Saturday, June 14, 2008

Seattle's gathering darkness

A coalition of Seattle activists is petitioning to get an anti-Israel divestment referendum on November's ballot and they are attempting to deceive voters in the process.

Read how, here.

...Initiative 97's organizational sponsors have a history of opposing Israel's existence, supporting a "one-state solution" and advocating complete boycott of Israel. Some of them have even come out in favor of suicide bombing and terrorism.

...One of the initiative's main sponsors is the Seattle Green Party, [which] has a history of anti-Israel activism ... With respect to the presidential election, the Washington Greens voted for Cynthia McKinney...who has built her political career largely around her opposition to Israel, recently advocated the "Palestinian right of return" (a code word for a "one state solution") in a speech to an anti-Israel rally at the UN on the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding (read here).

...Initiative 97 is also sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).... They also recently sponsored a "Nakba" commemoration on the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel (read here). Liat Weingart, one of the groups leaders, recently lobbied the United Methodists ... In the course of her speech to the United Methodist General Conference, she said "(i)f you haven’t been accused of anti-Semitism yet, you haven’t been doing the work of Justice." ...

Let me repeat this gem: "(i)f you haven’t been accused of anti-Semitism yet, you haven’t been doing the work of Justice."

And there you have it, the full legitimation of antisemitism as righteous criticism of Israel. Mind you, there should be no mistake or uncertainty about the objectives of these movements.

They are advocating, on the ideological level, a "one state solution" either directly or insidiously through the insistence on "Right of Return" for the Palestinians. On the practical level, they prescribe boycotts, divestment, stalking, persecution, discrimination.


The "one State solution" is a call for the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish sovereignty. According to this, rights that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights do not apply to Jews. They do not have a right for self-determination*. To further illustrate the double standard, the same groups are fervent advocates of Palestinian nationalism. Every nation, tribal group or state in the world have a right to determine their own character and fate, except for Jews.

The prescription, via boycotts and divestment, are well known strategies to isolate and diminish Jews throughout history. In this case, the attempt is to isolate and diminish the Jewish state of Israel, to disempower it, so as to allow other people to take over their property and decide their future, whether they will live and how.

These are the two classical attributes of antisemitism: isolate, diminish, persecute through taking away fundamental human rights, demoralize, and eventually, annihilate, one way or another. And these are the measures and politics that animate "Initiative 97".

A third attribute which has become more secure of late in the case of the drive to destroy Israel, through divestment, boycotts and support for terrorism, is Liat's assertion that de-facto legitimizes this antisemitic pair of attributes as an acceptable criticism of Israel.

I doubt the lady in question, or her receptive audience, have thought out their goals and strategies. But anyone who listens, reads or views them, should ask themselves some very simple questions:

What is a "one state solution"?

What does "right of return" mean?

And when they understand what the answer to these questions is, they should look at the means proposed to bring them about: the boycott, the divestment, the vilification, the demonisation, the discrimination.

And then they should ask themselves the final question: Do they really want to be a party, an accomplice, to these aims and these tactics?


Here is one brave person, a genuine dissident, fighting for justice for Israel:

Through the organization she founded three years ago, Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East, Sister Ruth has frequently and sharply clashed with the very denominations housed under the God Box’s roof. When they have proposed divestment from Israel or more generally condemned its actions against Palestinians, she has fought against those positions, vociferously speaking out for Israel’s right to self-defense and security.


“We are informed by the Christian mandate to stand for justice and to raise our voices when we see someone being falsely accused,” Sister Ruth, 44, said in an interview at the God Box. “The issue isn’t divestment. Divestment is a symptom, a symptom of bias against the state of Israel and an attempt to lay the blame on the shoulders of Israel.”

Such a viewpoint collides with the political and theological direction of the mainline Protestant churches.


... Sister Ruth said: “The overwhelming majority of these folks are extremely good people trying to be faithful to the Gospel call to justice. But they are mis- and under-informed when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and typically have only seen this conflict from one side.”..


* Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: self-determination

Process by which a group of people, usually possessing a degree of political consciousness, form their own state and government. The idea evolved as a byproduct of nationalism. According to the UN charter, a people has the right to form itself into a state or to otherwise determine the form of its association with another state, and every state has the right to choose its own political, economic, social, and cultural systems. (Thanks to The New Centrist, in comment, here, and here))


At 3:36 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I very recently learned about Sister Ruth, in all places, the NYT. She was profiled on Saturday. Here is a link:

PS: In addition to Bob's blog, I made a similar comment re: self-determination at Harry's place where the article was originally posted.


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