White Supremacy, Short Memories

Imperial doctrine

For a twenty four hour news cycle
After the killings black lives matter
The US is exposed for what it has always done
Hundreds of years of torture and slavery
Then white people go back to caring for kittens
and having Obama’s back.

Jinjirrie, December 2014

While US liberals and other chest-beating apologists for empire circle the wagons, wail and pontificate duplicitously about “blowback”, “context”, “fear after 9/11” and “torture tactics imported from Israel” when torture aimed at terrorising the innocent is what the settler colonial US has always done, more evidence from Udall indicates the empire is covering up the scale of its abominable torture practices.

As the top-down rhetoric shifts, the complicity of US administrations is downplayed – the CIA is being treated now as though it was an independent loose cannon, instead of overseen and applauded by US politicians, its torture practices long given the legal tick by the likes of Holder. Cheney would do it all over again. The impunity of the holey empire and its plutocrats must be sanctified. And so the criminal imperial juggernaut lumbers on, protecting its elite, sacrificing its knights. Shrouded by nationalist magical thinking, the empire’s white patriarchal capitalist culture of oppression remains intact.

Once again the bar for “permissible violence” by empire has been lifted, a triumphalist US public desensitized, and the likelihood of increased brutal oppression within the US of minorities and abroad against non-imperials more certain.

Related Links

Water Torture by the US of Phillippinos in 1902
Uruguay, 1964 to 1970: Torture—as American as apple pie
The US – safe haven for Nazi persecutors
US historical culture of torture – in the Phillippines 1901 – concentration camps, torture, atrocities
Operation Paperclip
Prosecute John Yoo, Says Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Dr. Nafeez Ahmed: “What we are seeing now is not the Obama administration putting an end to torture, but rather putting an end to the open acknowledgement of the use of torture as a routine intelligence practice.”

Cane Toad Time

Toadscape

You know it’s summer in the Sunshine State
when from beneath your desk
there’s a shuffling sound
a gruffly plop and scrape
then you look down
straight into the gloating gob
of the most gruesome pest around here
worse than the pollies, rats and mice
it’s the common cane toad,
that dastardly settler-borne scoundrel.
Out, out, you damn hopping creep
before for the five iron I reach
and augment your next ungainly leap.

Jinjirrie, December 2014

For anyone who hasn’t seen the definitive cane toad movie:

BDS Attacked by the Deir Yassin Remembered

Musician and self-professed propagandist for Israel, Idan Raichel is scheduled to play in New York at the World Music Institute on November 18. More than 4000 individuals and 50 groups have called on the WMI for Raichel’s concert to be cancelled due to his role as a ‘cultural ambassador for Israel who provides “uncritical support for the Israeli military and government.”’

The Adalah-NY petition to the WMI states:

Idan Raichel has publicly endorsed torture and explicitly describes his role as an artist in terms of uncritical support for the Israeli military and government. He wrote in the Jerusalem Post in June 2014 that “In creating this musical project we feel as if we are cultural ambassadors for Israel.” He added, “When I look back over the past few years, I see an Israel I am happy with … Raichel summarized his views in 2012, saying, “I believe that our role as artists is to enlist in the Israeli propaganda campaign [Hasbara]… I would like to encourage our soldiers, yes, who are so moral, and encourage the IDF, a more moral army you will not find in the entire world.”’

Palestinian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI) representative, Samia Botmeh commented:

PACBI calls for boycotting Idan Raichel’s performances because he is a cultural ambassador of Israel, as both he and the Israeli foreign ministry have boasted. Raichel is willingly lending his name to the Israeli government to re-brand itself and perform damage control after its latest massacre in Gaza. No matter how hard Raichel and other cultural, scientific and academic ambassadors of Israel try to whitewash Israel’s horrific crimes against humanity, people of conscience can see right through their propaganda.’

DYR emailUsually it is proud Zionists and Israel right-or-wrong supporters who malign actions for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). However, responding by email on 1 November 2014 to a request for support for a petition against Raichel’s culture-washing performance, the Deir Yassin Remembered Board labelled the Raichel boycott campaign as “gatekeeping”, ‘a tactic used often by Zionists and by people like Ali Abunimah. Hence we would oppose DYR gatekeeping anyone, including this fellow.

BDS, a Palestinian-led human rights-based movement with overwhelming support from Palestinian civil society, is aimed at applying pressure on the Israeli regime in order to achieve justice and rights for Palestinians living under Israeli rule, whether in Israel or in the territories it occupied in 1967, as well as the refugees scattered around the globe. Scurrilously, the DYR is attacking both the BDS tactic chosen by oppressed Palestinians themselves, in effect making Palestinians superfluous to their own liberation movement, and more specifically Ali Abunimah, well-known Palestinian journalist and activist.

The DYR organisation, a 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization (EIN 20-2681812), has been described by one ex-Board member as a one man show, the work of Daniel McGowan, a retired professor of economics, who set it up in 1995. McGowan expressed his rightwing views on the boycott of apartheid South Africa in 1995.

As a conservative professor of economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, I disagreed with such prohibitions and political obstructions to the free flow of capital.

In 2009, McGowan blatantly defends Holocaust denial and trumpets noxious pro-imperialist apologetics: ‘The Holocaust narrative of systematic, industrialized extermination was an important neo-conservative tool to drive the United States into Iraq.

For McGowan, DYR Board Director Paul Eisen, Board Advisor Paul Findley, Board Advisor Henry Herskowitz, ex DYR Board Advisor Israel Shamir and supporters Alison Weir and Gilad Atzmon, “Jewish power” causes the US to misbehave – if it weren’t for “Jewish power”, somehow the US empire would be benevolent. This imperialist, white supremacist trope is refuted by the consistent behaviour of the US empire elsewhere. As Gabriel Ash writes:

Overarching strategic doctrines issued by successive administrations articulate how the U.S. government conceives its long term maintenance and aggrandisement. It is here that one locates the basic imperatives driving U.S. foreign policy: containing rival imperial powers, advancing the powers of markets through pro-U.S. and pro-capitalist regimes and defeating indigenous and popular challenges to capitalism in general and to friendly regimes in particular. It is at this level that Israel fits in to U.S. foreign policy. Israel is part of a network of states under U.S. hegemony. It must be defended not only for what it does for the U.S., but primarily for what it is, namely, an element of the global assertion of western power. The strategic importance of the Middle East and Israel’s own lack of alternatives further make it one of the U.S.’s safest allies.

Both Findley and McGowan are involved with Weir’s Council for the National Interest – Weir’s If Americans Knew and CNI organisations both endorse a paid September 2014 oped from DYR in the New York Times.

According to its site, DYR ostensibly was organised to build a memorial to Palestinians massacred by Zionists in 1948 at Deir Yassin. Three memorial sculptures and plaques have been established elsewhere – in Geneva (New York), Glasgow and East Jerusalem.

Although the main purpose of Deir Yassin Remembered is to build a suitable memorial, the organisation also has a broader, more humanitarian objective. It will work to eliminate prejudice against Palestinians and to promote the human side of a people who have been the victims of the Zionist colonisation of their land and of the apartheid conditions under which they now live.

From its email dated 1 November 2014 above, however, it appears the current Board Directors believe DYR can fulfill its goals by attempting, as do Zionists, to tarnish the chosen BDS tactic of Palestinian civil society and dehumanise Palestinian activists like Ali Abunimah who critique white supremacist opportunism posturing as solidarity. This phenomenon demonstrates the nexus between white supremacism, zionism and imperialism.

While for a few years from 2007, the organisation began to provide educational scholarships for Palestinians, this was abandoned in 2011. Around 8 scholarships were delivered through donations received by the organisation.

The advisors of the DYR Board have changed over the years yet the names of people who have left often remain on the site for many years after their departure, despite requests to remove them. Human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel left the board in 2005 along with Michael Warschawski. Lea’s name remains on the board list to this day.

To the Directors of DYR
We have been supporters of DYR from its very first days, and identified fully with its goals and objectives. During a recent tour in the US, we discovered that Israel Shamir has been included in the advisory board of DYR.

There is no room for a racist in an institution aimed to fight for the memory of the Deir Yassin victims of Ethnic cleansing and massacre. We therefore ask you to clarify whether or not Israel Shamir is indeed part of DYR. If it is the case and you have no intention to exclude him in order to keep the moral integrity of DYR, we will have to disconect ourselves from it.

Please forward this letter to all the members of the Advisory board.

Lea Tsemel, Michael Warschawski

Norman Finkelstein, Marc Ellis, Neta Golan and Jeff Halper also resigned from DYR around that time. Neta’s name was not removed until 2008. As Gabriel Ash commented wryly, “The Deir Yassin Remembered board is like Hotel California, you can check in any time you like, but you can never leave).

In his 2005 letter of resignation, Jeff Halper wrote of Israel Shamir, who was invited to the Board in 2004:

‘First, he deflects the discussion from the essentials of Deir Yassin onto the supposed characteristics of the perpetrators. To cast all “Jews” as perpetrators of such heinous crimes, which is exactly how the discussion has been going for the past number of months, is racist, absolutely unacceptable – and deflects entirely from the issue of Deir Yassin itself. Just look at his response to Uri Davis: “a Jew is called upon by his religious law to do utmost damage to one who accepted Christ …” Anyone who knows Uri Davis would know that such a statement is beyond absurd, but the bigger question is: Who in the hell is “a Jew”? Paul’s comment about “Jewish Power” is also outrageous. “THE Jews” is a construct just as false, simplistic, racist (biologically so, it seems) and unacceptable as any other ethnic label used to tar all members of that group with – inevitably negative – characteristics. (I know our “fully human” psychotherapist from Australia will read into this primordial “Jewish loyalty.”)

The inane discussion that has come to characterize the DYR discourse is not even sophisticated racism; its just plain old-fashioned stupid racism. That’s enough to get me to leave.

When I hear diatribes of non-Palestinians against the Palestinian Ali Abunimah because he raises concerns over Shamir’s racism and the entire tone of the DYR discussion, a red light goes off. Has Deir Yassin been hijacked by a cult more intent on pursuing hate campaigns against the fictive “Jews” than in searching for the humanistic, universal, critical and truly relevant elements of the Deir Yassin story? Is Deir Yassin’s memory being sullied by those who claim to honor it?

The resignation of any one of the people who left DYR, Jewish or not, should be a cause of soul-searching, especially among the non-Palestinian “gatekeepers” of Deir Yassin who may be finishing off the job – massacring the memory of Deir Yassin by making it synonymous with racism and anti-Semitism. ‘

Although he was never actually on the Board, Uri Davis’s name appears there as a consultant during 2005 and is removed by 2006. Our source relays that Davis said he would accept the invitation to the Board if he could then argue for the removal of Shamir.

Our sources tell us that in 2005, the late Hanna Braun complained that McGowan had placed her name on his list of “Righteous Jews” on his DYR partner website, without her consent although she made it clear that she found the whole concept racist and offensive. McGowan also placed Braun’s memoirs on the DYR site without asking her let alone her consent.

Full blog
2012 Withdrawn blog post by Paul Eisen

In 2005, Mark Elf at Jews Sans Frontieres relates that Holocaust denier and Board Director Paul Eisen: ‘has finally come out as, or at least gone over to, supporting a full-blown neo-nazi take on Hitler and the holocaust. … Shamir seems to take the view that Jews should renounce being Jewish or forever take the rap for killing Jesus. Jazz saxophonist, Gilad Atzmon, takes the view that if you do not renounce being Jewish then you are a crypto- or under-cover zionist.

Tony Greenstein recounted in 2012: Over a decade ago, Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish issued a statement ‘Serious Concerns About Israel Shamir’ concerning the virulent anti-semitism of Shamir. Like Atzmon, Shamir too traded on his Israeli connections, yet his language about Jews as ‘a virus form of a human being’ set alarms bells ringing. His cause was not support of the Palestinians and anti-Zionism but anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. Yet in an e-mail to me (12th June 2005) Atzmon described Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’.

In 2011 Eisen reproduced emails to ex-board member Robert Green whose name disappeared from the Board in 2006: The Palestinian people are, above all, suffering under Jewish power and the only guy I know successfully confronting that power is Israel Shamir. Shamir’s name is no longer on the list of Board Advisors by February, 2010. Both Eisen and McGowan have applauded neo-Nazi and convicted Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel. McGowan visited Zündel in prison in Germany in 2006.

In October 2012, Eisen published an antisemitic blog post which was later removed in which he attacked the Free Gaza Movement. After becoming aware of this article, Avigail Arbananel, a director of the Board since 2004, “resigned from DYR because of Paul Eisen”. On the Board since 2007, Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa also left at this point.

Another name which remains on the Board despite having left is Ilan Pappé. Our source informs us that in 2012 during a visit to Sydney, Pappe was asked ‘if it is the case that they are a current member or whether DYR need to update their website’ and he replied that ‘DYR needs to update their website‘.

2017 Board 2016 DYR Board 2015 DYR Board 2014 DYR Board 2013 DYR Board 2012 DYR Board 2011 DYR Board 2010 DYR Board 2009 DYR Board 2008 DYR Board 2007 DYR Board 2006 DYR Board 2005 DYR Board 2004 DYR Board 2003 DYR Board 2002 DYR Board

Exposed thoroughly in 2012 and despite Eisen’s attack on her in his withdrawn blog post above, Greta Berlin became a DYR Board Advisor early in 2014. In 2012, Bekah Wolf commented on Berlin:

I have seen her engage, accept, and encourage anti-Semitic rhetoric, and this is incredibly damaging to the Palestine solidarity movement. What she, and this group, represents is dangerous to our movement in solidarity with Palestinians: a complete disregard for the basic principles of anti-racism and anti-bigotry most of us hold dear.

At that time, Professor As’ad Abukhalil emphasised: “Anti-Semites belong to the Zionist side, and not to our side.” Along with a declaration by leading Palestinians, the BDS movement has made a strong statement affirming its “rights-based approach and an anti-racist platform that rejects all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism“. The 1 November 2014 DYR email represents a full frontal assault against human rights-based BDS, a principled Palestinian-led movement for justice which seeks to educate people away from racism, to end the human wrongs of colonialism and apartheid inflicted on Palestinians.

Toxic white supremacist ideology – including Zionism – underpins current and past colonial, imperial oppression. Palestinians require better than to have the 1948 genocide at Deir Yassin (perpetrated by Zionists and facilitated by imperial powers) hijacked as a front for DYR white supremacists, in the same manner as settler colonial Zionists appropriate and utilise the Holocaust.

OTHER LINKS

Tony Greenstein (2008): Time to say goodbye – Why does the SWP not break its links with holocaust-denier Gilad Atzmon? (contains more info and links about the DYR Board)

Melissa Parke, MP Presents BDS Petition to the Australian Federal Parliament

On the 23rd September, 2014, politics lecturer Dr Marcelo Svirsky from the University of Woollongong set off on foot for Canberra to bring a petition for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel 287 kilometres from concerned Australian citizens to the attention of Parliament.

Federal Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke took a principled position and broke from the mainstream ALP to present and support the petition in the House of Representatives on the 27th October.

“There comes a time when injustices have so mounted up that plain speaking becomes a duty …”

Parke counters the ubiquitous Israeli hasbara which wrongfully invokes antisemitism against BDS and its advocates.

“It is not antisemitic to protest injustice.”

She concludes by commending Dr. Svirsky for his courageous walk and brave stand.

TRANSCRIPT OF MP MELISSA PARKE’S FULL SPEECH:

Petition: Middle East
Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (21:00):
‘What I am to say today will likely not be popular in this place or indeed in the wider community. However, there comes a time when the injustices have so mounted up that plain speaking becomes a duty. This year is the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. However, despite overwhelming support within the international community for a Palestinian state and for an end to the Israeli occupation and settlement building, as well as the blockade of Gaza, there has not been any positive change for Palestinians on the ground. Rather, recent events have left more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza dead and thousands more injured, while more than a million Palestinians—who are a proud, educated and enterprising people—are dependent on food aid and there is a massive damage bill to be picked up again by the international community. Meanwhile settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continues apace, each build putting a further nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.

We know that violence is not the solution. We affirm that the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are an illegal response to Israel’s actions. But it does beg the question: what then is the alternative to the vicious cycle of bloodshed we have witnessed in recent months? What is a legal and justified response to actions by Israel that the international community agrees are illegal? In my view, non-violent means of protest are and must be seen as legitimate. It is notable that both Israel and the US approve of boycotts and sanctions against other states such as Iran and Brunei, so why is it objectionable to boycott a state that is, among other things, committing repeated, grave violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention as Israel does with its illegal settlements?
I now present a petition delivered to me by University of Wollongong academic and former Israel soldier, Dr Marcelo Svirsky, following his completion of a 10-day walk over 300 kilometres from Sydney to Canberra to draw the attention of the House to the plight of the Palestinian people and requesting the government to honour its obligations under international law.

The petition read as follows—
To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives
This petition of citizens and residents of Australia draws to the attention of the House the critical predicament of the Palestinian People in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza under Israeli occupation since 1967 and of the Palestinian citizens of Israel suffering racial discrimination since 1948.
Notwithstanding UN resolutions condemning Israel’s policies as illegal, Israel continues violating international law and human rights, expanding its colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, imposing a siege on Gaza, and persisting in apartheid and oppressive actions, policies and legislation towards the Palestinian people under its control.
As a response to the failure of all forms of diplomacy to change Israel’s policies, in 2005 the Palestinian Civil Society called upon the world to impose on Israel initiatives of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel meets its obligation to end all forms of occupation; dismantles the illegal ‘Separation Wall’ in the West Bank; ceases the siege on Gaza; implements full equality for its Palestinian citizens; and honours the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.
WE THEREFORE ASK THE HOUSE to instruct the Australian Government to fully and consistently honour its obligations under international law by excluding relations, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, with states, institutions and companies – Australian, Israeli or other – that are involved in the perpetuation of apartheid and discriminatory Israeli policies including the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
from 701 citizens.
Petition received.

Ms PARKE: The petition asks the government to exclude relations through boycott, divestment and sanctions with states, institutions and companies that are involved in the perpetuation of discriminatory Israeli policies, including the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The BDS campaign has received an enormous amount of negative press in Australia, much of which is undeserved. I am not seeking to validate all of the actions that have occurred in the name of BDS, because it can mean different things to different people. However, I do wish to dispel some of the misunderstandings around the official BDS campaign, including that its supporters are anti-Semitic and intent on the destruction of Israel. That is not the case; it is not anti-Semitic to protest injustice. And as noted by Peter Slezak writing in New Matilda:
… BDS is directed against many non-Jewish, non-Israeli companies such as Veolia, G4S and Caterpillar, which are profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

The US organisation Jewish Voice for Peace has observed that ‘BDS is a viable democratic and non-violent response to the horrific policies of the state of Israel against Palestinians’.
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law at Princeton and a former UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, has said that the ‘BDS movement provides a hopeful way of writing the future history of Palestine in the legal and moral language of rights, rather than the bloody deeds of warfare’. Nobel Peace Prize and Sydney Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said:
If we had not struggled so hard in the anti apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela would have died in jail. The Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement is as important as the anti apartheid struggle. I urge you all to support it.

In July this year 17 European Union countries warned their citizens against engagement in business deals or investing in the illegal Israeli settlements or with bodies connected to them in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The European warnings described the settlements as ‘illegal under international law’, warning that ‘individuals or companies who engage in any economic deals with them could face legal and financial risks and harm their image’.

As said by Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, in early July:
How will [Israel] have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupations and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?
… it cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.

As I have said on other occasions, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians is a source of distress and frustration for millions of people around the world, especially people from Muslim and Arab countries, and it is a powerful recruitment tool for extremist groups. If we are genuinely concerned about national and global security as well as international justice, we, along with other nations, including the US, should be insisting that Israel do its part to lay the groundwork for peace by, among other things, ending its illegal occupation, settlement construction and the Gaza blockade. Until this happens, BDS is a perfectly acceptable form of protest and I congratulate Dr Marcelo Svirsky for his courageous walk and his brave stand.’