Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jews in solidarity with Gaza

1.The following is excerpted from a CanWest newswire report from today, January 7:

Eight women protesting Israel's military action in the Gaza Strip have occupied the Israeli Consulate in Toronto and are refusing to leave, police said Wednesday. ...

In a news release, the group said: ``This action is in protest against the ongoing Israeli assault on the people of Gaza. The group is carrying out this occupation in solidarity with the 1.5 million people of Gaza and to ensure that Jewish voices against the massacre in Gaza are being heard.''

... The news release says the group is demanding Israel end ``its military assault and lift the 18-month siege on the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian aid into the territory.''

... The protesters said they want to ``send a clear statement that many Jewish- Canadians do not support Israel's violence and apartheid policies.''

2. There are several good books out there by Jewish opponents of Zionism. One that I read a few years back is The Holocaust in American Life by Peter Novick. A similar book that I haven't yet read but have heard good things about is The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering by Norman Finkelstein. Both these books, as their titles indicate, debunk the efforts by apologists for Israel to win support for the settler state based on a cynical appropriation of the legacy of Jewish suffering under Nazism. Both debunk the lie that there is any connection between Israel and the Holocaust, and demolish any claim Israel could possibly make to justify itself based on the Nazi genocide. (One interesting and little-known fact from the annals of the Zionist movement, which historically was always reactionary and had almost no support among the mass of Jews before World War II, is that in its beginning days in the 19th century, as Herzl and the other early Zionists were casting about for a likely piece of land in which to locate their hoped-for Jewish state, one of the areas they eyed was southern Africa. Ultimately, negotiations with the British racist colonialist Cecil Rhodes fell through, and he went on to name the British-controlled settler state that was set up based on the murder, theft and suppression of the native African nations there, after himself: Rhodesia.) Finkelstein has several other books, including Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, that I hope to read. He's a gutsy guy, most recently in the news a year or two ago for being booted out of his university teaching job because of his political views.