The oppressed learned to oppress

We do not speak for “the Jews,” but as Jews for whom our faith and tradition necessitates dedication to social justice, we speak for ourselves to interrupt narratives that seek to homogenize the Jewish experience and defend Zionism.

We do not write this article to speak for “The Jewish people,” but as white Jewish American women for whom our faith and tradition necessitates dedication to social justice. We thus speak for ourselves to interrupt and complicate narratives that seek to defend Zionism. Centuries of diaspora, persecution, conquest, conversion and settlement have scattered the Jewish faith across the globe. From Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kurdistan and Palestine to Poland, Russia, France, Argentina and the United States, throughout history, Jews have built up communities and cultivated distinct cultures over centuries of intersecting yet crucially distinct histories. These heterogeneous Jewish identities are often violently glossed over in favor of a single, palatable Jewish history dominated by white Jewish/Ashkenazi voices. Too often these voices strategically neglect a frank discussion of privilege. Since World War II, the American Jews became white, and the oppressed learned to oppress, colonize and rewrite the histories of Jewish struggle.

My grandmother’s family’s experience was also similar to that of other white European Jews who experienced the trauma of World War II. Many of those who escaped Poland moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and then to Brooklyn, building families and lives in neighborhoods where redlining and housing discrimination permitted them to rent while barring opportunities for black families. New York overwrote my grandmother’s native language with English and gifted my family the advantages of whiteness as long as they assimilated quietly and as long as our story could be deployed to prove the American dream of meritocracy.

My grandfather went to college on the GI Bill and then worked as a court stenographer — he received salaries and retirement funds paid for by the civil service. They saved every penny and could open bank accounts with reasonable interest rates that helped make their dreams accessible.

Official versions of history hold up this common narrative as proof of the “American dream” actualized, as irrefutable evidence that all American immigrants can achieve “the good life” if they just work hard enough. What these versions leave out are the manifold interests that intersected to enable Jewish Americans from Eastern Europe to find haven from racist, anti-Semitic violence in America. Jewish Americans were granted access to whiteness and thus the American-ness that was denied to Americans of color. Programs like the GI Bill granted white male veterans access to college, housing and other forms of social capital, but withheld these benefits from most veterans of color. Coupled with racist, state-sanctioned policies like redlining, blockbusting and housing covenants, white Jewish Americans like my grandparents could buy houses in the suburbs, cars with full tanks of gas and access to higher education at the cost of communities of color, who were violently subordinated by anti-blackness redoubled by American Jews.

The history of Ashkenazi Jewish Americans becoming white is intimately linked to the ascendance of the Zionist Israeli state as a global military power and strategic “ally” of the United States. As “a land without people for a people without land,” the myth of Israel as the Jewish homeland was rooted in racist colonial logic and settler colonialism from the start. Persecuted as racially inferior within Europe, Ashkenazi Jews sought to grasp whiteness by moving to a land the vast majority of Jews in the diaspora hadn’t laid claim to for thousands of years in order to become European. The first white European Jewish settlers invoked rhetoric akin to “manifest destiny” and laid the foundation for Israel to become a satellite of the west in the Middle East.

Zionism was never non-violent. Zionism, from its inception, inherently demanded the displacement and oppression of Palestinians and Palestinian land. Zionism today exploits the histories of Jewish persecution and the Holocaust to justify the ongoing colonization of Palestine. Zionism is at its root exclusionary, and the trajectory of the colonial project means that today, Palestinians face an apartheid state in Israel, living on the same land but subordinated under a separate legal system. And while Zionism takes Palestinians as its victims, it has fallout for Jewish communities as well. On campus, Jewish students who condemn the occupation and do not want to support Israel through organizations like Tufts American Israel Alliance (TAIA) and programs like Birthright can practice their faith only within a Zionist organization. Tufts Hillel is one of many American Jewish institutions that works to conflate Judaism with Zionism. Zionism is not Judaism, and is most certainly not my liberation. Our histories of persecution need to inform our work for justice — not rationalize the oppression of others.

So during Israeli Apartheid Week, we examine our complicity in the oppression of the Palestinians to honor the struggles of our ancestors. We struggle for an end to the occupation of Palestine and to end the cycle of one people’s liberation coming at the price of another’s. Justice for Jews means justice and the right of return for Palestinians: None of us are free until all of us are free.

Louise Steingood is a first-year who has yet to declare a major and can be reached at louise.steingood@gmail.comLeah Muskin-Pierret is a junior majoring in international relations and can be reached at leah.muskin_pierret@tufts.edu contributed to this article; and Hannah Freedman is a sophomore majoring in American studies and can be reached at hannah.freedman@tufts.edu.

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  1. Jidf Notmossad Shill
    Feb 26, 2015 - 01:27 AM

    The author should be ashamed of herself. Such a position is incredibly antisemitic and the author is probably working with Hamas. We cannot tolerate antisemitism in our society as it is the worst form of hatred. Have people forgotten the six million who died in the shoah? Equating the terrorist’s deserved suffering to the shoah is a form of neo-nazism which is unacceptable in our day and age. I will be sure to contact the ADL about this incredible crime against Jews around the world.

  2. Listener
    Feb 26, 2015 - 01:40 AM

    Please tell me all the 6 comments here are jokes, right? Please?

    • Jidf Notmossad Shill
      Feb 26, 2015 - 01:41 AM

      Antisemitism is a serious matter. Why would you consider such a thing a joke? Or are you also antisemitic and a hater of Israel?

      • Listener
        Feb 26, 2015 - 01:50 PM

        I’m not saying antisemitism is a joke. I just thought the first six comments were extreme and one-sided — thinking the argument has only two sides, branding the article as of the “other” side and thus responding in such an extreme way that I wasn’t sure whether to take it seriously. I think the authors have their views and presented it such that they were able to weave several ideas and narratives together into a nuanced piece of writing. I don’t think they are trying to invalidate anyone’s struggles and oppression; they are bringing forward the point that a group that has historically (and in certain settings, currently) been oppressed cannot turn to oppressing another group in the name of preserving the former group’s “rights.” I may not agree with the authors, but I thought they did a good job of weaving things together.

        • bruce
          Feb 26, 2015 - 01:57 PM

          The article is itself generalizing, overly simplistic and offensive. It denies the struggle and hate felt by Jews by calling them the white majority. It ironically denies the right of Jews to have a homeland in the same breath as calling for a Palestinian homeland by calling zionism racism. There is so much wrong and uneducated and offensive about the article, it only serves to otherize and promote hate, rather than truly bring people together.

    • p
      Feb 26, 2015 - 01:47 AM

      it’s one tryhard freshman who spends too much time on 4chan

  3. concerned Jew
    Feb 26, 2015 - 01:57 AM

    Self. Hating. Jews. One day there won’t be people alive to recall the Holocaust… it’s a fucking shame that there are people (JEWISH people) at Tufts, who are considered to be “intelligent”, that will almost certainly proudly exploit this in the name of “anti-colonialism.” If your dead ancestors, the ones mercilessly executed generations ago, ever met you three, they wouldn’t be able to look you in the fucking eyes.

    • p
      Feb 26, 2015 - 04:55 PM

      Other Jews who use the Holocaust as an excuse for their own colonialism and genocide truly disgust me. Your ancestors would be ashamed of you.

      • S
        Feb 26, 2015 - 05:22 PM

        Their ancestors would be dead if people like you had their way.

      • concerned Jew
        Feb 26, 2015 - 10:38 PM

        Wasn’t really using holocaust as an excuse, more so explaining the possible slippery slope of holocaust denialism… by Jews themselves. B/c if the authors of this article are any indication, it seems like after enough convolution and time, that could be a thing

        • Peter
          Mar 06, 2015 - 01:11 PM

          wow what a poor argument. “These authors’ statements are incredible because they might one day deny the holocaust.”

          How about being worried about real-world problems like the genocide of palestinians not make-believe problems like that these people might one day deny the holocaust

          • literably
            Mar 06, 2015 - 01:52 PM

            If genocide was the goal, they would probably be making quicker work of it. Not saying that the palestinians aren’t being oppressed, but the exaggeration only serves to discredit you.

          • Peter
            Mar 10, 2015 - 09:28 PM

            Whether or not genocide is the goal, that is what is going to be accomplished if the current situation continues. Look at the UN report about how Gaza will be uninhabitable soon.

  4. Viman
    Feb 26, 2015 - 03:03 AM

    Dear Authors: Do you think, after SJP and its anti-semitic promoters succeed in taking out TAIA, Hillel, Birthright, and the State of Israel, that they’ll find it in their hearts not to go after the rest of the Jews? Jewish SJP members live in a fantasyland. But I’m sure SJP’s leaders are very happy to have three young Jews present themselves as the face of a movement that has as its goal the removal of all Jews from the Middle East.

    • Peter
      Mar 06, 2015 - 01:13 PM

      Insinuating that SJP are murderers won’t hide the actual murders being perpetrated by israel

  5. N
    Feb 26, 2015 - 10:41 AM

    This is the most one-sided, biased and simplistic thing I have ever read. Completely ignoring the pivotal role American Jews had in the civil rights movement, the fact that Arab states have vowed to drive the Jews into the ocean and the fact that anti-semitism is alive and well in America too. Stuff like this makes me angry because it doesn’t actually help find a solution to the issue, it seeks to divide and place blame.
    I do believe in the right of a Palestinian state to exist side by side and in peace with Israel, but this “article” completely fails to acknowledge that the barriers to this happening exist on both sides. Let’s just ignore that Hamas, elected by the people in Gaza, ha: “kill all the Jews whether in Israel or nor” in their manifesto. Let’s just grant all of them a “right of return” and hope for the best, even though this all started when they refused to adhere to the UN’s two-state solution. Seriously, educate yourself.

  6. third_party_observer
    Feb 26, 2015 - 10:54 AM

    very well-written article, it brought up some really interesting points while still not claiming to generalize or speak for all Jewish people. you can tell you won an argument when the majority of the comments are just people bitching and overreacting without any real substance. keep up the good work ladies!

    • bruce
      Feb 27, 2015 - 01:08 AM

      incorrect. Claiming zionism is racism speaks for all zionists. Claiming jews are now part of the majority in America speaks for Jews who have experienced antisemitism, and tells them that their continuing experience is invalid.

  7. bruce
    Feb 26, 2015 - 10:59 AM

    This is so depressingly incorrect. First off, Jews experienced virulent antisemitism in America-and continue to. Just the other week, swastikas defaced graves in wisconsin. In an attempt to prevent homogeneity, ironically these authors have created an equally false homogeneity-that jews have become wasps, and arent hated. Ignoring hate is despicable–regardless of whether its against african americans, muslims, or jews.

    Then, yet another falsity is created, by pretending zionism itself is homogenous, or ascribing the views of radicals to a movement as a whole. Thats just wrong. Fundamentally, zionism is the notion that jews deserve a home. 1948 is a great example of what those founders were willing to accept-a small land, without jerusalem. Yet the arab countries invaded. The history is complicated, and yes, some zionists are extremists (as are some palestinians). But just like I dont call the general desire for palestinian statehood a racist genocidal movement, it would be equally unfair to say such of zionism.

    The real irony is that you claim to be speaking about the jewish experience, while utterly insulated from what so many jews experience around the world. Try going to Wisconsin, where your grandparents graves would have hitlers symbol covering the inscription. Try going to France or Norway, where Jews live in hiding and are attacked in the streets simply for walking to services. (Imagine being beaten for wearing a kippah on campus or for coming out of hillel). Or, imagine being in many arab countries where many would simply kill you. That is a very real part of the jewish experience. And the fact that you would tell the jews of France that they should just die rather than wanting a home truly their own, when they have never felt safe anywhere else–that is what is truly sad.

    • Peter
      Feb 26, 2015 - 11:39 AM

      “some zionists are extremists” – yes and they happen to be in charge of israel’s government and have the support of much of its population…

      You think Jews in France live in hiding? This is ridiculous and false. I’m not as certain about Norway but likely also not true about there.

      • bruce
        Feb 26, 2015 - 11:45 AM

        Peter–do you read the news? Attacks in France against synagogues–court rulings in Germany that firebombing synagogues is political speech, killings in Norway. Synagogues are protected by military units and armored vehicles (and then those soldiers get attacked). Jews are moving, not walking around with kippot in public. I have been there and talked to Jews, so yes, I do know.

        It is offensive to minimize and marginalize the suffering of Jews who feel attacked. Just as it would be to minimize hate felt by any other group.

        • Peter
          Feb 26, 2015 - 12:07 PM

          So you don’t feel that you’re minimizing the brutal destruction of non-Jew Palestinians by referencing that there have been attacks against Jews in other parts of the world? And if you’d provide some sources I’d appreciate it. There’s so much violence in the news that in my search I’m not sure I found exactly what you’re referencing.

          For me when I’m looking again at what you said, you’re definitely minimizing some hate. You didn’t respond to my critique of you saying that “some zionists are extremists” in light of the fact that those extremists are ruling Israel. How is your statement not minimizing hate felt by Palestinians? When that hate is conveniently acted out by a powerful neighboring state?

          • bruce
            Feb 26, 2015 - 12:46 PM

            So, first in terms of sources:

            I have personally interviewed Jews in both Hungary and Germany, who felt scared to be Jewish, attacked and embattled in their own country, and like things were only getting worse. And that was as of a few years ago.

            Here is just a sampling of articles: http://tabletmag.com/scroll/188204/the-frightening-reality-for-the-jews-of-france
            http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/world/europe/french-jews-cemetery-vandalism-latest-sign-of-anti-semitism.html?_r=0

            Then, I dont want to minimize any kind of hate. Focusing on one doesnt imply negation of the others (just like I dont believe “black lives matter” implies that no other lives do). In fact, last week here at Northwestern law, we had an anti-hate event, where i talked about how my experiences in S Factor at Tufts opened my eyes to discrimination and perceptions that I had previously been blind to, and how hate against all is all of our problem–in part precisely because of the hate our own groups have felt.

            Now–I dont think “extremist” is a great word, because it seems utterly subjective. If you have a specific definition you use, then maybe it can be more helpful.

            But, to be clear about what I do believe: I think there are Israelis who hate Palestinians just because of who they are. I think there are Palestinians who hate Israelis just because of who they are. There are Jews/Muslims/Christians who hate each other simply because of who they are. There are Americans who hate Arabs, Arabs who hate Americans. Blacks who hate whites, whites who hate blacks etc etc etc. I would argue that every group and every country has utterly bigoted/ insane/ racist/homicidal people within it. If you want to talk specifically about Bibi–I would say a few things. First, I am not an expert on Bibi, so I do not claim to know all of his policies and beliefs. What I can say is that sometimes he seems to overly focus on short term security over longterm peace, and I find that problematic. If there are specific instances you want to talk about, can tell you what I think about them as well (and youll find, I am often critical of specific israeli policies). However, Israeli leadership and policy cannot be considered in a vacuum. I dont think Bibi has ever said he wants to drive Palestinians into the sea, or celebrated terrorist attacks on civilians–Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah all do that regularly. Its in their defining charter. To be clear–that is not to justify any particular Israeli policy. It is simply to say that one cannot discuss what an Israeli government “should” do without accounting for who their neighbors are.

          • Peter
            Mar 06, 2015 - 01:24 PM

            wow a real reply! Discussing on a Tufts board is much better than the rest of the internet…

            So I think what it comes down to is this…

            Yes Israel has neighbors who want to attack it.
            Perhaps it wasn’t a great idea to set up an apartheid state in the Middle East. Perhaps endless violence is the logical conclusion of colonial policy. I want Jewish people to be safe. I want all people to be safe. Continuing the policies Israel is using is not making things safer for all the people of the region. As you said, it makes some of the people safer in the short term while escalating tensions overall.

            When you say about how the Israeli gov’t doesn’t celebrate attacks on civilians – does that make their attacks on civilians less horrible? I think not.

          • bruce
            Mar 06, 2015 - 01:54 PM

            Good to talk with you too peter. Its good to see that can still happen.

            So, first, “set up an apartheid state”–not sure what you mean. the 48 plan, which set up modern israel, created two states next to each other. It was history since then that created the current situation, but just as that minor note for clarity, it wasnt set up that way.

            On the larger point in your last paragraph–one of the things we talk about a lot in law school is intent. I have found it a strange subject–on the one hand, in terms of the effect, every time someone dies, it is an equally terrible result, whether murder or manslaughter. but, from a different perspective, there is some difference in the mind of the person who killed the victim. We do recognize that there is something more culpable, or more depraved about someone who plans to kill someone and does, versus someone who kills someone in the heat of the moment, versus someone who kills someone accidentally.

            So, from that perspective, I would see a difference between the following two scenarios: 1. Hamas acquires rockets for the purpose of firing them at civilian populations, and then fires them at civilian populations with the intent to kill civilians, and does. versus 2. Israel has rockets fired at it, returns fire on the rocket site, a civilian who enters the area subsequent to firing the responsive missile gets killed.

            Now, I am very critical of Israeli policies re collateral damage–particularly because Israel knows Hamas intentionally fires rockets from among civilian populations (which itself is utterly inexcusable, deplorable, and presumably illegal), and therefore, returning fire may result in civilian deaths. Or so too with drone strikes on terrorist leaders. From a cold political calculus, I think the reputational harm to Israel when civilians are killed generally outweighs the benefit of taking out one missile launcher or one terrorist. Thats why the US embraced counterinsurgency strategy over a traditional kinetic-focused military strategy. But that is perhaps a separate point.

            There is a legitimate factual discussion to be had as to when a strike on a military target in a civilian area should be allowable, and when the potential for civilian casualties is too great. I am not sure there are easy answers–because obviously, Israel cant just let missiles be fired at it every day with no response, either.
            And nothing excuses those conversations from being had, and I dont think Hamas’ disregard for Palestinian civilian life excuses Israel to operate the same way (they dont). But, yes, I still do think there is an even additional level of culpability and depravity of those like Hamas who set out with an explicit goal to kill civilians.

          • Peter
            Mar 06, 2015 - 02:16 PM

            I think the main place we even differ on this is our belief about intentionality. I believe that the Israeli armed forces knows that certain strikes will have civilian casualties (many examples from this past summer’s assault) and goes along with it anyway. A lack of stated intent doesn’t take that away. I believe that is unacceptable and it seems you do too.

            Since Israel knows that Hamas strikes from civilian targets, it seems the only moral way to address the problem is by addressing the grievances of the occupied people and stopping aggressive tactics that keep them impoverished. Only then will the incentive for Hamas to attack civilians be removed. When a group like Hamas is fighting a war against such a greater power, they know they cannot win militarily and so strike out in any way they can. It is impossible to eradicate this type of resistance by brute force.

          • bruce
            Mar 06, 2015 - 02:35 PM

            Peter, I agree with your first paragraph, and half of the second.

            In terms of the second point–I distinguish between the incentives of the average palestinian, versus those in hamas leadership. I assume that the average person would ideally just want to raise their family in peace, but can be radicalized by 1) extreme povery/hopelessness, 2) revenge for death of family/friends, and 3) a radicalized education system. With those people, I agree that Israel can help make a difference one way or the other. However, Hamas leadership is different. We have seen it in any study of any dictator-like leader in history. They lose power if the people focus on domestic problems, so, they require an external enemy to focus blame and rage. Their very continuance in power depends on continued conflict. Also, anyone who can order the targeting of innocent civilians for the sole purpose of killing innocent civilians sounds like a sociopathic, antisemitic killer to me. Hamas should know that the more they attack Israeli civilians, the more israel will be forced to attack back (indeed, Israel’s first true conservative government rose after the 73 war). So it is not a strategic move for peace. It is a tactical move to perpetuate global rage against israel. When Israel gave over Gaza, the greenhouses were destroyed, not cultivated. Concrete is used to dig tunnels under civlian towns, not develop infrastructure. So, in my view, if Israel just took down its borders and put down its guns, hamas wouldnt stop, theyd attack. So that doesnt seem realistic..

            What I think needs to happen is an international force to remove hamas and develop infrastructure and education over a period of decades, forcing economic support and cultural engagement from israel (and an absense of military engagement, assuming the international force maintained stability). Then, decades later, palestinian elections wouldnt lead to a rise of a group like hamas, but rather a group promising continued stability and economic development.

          • Peter
            Mar 06, 2015 - 09:22 PM

            I don’t think I know of a single case where an international force moved in and eliminated an armed insurgency/guerilla force. Do you think palestinians would see that foreign occupier as friendly? This scenario sounds oddly familiar to several American wars I would not like to repeat/continue in new theaters. Policy change needs to begin within Israel and her allies, one cannot simply accept that the current situation will continue until Palestinian resistance ceases. Local resistant groups are notoriously persistent. Did you see the number boost to Hamas after the latest bombardments?

            Yet policy change is not coming. In fact Netanyahu is coming over here to press for more division and the continuation of the current tension with Iran. Hence the call for the BDS movement to pressure our gov’ts to cease their human rights abuses.

          • bruce
            Mar 07, 2015 - 07:25 PM

            No. Hamas is a terrorist government, bent on destroying Israel. It is not an insurgency, because it is the governing force. Yes, there is precedent for taking out an oppressive government and international reconstruction. The world did it in Germany post WWII. I have not looked deeply into that model, and obviously that was a rocky road to say the least, but it happened.

            It wouldnt be a foreign occupier if it were under the guise of the UN, technically–and again, you simply arent proposing a solution nor acknowledging Hamas’ interests..

          • Peter
            Mar 10, 2015 - 09:24 PM

            My solution is for Israel to stop settlements, how about go back to originally defined borders. Maybe stop the restriction of trade and flow of resources. Prosecute Israelis who commit hate crimes against Palestinians and their fellow Israelis that happen to be leftists or pacifists. Crazy idea: allow Palestinians to freely travel, take down the wall, etc.
            Definitely allow Palestine to join international organizations without withholding 2/3rds of their gov’t revenue as their currently doing. How about the US stop vetoing UN resolutions towards accepting Palestine. Pick and choose your solution/s.

            Continuing the current brutal practices is creating more and more Hamas supporters. How much support would a civilian-killing organization have if Israel started taking steps towards opening the situation? Palestinians would recognize that further violence would discourage further acquiescence. Someone has to take steps towards peace first. It should be Israel, the occupying force that has overwhelming military power with which to protect themselves.

            The UN moving in is still going to be seen as an occupying force… How is it possible to root out an organization that blends with the population? That’s why I refer to it as an insurgency. It’s not like Hamas will be out on a field waiting to do battle. Don’t you think if Israel could they would eliminate Hamas now? Which different force be able to do better than one of the most sophisticated armies in the world?

          • bruce
            Mar 10, 2015 - 09:53 PM

            Peter, unfortunately that is just simply unrealistic. In 1948, Israel accepted a two state solution. There were no settlements, there were no trade restrictions, it was the original borders. And the country was immediately invaded from all sides. Some people just simply want to kill Jews and Israelis. Hamas makes it impossible to lift many of the restrictions–the concrete they get now is used to build tunnels to attack civilians. Israel routinely intercepts shipments of offensive weapons from Iran, etc. So what, Israel should lift the restrictions and let its own civilians be massacred? That is not a reasonable thing to ask of any government.

            And, again, I dont care if the UN is seen as an occupying force initially–what I care about is that over time, as stability is created, people start to get jobs, real education, and feel prosperity, then the infrastructure will be in place for true progress. You are conflating the average palestinian with hamas again. Yes, for the average Palestinian, lifting every restriction would probably make them like Israel more. But, you continue to ignore the motives of hamas leadership, of those they have brainwashed to hate every Israeli and every Jew, and openly call for their destruction. I would NEVER join a movement that called for mass murder of innocent civilians. Yet that is what hamas and its followers espouse. And Israel has a right to take those people at their word.

          • Peter
            Mar 10, 2015 - 11:22 PM

            Israel lessening it’s transgressions against Palestinians wouldn’t lead to another coalition attack against Israel. What Israel is doing now is more likely to encourage it’s neighboring states to bond together and attack it.

            You’re living in a dream if you think an invading army can move in and take out a popular force that is supported by a significant amount of the population. Look at the situation now in Iraq. How did our infrastructure projects there work out?

            Also thanks again for continuing to civilly discuss with me!

          • bruce
            Mar 11, 2015 - 12:40 AM

            “transgressions”? By that do you mean the blockade that prevents Iranian arms shipments, or the security barrier that prevents incursion of suicide bombers..? Because I dont see how removing those wont increase attacks. In the past, I have found some specific provisions of the blockade overly restrictive, and have said so. (but, of course, I would have thought restrictions on building materials were overly restrictive, and then those materials were used by hamas to literally try and kill my cousin and her friends, so I am perhaps more skeptical and cautious than I was then). And to clarify–I wasnt suggesting another invasion by neighboring countries. Indeed, Israel has relatively stable collaborative relationships with Jordan and Egypt, which gives me hope that peace can occur. I meant hamas itself, which shows a virtual fixation on attacking Israel.

            I actually do not believe Hamas as a terrorist organization is a “popular force supported by a significant amount of the population”. I give the palestinian people more credit than that. My understanding is that hamas was voted in as a rejection of fatah corruption, which instead led to violent ouster of fatah supporters from gaza, and what I suppose one might characterize as a dictatorship there now. I would suggest that the palestinians who do support hamas do so because of an education system that has led them to blame and vilify Israel while ignoring the failure of their own government to develop infrastructure.

            When I look at hamas, I see one example in a long line of dictatorial regimes that have blamed an impoverished population’s struggle on foreign actors, rather than admitting their own mismanagement and lavish lifestyles (for example, Arafat’s wife). They invoke hostility, and their very tenure depends on its perpetuation. Indeed, Hamas often seems more strategic than Israel, which falls into series of tactical responses to Hamas’ strategic manipulations. That is the vicious cycle–and any potential solution needs to take it into account..

            Iraq actually seems quite distinct–it is a particularly large country, which is less of a natural country, but rather a western-created amalgam of distinct conflicting groups (shia, sunni, kurd) who have a long long history of conflict, violent hatred, and distrust. In contrast, gaza/the west bank are relatively small areas, with, ostensibly, a single group that wants to be a single country. So those problems of governance shouldnt translate over..

          • Peter
            Mar 13, 2015 - 02:19 PM

            With my Iraq example I’m just trying to illustrate the impossibility of rooting out a guerilla force. Would you admit Hamas is a guerilla force or do you also object to that?

            And if Hamas’s tenure depends on hostility’s perpetuation (which I agree with), Israel lessening hostilities would only weaken Hamas, which is exactly what I am proposing. Israel purports to be the democratic, ethical actor. Let them demonstrate that by actually taking strides towards peace rather than the empty rhetoric their government spouts while simultaneously encroaching on Palestinian land and destroying Palestinian homes and infrastructure. (which is even more of a crime if, as you suggest, Hamas is not popularly supported) Or do you believe that if a criminal hides near a school those children are guilty by default and their safety is not paramount?

  8. bruce
    Feb 26, 2015 - 01:59 PM

    For everyone too young to remember–Tufts used to be a respectful, thoughtful place. The only middle east content on campus came through NIMEP, where a group of Arabs, Israelis, Jews, Muslims etc all came together each week for thoughtful, respectful discussion. We fundamentally valued and respected each other as people, didnt invalidate each other’s narratives, and therefore could engage. Now, everything seems about blame rather than validating and respecting each other as individuals–and that is a significant step backwards.

  9. Xiomara Hayes
    Feb 26, 2015 - 02:00 PM

    YOU PERSONIFY THE LOVING and PURIFYING ESSENCE of HUMANITY! We are ALL ONE in the HUMAN FAMILY. WE must remain true to love for each other. STAND for what is correct.
    AS a Black Hispanic I would have stood against the atrocities endured by My fellow family members the Jewish in Germany as I now stand against the atrocities the palestinians suffer presently. MY DEEPEST RESPECT TO YOU YOUNG PEOPLE.

  10. Stu
    Feb 26, 2015 - 03:45 PM

    When people who want to destroy Israel trot out Jews to agree with them, is that Jewwashing?

  11. Fauman
    Feb 26, 2015 - 03:52 PM

    “From Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kurdistan and Palestine to Poland, Russia, France, Argentina and the United States, throughout history, Jews have built up communities and cultivated distinct cultures over centuries of intersecting yet crucially distinct histories.”

    It’s fascinating and pretty revealing that the authors say that the Jews build communities in Palestine, even though “Palestine” was the name that the Romans gave to the indigenous Jewish land after they occupied it. I wonder if the authors realize that they’re committing an act of violent erasure against an oppressed people.

  12. Larry Saltzman
    Feb 26, 2015 - 05:44 PM

    A beautiful statement. I fully support what you are saying. We Jews did experience some early discrimination in this country, but we definitely rose to experience the benefits of whiteness. What bigotry we did suffer should have encouraged us to never oppress others. Zionism is built on the oppression of others.

    • bruce
      Feb 26, 2015 - 07:06 PM

      Larry–zionism is literally the simple notion that jews have the right to a homeland. If that is in of itself an oppressive notion, then wanting a palestinian homeland is oppressive. My view? Neither is. Wanting your own home doesnt mean you dont want others to have homes next door.

      Oh, and I am glad you have not experienced anti-semitism. But many Jews in this country still do, and it is deplorable to ignore and deny their continued pain.

      • Larry Saltzman
        Feb 26, 2015 - 07:33 PM

        Right now Muslims are suffering far more antisemitism in the U.S. than Jews, but where bigotry against Jews occurs it should be fought. However, that has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. Palestine was the indigenous homeland of the Palestinian people who have lived their since ancient times. Nothing gave Zionists the right to steal that land from the Palestinians, certainly not Biblical myths. Israel is not my homeland and I claim no right to move their and squat on Palestinian land.

        • bruce
          Feb 26, 2015 - 07:43 PM

          It has something to do with the article, because the authors asserted that Jews are now “the majority” and therefore arent discriminated against anymore. Which is an unfair blanket categorization.

          “Biblical myths”. So, who built the western wall? There is an utter abundance of historical documentation, from the greeks, romans, and before that Jews lived in that land. See, e.g. Dead Sea Scrolls. There were two peoples on the land. So, two states were proposed. Jews accepted the plan. Then they were attacked. I start from a place that both peoples have a historical claim to the land, and therefore two states should live side by side in peace. Anything else is historical revisionism.

          • Larry Saltzman
            Feb 26, 2015 - 08:08 PM

            There were one people living in Palestine, the Palestinians. The Palestinians included Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druze. They generally lived together peacefully over the centuries. Then European Jews with no remote claim to the land began showing up with the express purpose of stealing it from it’s rightful inhabitants. Palestinians are actually the direct descendants of the ancient Judeans or Palestinians as named by the Romans. Their religion is irrelevant. Being Jewish does not give anybody a valid land claim to Palestine, especially if one’s ancestors left 1,500 to 2,000 years ago.

          • bruce
            Feb 26, 2015 - 08:27 PM

            Oh, if thats how you define Palestinian, then we agree–there were peoples of multiple religions living in that land. The reason more Jews moved there was because of virulent anti-semitism in Europe–not to expel anyone. I hope you arent trying to deny the pogroms, expulsion from spain, etc etc etc. As a further note, much of the land acquired was bought. But all of that seems irrelevant…the point is, there are multiple peoples on the land, so each should have the right to a homeland. I cant see how that means that only one deserves the country.. Or the notion that only people who have lived in a land continuously should get to stay…because then you should immediately leave America.

        • Guest
          Feb 26, 2015 - 07:46 PM

          They won the land in battle. That’s how land ownership works. If the Palestinians want their territory back, they have to either guilt the Israelis or

        • Tyler
          Feb 26, 2015 - 07:49 PM

          Palestinians lost several wars. As a result, they lost control of some of their previously held territory. That’s how land ownership works. It amazes me that people don’t understand this.

          • Larry Saltzman
            Feb 26, 2015 - 08:06 PM

            Might makes right is not a moral standard I want to live by.

          • Tyler
            Feb 26, 2015 - 09:01 PM

            You and I only get to have moral standards because other people keep us safe. That’s just one of those facts of life. That doesn’t make it “good”, it just is.

            Israel gets to hold onto its territory because it’s stronger than its enemies. It’s possible that if the West totally abandons Israel, boycotts trade, blockades its ports, freeze its access to international markets, etc. that Israel could be weakened enough to let its neighbors invade and take back their territory. Is that really a better outcome?

            Let’s also not forget about the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from their homes throughout the Middle East. Where is their right to return?

            No one has clean hands in all of this. It’s all about making the best of a bad situation.

          • Peter
            Mar 06, 2015 - 01:15 PM

            Nice Tyler. I’m sure if someone came to your house armed and kicked you out you’d simply say “that’s just how ownership works” and move along without resisting….

          • Tyler
            Mar 06, 2015 - 02:42 PM

            You’re conflating personal property in a civilized nation with territory in the context of international anarchy.

            The borders of any nation are determined by violence. The borders of individual property within a nation are determined by a system of laws and courts.

            If you can’t understand the difference between the two, I suggest reading ANY history book.

          • Peter
            Mar 10, 2015 - 09:26 PM

            “civilized” nations don’t wage war on their neighbors over territory. Go ahead and justify it to yourself but wars of conquest are immoral my friend.

            You said “we only get to have moral standards because someone keeps us safe”
            That’s not true. If you look at the truly moral people through history, they maintain their ideals even when threatened with death.

  13. anonymousPlease
    Feb 26, 2015 - 07:30 PM

    This is not a well-written article, and its claims are false, too. As an interfaith organizer who has extensive experience in Israel and the West Bank, I’m disappointed in these authors.

  14. Phormio
    Feb 26, 2015 - 07:55 PM

    “The response of some of the so-called young militants does not represent the position of the vast majority of Negroes. There are some who are color-consumed and they see a kind of mystique in blackness or in being colored, and anything non-colored is condemned. We do not follow that course … Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.”
    —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    There are many transgressions committed over the years by Israelis. And many over the years by Palestinians and Arabs. But your premise denies Israel’s right to exist. It overlooks the riots instigated by the Grand Mufti in the 1920s and 1930s against Jews, it ignores the Khartoum Declaration, and ignores that an Israeli state could have existed with Palestinians living within it, alongside a Palestinian state existing with Jews living in it. But those terms were rejected. I don’t condemn you for your beliefs. But this is a woefully ignorant piece.

  15. Tuma
    Feb 26, 2015 - 11:20 PM

    This is a wonderfully written and politically committed statement for justice. A nation that oppresses another people cannot, itself, be free. Israeli war crimes (including the torture of Palestinian children) done in the name of the Jewish people is an outrage, just as is Netanyahu speaking on behalf of Jews. These womens’ editorial is a noble statement against the common enemy of Palestinians and Jews: Racism of all kinds.

    • bruce
      Feb 27, 2015 - 12:20 AM

      So, these women’s statement is opposition to zionism itself. Zionism is the notion that Jews deserve a home. Therefore, what these women arent stating opposition to specific Israeli acts of wrongdoing–they are stating opposition to the very existence of Israel. Perhaps they didn’t mean to say that..in which case they should use language more precisely. But that is what being anti-zionist means. PS–Israel gives more rights to Arabs, women, homosexuals, etc etc etc than most if not every other country in the middle east. Yes, specific Israeli soldiers have committed wrongs. So have specific American soldiers. But we dont have anti-America week.

  16. Troy Landry
    Feb 27, 2015 - 07:41 AM

    Zionism actually used to be non-violent. In fact, it still is non-violent in certain forms. What I think you’re referring to here is POLITICAL Zionism. That’s a really important distinction to make. And I don’t think you have to be a Zionist to be able to appreciate that distinction.

  17. Independent
    Mar 02, 2015 - 01:34 PM

    With Jews like this, peace is possible in the Middle East. With scared and scary Jews like Netanyahu, only continued war is possible.

    • bruce
      Mar 03, 2015 - 01:10 AM

      With groups like Hamas, only continued war is possible. Dont forget that part of the story..

  18. Hal
    Jul 04, 2015 - 06:48 AM

    As you say “None of us are free until all of us are free.” Since you are obviously a very outspoken woman who cares deeply about freedom, I suggest you go live as such under Palestinian/Islamic rule. Then you can come back and report to us about freedom…would you prefer the stoning…or the rape followed by live burial? Personally as a gay man who was born a Palestinian muslum…I’ll take Israeli “oppression” any day.

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