It is with feelings of great sadness and personal loss that we report the death of Sol Metz, a champion of justice and worker for the oppressed long before this writer got into the struggle for justice. Sol was a founder of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, and will be remembered as one who kept his good nature, even under very hot and trying circumstances. He could infuriate his opponents by shrugging off relevant facts, but never let his temper control his words. He faithfully kept true to the vigils, because he “could not think of a more appropriate way to spend my Saturday mornings”. He missed very few vigils and at the time of his untimely death was planning yet another visit to the voiceless Palestinians he so loved.
Well after this writer gave up on reaching Beth Israel congregants, Sol persisted in standing by the driveway, wishing individuals a good shabbos, and not responding to the often nasty comments he received. For many Saturdays in the future, JWPF members will crane their necks, looking in vain for the dark blue Prius, toot-tooting its horn as Sol announced his presence. He was the heart of our group, giving assurance to all JWPF members that our presence was indeed the necessary action needed to bring a message of freedom to the streets of Ann Arbor. When Sol arrived, we just knew that standing there was the right thing to do. Sol stood at Beth Israel for eight years because he knew what the Jewish state was doing to the people he loved.
Sol entered the University of Michigan hospital on June 15, where they discovered a large malignant tumor in the stomach. The type of cancer he had also contributed to the formation of blood clots, which eventually traveled to his heart and brought about his death on June 25. He was 69 years old. Sol is missed by those of us who knew him, worked with him and loved him.
Jewish Tradition of Justice ???
At Sol’s memorial service on June 29, at least three speakers (Quaker remembrances allow for individual expressions of sadness) raised the very doubtful claim that it was Sol’s Jewish upbringing and the “Jewish tradition of Justice” that led him to be the champion of justice he was. Many of us in JWPF question this assertion, and look to the almost total support Israel enjoys from the organized Jewish community world wide as the evidence which undermines the claim. Where, for instance, is this tradition of justice, when for the last 64 years the Jewish state has been committing horrendous acts of violence upon a defenseless people? What justice is there in flaunting even the International Court of Justice’s order to remover the apartheid wall, in flaunting over sixty UN resolutions designed to bring the Jewish state into a moral position? Why isn’t the world being pummeled by Jewish voices rising up to declare the immorality of a Jewish supremacist state imposed upon an unwilling and resilient population?
And does a “Jewish” tradition of justice trump a Muslim tradition of justice or a Christian tradition? Does a Hindu or atheist have no such tradition? Can we not see the arrogance and specious claim of superiority and chosen-ness held in this oft-repeated phrase? Is there a moral high ground that evades non-Jews? Are non-Jews just incapable of developing their own sense of justice? We don�t think so. And while we do not know what drove Sol into becoming the stalwart fighter for Palestinians and others, we refuse to have ill-thought-out platitudes jammed down our throats as an explanation.
With Mitt Romney firmly in the jaws of the leg-hold trap, the proverbial cat can be let out of the bag. Romney was always the sucker.
Some things never change.
Again, the Republican establishment picked the wrong horse.
And again, liberal political strategists, who claimed Santorum or Gingrich or even – dare we speak his Federal Reserve-nationalizing name – Ron Paul, would be easier to beat than old 1% Mitt, were dead wrong.
Oh no, that squirming outsourcing Cayman Islands job destroyer is just the prey we were looking for to wander into this well-placed trap where he can: (1 serve as Obama punching bag and (2 galvanize the message of the Occupy movement.
Shame that Willard couldn’t at least be seen driving that damn jet-ski out front of his million-dollar lake home. All those years pulling himself up by daddy’s bootstraps must have worn the poor sap out. Or maybe driver Ann comes from the more serious money.
One thing is certain. Win or lose, Willard will always have those blind family trusts in Bermuda, Luxemburg and Switzerland to fall back on, ensuring his glamorous idle rich tax dodging status.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Barrack Obama. My introduction to the guy came in 2004 when he was running for Illinois Senator and I was running for Congress just across the Mississippi River in Missouri. A group of black activists working on my campaign tried to arrange a joint campaign appearance in Cape Girardeau. The Obama campaign didn’t even get back to us.
That fall Obama was delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. This meteoric rise added to my suspicions. Then there was the fact that, for all his eloquence, he never seemed to have much to say. He played it safe. And soon he was President.
I watched an excellent movie last night that everyone should check out. It’s a documentary called Eyes Wide Open, now showing on Link TV.
This extremely well-made and informative documentary goes inside the hearts and minds of residents of Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan author of the must-read The Open Veins of Latin America, interjects his radical and audacious take on the ongoing and quite dramatic collective Latin American move away from neo-liberal market-driven economic policies that for centuries made the region a resource colony for Western multinationals and banks.
What becomes obvious throughout the film is that behind the democratic elections which brought Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa to power respectively in those featured countries, were progressive movements who even today remain frustrated at the slow pace of reform under these – by all historical measures – radical left-wing governments.
It is no different in the US, except that here in the belly of the beast we are more complacent and satisfied for the moment. Progressives here are also frustrated and angry at the pace of change which Obama’s election has brought.
I have many problems with Obama, especially his hawkish foreign policy adventures in Libya and Syria. We must cease to behave like an empire. And the President needs to be much more courageous.
But those who say there is no difference between 1% Wall Street Willard and Obama are out of their collective minds. It’s a nifty sounding cliché, but it’s total bullshit.
Obama has disappointed in many areas. Yet his administration has also accomplished many vastly under-reported things. The US is moving in a progressive direction, backing slowly away from the dangerous fascist climate generated by the Bushies.
The important point of this move is that it’s not “Yes I Can”, it’s “Yes We Can”.
As progressives, we must shoulder responsibility, be critical of and push Obama, and keep things moving in a progressive direction. It’s not up to him as much as it’s up to each of us.
But first we must all get out and vote to re-elect him!
In the meantime, Romney provides the perfect caricature through which we can resume our discussion of the 99% versus the 1%.
The banksters declared “class war” on the poor and middle classes a long time ago.
Are you going to allow this assault to continue? Or are you ready to defend yourself and your loved ones?
The revolution begins with you!
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @ www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com
People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. — George Orwell
One of my favourite short poems, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, is easy reading. Or is it? Try.
So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
You might ask why Williams wrote a poem with such simple language. Is there anything in it that most readers would fail to understand?
If you listened to Ezra Pound, another mid-20th century poet, you might hear him say “No ideas but in things”.
Aha, you think, I can see the things; they’re simple: a red wheelbarrow covered with rain water and white chickens.
But what are the ideas? Two different people will see different ideas in that poem. Twenty people will see at least twenty different ideas in the same poem.
I’m not going to spoil the fun or the reward of making your own interpretation and then seeing how others interpret it.
After you’ve extracted your own ideas from the things, Google the title to see how others have interpreted the same things. But not before you’ve tried your own!
Seeing the same things differently is something we all do. Interpretation reflects an event, object or personality in a merger with one’s biases.
Understanding those differences, allowing for them, and even reconciling them is where understanding interpretation comes in.
Now, move from interpreting a poem to interpreting events in the international arena.
Something that many Americans seem not to understand is the gravity of different interpretations when it comes to politics or foreign affairs. For example:
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones have been bombing whole wedding parties, killing women and children while the media dismisses whatever news gets out by labelling these incidents collateral damage.
Chris Hedges points to “The war in Afghanistan — where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal — feeds the culture of atrocity.”
Alluding to different interpretations of the same events, Hedges concludes “The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. Civilians and combatants merge into one detested nameless, faceless mass.”
Author/journalist Tom Engelhardt says “For Americans, the value of an Afghan life (or more often Afghan lives) obliterated in the backlands of the planet, thousands of miles from home, is next to nil and of no meaning whatsoever.”
According to Hedges, “The violent subjugation of the Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans will only ensure that those who oppose us will increasingly speak to us in the language we speak to them—violence.”
Perhaps most frightening for Americans is the threat of reactions against them at home in America.
However, most Americans cannot make the connection between what we’re doing in Afghanistan or Pakistan and how that translates into a threat of retaliation.
To cite Chris Hedges again,
If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of school children killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war.
One might be tempted to dismiss such an obvious difference in interpreting the idea from the events. However, until those in control can discern the potential increase in blowback from American military action, it’s utter nonsense to dismiss the interpretation.
Return, momentarily to my earlier comment about personality in a merger with one’s own biases. Connect that idea with Orwell’s comment about how “grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.”
Politicians from different parties provide striking examples of interpretation gone awry.
They provide obvious examples of different interpretations in party politics. Biased politicians seem incapable of understanding their differences, allowing for them, or reconciling them.
In American politics, Democrats fault President Obama for not doing enough. Republicans fault him for doing too much.
Sometimes, interpretations of the same thing or person change.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow once wrote, “America needs the electrifyingly charismatic candidate Barack Obama once was, not the eerily inhuman robot of a president that he has become.”
We need to understand and allow for such differences as matters of interpretation. Keep in mind how events, objects or personalities merge with one’s biases to fit into our interpretations.
The old adage that if you manage to offend all sides in a dispute you may be doing something right may have been invented by a misanthrope. If so, then Norman Finkelstein may be a misanthrope. Or maybe just an independent thinker who dances to no one else’s tune but the one he composes himself.
Having earned the rabid enmity of indurated and powerful pro-Israel advocates a long time ago, he turned around and gave a few resounding slaps to the leadership of the BDS by pointing out their inconsistencies. Except he was not polite: he called it hypocrisy.
Thoroughly democratic and fighting for Palestinian human rights, including the right to free speech, BDS got so upset that it expelled him. (No, don’t jump to conclusions, no anti-semitism was involved: they also expelled Ken O’Keefe and Francis Clark-Lowes. Those expelled may have committed the hate crime of anti-BDSism, or so it seems.
For good measure, in the spirit of an old Palestinian cultural tradition called “herem” they declared Finkelstein unfit for communing with bona fides anti-zionists possessing a BDS ID card like themselves. Maybe herem is not exactly Palestinian, it is Jewish, and not exactly in the spirit of upholding free debate and free speech, but close enough: as close as tabouleh is to gefilte fish.
Perhaps, just as anti-zionist zionists (AZZs) maintain that the Jewish “guidance” and leadership of the Palestinian movement is essential in order to “kosherize” the movement against accusations of anti-semitism, just so they may have felt the need to wrap a kuffyieh around the herem to Islamize a bit. The man for the job turned out to be Omar Barghouti, an “Arab Israeli” studying at the Tel Aviv University.
Maybe not the ideal man for the job, Omar, who endorses the struggle against the racism of Israel while railing against “whites,” and calls for boycotting Israel’s academic institutions of higher learning while studying in one of them. Nobody is perfect though.
For all we know he may only take courses taught by Israeli professors who are deeply tanned and he may hang in at TA University only to see its decline from up close.
Having been already “herem’ed” by BDS, Finkelstein has not stopped, however: he calls BDS hypocritical for maintaining that they are defending the rights of Palestinians to obtain higher education in Israel just as Barghouti does so brilliantly (pursuing his PhD), while they castigate Israel as an apartheid.
Stung to the quick, BDS called in its own” little dershowitz”: Gabriel Ash. That made it exciting because Ash is intellectually twice blessed, apparently having assimilated some of the Marxist philosophy fed to him in the land of his birth, which he alloyed with the subtleties of Talmudic reasoning to forge it into a fearsome debating weapon.
In fact he is so devastating he should be reserved only for BDS’s most intractable foes. You don’t bring out a cannon to kill flies with it, which makes me think that someone should advise Finkelstein to feel flattered.
Ash defends BDS very well. To paraphrase him: “No, we are not a cult (as Finkelstein accuses). We do not select the targets of boycott by ideology (zionism) or by nationality. No, the criteria are evolving creatively.”
According to the PACBI’s statement: “All such events and projects that bring Palestinians and/or Arabs and Israelis together, unless the Israeli side is explicitly supportive of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and unless the project/event is framed within the explicit context of joint opposition to occupation and other forms of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, are strong candidates for boycott.”
“So, you see,” he seems to suggest, “Israel is an apartheid yet it isn’t, or at least in some cases it isn’t, we need to check the explicit Ausweiss of the event to decide ‘Boycott or Not Boycott?”
Ash also explains further why BDS is not a “cult”—I am paraphrasing again: “It is very successful, especially in Switzerland, where I am active and we collected a lot of signatures in supermarkets. Some groups in the BDS are not what you might call “politically mature,” but in Switzerland we are very advanced, so much so that we succeeded in getting some vegetables and fruit labeled “produced in the Occupied Territories.” It is far from being a cult also because we have a lot of wide diversity of opinion—why, would you believe some of our members even call for a relaxation of the boycott? As for representation—do we really represent the Palestinian civil societies?—representation is always problematic, look around you, even parliaments have problems.”
All the way up to here, in my view, Ash was gold, well worth putting on the job. I was rather disappointed to see him mess up on such a good effort at the end, when he cried out in pain that Finkelstein is “undercutting and declawing us.”
As if that was not bad enough, Ash made it worse by imploring “conscientious persons” to resist being “seduced” (his word) by the evil veterinarian waving pliers at them. Seduced by declawing?! Perhaps Ash imagines “conscientious persons” as a sad bunch of masochists. Maybe he has not met many of their representatives, you know how parliaments are.
In my opinion Ash was wrong—just viewing his effort on its rhetorical merits—to switch from the Marxist argumentation style (“Hey, we’re evolving creatively but we are the most enlightened representatives of the Palestinians, especially the advance detachment here in Switzerland) to the plaintive victimhood wail of the tortured. Maybe, in his defense, between composing the first part of his opus and the rest he was grabbed by the evil veterinarian and declawed, which would explain why the finale ends in soft-paw glancing stroke of the keys in pizzicato.
Total membership of political parties in the UK has declined, very steadily and inexorably, from about 3.3 million in 1968 to about 500,000 in 2010. That is even worse than it sounds because of course the population grew substantially in the same period. That is one of the fascinating facts in this report by Democratic Audit.
That is just one of a large number of PDFs that comprise the total report. It is well worth reading and it reinforces the argument, consistently made on this blog, that democracy has failed in this country.
There is one constituent of a genuine democracy that the report does not seek to measure, but which I think could usefully be quantified by political scientists. That is the degree of real choice being offered by the political parties. I am sure that this has very substantially declined as well. There is no real choice on offer nowadays between the various neo-con parties. The differences on the timing and depth of cuts in public services, on continued privatisation of health services, on Trident nuclear weapons, on Afghanistan, on the money men who control the politicians, are miniscule. Only in Scotland do voters have a genuine choice of a different direction, and they take it.
This is a direct consequence of the other trends the Democratic Audit does measure. They show that the parties are more than ever, and constantly more, not avenues for popular participation but the domain of a political class and controlled by a wealthy “elite”. It is no wonder that they all have the same programme of promoting the interests of that elite.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL, pronounced “addle”), has been quick to condemn the opinion piece “Jews DO control the media,” published in the Times of Israel on 1 July, 2012. At a news conference attended by thousands of journalists, ADL spokesperson Abbie Foxwoman proclaimed,
This is a scurrilous and anti-Semitic accusation, and I expect you all to say so in your publications and television and radio programmes.
“The proof is that the piece was published under an assumed name and in an anti-Semitic Palestinian publication like the Times of Israel. If a real Jew had written it, it would have appeared in the New York Times or Washington Post or a host of other publications like the ones that you represent. And furthermore, the ADL would have received an advance copy. The fact is that Palestinians permeate and control the media.”
One journalist nevertheless asked,
Regardless of our own beliefs and loyalties, we need to provide facts to support what you say. What evidence is there for this accusation?
“Are you kidding?” replied Foxwoman. “They’re everywhere. Look at Palestinians Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman, who wrote a handbook on how to manufacture public consent. And who hired Charleton Heston to play Moses in The Ten Commandments? Do you think a Jew would have done that? And what about Palestinian humor and Palestinian themes in show business? Or the Palestine lobby in Washington, where AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) can’t even get a bill passed without one or two members of Congress voting against it or abstaining.
At the conclusion of the press conference, Foxwoman thanked everyone for coming. “We appreciate your efforts to assure that public gets news that is fair and balanced, i.e. all the news that is fit to print. And we will be sure to let you know what does or does not fit that description.”
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following article was published on the popular Zionist site Times Of Israel. It actually confirms everything we say and write about Jewish power, Jewish identity, Jewish left and Jewish AZZ (anti Zionist Zionists) . It is also consistent with each and every finding in my latest book The Wandering Who? We are dealing here with a racist chauvinist political identity.
Zionist honesty is a rare product, make sure that you read this article carefully and make the most out of it.
Jews DO Control The Media
We Jews are a funny breed. We love to brag about every Jewish actor. Sometimes we even pretend an actor is Jewish just because we like him enough that we think he deserves to be on our team. We brag about Jewish authors, Jewish politicians, Jewish directors. Every time someone mentions any movie or book or piece of art, we inevitably say something like, “Did you know that he was Jewish?” That’s just how we roll.
We’re a driven group, and not just in regards to the art world. We have, for example, AIPAC, which was essentially constructed just to drive agenda in Washington DC. And it succeeds admirably. And we brag about it. Again, it’s just what we do.
But the funny part is when any anti-Semite or anti-Israel person starts to spout stuff like, “The Jews control the media!” and “The Jews control Washington!”
Suddenly we’re up in arms. We create huge campaigns to take these people down. We do what we can to put them out of work. We publish articles. We’ve created entire organizations that exist just to tell everyone that the Jews don’t control nothin’. No, we don’t control the media, we don’t have any more sway in DC than anyone else. No, no, no, we swear: We’re just like everybody else!
Does anyone else (who’s not a bigot) see the irony of this?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, here, fellow Jews. We do control the media. We’ve got so many dudes up in the executive offices in all the big movie production companies it’s almost obscene. Just about every movie or TV show, whether it be “Tropic Thunder” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is rife with actors, directors, and writers who are Jewish. Did you know that all eight major film studios are run by Jews?
But that’s not all. We also control the ads that go on those TV shows.
And let’s not forget AIPAC, every anti-Semite’s favorite punching bag. We’re talking an organization that’s practically the equivalent of the Elders of Zion. I’ll never forget when I was involved in Israeli advocacy in college and being at one of the many AIPAC conventions. A man literally stood in front of us and told us that their whole goal was to only work with top-50 school graduate students because they would eventually be the people making changes in the government. Here I am, an idealistic little kid that goes to a bottom 50 school (ASU) who wants to do some grassroots advocacy, and these guys are literally talking about infiltrating the government. Intense.
Now, I know what everyone will say. That everyone tries to lobby. Every minority group and every majority group. That every group has some successful actors and directors. But that’s a far call from saying that we run Hollywood and Madison Avenue. That the Mel Gibsons of the world are right in saying we’re deliberately using our power to take over the world. That we’ve got some crazy conspiracy going down.
Okay. Fine. So some of that is kooky talk.
But let’s look at it a bit deeper.
Maybe it’s true: everyone lobbies. Maybe it’s true there are actors of every ethnicity out there. But come on. We’re the ones who are bragging about this stuff all the time. Can’t we admit that we’re incredibly successful? Can’t we say it to the world?
I’ll give my theory for why Jews don’t want to talk about their control of the media.
First of all, as much as Jews like to admit that so many of them are successful, and that so many of them have accomplished so much, they hate to admit that it has to do with they’re being Jewish. Maybe they’ll admit that it has something to do with the Jewish experience. But how many Jews will admit that there is something inherently a part of every single one of them that helps them to accomplish amazing things?
The ADL chairman, Abe Foxman, was interviewed in a great article about the subject and he said that he “would prefer people say that many executives in the industry ‘happen to be Jewish.’” This just about sums up the party line.
The truth is, the anti-Semites got it right. We Jews have something planted in each one of us that makes us completely different from every group in the world. We’re talking about a group of people that just got put in death camps, endured pogroms, their whole families decimated. And then they came to America, the one place that ever really let them have as much power as they wanted, and suddenly they’re taking over. Please don’t tell me that any other group in the world has ever done that. Only the Jews. And we’ve done it before. That’s why the Jews were enslaved in Egypt. We were too successful. Go look at the Torah — it’s right there. And we did it in Germany too.
This ability to succeed, this inner drive, comes not from the years of education or any other sort of conditional factors, but because of the inner spark within each Jew.
Now, the reason groups like the ADL and AIPAC hate admitting this is because, first of all, they are secular organizations. Their whole agenda is to prove that every Jew is the same as every other person in the world. I cannot imagine a more outlandish agenda. No, we’re different. We’re special.
Of course, people hate when anyone says this. They assume that if you’re saying that Jews are special, it somehow implies that they’re better.
To be honest, I’m not really sure what the word “better” even means. What I do know is that being special simply means a person has a responsibility to do good.
I think that’s the real reason most Jews are so afraid to admit that there’s something inherently powerful and good about them. Not because they’re afraid of being special. But because they’re afraid of being responsible. It means that they’re suddenly culpable when they create dirty TV shows that sully the spiritual atmosphere of the world. It means that things can’t just be created for the sake of amusement or fun or even “art.”
Suddenly, we can’t screw up the world.
The interesting thing is that Jews have done so much for the world in so many other ways. They’ve moved forward civil rights; they’ve helped save lives in Darfur, Haiti and just about everywhere else.
But that’s not enough. Fixing the world physically is only half the battle.
Our larger battle, the harder battle, is elevating the world spiritually. And this is what the people that fight with every inch of their soul to prove that Jews are just the same as everyone else are afraid of. It means that we can no longer just “express ourselves.” We’ll have to start thinking about the things we create and the way we act. It means we’ll have to start working together. It means we’ll have to hold one other, and ourselves, to a higher standard.
The time has come, though. We no longer have to change our names. We no longer have to blend in like chameleons. We own a whole freaking country.
Instead, we can be proud of who we are, and simultaneously aware of our huge responsibility — and opportunity.
* * *
The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics and Jewish power in general.