January 22, 2009

Gaza… even some Zionists are horrified

Filed under: testimonies — newritings @ 8:35 pm


On the 15 January 2009, I wrote to Professor Stephen Zunes from the Department of Politics of the University of San Francisco whom I know as both a progressive Jewish activist and advocate of non-violence. I wanted to get progressive Jewish voices to speak in this blog of how they see the GAZA massacres and what was the future of non-violent action. Not all the questions I posed were answered, but this response from a busy academic, intellectual and comrade.

Dr. Zunes is a foreign affairs columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and a regular contributor to the Common Dreams website and Tikkun magazine.

Hi Hassen, Nice hearing from you. Here are three articles I’ve posted in recent weeks on the Gaza situation: Congress Defends Israeli War Crimes in Gaza (Alternet Jan. 13, 2009), Democrats Are Cowards in the Face of Israel’s Brutality (Alternet Jan. 6, 2009) and America’s Hidden Role in Hamas’s Rise to Power (Alternet Jan. 4, 2009). The key issue for me is not just the flagrant war crimes committed by the Israeli government, but the fact that the only reason they have been able to get away with it is as a result of the military, diplomatic and economic support of the United States. Without that, the international community would be able to impose international sanctions or other pressure that would have put a stop to it early on or, more likely, just the threat of such action would have prevented this kind of thing from happening in the first place. As a result, while I have long advocated the Palestinians escalating their nonviolent resistance instead of terrorism and other forms of armed struggle, I believe the most important place for nonviolence resistance is here in the United States to force the U.S. government to end the unconditional support for Israeli militarism. Incidentally, even some people who identify as Zionists (in the sense that they identify as Jewish nationalists but open to sharing the land with Palestinian nationalists) are horrified with what’s been happening in Gaza. With a blank check from the U.S., however, the most hard core and racist tendencies within Zionism have come to dominate. I’ve long argued that the United States is “supporting” Israel out of geostrategic interests, not because of an all-powerful Jewish lobby. The United States was quite willing to support Indonesia’s brutal oppression of East Timor and has been quite willing to support Morocco’s ongoing oppression of Western Sahara without a domestic minority group forcing our hand to do so. If the American foreign policy elite decided it was in the U.S. interest to drop support for this kind of thing, they could do it in a moment. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and for an opportunity to share mine. In Peace, Stephen

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