I stand by the fact that the neocon movement leaders and major players and supporters are all Jewish-Americans, and they work against the interests of the USA and for the benefit of a right wing, expansionist, Likud vision of Israel.
I stand by the fact that the neocon movement was instrumental in guiding America into the Iraq War 2 fiasco.
However, this blog, while bringing attention to the fact of the neocons being Jewish advocates for this colonialist version of Israel, did not bring the other side to the fore - those American (and other) Jews who opposed and still oppose both the Iraq War 2 and question Israeli policies in the West Bank and its racial profiling laws.
I will repair the damage now, lest I turn into heaven for actual, real (as opposed to people smeared as by the pro-Israel Lobby) anti-semites, racists and bigots.
I emailed Mr. Silverstein for help and he sent me a very helpful link to his blog page; an article he posted on November 24, 2003. Surprisingly, going through the list of pro peace organizations on Mr. Silverstein's blog, only a few are out of existence, in 2008.
So, in Mr. Silverstein's own words:
I’ve noticed that in perusing the web for news, information and opinion about the Mideast conflict, there are many individual sites. But there are few sites which act as a compendium or directory for all the others. So to answer this need, I’ve compiled a comprehensive (well, as comprehensive as possible) list of online American Jewish and Israeli resources devoted to Mideast peace. I’ve created three sections: one devoted to organizations; one to weblogs and the last to media and research resources. No such list as this can be truly comprehensive. Organizations may have been left out unintentionally. Organizations whose mission appears anti-Zionist have also been omitted. If you feel I have left out a significant peace resource, please let me know (and include a URL) and I will add it.
The listing is here, and is well worth a look.
Some of the (in my view) most interesting pro peace (yet also pro-Israel, and pro-Zionist - being pro-peace and pro-Israel is NOT mutually exclusive) organizations are:
britshalom.org, btselem.org, findcommonground.org, gush-shalom.org, israelpolicyforum.org, jewishpeacefellowship.org.
And, like I keep repeating over and over and over again, the neocon vision of the changed Middle East is really just a front, a facade to fool America (led by a truly idiotic people, "W" and Cheney) into attacking and disarming Arab countries that are inimical to Israel.
Simply put, the whole war of terror (in my opinion) is a front to realize a grand plan of changing the Middle East to make it more malleable to American and Israeli interests.
In "W" Bush's own words (source is a BBC article from 2003):
Our commitment to democracy is being tested in the Middle East," he said in a televised Washington speech in defence of US democracy.
Mr Bush said dictators in Iraq and Syria had "left a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin".
Turning to Iran, he warned that "the regime in Tehran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy".
But some governments in the region were "beginning to see the need for change", he said, citing Morocco, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen.
The BBC's Rob Watson in Washington says the speech may come to be seen as a defining moment in the Bush presidency.
Mr Bush compared his drive for global democracy with the legacy of his Republican predecessor Ronald Reagan, whose tough stance against communism helped democracy to take root in Eastern Europe in the 1980s.
And there you have it. The poor, deluded fool, president "W", wanted to be a great president. And he had a vision (planted in his limited mind by whom? ... you got one guess on this one) of transforming the Middle East, during his short 4-8 years of being a president, from dictatorships into American style democracies.
He really felt like it was possible, and he was just the guy to do it (the poor, deluded idiot that he is).
Notice that in his speech in 2003 he was already naming Syria and Iran alongside Iraq as other targets, soon to have their governments changed into an American style democracy, because, if you don't remember, in 2003 according to a big banner on an aircraft carrier, the mission was accomplished in Iraq (and time nigh to hit Iran and Syria is near).
It is only thanks to the fact that Iraq has become such a quagmire that Syria and Iran were not hit by American bombers and cruise missiles.
Because while the poor, deluded fool, president "W", really believed in (what he thought was) "his" vision of changing the whole Middle East into democracy central, the neocons had a far different agenda - to use him and America into taking out, disarming and "de-fanging" countries that are enemies to Israel in the region.
But, and this is the main point, the vast, VAST majority of American Jews oppose this Iraq War 2, and, by extension, "W" Bush's idiotic, utopian vision of a "changed" Middle East and the neocon true vision of endless American war on behalf of Israel.
Source: an article from Forward.com, dateline Fri. Dec 23, 2005:
Approximately 70% of Jews in the United States oppose the war in Iraq, compared to 28% who support the war, according to a survey released this week by the American Jewish Committee. The survey indicates that 60% of American Jews do not agree with the way the administration is “handling the campaign against terrorism.”
Support among Jews for the administration’s policies has declined steadily since 2002, before the Iraq war, when an AJCommittee survey found 59% approval both for President Bush’s handling of terrorism and for “military action” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.”
Before the Iraq War 2, American Jews, almost 60% of them, approved the war.
A survey in the fall of 2003, after the Iraq invasion, found just 43% approving of the war in Iraq and 41% approving the campaign against terrorism, while 54% disapproved of each.
So, what gives?
By contrast, ties to Israel remain strong. This year’s poll finds that 36% of respondents consider themselves “very close” to Israel, up from 29% in 2002, and 41% say they are “fairly close” to Israel. Just 23% say they feel “fairly” or “very distant” from Israel, down from 26% in 2002. Similarly, 79% of those polled this year agree that “caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew,” while 19% disagree with this statement. In 2002, the statement was endorsed by 73% and rejected by 26%.
Simply put, while American Jews DO have a special place in their heart for Israel (just like other immigrant groups have patriotic feelings towards their own countries of origin), they all disagree on what is best for Israel, USA and themselves.
While the neocons' vision of endless American war on behalf of Israel was planned, and brought into action thanks to the neocons being well organized and overrepresented in the American political scene, the "Beltway", newspapers, radio, TV - the vast majority of American Jews disagree with that vision, because they feel it is a wrong path to take for both Israel and America and does not benefit Israel one bit.
Speaking as a detached observer (I personally could care less about Israel and only care for my one and only country, The United States of America), I tend to agree with the majority of the American Jewish opinion.
The neocons have been disastrous from the Israeli security perspective. While taking out Saddam, the Americans have managed to install a pro-Iran government in Iraq, and have destabilized the entire Middle East region by doing so - the region was used to being divided into two main blocs of power: Shia (Iran mostly) and Sunni (Saudi Arabia mostly). Now, it seems the ME is up for grabs, and Iran is making great headway in getting influence in Iraq - to the point where Iraq and Iran will be, once Americans leave in a year (or few years - makes no difference) allies, against the Sunni Saudi led bloc and Israel AND America.
Also, while taking out Saddam, we have turned Iraq from a secular country into (soon to come) a Shia mullah led Iranian style "democracy" - as opposed to the American style democracy, which was supposed to happen. Oy vey indeed, neocon idiots!
That is one view.
And it is reinforced here.
The source is Ha'aretz from December 2005:
Some 79 percent of those polled said that concern for Israel is a main part of their lives as Jews, while 19 percent disagreed with this statement.
So, Israel is important to Jewish Americans, with 79% of them saying it is the main part of their lives as Jews - that it almost defines their Jewishness.
Approximately 70 percent of Jews in the United States oppose the war in Iraq, compared to 28 percent who support the war, according to an American Jewish Committee poll, which also showed that nearly 60 percent have never visited Israel.
While to me the fact that 40% of American Jews visited Israel is staggering, to the Zionists the 60% that did not is alarming. Perhaps, when one thinks about it, the "Israel as a safe refuge for all Jews" concept is not as attractive as it was right after 1945 (right after World War 2 and of course the Holocaust) because, in America (and most other, non-Arab countries), Jews are hardly the poor prosecuted minority, dealing with pogroms and discrimination.
In fact, Jews are very successful in business, law, journalism, movies etc etc etc etc here in the States, thank you very much. There are no anti-semitic laws in America (and Europe, both East and West), Jews can thrive in an environment free of official racism and virtually free of unofficial racism also. Seinfeld is on TV, Jon Stewart is watched by millions (and your truly is among the viewers) and Spielberg still makes GREAT movies. Not to mention all the Jewish people who work in finance (some of whom are great friends to yours truly). Truly, anti-semitism is sooo XIX century.
So, what I am saying, is that there does not seem to be ANY danger to Jews, in America and Europe, and Jews are very well integrated into the fabric of the countries they are citizens of.
And so, the "Israel as a safe refuge for all Jews" becomes, perhaps, just Israel. Another country, albeit one that holds a special place in Jewish hearts.
Bonus Material, which means more writing on the subject by yours truly
When you type "Jews for peace" in google, you get hundreds of hits.
While I have written in this article that, perhaps (I am not a mind reader - this is my hypothesis), Jews who oppose the Iraq War 2 (77% of American Jews do so - that fact cannot be repeated enough and is staggering), in my view many of them do so because they recognize that the current war is not good for both Israel and America.
So a hardcore Zionist supporter of Israel looks upon the Iraq War 2 with horror and "W" bush with loathing, just like I do. We might have different ways in which we arrived at this viewpoint, but we agree on the main points.
But many Jews (and again, no poll was done and, perhaps, the question is too HOT to be ever asked in the USA) oppose the war in Iraq and the Israeli policies not because they are not beneficial to Israel, but because of their innate humanity and that knack of calling a spade a spade.
What I am saying is that it is too simplistic to (again, I personally have to be wary of that) lump ALL Jews who oppose the Iraq War 2 because they ALL believe that it is not beneficial to Israel.
Clearly, statistically speaking, that is not the case, that cannot be the whole case.
Many Jews oppose Iraq War 2 and Israeli policies not only because they feel they do not benefit Israel, but also because they feel and believe that they are MORALLY WRONG.
Like many people around the world, of whatever religion, if asked about murder, stealing, etc. would think a short while and then declare this action to be evil.
So it is with many Jews, of course - in America, Israel and other countries.
As to how many are against the war and Israeli policies in the West Bank because they feel it is MORALLY wrong as opposed to being a wrong way to secure Israeli (and American) security - I will leave that statistic to be asked by the Gallup and other pollsters in the USA (don't hold your breath - this question is way, way, way too hot to be asked in any poll in America).
But, just to prove my last point, here is the proof that many Jews clearly are looking at the situation from a distinctly moral angle as opposed to political opportunism and "what is best for Israel":
Source: Letter to The Guardian, dateline Wednesday April 30 2008:
In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.
In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa's market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.
In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.
In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.
We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.
We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
Cllr Jonathan Bloch
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Dr. Linda Edmondson
Brian Fisher MBE
Yael Oren Kahn
Prof. Adah Kay
Prof. Eleonore Kofman
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover
Miriam Margolyes OBE
Dr. Brian Robinson
Prof. Steven Rose
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Prof. Frances Stewart
"We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.
We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East."
And one of my favorite organizations, "Breaking the Silence", which is Israeli soldiers who have served their country in the Occupied Territories and have decided to publicly come out and oppose the occupation and share their experiences with the world.
The article profiling them is found on globalresearch.ca:
They're called "Refuseniks" but not for refusing to serve. They've done it proudly and courageously, and here's how "Courage to Refuse" members state their position:
"We, reserve officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)....have always served in the front lines....were first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, (and we did it) to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.
We....served....long weeks every year, in spite of dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country (but were only given to perpetuate) our control over the Palestinian people. We('ve)....seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.
....the commands issued to us in the Territories (have) destroy(ed) all the values (we learned) growing up in this country.
....the (way) the Occupation (undermines the) IDF's human character and (exposes) the corruption of the entire Israeli society.
We....know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end.
We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements.
We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.
We hereby declare that we shall continue serving the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel's defense.
The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose - and we shall take no part in them."
These are courageous men and some women, hundreds of them. Their "Courage to Refuse - Combatant's Letter" web site lists 550 by name. There are hundreds more as well. Their numbers are growing, and their resistance is firm. There are five separate refusenik groups. They're listed below. Courage to Refuse is one of them.
Yesh Gvul (There is A Limit)
Yesh Gvul combats the "misuse of the IDF for unworthy ends" that includes the occupation of Palestine. It was established during Israel's 1982 Lebanon invasion that they denounced as a "naked (act of) aggression in which they wanted no part." It supports imprisoned members and their families, holds vigils where they're held, informs the public of their status, and embraces a peace agenda. They state that "as responsible citizens (they) declare that (they) will take no part in the continued oppression of the Palestinian people (nor will they) participate in policing actions or in guarding the settlements."
They further say that as "an Israeli peace group" they oppose the occupation and support soldiers who refuse to be part of it. They call the Israeli army's role "brutal" and "subjugating." It places servicemen "in a grave and moral and political dilemma (because it requires them) to enforce policies they deem illegal, immoral and ultimately harmful to Israeli interests." Many of their members are combat officers, they've served with distinction, and they rank from sergeant to major. They hold different political views, support peace but no one specific program, and they back a "two-state" solution they believe is "key to (peacefully resolving) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The Shministim is made up of high school seniors approaching age 18 after which Jewish and Druze men and women face mandatory military service, except for exemptions on religious, health and other accepted grounds. The organization no longer maintains a web site.
Courage to Refuse (The Combatants Letter)
The organization was founded in 2002 by a group of 50 combat officers and soldiers after its members realized that their missions had nothing to do with defending Israel. They're to colonize Palestine and oppress its people. They further believe that many commands issued them harm Israel's strategic interests and they refuse to obey them.
They've served their country and support it, but they determined that "fighting in Gaza and....West Bank (was counterproductive): by obeying orders they would not be protecting the lives of their dear ones." They believe "the Occupation poses a threat to the security of Israel." They stated their beliefs openly in "The Combatant's Letter." Hundreds of IDF members signed it and joined "Courage to Refuse." New members join weekly, and Yaffee Center for Strategic Studies surveys show that over 25% of Israelis sympathize with their struggle.
They continue to perform reserve duty, but won't serve in the Occupied Territories. Over 280 of them have been court-martialed and jailed for up to 35 days. Yet they've "won a warm place for the movement in the hearts of many Israelis" who support their self-sacrifice and willingness to be imprisoned for their beliefs.
Hundreds of Israeli professors signed petitions for them. Sami Michael is acting chairman of the Israeli Association for Human Rights. He said that refusing the occupation is not just a moral act, it's the purest form of patriotism in Israel today. Their reasons for not serving are stated above.
The Pilots Group
The Pilots Group maintains a web site in Hebrew only, so it can't be monitored by non-Hebrew readers. In September 2003, 27 of their members (including reserve Brigadier General Yiftah Spector) published their statement for the first time. It declared they would no longer fly missions against West Bank and Gaza civilians, that doing so is illegal and immoral, and they denounced targeted assassinations.
On Israeli television, one pilot said: "We veteran pilots and active pilots alike....are opposed to carrying out illegal and immoral attacks, of the type carried out by Israel in the Territories. We....love the State of Israel (but) refuse to take part in air force attacks in civilian populations centers. We refuse to continue harming innocent civilians."
They knew they could be punished for their stance and for their "illegitimate" and "forbidden" statement, according to Israel's chief of army staff, Moshe Ya'alon. Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief Dan Halutz downplayed their action, said announcing it on national television was "inappropriate," and called it "the mother of all dangers to our people."
Because of it, they were expelled from the IAF, denounced as traitors, and went public again two months later to explain further. One captain's comment was typical: "In the beginning, we were pilots who believed our country would do all it could to achieve peace. We believed in the purity of our arms and that we did all we could to protect unnecessary loss of life. Somewhere in the last few years it became harder and harder to believe that is the case."
A single incident changed them. It was the bombing of Hamas military leader Salah Shehade's home that killed him and 14 members of his family, nine of whom were children. One pilot called it "murder," another "state terrorism," still another "vengeance," and all agreed they could no longer perform these missions.
Lt. Colonel Avner Raanan was one of them. He's one of Israel's most respected and decorated pilots. He signed the letter and stated: "If you look at the past three years, you see that, if we had a suicide bombing, the Israeli air force made a big operation in which civilians were killed, and that looks to innocent eyes like revenge. You hear it in the streets of Israel; people want revenge. But we should not behave like that. We are not a mafia."
Referring to an attack on Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp, another pilot added: "Is it legitimate to take F-15s and helicopters designed to destroy enemy tanks, and use them against cars and houses in one of the most heavily populated places in the world....we have become blinded by the blood on our own faces. We cannot see that on the other side....is a whole nation of innocent people."
The pilots' action and statements shook Israeli society. Their superiors condemned them, but over 500 supportive letters disagreed, including one from a holocaust survivor and others from fellow pilots. In addition, former left wing cabinet ministers also praised their courage.
This is an elite IDF commando unit that maintains no web site. In December 2003, 13 of its reservists and officers (including one major) wrote the Prime Minister declaring their refusal to serve henceforth in the Territories. Their statement read: "We say to you today, we will no longer give our hands to the oppressive reign in the territories and the denial of human rights to millions of Palestinians, and we will no longer serve as a defensive shield for the settlement enterprise."
Members of this commando group carried out the 1976 Entebbe, Uganda airport raid that rescued 100 hostages on an Air France hijacked plane. They rarely serve in the Territories, but their announcement was significant because of the group's standing in Israeli society. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak once commanded them and led a raid against a 1972 hijacked Sabena plane at Tel Aviv airport. He asked the signers to reconsider, called their letter a grave mistake, and said "it's not too late to correct it...." Other officials also condemned them, but Meretz Knesset Member (MK) Roman Bronfman believed they acted bravely, and Labor MK Ophir Pines said it requires that serious discussion be held.
In May 2004, Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy was supportive. He urged more soldiers to speak out, discuss their actions in the Territories, and ask why they serve there "to protect groups of delusional settlers (and) what their systematic abuse of the Palestinians has to do with security....how many innocent people (have) they killed and (keep on) killing."
He noted that Israelis don't know what goes on in the Territories, so it's up to soldiers to "lift this screen....The Palestinians aren't believed, the Israeli press (keeps) its distance from the Territories and the international press is perceived as hostile. Only the soldiers can break the vicious circle....No one (can) deny their accounts....it's time (for them) to stand up and speak out....how they killed and jailed and humiliated for no good reason."
Please note that these people are not dyed in the wool hippies. These are Israeli ex-soldiers, who have served their tours of duty in Gaza and the West Bank and came to the conclusion that this is morally wrong. The Sayeret Metkal commandos are some of the best trained soldiers in the world, the most motivated and patriotic, comparable to the British SAS and American Seals and Green Berets. When they start to question the narrative, perhaps it would behoove the Israeli (and American!) government to listen.
I will profile the website shovrimshtika.org soon.
But why wait for me - click the link and read for yourself the Israeli soldiers testimonies.
Make up your own mind.
To me, at least, these soldiers are heroes - and their voices need to be heard.
There are many, many others.
And, just to hammer a point home - being a Zionist does not exclude one from being also pro-peace, and looking for a just solution to both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - that will grant "peace with honor" to both sides.
In my (optimistic?) view, Israelis and Palestinians will soon, within a few decades at most, learn to, if not live together, to at least tolerate each other, without shooting, bombing and demolishing each others' houses. But for that to happen, the government of Israel, but especially the one in America, will need inspired leadership.
And for that to happen in America, the odious, destructive influence of the pro Israel Lobby, which only supports the pro right wing, expansionist, Likud vision of Israel, needs to go.
And, it seems to me, many Jews, in Israel, America, are turning away more and more from that vision of Israel - the conqueror, Israel - the occupier, Israel - the land of the Nakba...
Instead of an ending, I will leave you with this:
Interestingly, one can argue that the Israeli soldiers who are against the occupation are looking at the situation both from the "what's best for Israel" and from a very moral viewpoint.
Think on that a bit.