Sign on: Jews Say: End the War on Gaza — No Aid to Apartheid Israel!


Please join 200 initial signers below by signing the statement below HERE


Jews Say: End the War on Gaza — No Aid to Apartheid Israel!
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, July 22, 2014

On July 12, 2014, Gaza civil society issued an urgent appeal for solidarity, asking: “How many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient?”

As Jews of conscience, we answer by unequivocally condemning Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza, whose victims include hundreds of civilians, children, entire families, the elderly, and the disabled. This latest toll adds to the thousands Israel has killed and maimed since its supposed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

In response to this crisis, we urgently reaffirm our support for a ban on all military and other aid to Israel.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. opposed the Vietnam War with his famous declaration: “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

Today, *we* cannot be silent as the “Jewish state” — armed to the teeth by the U.S. and its allies — wages yet another brutal war on the Palestinian people. Apartheid Israel does not speak for us, and we stand with Gaza as we stand with all of Palestine.

In the face of incessant pro-Israel propaganda, we heed Malcolm X’s warning: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

For Israel’s relentless war on Gaza is no more an act of “self-defense” than such infamous massacres as Wounded Knee (1890), Guernica (1937), the Warsaw Ghetto (1942), Deir Yassin (1948), My Lai (1968), Soweto (1976), Sabra and Shatila (1982), or Lebanon (2006).

Rather, it is but the latest chapter in more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, and genocide — including Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba. Indeed, eighty percent of the 1.8 million people sealed into Gaza are refugees.

Like any colonial regime, Israel uses resistance to such policies as an excuse to terrorize and collectively punish the indigenous population for its very existence. But scattered rockets, fired from Gaza into land stolen from Palestinians in the first place, are merely a response to this systemic injustice.

To confront the root cause of this violence, we call for the complete dismantling of Israel’s apartheid regime, throughout historic Palestine — from the River to the Sea. With that in mind, we embrace the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which demands:

* An end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories

* Full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel

* Right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194

Initial Signers (list in formation; organizations, schools and other affiliations shown for identification only; *Co-founder, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return)

Avigail Abarbanel, Psychotherapist; editor, Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (2012, Cambridge Scholars), Inverness, Scotland

Noa Abend, Boycott From Within

Stephen Aberle, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC

Lisa Albrecht, Ph.D. Social Justice Program, University of Minnesota

Anya Achtenberg, novelist and poet; teacher; activist; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Mike Alewitz, Associate Professor, Central CT State Unversity; Artistic Director, Labor Art & Mural Project

Zalman Amit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus; Author, Israeli Rejectionism

Anthony Arnove, International Socialist Organization

Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Switzerland

Ted Auerbach, Brooklyn for Peace

Anna Baltzer, author and organizer

Ronnie Barkan, Co-founder, Boycott from Within, Tel-Aviv

Judith Bello, Administrative Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition

Lawrence Boxall, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada; Vancouver Ecosocialist Group

Linda Benedikt, writer Munich, Germany

Nora Barrows-Friedman, journalist; Oakland

Jonathan Beller, Humanities and Media Studies Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Medea Benjamin, co-founder, CODEPINK

Rica Bird, Joint Founder, Merseyside Jews for Peace and Justice

Audrey Bomse, Co-chair, National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee

Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley

Lenni Brenner, Author, Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators

Elizabeth Block, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto ON

Max Blumenthal, Author, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel; and Senior Writer for

Mary P. Buchwald, Jewish Voice for Peace-New York

Monique Buckner, BDS South Africa

Maia Brown, Health and Human Rights Project-Seattle & Stop Veolia Seattle

Estee Chandler, Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles

Rick Chertoff, L..A. Jews for Peace

Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; past president, National Lawyers Guild

Ally Cohen, Ramallah, Palestine; International Solidarity Movement media coordinator

Ruben Rosenberg Colorni, Youth for Palestine, Netherlands

Mike Cushman, Convenor, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)

Margaretta D’arcy, Irish actress, writer, playwright, and peace-activist

Natalie Zemon Davis, Historian

Warren Davis, labor and political activist, Philadelphia, PA

Eron Davidson, film maker

Judith Deutsch, Independent Jewish Voices Canada; Science for Peace

Roger Dittmann, Professor of Physics, Emeritus California State University, Fullerton; President, Scholars and Scientists without Borders Executive Council, World Federation of Scientific Workers

Gordon Doctorow, Ed.D., Canada

Mark Elf, Jews Sans Frontieres, London, UK

Hedy Epstein, Nazi Holocaust survivor and human rights activist; St. Louis, MO

Marla Erlien, New York NY

Shelley Ettinger, writer/activist, New York, NY

Inge Etzbach, Human Rights Activist, Café Palestina NY

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University; Former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, 2008-2014

Malkah B. Feldman, Jewish Voice for Peace and recent delegate to Palestine with American Jews For A Just Peace

Deborah Fink, Co-Founder, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods UK

Joel Finkel, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago

Sylvia Finzi, JfjfP; Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, EJJP. Germany)

Maxine Fookson, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Jewish Voice for Peace, Portland OR-

Richard Forer, Author, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine

Sid Frankel, Associate Professor, University of Manitoba

Cynthia Franklin, Co-Editor, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, University of Hawai’i

Racheli Gai, Jewish Voice for Peace

Herb Gamberg, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada

Ruth Gamberg, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada

Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Cheryl Gaster, social justice activist and human right lawyer, Toronto ON

Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, American/Canadian Musician and Anti-Israeli Apartheid Activist

Jack Gegenberg, Professor of Mathematics, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton NB

Terri Ginsberg, film and media scholar, New York

David Glick, psychotherapist; Jewish Voice for Peace

Sherna Berger Gluck, Emerita Professor, CSULB; Israel Divestment Campaign

Neta Golan, Ramallah, Palestine; Jews Against Genocide; Co-founder, International Solidarity Movement.

Tsilli Goldenberg, teacher, Jerusalem, Israel

Steve Goldfield, Ph.D.

Sue Goldstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Canada

Marty Goodman, former Executive Board member, Transport Workers Union Local 100; Socialist Action

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Freeman Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Hector Grad, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Spain

Jesse Greener, University of Laval

Cathy Gulkin, Filmmaker, Toronto ON

Ira Grupper, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY

Jeff Halper, The Israeli Committee Against House demolitions (ICAHD)

Larry Haiven, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Halifax

Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, publisher, Germany

Stanley Heller, The Struggle Video News TSVN

Shir Hever, Jewish Voice for Just Peace, Germany

Deborah Hrbek, media and civil rights lawyer, NLG-NYC

Tikva Honig-Parnass, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss

Gilad Isaacs, Economist, Wits University.

Selma James, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Jake Javanshir, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto

Riva Joffe, Jews Against Zionism

Val Jonas, attorney, Miami Beach

Sima Kahn, MD; President of the board, Kadima Reconstructionist Community

Yael Kahn, Israeli anti-apartheid activist

Michael Kalmanovitz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (UK)

Dan Kaplan, AFT Local 1493

Susan Kaplan, J.D. National Lawyers Guild

Danny Katch, activist and author

Bruce Katz, President, Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU), Montreal, Canada

Lynn Kessler, Ph.D., MPH, psychologist/social justice activist

Janet Klecker, Sonomans for Justice & Peace for Palestine, Sonoma CA

David Klein, California State University, Northridge; USACBI

Emma Klein, Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle WA

Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Harry Kopyto, Legal activist Toronto ON

Richard Koritz, veteran postal trade unionist and former member of North Carolina Human Relations Commission

Yael Korin, PhD., Scientist at UCLA; Campaign to End IsraelI Apartheid, Southern California

Dennis Kortheuer, CSULB, Israel Divestment Campaign

Steve Kowit, Professor Emeritus, Jewish Voice for Peace

Toby Kramer, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Jason Kunin, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

David Landy, Trinity College, Dublin

Jean Léger, Coalition pour la Justice et la Paix en Palestine, membre de la Coalition BDS Québec et de Palestiniens et Juifs Unis

Lynda Lemberg, Educators for Peace and Justice, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto ON

David Letwin,* activist and teacher, Al-Awda NY

Michael Letwin,* former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; USACBI; Al-Awda NY

Les Levidow, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG), UK

Corey Levine, Human Rights Activist, Writer; National Steering Committee, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Joseph Levine, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Lesley Levy, Independent Jewish Voices, Montreal

Mich Levy, teacher, Oakland CA

Abby Lippman, Professor Emerita; activist; Montreal

Brooke Lober, PhD candidate, University of Arizona, Gender and Women’s Studies Department

Antony Loewenstein, journalist, author and Guardian columnist

Jennifer Loewenstein, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Alex Lubin, Professor of American Studies, University of New Meixco

Andrew Lugg, Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa, Canada

David Makofsky, Jewish Voice for Peace, Research Anthropologist

Harriet Malinowitz, Professor of English, Long Island University, Brooklyn

Mike Marqusee, Author, If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

Miriam Marton, JD

Richard Matthews. independent scholar, London ON

Daniel L. Meyers, Former President National Lawyers Guild-NYC

Linda Milazzo, Writer/Activist/Educator, Los Angeles

Eva Steiner Moseley, Holocaust refugee, Massachusetts Peace Action board member and Palestine/Israel Working Group

Dorothy Naor, retired teacher, Herzliah, Israel

Marcy Newman, independent scholar; Author; The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans

Alex Nissen, Women in Black

Judith Norman, San Antonio, TX

Henry Norr, retired journalist, Berkeley CA

Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror

Bertell Ollman, NYU

Karin Pally, Santa Monica, CA

Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist

Karen Platt, Jewish Voice for Peace, Albany CA

Susan Pashkoff, Jews Against Zionism, London UK

Miko Peled, writer, activist; Author, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine

Gabriel Piterberg, UCLA

Mitch Podolak, Founder, Winnipeg Folk Festival and Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Karen Pomer,* granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor

Lenny Potash, Los Angeles CA

Fabienne Presentey, Independent Jewish Voices, Montréal

Diana Ralph, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism, London

Karen Ranucci, Independent Journalist, Democracy Now!

Ana Ratner, Artist, Puppeteer, Activist.

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights

Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin, Jewish Voice Germany

Diana M.A. Relke, Professor Emerita, University of Saskatchewan

Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Stewart M. Robinson, retired Prof of Mathematics

Professor Lisa Rofel, University of California, Santa Cruz

Mimi Rosenberg, Producer & Host, Building Bridges and Wednesday Edition, WBAI 99.5 FM; Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325

Lillian Rosengarten, Author, From The Shadows Of Nazi Germany To The Jewish Boat To Gaza

Jonathan Rosenhead, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

Yehoahua Rosin, Israel

Ilana Rossoff, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Martha Roth, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver BC

Marty Roth, Emeritus professor of English, University of Minnesota

Ruben Roth, Assistant Professor, Labour Studies, Laurentian University; Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Emma Rubin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Cheryl A. Rubenberg, Middle East Scholar; Editor, Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; Author, The Palestinians in Search of a Just Peace

Josh Ruebner, Author, Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Mark Rudd, retired teacher, Albuquerque NM

Ben Saifer, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Evalyn Segal, Rossmoor Senior Community

Sylvia Schwarz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League; Haifa

Carole Seligman, co-editor, Socialist Viewpoint magazine

Yom Shamash, Independent Jewish Voices, Vancouver, Canada

Tali Shapiro, Boycott from Within; Israel

Karen Shenfeld, Poet, Toronto ON

Sid Shniad, National Steering Committee, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

William Shookhoff, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto ON

Melinda Smith, Jewish Voice for Peace, Albuquerque NM

Kobi Snitz, Tel Aviv

Marsha Steinberg, BDS-LA for Justice in Palestine, Los Angeles

Lotta Strandberg, Visiting Scholar, NYU

Carol Stone, Independent Jewish Voices, Vancouver BC

Miriam (Cherkes-Julkowski) Swenson, Ph.D.

Matthew Taylor, author

Laura Tillem, Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas

Peter Trainor, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto

Rebecca Tumposky, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Darlene Wallach, Justice for Palestinians, San Jose CA

Abraham Weizfeld, JPLO

Bonnie Weinstein, Co-Editor of Socialist Viewpoint magazine; Publisher, Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Sam Weinstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor; former President, UWUA Local 132

Judith Weisman, Independent Jewish Voices; Not in Our Name (NION); Toronto ON

Paul Werner, PhD, DSFS Editor, WOID, a journal of visual language

Noga Wizansky, Ph.D., artist, instructor, and researcher; Administrator, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley

Marcy Winograd, public school teacher, former congressional peace candidate

Bekah Wolf, UC Hastings College of Law Student; Co-founder, Palestine Solidarity Project

Sherry Wolf, International Socialist Organization

Dave Zirin, Author, Game Over: How Politics Have Turned the Sports World Upside Down

Kicked Off Facebook, and Wondering Why (New York Times)


Kicked Off Facebook, and Wondering Why

SEPT. 19, 2014

20shortcut-pic1-master675 “It was a Kafkaesque thing,” said Michael Letwin, of Brooklyn, after he discovered his Facebook account had been disabled. Credit Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times



Michael Letwin, a lawyer living in Brooklyn, went to sign into his Facebook account, as he does almost daily, and received a surprising — and unpleasant — message.

“Your account has been disabled,” it said. “If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our F.A.Q. page.” Mr. Letwin, who besides his personal page also helps administer a Facebook page for the group Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, clicked onto the F.A.Q. page and found a reference to Facebook’s community standards, none of which he felt he violated, along with the option to appeal.

He did. And then he waited. And waited.

Mr. Letwin’s situation is not unusual, or new. The question of what role social media companies should play — a hands-off observer that steps in only in extreme circumstances, or a curator that decides what goes up and what comes down — has long been debated.

Recently, Twitter refused to allow posts with links to videos of the beheading of the American journalist James Foley. Facebook is currently involved in a continuing battle with drag queens who had their accounts disabled because they used their stage names in their profiles — a violation of the company’s rules — rather than their real names. The furor led this week to a meeting with Facebook representatives and a news conference called by a San Francisco supervisor.

“We don’t realize how ingrained Facebook is in our everyday lives,” a drag queen named Heklina told KNTV in San Jose, Calif. “I was shut out of Facebook for 24 hours and felt like I had a limb chopped off.”

But few users, until they are faced with a similar situation, are aware of how little control they actually have over something they view as their own — their pages, their posts, their photos.

“When Facebook makes a termination decision, it’s potentially life-altering for some people,” said Eric Goldman, a professor of law at Santa Clara University in California and co-director of the High Tech Law Institute there. “They’re cut off to access to their communities” and possibly to their clients.

That is not to say that Professor Goldman thinks social media platforms should be completely unregulated. And, he said, Facebook and other social media companies largely do a good job of monitoring so many users and posts.

His and others’ main criticism focuses on transparency.

“The average person’s soapbox is now digital, and we’re now in a world where the large social media companies have a governmentlike ability to set social norms,” said Lee Rowland, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s a massive power and it comes with a responsibility.”

These questions arise with all social media, but the relationship users have with Facebook is particularly passionate, Professor Goldman said. Even as some say its impact is waning, it still provides 1.3 billion people — compared, say, to Twitter’s 271 million active monthly users — with access to news about their friends and to community groups.

“Our goal has always been to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of people who want to express themselves and the interests of others who may not want to see certain kinds of content,” Monika Bickert, head of Facebook’s global policy management, wrote in an email.

Social media companies have every legal right to take down content or kick someone off, said Danielle Citron, a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law. As private entities, they are not bound by the First Amendment. They also have immunity from liability under the federal Communications Decency Act.

Facebook, like other social media companies, has a list of standards that users agree to abide by when they set up their accounts, even if they never read the standards.

Among other things, they prohibit posting of hate speech (which means individuals or groups cannot attack others based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition), encouragements of self-harm, graphic content or threats of violence. And the user’s real name must be used.

Anyone can easily file a report against a user. And Facebook has hundreds of people working around the clock and around the world in 30 languages, reading and responding to reports of violations.

Obviously, many of these categories are open to interpretation. Breast-feeding, for example, is something Facebook has grappled with in the past — essentially, how much of the breast can you show before it becomes graphic?

If Facebook decides to remove content, it sends a warning to the user about the action. People can also be locked out temporarily for a few days or a week. Grounds for immediately disabling an account include using a fake name or promoting child exploitation.

But Heather Dorsey, who lives in Milwaukee, had not done any of those things when she found herself barred from logging onto Facebook three years ago.

“My profile didn’t break any rules. I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary prior to getting temporarily kicked off,” she wrote in an email. “It was frustrating not knowing how long it was going to take to get the issue resolved, as I do use Facebook to stay connected, particularly with friends and relatives who live out of town. I am a freelance writer and social media consultant, so it was also an issue for my work.”

She tried to call, but ended up in an endless circle of recordings. She found an email address for advertisers and contacted it, asking what she had done wrong. And as suddenly as she was taken off, she was allowed back on.

In 2012, the website Gawker published a far more detailed list of Facebook’s Abuse Standards Violations used by the company’s regulators.

Facebook refused to confirm that the list was valid.

While the community standards are global, the company does obey a country’s laws.

For example, visually or verbally insulting Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is illegal in Turkey, so if Facebook is notified of such a post, it immediately limits the visibility of that post in Turkey. The same with Holocaust denial in in countries where that is against the law.

Facebook would not release the number of reports it receives nor how much content it takes down. It also would not say how many accounts are suspended or disabled. But it does not take more than a quick search on the Internet to see that many users are confounded when they try to log in and find they cannot.

That includes the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization last year posted a photo of a bare-chested bronze female statue in an article on its Facebook page about controversial public art in Kansas.

Facebook took the post down, telling the organization that it had violated Facebook’s community standards. It then blocked the A.C.L.U. from posting for 24 hours, contending it had posted again, which it had not.

Once the A.C.L.U. contacted Facebook’s public policy manager, apologies were given and the post was allowed back up. It was all a mistake. But as Ms. Rowland said, “Our ultimate success is cold comfort for anyone who has a harder time getting their emails returned than does the A.C.L.U.”

Professor Citron, author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” said of Facebook, “I think it’s a positive thing that they’re allowed to set community norms.” The problem is a lack of “technological due process,” she said.

“They should give meaningful notice so you know what you did wrong and have a meaningful appeal process,” Professor Citron said.

Ms. Bickert of Facebook acknowledged that “one area where we’re focusing is improving the information we share with people about our community standards and when we take action on reported content.”

For Mr. Letwin, that can’t come soon enough. A month after his account was disabled, he received an email apologizing, saying it had all been a mistake on Facebook’s part.

A Facebook spokesman said a report was filed against Mr. Letwin for using a fake name, which he had not done, and a reviewer looking at his account then mistakenly thought it violated Facebook’s standards regarding promotion of violence and terrorism. But the process took far longer than it should have, he acknowledged, saying that typically, an appeal should be responded to within a few days.

“It was a Kafkaesque thing,” Mr. Letwin said. “You don’t know if you did too many posts, too many likes. The rules are constantly changing.”

Letter: Marzec has been “defamed” for her courageous stand against Israel (Athens Post)

Letter: Marzec has been “defamed” for her courageous stand against Israel

September 6, 2014

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return deplores the witch-hunt against Megan Marzec, president of the Ohio University Student Senate, following her protest of the recent U.S.-backed Israeli massacre in Gaza, which has taken the lives of more than 2000 people, many of them civilians, children, entire families, the elderly, and the disabled.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was vilified for opposing the Vietnam War with the famous words: For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. Today, Megan and other critics of Israeli war crimes are similarly defamed for taking an equally courageous stand.

Along with a growing number of Jews and many other people of conscience around the world, we welcome her support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which calls for the complete dismantling of Israel’s apartheid regime, through:

An end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories. Full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194.

We are proud to stand with Megan, and all those who speak out against racism, colonialism and injustice.

Michael Letwin is the co-founder of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return.

BDS lays the basis for a true peace process (Mondoweiss)

BDS lays the basis for a true peace process


The recent collapse of the “Kerry Plan” to revive the two-state solution has once again exposed the peace process as a cynical travesty devoid of justice.

Recycled in various permutations for over two decades, the U.S. sponsored two-state solution has had a consistent purpose: force Palestinians to formally accept an apartheid “Jewish state” on more than three-quarters of historic Palestine and—at best—an Israeli-controlled Palestinian Bantusan on what’s left.

It also demands that seven million Palestinian refugees, transformed through Zionist alchemy from victims of ethnic cleansing into a collective threat to Israel’s “Jewish character,” permanently concede their right of return.

To succeed, this process requires an indigenous accomplice willing to trade away Palestinian rights and demobilize popular opposition in exchange for what Palestinian grassroots activist Haidar Eid describes as “a flag, a national anthem, and a small piece of land on which to exercise municipal sovereignty and establish ministries, all with the permission of the occupier.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was created by the 1993 Oslo Accords precisely to fulfill this function, to be administered by a compliant PLO “negotiating partner.”

For iconic Palestinian intellectual and one-time senior PLO advisor Edward Said, this “instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles” was a catastrophe. “I doubt that there was a single Palestinian who watched the White House [signing] ceremony,” he wrote, “who did not also feel that a century of sacrifice, dispossession and heroic struggle had finally come to nought.”

Today’s PA leadership under notional president Mahmoud Abbas represents a Palestinian neoliberal 1% and actively colludes with Israeli forces to suppress any signs of resistance, having become, as Said predicted, “Israel’s enforcer.” Abbas has unashamedly affirmed this role, recently declaring the PA’s “security relationship” with Israel “sacred.”

Yet despite its best efforts at collaboration, the PA cannot openly submit to Israeli demands for total Palestinian capitulation, for fear of being toppled by a new popular Intifada.

For its part, the Obama administration regards a two-state solution as the best long-term means of securing Israel’s ongoing role as watchdog for U.S. imperial interests in the region (Secretary of State Alexander Haig once referred to Israel as “the largest American aircraft carrier in the world”).

As in all alliances, however, there is tension. Israel’s highly conspicuous “Jewish only” settlements in the 1967 territories undermine the U.S. administration’s two-state plans as made clear by John Kerry’s “poof” comment regarding Israel’s responsibility for the most recent breakdown in the talks. At the same time, U.S. politicians know they must placate domestic pro-Israel forces or suffer the electoral consequences.

These strains notwithstanding, shared aims and ideology—rather than the “Israel Lobby”—ultimately guarantee unconditional U.S. support for Israel, which is therefore free to drag out endless negotiations to nowhere.

The 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israelchallenges all these machinations. BDS, the largest international movement in solidarity with Palestinian resistance, demands not only an end to the 1967 occupation, but equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and that Israel “respect, protect and promote” Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

Zionists complain these demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS. As Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah summarizes, “The demand for a Jewish state cannot be implemented without violating the fundamental human rights of Palestinians, who are no less deserving of human rights than any other group of humans.”

In response to this message, Israel and its backers are striking back. In 2011, the Knesset passed legislation making BDS advocacy and Nakba commemoration a punishable offense. They are now seeking to do the same in the U.S., particularly at universities, where, as author Bill Mullen points out, the battles between Israeli proxies and emerging Students for Justice in Palestine chapters represent “the sharpest campus political conflicts since the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Vietnam antiwar movements.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently insisted not only that the PA acknowledge Israel as a “Jewish state” and “cancel” Palestinian right of return as a precondition for any agreement, but also is promoting a new Israeli Basic Law reaffirming Israel’s status as “the nation state of one people only—the Jewish people—and of no other people.” The Kerry Plan similarly insists that Israel is “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.

This language only underscores the racist premises of the “Jewish state,” and makes a mockery of John Kerry’s warning that Israel might in future become an apartheid state. In reality, Mr. Kerry, Israel has been an apartheid state since Day One.

Half a century ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded the world there can be no peace without the “presence of justice.” BDS, by insisting on liberation and full equality throughout historic Palestine, embodies this self-evident principle. Any genuine peace process must do no less.

About David Letwin

David Letwin works with Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. He has been published online at Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, The Sabbah Report, and Socialist Worker.



Image: We say ‘No’ to a ‘Jewish State’ anywhere in historic Palestine


Sign: Jews of Conscience Salute the ASA for Boycotting Apartheid Israel

Please sign, repost and share widely:

‘Jews For Palestinian Right of Return’ endorse American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions

JFPROR tinyurl

We salute the American Studies Association’s courageous endorsement of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli academic institutions, which are leading accomplices in more than six decades of ethnic cleansing, colonization, war crimes, and apartheid.

As Jews, we refuse to remain silent as a so-called “Jewish state,” armed by the U.S. and its allies, commits these injustices with impunity in our name.

Contrary to baseless charges of “anti-Semitism,” BDS resembles the boycotts that “singled out” similarly racist regimes in Jim Crow United States and apartheid South Africa.

Applying the same standards to apartheid Israel, BDS demands nothing more — nor less — than freedom and justice throughout all of historic Palestine, by calling for:

• An end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories

• Full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel

• Right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194

We call on Jews of conscience everywhere to honor our own proud heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice by standing with the Palestinian people, BDS, the ASA, and the growing international movement in support of these fundamental human rights.

Partial list of initial signers
(List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only)

  • Avigail Abarbanel, psychotherapist, activist, writer; Inverness, Scotland
  • Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Switzerland
  • Prof. Jonathan Beller, Humanities and Media Studies; Director, Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn
  • Prof. Steve Brier, historian, New York
  • Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, Tel Aviv
  • Nora Barrows-Friedman, journalist; Oakland
  • Max Blumenthal, journalist and author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
  • Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley
  • Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators
  • Estee Chandler, Community Organizer, Los Angeles
  • Mike Cushman, Convener, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)
  • Eron Davidson, award-winning filmmaker, Roadmap to Apartheid, USA
  • Warren Davis, labor and political activist, Philadelphia, PA
  • Hedy Epstein, Nazi Holocaust survivor and human rights activist; St. Louis, MO
  • Samuel Farber, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • Joel Finkel, Jewish Voices for Peace-Chicago
  • Prof. Cynthia Franklin, Co-Editor, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, University of Hawai’i
  • Lee Gargaliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-US
  • Dr. Terri Ginsberg, film and media scholar, New York
  • Sherna Berger Gluck, emerita faculty, California State University, Long Beach; founding member, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign
  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Berkeley
  • Hector Grad, Prof. of Social Anthropology, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
  • Ira Grupper, former National Co-Chair, New Jewish Agenda (1989-1993)
  • Jeff Halper, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
  • Stanley Heller, Host, “The Struggle” Video News, TSVN
  • Shir Hever, Jewish Voice for Just Peace, Germany
  • Tikva Honig-Parnass, former member of the Zionist armed forces (1948); author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine
  • Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss
  • Selma James, Global Women’s Strike; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-UK
  • Jake Javanshir, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
  • Emily Katz Kishawi, Jewish Anti Zionist Network, San Francisco
  • Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-International
  • David Klein, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  • Toby Kramer, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-US
  • David Letwin, activist and teacher, Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Michael Letwin, Former president, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Dr. Les Levidow, Open University, UK
  • Brooke Lober, PhD candidate, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
  • Antony Loewenstein, Australian journalist and author
  • Jennifer Loewenstein, Faculty Associate, Middle East Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Samantha Liapes, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
  • Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance; Oakland, CA
  • Prof. David Makofsky, Research Anthropologist, People’s Republic of China
  • Mike Marqusee, author of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
  • Thomas Mayer, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Linda Milazzo, writer, activist, educator, Los Angeles
  • Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART)
  • Prof. Bertell Ollman, Dept. of Politics, New York University
  • Prof. Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist
  • Miko Peled, writer, activist, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine
  • Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Sakharov Prize laureate, Jerusalem
  • Karen Pomer, granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor
  • Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism, London
  • Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights (for ID purposes only); New York
  • Ruben Rosenberg Colorni, Journalist, The News Junkie Post, Activist – Youth for Palestine; The Hague
  • Lillian Rosengarten, activist for Palestinian liberation and a bi-national Israel/Palestinian State; New York
  • Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics
  • Ilana Rossoff, community organizer; New Jersey
  • Cheryl Rubenberg, retired associate professor of Middle East politics at Florida International University (Miami)
  • Josh Ruebner, Author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace
  • Margot Salom, Just Peace for Palestine; Brisbane
  • Yom Shamash, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver
  • Tali Shapiro, Boycott from Within; Israel
  • Sid Shniad, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver
  • Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director, The Freedom Theatre
  • Marsha Steinberg, BDS-LA for Justice in Palestine
  • Prof. Miriam Swenson, educational psychology
  • Steve Terry, criminal defense attorney; Brooklyn, NY
  • Sam Weinstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor
  • Abraham Weizfeld, Administrative Secretary, Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
  • Marcy Winograd, former congressional candidate, Los Angeles
  • Bekah Wolf, UC Hastings College of Law Student; Co-founder, Palestine Solidarity Project
  • Sherry Wolf, Associate Editor, International Socialist Review
  • Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg, Non-Executive Director, Pluto Books Ltd.; London

About Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

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Interview with Dr. Haidar Eid: ‘The Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation’

whatcomesnextverticalInterview with Dr. Haidar Eid: ‘The Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation’

 on December 2, 2013 

David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return) interviews Dr. Haidar Eid, Associate Professor, Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

David Letwin: Many Palestinian solidarity activists in this country put their main efforts into opposing the 1967 occupation and more recently, Israel’s siege of Gaza. But you and other Palestinians have argued that Palestinian refugees’ right to return is at the core of the struggle for justice. Why is this?

Haidar Eid: Zionist dispossession and oppression of Palestinians does not begin with 1967. It goes back to 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from villages and towns in Palestine, and were deported to neighboring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria ,Gaza and the West Bank to make way for an apartheid “Jewish state.”

Then, in 1967, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which represents the remaining twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.

As a result of this systematic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, fully two-thirds of the Palestinian people are refugees entitled to their right of return to their original homeland, in accordance with United Nations resolution 194. This is the root of the Palestine issue.

Solidarity supporters that only take the cause back to 1967 are ignoring the source of the problem, and reflecting the Zionist Left in Israel, which wants separation of Palestinians from Israeli Jews.

whatcomesnextverticalCan this central right of return be realized if there is a Jewish state anywhere in historic Palestine?

No, that is an impossibility. Zionism, by nature, is an exclusionary ideology that doesn’t accept the “Other.” And the “Other,” in Zionist ideology, is the Palestinian — the Arab in the historic land of Palestine. So a Jewish state means the denial of rights to non-Jews. I am from a refugee family, but because I am not born from a Jewish mother, I’m not entitled to citizenship in the state of Israel; I’m not entitled to my right of return.

How does this fit into your analysis of the Two-State versus the One-State Solution?

The two-state solution is a racist solution that calls for a “pure Jewish state”, and a “pure Palestinian state,” both of which would be based on ethno-religious identities. It does not take into account the rights of two-thirds of the Palestinian people. Neither does it take into consideration the national and cultural rights of 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-, if not third-class citizens of the state. This is extremely important.

Furthermore, the Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation. Liberation is very different from independence, because our right to self-determination must lead to the right of return and full equality for all inhabitants of the state of Palestine.

The two-state solution is a racist dogma that cannot guarantee all the rights demanded by the 2005 BDS call around which we have a Palestinian consensus: withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Arab lands occupied in 1967; implementation of UN resolution 194, which calls for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants; and an end to Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. I’m sorry that we have solidarity activists who have fallen into the trap of supporting this so-called solution. Would supporters from the United States of America accept a state that officially discriminates against African Americans? Did South African supporters accept the “Bantustan solution”? No, they didn’t! So why accept it for the Palestinians?

And the One-State Solution?

The one-state solution is the only solution through which the Palestinian rights called for by the BDS movement can be achieved. Moreover, it is a very generous compromise from the oppressed colonized to the settler colonialists, offering citizenship in a state with total equality, exactly like what happened in South Africa, where white settlers were offered the same generous compromise by the indigenous population.

This is the 21st century, after all! We are offering a humane, inclusive solution that is not based on ethno-religious identity: a secular state for ALL of its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, etcetera.

If you’re really a supporter of Palestine, you are supposed to support our right to self-determination, which ultimately leads to a secular democratic state throughout all of historic Palestine. Otherwise, you would be supporting a racist solution! I don’t think that genuine support for Palestine excludes Right of Return. If that is the case, then where are the Palestinian refugees supposed to return? To an apartheid state that defines itself in ethno-religious terms? A state that is not their state since it is the state of Jews only?!

In a 2009 interview, BDS leader Omar Barghouti said, “I am completely against bi-nationalism. A secular, democratic state, yes, but not bi-national. There is a big difference.” Do you agree? And what, in your opinion, is the difference?

Yes, I completely agree. A bi-national state by definition is a state made up of two nations. These two nations are historically entitled to the land. But Jews do not constitute a nation. Israeli Jews constitute a settler-colonialist community, not unlike the whites of South Africa or the French in Algeria. Settler colonists are not entitled to self-determination. However, the indigenous people of Palestine, Muslims, Christians and Jews, are all entitled to self determination and they do constitute a nation.

In fact, bi-nationalism is a Zionist idea since it looks at ALL Jews as a nation that is entitled to the land.

What do you say to people who say, “OK, I agree with what you’re saying. But let’s be honest. Two-states is the only realistic solution, and if you really want to help Palestinians, you should focus on ending the immediate problem of the Occupation and supporting the two-state solution”?

I would say that the one-state solution is more practical/realistic than the two-state solution. South Africa proved that civic democracy for all the inhabitants of South Africa was the way forward; the land of South Africa, according to the Freedom Charter,  belongs to ALL those who live on it. That’s a lesson that we need to learn from history.

Israel has shot the two-state solution in the head by creating news facts on the ground: by annexing Jerusalem, having a “Greater Jerusalem,” and by increasing the number of settlers and expanding the existing illegal colonies (all colonies are illegal). In 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, the illusion of peace prevailed, unfortunately. People believed that it was possible to have two states: a Palestinian state on twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.

That year, 1993, the number of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was 193,000. Twenty years later, the number of settlers in the West Bank has risen to 600,000. Israeli settlements — or rather the Jewish-only colonies, since Palestinians are not allowed to live there — have become towns and cities. Which means that Israel is not planning to leave the West Bank at all. And during these twenty years, Israel has erected a monstrous apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from Israelis, and Palestinians from Palestinians.

Israel has also transformed the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp (as much as these two words might disturb some people who claim to have monopoly on victimhood), an open-air prison. There is no communication between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The whole issue is personal for me; it is personal for all Palestinians. For example, my sister lives in Bethlehem, just a one-hour drive from Gaza. But I have not been able to see her for fifteen years. When both our parents died back in 2005, she was not able to come to their funerals. That personal experience tells you about the impossibility of having two-states.

So, just to clarify, you don’t support the one-state solution just because a two-state solution has “failed”; you support it because one-state is the only just solution, is that correct?

Absolutely correct. Even if you implemented the two-state solution — which is an impossibility — it does not fulfill the right of self-determination, which is right of return, equality and freedom. The two-state solution doesn’t do that.

At the 2013 Left Forum in New York, Steven Shalom argued that, while unjust, the “two-state solution” nevertheless paves the way for one democratic state and should be supported on that basis. Do you agree?

No, I do not! Does also think that the Anti-apartheid movement should have accepted the Bantustan solution based on the same logic? I have already made it clear in my previous answers and articles as to why that is a fallacy. A racist solution cannot pave the way to a just solution.

Archbishops Desmund Tutu said that “[they] wanted the full menu of rights.” Why are we expected to cater for less than that? I fail to understand.

Is it presumptuous for Jews and other non-Palestinians to endorse the call for one democratic state?

I strongly believe that all solidarity supporters should heed the call for one-state made by the oppressed Palestinians. They should be principled in their support for human rights and democracy as expressed through the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Does the two-state solution subscribe to that declaration? No. Then logic and principle demands they should support the call for the solution that does, the solution that calls for civic democracy and equality throughout all of historic Palestine.

After all, activists didn’t feel it was presumptuous to support a single democratic state in South Africa, did they? And when the “president” of Transkei called on the international community to support and recognize his “independent homeland,” – his version of the “two-state solution” — international anti-apartheid activists did not buy that line!

And, by the way, most South Africa anti-apartheid activists who have visited Palestine now support the one-state solution. Some of my South African friends and comrades say it very clearly: “The one-state solution is the only solution, because we can’t support a racist solution.” That’s why even the official South African line of supporting a two-state solution is not that popular amongst South African solidarity supporters of Palestine — not to say even amongst members of the cabinet! They know what racism is all about! The five-state solution in South Africa was the brainchild of the architects of Apartheid: White South Africa on 88 per cent of the land, and four “Independent Homelands”/Bantustans for the natives! In fact, the original plan was to have 11 Bantustans, if four was not enough for you!

The solidarity movement supported the call for civic democracy and a secular democratic state in South Africa, because that was the only solution. There could be no compromise, no negotiations with apartheid. The same thing should apply to the Palestine solidarity movement. Why is that so difficult to understand?!

In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky said that the one-state solution was an “illusion” because it “has no international support.” How do you respond?

Did he also add the that the two-state solution has become a facade, a fantasy in the head of those who believe in fantasies? Didn’t he also argue in his latest piece in Mondoweiss  that Israel and the US have killed the two-state solution?

Personally, I feel heart-broken when I see an extremely smart thinker like Chomsky missing the point and deciding to adopt a soft-Zionist  position! There is something with people like Chomsky and Finkelstein with whom you tend to agree about everything in the world except on Palestine. That’s why, understandably, some BDS and one-state activists in the US call them PEP (Progressive except on Palestine!)

There is an overwhelming international support for our right to self-determination; and this entails our right of return and equality. How is the two-state solution going to deal with these two internationally sanctioned rights? Chomsky fails to provide an answer, unless he thinks we are not entitled to our right of return and equality! He is smart enough to know that the two-state solution is a racist one. Didn’t he think so about the Bantustans of South Africa?!

You recently said, “At one point in time, the BDS movement will be asked to take that stand” in favor of one democratic state. Why has the BDS campaign refrained from taking this stand so far, and should it do so now?

Every activist knows very by now that the BDS movement is rights-based, rights that are guaranteed for ALL human beings regardless of ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, etcetera. BDS is guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is why most, if not all, BDS activists are staunch human rights defenders.

I am, nevertheless, aware of tensions arising from the Boycott National Committee’s lack of a political program and its focus on a rights-based approach. This issue is certainly worthy of discussion within the BNC’s secretariat.

But we also need to take into consideration that the BNC is a coalition with all the compromises coalitions have to make in order to work as a front. That is why the BNC has become the frame of reference for international boycott movements. I believe that a good comparison with the South African experience, within this context, can be made, which shouldn’t overlook the role of the United Democratic Front (UDF) that functioned with representation from the National Congress Party, as well as other political parties and civil society organizations in exactly the same manner as the BNC. The UDF adopted two out of what South Africans called the “four pillars of struggle,” namely mass mobilization and the boycott campaign. History stands witness to this approach that contributed immensely to ending apartheid. In my opinion, the BNC has learnt this historical lesson from South Africa. But it took the international community about 30 years to heed the call made by the anti-apartheid movement, whereas the Palestinian BDS call was made in 2005 only.

That is why I think there will come a time when BDS will be asked to take a stand vis-à-vis the one or two-state solution. And I strongly believe that it will come in support of the former.

How is the call for a single secular democratic state throughout historic Palestine connected to other liberation struggles in the region?

When the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and Egypt, Israel was extremely worried because the struggle in the Arab world is for human rights and democracy. And democracy is the antithesis of Zionism; exactly the same way democracy in South Africa was the antithesis of apartheid, and which ultimately led to the end of institutional apartheid there in 1994. (I still think that economic apartheid exists in South Africa, but this is something we can address in another context)

As a Zionist project, Israel knows very well that true democracy in the Arab world would spread and reach Palestine. Israel would be expected by the international community and by the Arab Spring to be truly democratic. That means one person, one vote. And after the right of return, one person, one vote would ultimately lead to the collapse of  the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.

That, to my mind, is the link between the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination, and liberation, and the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Arab world.

Speaking of BDS, Norman Finkelstein recently accused the BDS campaign of hypocrisy for appealing to international law when it comes to Palestinian rights, but refusing to respect international resolutions, like the 1947 UN partition, that — he claims — legitimize the existence of the “Jewish state.” How do you respond?

I’m so sorry to hear that from a smart person like Norman Finkelstein.

As US solidarity supporters, you have principles. You can’t reconcile an unjust partition and apartheid with human rights and democracy. Has Norman Finkelstein forgotten that Israel defines itself as the state of Jews only? Do you expect me to recognize something like this, just because the United Nations declared it to be so? We recognize those laws and resolutions, like 194, that are just and reject those, like the partition resolution, that are unjust. That is the way all human rights struggles have operated. How is that hypocritical?

That is how it was in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. Whether it was Norman Finkelstein or his mentor Noam Chomsky, everybody heeded the call by South Africans. We all said, “What do you want, you oppressed, colonized South Africans?” They said, “We want an end to apartheid.” And right now, Palestinians are saying we want an end to Israeli apartheid.

And I would have understood him had he supported the two-state solution based on UN resolution 181, passed in 1947; it offered to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state as THE solution! It is a very unfair and problematic resolution in that it offered the Jewish minority (660,000 out of 2 million people) the larger part of the land (56%). This 56 percent, offered to the Jews, included an equal number of Jews and Palestinians. And since most Zionists, soft or not, fought for a Jewish majority in Palestine, that ultimately led to the NAKBAH, i.e, an orchestrated process of ethnic cleansing. Two-staters, such as Finkelstein, do say that a Palestinian state should be established on 44 per cent of Palestine based on UN resolutions!

So I would argue that it’s Norman Finkelstein who’s being hypocritical, because he is unwilling to do for Palestinians what he and all other activists did for South Africans. And in fact, he’s being Zionist and racist when he actually expects us Palestinians to listen to what he has to say in the first place. No, excuse me — he is supposed to listen to what *we* have to say. Unless he has decided to ignore the fact that the 2005 BDS call has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society, including National and Islamist forces!Is that not enough for you if you were a genuine supporter of Palestine?

It has been twenty years since Oslo Accords were signed. What effect did these accords, and the so-called “Peace Process,” have on the struggle for the core Palestinian rights called for by BDS: equality, right of return, and end of Occupation?

I’ll sum it by quoting Edward Said in 1993: the Oslo Accords are a second Nakba. Oslo has reduced the Palestinian people to those who only live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, while excluding Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. Oslo never alluded to Palestinian’s right to return to their villages and towns from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and never alluded to equality in the 1948 territories. Oslo basically codified and legitimized the ethnic cleansing — the Nakba — of 1948.

Oslo also gave a false impression to the international community that you have “two equal parties” — Palestinians on the one hand, and the Israelis on the other — engaged in “dialogue” to solve their problem. But there are not two equal parties. There is no dialogue. There is an apartheid regime seeking to perpetuate its rule on the one hand, and an indigenous people struggling for their inalienable rights on the other.

Rather than acknowledging the necessity of disassembling this apartheid regime once and for all, Oslo fetishized the trappings of statehood, that if you offer Palestinians a flag and a red carpet for its president and a national anthem, then you have solved the Palestinian question once and for all!

Going back to Norman Finkelstein: you have the struggle of colonized Palestinians against settler colonialists — thanks to the BDS movement, thanks to the formation of the BNC, thanks to the formation of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and thanks to the revival of the one-state idea. You have intellectuals and activists like Edward Said, Azmi Bishara, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud, Joesph Masaad, Ilan Pappe and all these people who have decided to say farewell to the two-state solution, and to endorse the one-state solution.

As solidarity supporters you need to support democracy and human rights — the same principles you followed in the Eighties against apartheid South Africa. You didn’t waste time discussing the practicalities of having Bantustans in South Africa. So you need to join us in putting the two-state solution on the shelf in a museum, because it delays our liberation, and support our call for one-state.

This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.