Toxic conspiracy theories, group-blame and stereotyping are becoming a serious problem in the Palestine solidarity movement – and it’s undermining our struggle.
I have campaigned in both the Palestine solidarity movement and in the fight against anti-Semitism for over 10 years. However, to my disappointment, I have found that some fellow solidarity activists are failing to take anti-Semitism seriously, to the extent that they’re prepared to believe every concern raised is a false accusation designed to smear the movement for Palestinian rights.
This week, at a meeting of my local branch of the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign, I had yet another experience confirming this. An audience member announced to the room that the term anti-Semitism was incorrectly used: "Arabs are also Semites." Meaning we should have a free pass to ignore Jews when they accuse us of anti-Semitism.
I looked around the room, hoping to see others who showed visible signs of discomfort or disagreement, but to my dismay, as the dismissive rant continued many in the room were nodding in agreement. I myself felt too insecure to raise my own voice.
It was clear that many participants, including the chair of the event, did not recognize or understand the problematic nature of what was said. This toying with semantics is sinister in nature - by redefining anti-Semitism in a way that erases the fact this term specifically denotes hatred and discrimination against Jews.
This is yet another demonstration of just how nonchalant some in our movement have become when it comes to recognizing and tackling anti-Semitism. Going as far as to redefine the term in order to avoid being labeled anti-Semitic, even when anti-Jewish - as opposed to anti-Israel - language is used.
As a committed Palestine solidarity activist, recognizing the nuances of the Israel-Palestine conflict, I wholeheartedly believe that incorporating a consistent approach to identifying, rejecting and campaigning against anti-Semitism is an absolutely necessity.
For me, being equipped to recognize and call out anti-Semitism can only strengthen my Palestine advocacy. Having a clear definition of anti-Semitism helps to reassure the Jewish community and means our activism is less susceptible to the false accusations of anti-Semitism by Israel advocacy groups, in their relentless effort to weaponize anti-Semitism to stifle and shut down debate and legitimate criticism of Israel.
One arena where this is acutely apparent is on social media. It's common for comments and posts to cross the line, moving from criticism of Israel into anti-Semitic territory. Conspiracy theories, repeating anti-Semitic Jewish power tropes, and vilifying those Jews who do identify with Zionism are regularly in play. I've often witnessed a "Good Jew" vs "Bad Jew" paradigm being used by activists. Let me be clear to those activists; a person's Judaism is not suddenly illegitimate because of their Zionism. We should also stop viewing Zionism as a catch-all term. It isn't. There are multiple strands of Zionism and varying political directions - some of which are indeed racist and ultra-nationalist, whilst others are not.
Some activists have tried to hide their intentions, again playing semantics, by replacing the word "Jew" with "Zionist." It's now "Zionists control the media" or "Zionists already decided who the next US president will be" instead of "the Jews." Those people will then proudly declare "I'm not anti-Semitic, I am anti-Zionist" and will often go on to say that "real Jews" reject "Zionism."
Other activists will sometimes inadvertently share anti-Semitic or deeply offensive posts. This is the product of ignorance as opposed to malicious intent towards Jews.
Anti-Zionist Jews are also not immune from being complicit in, and promoting, anti-Semitism. Non-Jewish activists mustn't legitimize anti-Semitism by exploiting a person's Jewish identity. If a Jewish person is repeating an anti-Semitic trope it doesn't suddenly make it kosher for others to repeat. Whatever the motivation, it's the words that matter; this is what makes the public record.
Much of this discourse, along with its attendant ideology, is toxic and does nothing but damage the legitimate struggle for Palestinian rights.
When people like me raise concerns about anti-Semitism we are often told that we are "useful idiots" for the Zionists and their agenda. When I drafted a U.K. Parliamentary Early Day Motion condemning anti-Semitism, I was told I was being used in a Zionist ploy, one that deliberately connects Palestine solidarity with anti-Semitism.
We Palestine solidarity activists must reflect on how to communicate Palestinian grievances and our criticism of Israel. One of our core rules is that the voices of Palestinians themselves are primary: We take direction from, rather than speak for, them. And it’s Palestinian activists themselves who have repeatedly given advice and guidance to help direct activism away from anti-Semitic, extremist and problematic rhetoric.
We must also stop using the Israel: Nazi Germany analogy. At present very few activists will call others out for using this despicable and inaccurate trope. It is designed to taunt and bait Jews about the Holocaust and compare them to the ultimate evil of Nazism. As Israeli political commentator, Noam Sheizaf, puts it: "Saying someone is a Nazi means he represents the ultimate evil – something that shouldn’t be negotiated or compromised with, but only fought." It is an analogy that feeds the demonization and dehumanization of Israel, Israeli Jews and Jewish communities around the world.
Activists should walk away from rhetoric that encourages the conflation of right-wing Zionism/Israel's policies with Judaism and Jewish identity. A cross section of both Israel advocacy and Palestine solidarity groups are equally guilty of these conflations, not to mention the Israeli government itself.
By acknowledging that the problem of anti-Semitism within our movement does exist, and that it is our responsibility to challenge, we can help create solutions. We do this by changing our behavior and integrating the fight against anti-Jewish hatred and oppression into all aspects of our work.
I have already pledged to support an intersectional struggle, where the concerns of Jewish individuals and communities are taken seriously and anti-Semitism is not dismissed out of hand or ignored - one where Jewish people and communities are the central focus when it comes to tackling anti-Semitism. We must engage more openly and robustly with our Jewish communities, their concerns and fears, their diversity of opinion.
Palestine activists should stop obsessing over identifying whether someone is Jewish or not, with the assumption that Jews must be given a litmus test on whether they're pro-Israel, and thus assumed to be untrustworthy. Critiquing pro-Israel positions is important, but not when the thought process goes: "This is a Jew; we must immediately distrust him/her if they express even mild support for Israel."
We should seek advice and direction from Jewish individuals and organizations, as these are the people most-well-placed to speak about lived experiences and also define anti-Semitism. Palestine activists may be surprised to find that many Jews will push back when Israel advocacy is inserted into the definition of anti-Semitism, as they recognize the damage this does to the fight against anti-Semitism - too important to exploit in order to deflect criticism of Israel.
Many anti-Semitic incidents can be prevented by ensuring responsible public debate and robust education. This is critical to remedy the spread of toxic conspiracy theories, group-blame and stereotyping that are becoming a serious problem in the Palestine solidarity movement and among our supporters.
We must gain a more nuanced education on what Zionism is and how we can criticize it without being anti-Semitic. We should be debating pro-Israel activists using facts and information, just as we would any other policy issue in a public debate. It isn't helpful when activists make out that Israel is the ultimate evil in the world, or that it's the "worst violator" of human rights. Not only is this inaccurate, it also whitewashes the violations of other regimes and organizations throughout the world.
We on the left must stop procrastinating about anti-Semitism. The Jewish community is an oppressed group: When we tackle oppression within our own ranks we must confront anti-Jewish oppression.
Those who undermine the message of Palestine solidarity by contaminating it with ignorance and racism have no place in Palestine solidarity. By tackling anti-Jewish oppression on the left we actually strengthen our movement and allow it to grow. Too often our own activists are undermining the struggle for Palestine. For that, I apologize unreservedly to the Palestinian people, who deserve far better solidarity and advocacy from the U.K. and elsewhere in pursuit of justice, equality, human rights and peace.
I urge my fellow activists to be sensitive to the concerns of Jewish individuals and communal groups whenever concerns about anti-Semitism are raised. Examine accusations on their evidence and merit rather than assuming they're part of a nefarious political game or pro-Israel agenda.
The only approach for a pro-Palestinian activist is one that promotes justice, equality and human rights. We must look at the conflict from a position grounded in human rights and international law. Our goal is to achieve Palestinian rights, but not at the expense of Jewish Israeli rights and certainly not as a way of harming our own non-Israeli Jewish communities and compatriots in the process. Human rights are for all, and without embracing that principle, our campaign loses its moral sanction, its utility and its opportunity to make a tangible difference.
Gary Spedding is an independent consultant and lobbyist on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the British, Irish and European Parliaments and has worked extensively on drawing lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process to inform peace building in Israel-Palestine. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySpedding
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"Col. Karim’s ruling on permitting raping non-Jewish women is similar to the fatwa of a murderous organization that’s not so far from Israel’s borders."
By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | July 12, 2016
Outgoing chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, of the Israeili Defense Forces, who is stepping down after six years in the position is being replaced. And, his successor, Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim’s appointment is being met with backlash — as he is outspoken for allowing soldiers to rape women during wartime.
Karim, who was announced on Monday as the intended new IDF chief rabbi, has provoked controversy with previous misogynistic statements, such as opposing female conscription and implying that rape was permissible in times of war.
According to Ynet News, Karim has been serving as the head of the Rabbinate Department in the Military Rabbinate. He is an alumnus of the Bnei Akiva Nachalim and the Ateret Cohanim yeshivas, and he served previously as a combat paratrooper, eventually commanding their elite reconnaissance unit, before taking a break from the military and eventually returning to its rabbinate.
In 2012, Karim’s controversy started when the Hebrew religious website KIPA, asked him, in the light of certain biblical passages, if IDF soldiers were permitted to commit rape during wartime despite the general understanding that such an act is widely considered repugnant.
His answer enraged many Israelis.
“Although intercourse with a female gentile is very grave, it was permitted during wartime (under the conditions it stipulated) out of consideration for the soldiers’ difficulties,” he wrote. “And since our concern is the success of the collective in the war, the Torah permitted [soldiers] to satisfy the evil urge under the conditions it stipulated for the sake of the collective’s success.”
In other words, soldiers can rape innocent women during times of war in order to keep their morale up.
The head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List), said, “Col. Karim’s ruling on permitting raping non-Jewish women is similar to the fatwa of a murderous organization that’s not so far from Israel’s borders. I will contact the attorney general and oppose the appointment, and I call on female and male members of Knesset to join my request.”
The chairperson of Na’amat —Movement of Working Women & Volunteers, Galia Wolloch, said, “Anyone who thinks that rape is okay as a morale-booster for soldiers, so long as it’s of gentile women, cannot lead the army to good moral and spiritual places.”
When he is not advocating for the rape of women, Karim is outspoken about refusing to allow women in the IDF.
Karim wrote in 2002 that it was explicitly forbidden.
“In a situation such as the one during the War of Independence, in which there was a real pikuah nefesh[matter of life or death] of the Jewish people, women also participated in the defense of the nation and country, even though the situation was not so modest,” he wrote. “But in our era, we do not live with a real threat to our survival.
“And because of the liable damage to the modesty of the girl and the nation, the great rabbis and the Chief Rabbinate have ruled that the enlistment of girls to the IDF is entirely forbidden.”
Karim is also outspoken about women singing at military events. If a woman sings at an event, he claims, men should not have to attend as it is repugnant.
According to the Times of Israel, the IDF on Monday responded to allegations against Karim, saying the colonel “wishes to clarify that his words were only uttered in response to a theoretical hermeneutical question, certainly not to a practical halachic question.
“Rabbi Karim never wrote, said, or even thought that an IDF soldier is permitted to sexually harm a woman during wartime,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit added in a statement.
Except that he did — as evidenced by the above quote.
Meretz party leader Zehava Galon said that Karim is not “suitable to be the rabbinic authority of the army, in which tens of thousands of women serve, and is not suitable to represent Jewish morality in any form.” She also condemned “his frightening, racist, and inflammatory statement” regarding wartime rape.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid urged Karim to disavow his remarks about women’s enlistment, saying, according to the Times of Israel, that without a public statement to that effect “he cannot be the military chief rabbi.”
“Regarding the reports that he said that beautiful gentile women can be raped during wartime, it appears this is not his opinion,” Lapid continued. “But if he thinks this, not only may he not be the chief military rabbi, he can’t even be a rabbi.”
Updated 23 December 2016
United Nations S/RES/2334 (2016) Security Council Distr.: General 23 December 2016
23 December 2016
The 2014 Gaza War Ben White
Did Hamas use human shields? Did Israeli forces target civilians? And what does Gaza need now? My new eBook, out now https://t.co/uZ2ur9fsnW— Ben White (@benabyad) 5 August 2016
15 December 1988
82nd plenary meeting
15 December 1988
Question of Palestine
The General Assembly,
Having considered the item entitled "Question of Palestine",Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in which,
inter alia, it called for the establishment of an Arab State and a Jewish State in Palestine,Mindful of the special responsibility of the United Nations to achieve a just solution to the question of Palestine,
Aware of the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council in line with General Assembly resolution 181 (II) and in exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,Affirming the urgent need to achieve a just and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East which, inter alia, provides for peaceful coexistence for
all States in the region,Recalling its resolution 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 on the observer
status for the Palestine Liberation Organization and subsequent relevant resolutions,
1. Acknowledges the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988;
2. Affirms the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty over their territory occupied since 1967;
3. Decides that, effective as of 15 December 1988, the designation "Palestine" should be used in place of the designation "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the Palestine Liberation Organization within the United Nations system, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and practice;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary action to implement the present resolution.
END OF DOCUMENT
Note of publisher:
Seems Palestine was born for UN; the above document has been taken from #UN official site as per the link on the above United Nation logo. Documentation in this section are heavy like stones nevertheless none seems to care or implement or APPLY THE written LAW and resolutions WHY?
Res. 57 (Sep. 18, 1948) – Expresses deep shock at the assassination of the U.N. Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists.
Res. 89 (Nov. 17, 1950) – Requests that attention be given to the expulsion of “thousands of Palestine Arabs” and calls upon concerned governments to take no further action “involving the transfer of persons across international frontiers or armistice lines”, and notes that Israel announced that it would withdraw to the armistice lines.
Res. 93 (May 18, 1951) – Finds that Israeli airstrikes on Syria on April 5, 1951 constitutes “a violation of the cease-fire”, and decides that Arab civilians expelled from the demilitarized zone by Israel should be allowed to return.
Res. 100 (Oct. 27, 1953) – Notes that Israel had said it would stop work it started in the demilitarized zone on September 2, 1953.
Res. 101 (Nov. 24, 1953) – Finds Israel’s attack on Qibya, Jordan on October 14-15, 1953 to be a violation of the cease-fire and “Expresses the strongest censure of that action”.
Res. 106 (Mar. 29, 1955) – Condemns Israel’s attack on Egyptian forces in the Gaza Strip on February 28, 1955.
Res. 111 (Jan. 19, 1956) – Condemns Israel’s attack on Syria on December 11, 1955 as “a flagrant violation of the cease-fire” and armistice agreement.
Res. 119 (Oct. 31, 1956) – Considers that “a grave situation has been created” by the attack against Egypt by the forces of Britain, France, and Israel.
Res. 171 (Apr. 9, 1962) – Reaffirms resolution 111 and determines that Israel’s attack on Syria on March 16-17, 1962 “constitutes a flagrant violation of that resolution”.
Res. 228 (Nov. 25, 1966) – “Deplores the loss of life and heavy damage to property resulting from the action” by Israel in the southern Hebron area on November 13, 1966, and “Censures Israel for this large-scale military action in violation of the United Nations Charter” and the armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan.
Res. 237 (Jun. 14, 1967) – Calls on Israel “to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants where military operations have taken place” during the war launched by Israel on June 5, 1967 “and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who have fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities”.
Res. 242 (Nov. 22, 1967) – Emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, emphasizes that member states have a commitment to abide by the U.N. Charter, and calls for the “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied” during the June 1967 war.
Palestinians carry their belongings in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 3 August 2014 following Israeli air strikes and shelling
The Israeli military opened fire on a mass march of civilians who were carrying white flags and calling out “peaceful, peaceful” as they tried to exit Khuzaa village in southern Gaza, which had been under siege for three days, corralling them back into the village.
Those who were trapped in the village had tried to coordinate a safe evacuation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, but Israel’s shelling would not let up.
This is one of the many disturbing findings from one of the only international and independent fact-finding missions that Israel has allowed to access the Gaza Strip since the 26 August ceasefire that ended 51 days of intensive bombing.
Last week the mission published “No Safe Place,” a more than two hundred-page report on their findings from their forensic investigation. The mission’s aim was to assess the types, causes and patterns of injuries and deaths and to collect evidence for potential use in local or international justice mechanisms.
The investigation devotes special attention to the siege on Khuzaa, detailing the attempts civilians made to flee Israeli fire and finding that the army used people as human shields, executed civilians at close range, and intentionally neglected mortally wounded children. During the four days of heavy bombardment of the village, scores were critically injured. While the report refers to twelves deaths specifically, it says the total number of casualties remains unknown.
The report also finds that most of those who were killed during the summer assault were crushed to death, frequently in their homes, and often with other members of their family by their side. More than 142 families lost at least three members in a single strike. Recent casualty counts estimate the total killed as at least 2,257and as high as 2,310.
Organized by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the investigation team consisted of international experts from the fields of forensic pathology, emergency medicine, pediatrics and health and human rights.
The delegation interviewed 68 injured patients and reviewed 370 digital images and records of those killed and the report includes transcripts of interviews with injured civilians and medical professionals. While limited in scope and access, the report concludes that evidence suggests several serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
All of Gaza a battlefield
The report confirms what was reported at the time: indiscriminate and total bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
While in some cases the Israeli military dropped warning leaflets or sent “warning strikes” or “roof taps,” this did not save lives as there were no clear boundaries of where the battlefield was. The army targeted possible escape routes, ambulances carrying wounded people, and individuals attempting to flee.
The mission found that the rate of injury and death overwhelmed the capacities of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and the destruction of medical facilities further undermined medical workers’ ability to adequately treat patients. Doctors testified that they were forced to take shortcuts like not using sterile gloves or sterile gauze and had use makeshift suture material. Some patients reported that they found maggots in their wounds after leaving the hospital.
For those needing rehabilitation, their options are now worse. Gaza’s sole public rehabilitation hospital, al-Wafa, was completely destroyed during the war. And while there are other private or nongovernmental medical rehab facilities, there is a lack of cohesion in providing services to the population in part because many international groups refuse to coordinate with Hamas government authorities.
The majority of the 68 patients interviewed suffer insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares, screaming, loss of appetite, weight loss, depression and unstable emotional states.
Doctors and nurses said that the trauma they saw was not just a from the attacks, displacement, threats of joblessness and poverty, but also the sense of total isolation from the rest of the world. Those interviewed said that Gaza’s dire situation affects individuals’ life choices, like whether or not to get married and have children.
Medics under attack
Yousef al-Kahlout, a 32-year-old medic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society, said Israel’s tactics posed a danger more grave last summer than in previous wars. Ambulances came under repeated attack and first responders were put at risk by Israel’s method of striking a single target multiple times in close succession, a method called “double tapping.”
The report adds that the Israeli military would often refuse to coordinate with theInternational Committe of the Red Cross to allow local medics into an area to evacuate casualties, forcing them to enter dangerous areas at their own risk.
Even when the Israeli military would coordinate with the Red Cross to allow Red Crescent staff to enter an area, medics would come under fire.
Powerful explosives used indiscriminately
Huge numbers of injuries and deaths last summer were caused by the indiscriminate use of large amounts of powerful explosives, the report states.
One weapon used to inflict such destruction is called an “explosive barrel” by local residents and “Tzefa Shirion” (Viper Armour) by the Israeli military. Its stated purpose is to clear landmines for advancing troops, but Israel used it in at least two neighborhoods in Gaza: Khuzaa and Khan Younis. The device can be rolled out from a tank or dropped from the sky; as the barrel rolls forward, its explosives are detonated and a corridor is created for the military.
The mission also found evidence corroborating the use of flechette shells, which indiscriminately spray thousands of tiny darts, and evidence suggesting the use of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME), an experimental weapon that was previously used in Israel’s 2008-2009 military attack on Gaza. Doctors also found computer chips with SONY markings embedded in bodies like shrapnel.
The publication ends by encouarging the pursuit of justice, while also acknowledging the deep sense of pessimism Palestinians have towards any international mechanism to deter Israel’s constant attacks on Gaza. One head nurse atal-Shifa hospital said: “Many felt that ‘another report’ documenting their pain and suffering would be ineffective in addressing the root causes of the morbidity and mortality they experience daily.”
(Source / 29.01.2016)