related Documents)  And the Israeli government does NOT want anyone living on the land it wants to appropriate, other than Israelis.  Israel has made it very clear it does not want to accept Palestinian people who are not Jewish, as part of the nation of Israel; thus it’s genocidal apartheid targeting Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories.  If an example is needed of Israel's genocidal effort, recall the several unconscionable devastating attacks on Gaza which all clearly demonstrate it.  

For those who need a reminder of the agreed upon international definition of genocide, you’ll find it here:  Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide The document is clearly written, and easily understood.  It is not long.

The bill at issue is the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 with language wanting to legitimize Israel's appropriation of occupied territories; and by doing so apparently also wanting to legitimize the past genocidal efforts of Israel to clear the land of Palestinians along with whatever future genocidal activity the Israeli government wants to commit on people living on land it wants.  Israel's punishment of Palestinians is a crime, literally a crime in violation of agreed upon International law.   The only reason for the punishment is because Palestinians live on land Israel wants.  All the other associated problems through the decades stem from that irrational greed on the part of the Israeli government  

Americans too are literally committing crimes against Palestinian people in Israeli occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel because some of the people living on Palestinian land in illegal Israeli settlements are also Americans, in addition to the American citizens who live in Israel.  And some of those American citizens have repeatedly participated in attacking Palestinians and killing them plus destroying their homes and agricultural land.  Those Americans are dual citizen American Israelis who vote in both nations.  Again, they vote in both nations and if that doesn't knock your socks off it should.

Our nation, collectively, is also committing those crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territory, indirectly, because of the ongoing military aid to Israel from the U.S.  based on 10 year memorandums of understanding (mou) that insure at least three billion dollars annually is granted to Israel.  In reality the military aid provided is much more than that annually, and there are provisions that require much of those funds to be dedicated to the purchase U.S. weaponry.  But Israel's use of the military aid makes it an illegal U.S. policy issue; because our own laws do not allow us to provide military aid to nations who use it to kill their own people, or an occupied people for whose welfare they are responsible to provide.  Again, the Gaza massacres have provided evidence, like shell casings from the bombing, which indicate our nation enabled the massacres because of our military aid to Israel. 

This brings us to the lobbying of our congress which has resulted in unacceptable portions of this bill.  If anyone has ever wondered what "the Jewish vote" means, one of it's meanings is that citing the "Jewish vote" perpetrates prejudice against all Jewish folks in the U.S. by claiming there is a monolithic political perspective among Jewish folks in support of Israel's crimes against Palestinians.  In actuality reference to "the Jewish vote" means, instead, "the ideological political zionist vote of dual citizen American Israelis"  (NOT to be confused with religious zionism).

Ideological political zionist Americans living in either Israel or America (or both nations for a certain amount of time each year) who are dual citizen Israeli Americans and who put the political interests of Israel ahead of American political interests, are who the so-called "Jewish vote" reference.  Thus, the "Jewish vote" with which AIPAC and it's ilk wield the power that threatens and manipulates our nation’s Congress.  The Israeli lobbies do indeed make and break campaigns.  They have been responsible for hasbara that persuades voters to elect those who support Israel first  in place of those already serving who support America first, as they should and as we should expect of them.  Those former Congress people are to be commended for remaining ethical instead of choosing to be anti-American as the cost of continuing to represent their constituents in congress.

The Israeli lobbies represent the interests of the foreign nation of Israel.  Lobbying on behalf of a foreign nation to our congress people is illegal.  And even though AIPAC was sued because of it and lost the case, the crime continues to be perpetrate by organizations lobbying on behalf of Israel - a foreign nation.  It should also be noted that some of the dual citizens who are American Israeli ideological political zionists, serve in American government, and  put Israel's interests before those of our nation.  So it becomes less of a mystery how the U.S. has been manipulated and extorted into serving Israel’s interest which are directly responsible for all of the U.S. involvement with combat in the middle east region - all of it.  And over half of our nation's annual budget is dedicated to those military actions meant to satisfy Israel, and to prevent Israel from going on the attack in the region, instead, or too.

Additionally, by kowtowing to the "zionist" interests when making political decisions that are to the benefit of Israel, but not our nation, our government is embracing both the religious and ethnic prejudice of the Israeli government, plus it's genocidal effort to eradicate people living on land Israel wants to claim; people who are not accepted by Israel because of their religion and/or ethnicity i.e. indigenous Palestinian people.  For our nation to condone those crimes especially when dual citizen Americans are perpetrating them, is a crime in many ways and totally antithetical to the stated values, principles, and ideals of our nation, as well as International and Humanitarian laws.  It must also be noted that both racist and ethnic discrimination exists in Israel that targets Jewish Africans living in Israel for being black Africans, and Palestinians who are legal citizens of Israel for not being Jewish.  Those Palestinian folks did not flee from the massacres leading up to Israel declaring itself a nation in 1948, and they miraculously lived.  At the time Israel accepted the U.N. demand for those Palestinians to be allowed to be citizens of Israel even though they were not Jewish.

Here is the Text of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 for those who want to read it for themselves (the “AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS“).  It is very long of course.  And it is downloadable as a pdf.  However, the pertinent parts are provided by a Mondoweiss article.  Thanks to those folks for perusing the bill and extracting the pertinent parts. 

Here is the Mondoweiss article which has reported on the issue:
Obama to sign AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS

Two quotes from that article:
"The legislation references 'any territory controlled by Israel' or 'Israeli-controlled territories' seven separate times, making it the first U.S. legislation effectively defining Israel as including occupied Palestine, essentially recognizing the territory of Palestine and Israel as one entity."

And the article comments on the White House press release about the bill:  "President Obama will be signing the legislation. However, the White House issued a statement hours after the bills passage stating '[W]e do not support, including a provision that contravenes longstanding U.S. policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including with regard to Israeli settlement activity.' "

Here is the press release associated with the Bill.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

It is blatant hypocrisy to present such obvious contradictions that are only meaningless hot air - though the typical double-talk offered by some White House Press Conferences.  And it insults the intelligence of the collective American public.  It simply is not possible to have it both ways.  Signing the bill is agreeing to the bill which means supporting what it says. 

Also from the Mondoweiss article quoting a "Times of Israel" article:  Obama to reluctantly sign trade bill that lumps together Israel and settlements by Eric Cortellessa February 12, 2016 :

"While the Obama administration has long expressed adamant opposition to BDS tactics targeting Israel, there are several references in the legislation to 'Israeli-controlled territories' or 'any territory controlled by Israel' as being applicable to the terms of the bill."  

The Mondoweiss article then goes on to extensively provide numerous excerpts from the Bill to which it also provides a link.  One excerpt of particular note is associated with the hypocritical U.S. double standard:

"[B]oycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel by governments, governmental bodies, quasi-governmental bodies, international organizations, and other such entities are contrary to principle of nondiscrimination under the GATT 1994 (as defined in section 2(1)(B) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3501(1)(B)))"

Our government wants to talk about nondiscrimination when it has never let up trying to force the world of nations (in part with repeated vetoes in the U.N. Security Council) to politically accept the Israeli government's deadly genocidal discrimination against Palestinians as legitimate even though supporting such policies is antithetical to the very foundation of our nation?  Really?

Returning to John Dugard's statement in the video that Israel's crimes are "infinitely worse" than crimes in apartheid South Africa were (John Dugard who lived through apartheid in South Africa it must be remembered), it seems we are being left to understand that our government believes apartheid is o.k. for Israel to perpetrate on indigenous Palestinian folks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but it was not o.k. for  South Africa to perpetrate apartheid against it's indigenous people.  Is that because there is not a huge amount of dual citizen American South African living in South Africa?   What else could explain why the U.S. is willing to condone not only Israel's apartheid, but also the long term genocidal effort on the part of the Israel government which targets Palestinian people?  

Our nation participated in the successful and persuasive non-violent boycott, divestment, and sanction efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa.  Why is it not willing to participate in an effort to end apartheid by Israel against people in the territories it occupies when support of Israel's genocidal apartheid is not only antithetical to our nation's laws, but also to international laws?  Why?