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Book Review: “Beyond Tribal Loyalties. Personal Stories Of
Jewish Peace Activists” By Avigail Abarbanel

By Dr Gideon Polya

19 January, 2013

“Beyond Tribal Loyalties. Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists” by Avigail Abarbanel is an important,  must-read  anthology of the views of 25 anti-racist Jews, who variously, from positions ranging from  pro-Zionism to a-political apathy, overcame my-lot-right-or-wrong tribal loyalty and came to realize the immense crime being committed against the Palestinian people and their obligation to speak out for Palestinian human rights.

Of course this conversion has also happened for many non-Jewish as well as Jewish anti-racists who have been brainwashed by decades of neocon American and Zionist imperialist propaganda purveyed by the generally neocon- and Zionist-beholden Mainstream media in the Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies, this being reinforced by the ferocious defamation by endlessly lying Zionists who falsely label all critics of Apartheid Israel as “anti-Semites” and additionally falsely defame Jewish critics of this genocidally racist  Apartheid state as “self-hating Jews”.

Ex-Israeli, and Australia- and thence UK-based psychologist Avigail Abarbanel asked the contributors to describe how they came to this position of supporting human rights for Palestinians and has organized the contributions in 5 sections based on country of origin namely Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. In an Afterword,  psychologist Avigail Abarbanel makes an important conclusion: “I realized that there is in fact something that all the activists in this book have in common: they all have the capacity to tolerate difficult emotions. I call this “emotional resilience”. Emotional resilience means the ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings without avoiding them, or trying to make them go away. It means that people are able to act according to their values and do the right thing, even when they experience fear, guilt, insecurity, turmoil, confusion and pain, and even when some of these feelings are reinforced by outside opposition or even persecution. Emotional resilience also includes the ability to tolerate the experience of being disapproved of, disliked and rejected by others, sometimes even by relatives and close friends”  (p283).

Of course “emotional resilience” has been the sine qua non of Jewish existence for several thousand years as an often persecuted minority. Indeed one of my Jewish scientist mentors argued that “the importance of being different” is the core message of the Jewish experience just as it is the core element of Darwinian biological evolution and of scientific  progress via the Popperian scientific  method. Thus Darwinian evolution depends upon genetic differences that are selectively retained if they enhance survivability (survival of the fittest). Professor Richard Dawkins has extended the idea of evolution through genes (DNA) to evolution of socially-selected ideas or “memes” e.g. “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (see Richard Dawkins, “The Selfish Gene”). Indeed the scientific method as cogently describe by Sir Karl Popper involves the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses and the progressive selection of hypotheses (out of a variety of hypotheses) that work best to describe reality.

All too prevalent spin beloved of the neocons and Zionists is the complete anti-thesis of science and involves the selective use of asserted facts to support a partisan position. Zionist spin and falsehood  not just harmed Palestinians and Muslims, they have also subverted the fundamental process of rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety and which successively involves (a) correct information, (b) scientific analysis and (c) informed systemic change to minimize risk. The currently dominant neocon American and Zionist imperialist perversion involves (a) lies, censorship and intimidation, (b) anti-science spin and (c) blame and shame, with war and genocide being the most awful consequences. In addition to a Jewish origin and “emotional resilience”, a further commonality of all the contributors  to “Beyond Tribal Loyalties” is indignation at discovering how egregiously they had been lied to about the Palestinian Genocide.

The Awful Truth of the current state of the Palestinian Genocide in summary, noting that Palestine has been called such since the time of Herodotus (484-424 BC) and that in Palestine in 1880 there were  0.5 million Arab Palestinians and 25,000 Jews (of whom half were immigrants): 2 million Palestinian deaths from violence (0.1 million) or from violently-imposed deprivation (1.9 million) since 1936; 7 million refugees; 6 million of circa 12 million Palestinians forbidden to even step foot in their own country; 90% of the land of Palestine ethnically cleansed; 2.5 million Occupied  Palestinians living under highly abusive military rule without human rights in ever-dwindling West Bank Bantustans; 1.7 million Occupied Palestinians (half of them children) highly abusively confined without human rights to what the Catholic Church has described as the Gaza Concentration Camp; and of 12 million Palestinians only 6.7% (the adults of Palestinian Israelis) are permitted to vote for the government ruling all of Palestine, albeit as Third  Class citizens under race-based Apartheid laws (see “Palestinian Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ ).      

For anti-racist Jews and indeed all anti-racist humanitarians the core moral messages from the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and from the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone”, “bear witness” and “zero tolerance for lying”. However these sacred injunctions are grossly violated by the anti-Arab anti-Semitic racist Zionists running Apartheid Israel and their neocon, neoliberal Western backers variously involved in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide, Somali Genocide,  and Afghan Genocide that have been respectively associated with post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths totaling  2.0 million (since 1936), 4.6 million (1990-2011), 2.2 million (1992-2011) and 5.6 million (since 2001), and post-invasion under-5 infant deaths of circa 1.0 million,  2.0 million, 1.3 million and 2.9 million, and  refugees totalling 7 million, 5-6 million, 2 million  and 3-4 million. For extensive, alphabetically-listed of the humane views of anti-racist Jews and non-Jews see “Jews Against Racist Zionism”: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/   and “Non-Jews Against Racist Zionism”: https://sites.google.com/site/nonjewsagainstracistzionism/ .

Below is a quick summary in their own words of the humane position of the 25 decent, courageous, anti-racist Jewish authors and their personal Damascene (Road to Damascus) experiences that enabled them to “see the light” and resolve to “bear witness” for the human rights of Palestinians.

I. Australia .

1. Sivan Barak (human rights activist), “Am I an activist?”: “Questioning is an incessant quality that has affected every aspect of my life … From the day I stared into the eyes of a Palestinian man and saw the human being, I started to see and fight against the injustices my people had instigated against his people. A cloud lifted in me and in those who watched us. It was palpable. The path has at times been terrifying and ground shattering, but I will remain on it until peace and justice are set in place in the land I love, that is my home and his” (pp 3 & 12).

2. Ray Bergmann ((human rights activist): “The road to hell is paved with tribal loyalties”: “When I was seventeen and in my final year of high school, my parents were beginning to despair of the views I was expressing on Zionism and on the Jewish community and its leadership. I claimed that the Jewish community was complicit in crimes that, while not of the same magnitude as the Nazi crimes against the Jews, were nonetheless of a quality that felt to me disturbingly similar. These crimes resulted in the apparently permanent displacement of most of the non-Jewish population of the Holy Land, and the persecution and denial of basic human rights of those who remained… I read “The Arabs in Israel , 1948-1966” by Sabri Jurays,,, Sabri Jurays' book had a profound effect on me. It introduced me to well-documented evidence about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine ” (pp 19, 23).

3. Nicole Erlich (human rights activist), “Once you see you cannot unsee”: “I picked up the book “The Other Side of Israel” by Susan Nathan. The author, a British-born Jews and initially a passionate Zionist, made the highly  unusual decision to move to the Israeli Arab village of Tamra to experience and document the lives of the Indigenous population … The book listed every atrocity of which I am now intensely aware, but that back then I could never have imagined … I share the sentiment of Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, who has stated that,” Israelis will never be free unless Palestinians are also free.” It is time for a country that has been defined for almost the entirety if its existence by ethnic cleansing to find a new path” (pp 31 & 34).

4. David Langsam (journalist)  “I am now again the Zionist I once was (But the Zionist caravan has moved on)”: “I guess what I have always tried to do as a journalist is to disprove common currency lies … In Australia in the 1980s, I guessed that I was part of a 5-10% minority of Jews prepared to be publicly critical of Israel. (Today, that percentage may have crept up to 10-15%, but I believe there are far more that have become disengaged, partly because Israel does bad things and partly because of the bully-boy tactics of its Australian support groups, AIJAC, the State Zionsit Council and the Anti-Defamation Commission.) In London in the late 1980s, I surveyed the British Board of Deputies for The Observer newspaper and found one third of respondents opposed Rabin's 1987 policy of “Break their bones”. In Israel , I am not at all radical – I am mainstream Old Labor, maybe Meretz. I have not changed, Zionism has” (pp 43 & 45).

5. Vivienne Porzsolt (human rights activist), “A secular Jew from the end of the earth”: ““I have always been disgusted by the bystander to inhuman acts, even more than by the perpetrator who must be accountable for what he or she does… I mourn the occlusion of the rich progressive humanist Jewish traditions which ere so strong among Jew before the Nazi Holocaust. These have been virtually banished by the shrill adherence to Zionism and preoccupation with Israel as the heart of Jewish identity. This preoccupation has drained Jewish worldwide of feeling, of humanity, of hope for a better world. It has been replaced by fear, by aggression and harsh ethnocentricity – a  shocking and ironic posthumous victory for Hitler. Yet progressive humanism has not disappeared , and already we see signs  of a rebirth of that spirit… I draw strength from my deep hope and belief in the possibility of a better future for both Palestinians and Israelis , where the past can be acknowledged and, where possible, remedied or compensated for, where reconciliation can occur on the basis of international law, justice and mutual respect and where the tow peoples can flourish side by side” (pp 50, 53-54).

6. Margot Salom (human rights activist), “A troublemaker in exile”: ”There was no singular event that I can honestly say was the turning point when I left my earlier position as a Zionist … Since my overt “coming out” point in 1991, I have accepted the tile of “trouble-maker” , an epithet given by the mainstream Jewish community to Jews like me who reject the dominant Israeli narrative. I confess that I much prefer “trouble-maker” to “self-hating Jew” , the alternative label… I left Israel as a Jew with shame and bewilderment at what we Jews are perpetrating on another people ..  I spoke at a rally in January 2009 at the time of the brutal Gaza attack. I stood before what was I would believe was an 80% Muslim audience and said “I am a Jew. I and many Jews like me world-wide absolutely condemn this horrific act by Israel . I know with deep conviction that it was for this vocation I was led to redeem my Jewish self forty-five years ago” (pp 56, 63-64).

7. Peter Sleazak (philosophy professor, University of Sydney , Australia ), “The wicked son: Hemlock and cherem”: “I am a secular, atheist, assimilated, non-Zionist Jew… Both my parents survived the Holocaust … My eighty-three year-old mother is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz . I grew up with her questions: Why didn't anyone help the Jews? Why didn't anyone else care? Why did the world allow it to happen? These are the same questions we must ask today about the crimes against the Palestinians. So I'm here because the State if Israel does not represent all Jews. If we have learned the real meaning of the slogan “never again”, we can't remain silent when the crimes are being committed in our name. We must universalize the lessons of our own tragedy to include others in our moral universe… right now we are all Palestinians” (pp 65 & 83).”

II. Canada.

8. Lesley Levy (human rights activist), “The courage of my convictions”: “I have been actively involved in the Palestinian rights, anti-occupation movement for the past nine years … When mainstream Jews insist that Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, I cannot help as a Jew but to feel tarred with the same brush. There is a yearning to cry out, “Not in my name!” I cannot remain informed of what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people and at the same time continue to be a silent bystander… One advantage of being in my sixties is that I have much less to lose by speaking out. I no longer worry about what others think, or whether it will ruin my chances of getting a job. I have earned the courage of my convictions” (pp 87-88 & 94).

9. Ronit Yarosky (one fo the founders of the Montreal Dialogue Group fro Jewish -Palestinian dialogue), “The hole truth”: “Most of these memories from my [Israeli] military service only cam back to me after some ten years. They were transformative events,  only I did not realize it at the time. The change within me began when I started to question and think and ask, while I was doing my MA (at McGill, re Israel ]. This is astounding in and of itself, that I could be at the level of a graduate thesis and discover that I knew so little… [I discovered that] My uncle's very house was a Palestinian house. How did I not know ?... Was everything I had learnt in my whole life a lie?... This was the beginning of a total, albeit slow, metamorphosis for me, my turning point – the realisation that that there is more than one story in history. . There are multiple stories. And I grew to realize that we cheat ourselves as human beings by telling only one side… To quote my favorite phrase, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world” (pp 99, 100, 103).

III. Israel.

10. Dr Jeff Halper (academic, activist and founder of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, ISAHD), Comprehending oppression. Or how I came to understand occupation and resist it”: “I first became aware of being an “Israeli in Palestine ” on 9 July 1998, the day my friend Salim calls “the black day in my life and the life of my family”. On that day the bulldozers of Israel's Civil Administration , its military government in the West bank, demolished his home for the first time … Israel, like all colonial regimes who managed in the end to redeem themselves from their oppressive pasts, must traverse a long and painful trail from de-colonisation through reconciliation, to a new form of political life that is just and inclusive of all the country's inhabitants, before it can expect security and normalization” (pp 107 & 117).

11. Dorothy Naor (peace activist, member of New Profile), “Conversion”: “I am seventy-eight years old… My conversion took years… As a member of New Profile… When I'm abroad, I do presentations.  In these activities I urge people top engage in BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and to press their governments to do the same… Today I realize that Israel is not the haven that Zionists had intended it to be, To the contrary, I realise that it is one of the worst things that could have happened to Jews who live here. No country grounded on a single race, religion, or ethnicity can be democratic. There is no difference between a “pure Aryan state” and a “pure Jewish state”… I believe in not doing unto others what I would not want done unto me. Therefore, I feel that any solution to the Palestine-Israel issue must include the Palestinians' Right of Return. Other than that, while I accept any just solution, my dream is of a single state for all who love this land, with equal rights for all its citizens, be they Muslim, Jewish , Christian, secular, or other” (pp 119, 121, 126, 127).

12. Maya Wind (heroic Jewish Israeli refusenik activist), “Eucalyptus tree”: “And then, just three years before my enlistment, I met a Palestinian for the first time… Two years later on a Friday afternoon in early November, I finds myself with a group of Israeli Jews from Jerusalem joining Palestinian in their olive harvest… I soon began going places and doing things I never imagined I would. Acts that were illegal, dangerous and unthinkable began feeling natural. At the same time, what had always been true, what had always felt like home, began to feel absurd. I decided not to enlist…With one final glance at the commotion behind me, I enter the induction base, heading for prison… I belong here because I was brought up here, and because Hebrew was the first sound I heard… As a young woman, I came to understand that that many if the roots that nurture me were using someone else's water, and that I have grown strong, tall and proud at their expense. Today I stand opposite the majority of Jewish Israelis society and am called a traitor…It is up to me to struggle to disrupt the power structures and artificial  divisions that have maintained the Occupation. Through my struggle I will sow the needs of the tree of equality, in whose shade we might all one day sit together in peace” (pp 131, 132, 133, 136, & 137).

IV. United Kingdom .

13. Avigail Abarbanel (ex-Israeli psychologist), “”Leaving Israel”: “I usually attribute my “conversion”  from Zionism to anti-occupation, pro-Palestinian and ultimately anti-Zionist activism, to reading “:The Iron Wall” [by Oxford University professor Avi Shlaim]. I now think that the book was a catalyst rather than the cause of my shift. There have been a series of almost insignificant experiences in my early life that I think are responsible for my present position. Avi Shlaim's book provided a context for those experiences, and helped me make sense of them… Perhaps it's selfish of me, but I want to make sure that when the terrible saga in Israel-Palestine is finally over, and when Israel and its society are called to account for their crimes against the Palestinians, I will be on record as someone who didn't keep quiet” (pp 141-142 & 154).”.  

14. Susan Nathan (author and human rights activist), “Journey out of Zionism”: “How could a Jew with a South African background, who had witnessed the evil, cruelty and deprivation of Apartheid allow herself to live in Israel with closed eyes and ears? The comparison was overwhelming. The deeper moral issue was identical. It was the issue of inalienable human rights. This troubled me enough that I decided to move to Tamra, a Palestinian town in the lower Galilee . There I found myself to be the only Jew amongst 30,000 Muslims. This move to Tamra proved to be one of the best moves in my life. I learnt intensively about the “other”, and in so doing, freed myself from government and Western propaganda. Never has Edward Said's book “Orientalism”: rung so true… Once I had published my book “The Other Side of Israel”, my London Jewish friends, ardent supporters of Israel right or wrong, all dropped… The painful question that remains constantly in my mind is this: Why is it that we Jews have learnt nothing from the Holocaust other than how to continue perpetrating what has been done unto us?... Do we have to make this our legacy to the world? If the answer is “Yes”, then we have political Zionism and its fanatical followers to blame for the monstrous creation we have made” (pp 158-161).

15, Professor Ilan Pappé (history professor, University of Exeter , UK ), “”Out of the frame. The journey out of Zionism”: “The secrecy laws both in Israel and the UK meant that the 1948 documents became available when I commenced my [PhD] studies at Oxford … The documents I found in the archives told a story of which I was previously not aware. More importantly, it exposed the Israeli historiography to which I belonged, as having been developed by a fraudulent group of experts… The same colonial and apartheid policy affected life over what used to be Palestine in a similar way: allowing the Jews to live as a herrenvolk (German for master race)  democracy, and the Palestinians  in Bantustans . The solution became clear in my mind, as it did in the  eyes of many at that time: a democratic state for all” (pp 165-1656 & 167 ).

16. Ruth Tenne (human rights activist, writer and supporter for Jews for Justice for Palestinians  and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign), “The birth of the Israeli sate was my birthday. Reliving the past through a child's eye”: “I witnessed the dark realities of dispossession with my own eyes, when a few months after the creation of the State of Israel my class visited the razed villages of Husha and Kasayier. We saw the ruins and the desolation of the lively villages that one day disappeared from the face of the earth…  The nascent Israeli state seemed to rise proudly out of the remnants of thriving Palestinian villages, whose past existence was obliterated and expunged out of out memories. Words could not remove the guilt but they could break the silence, reach the individual consciousness and etch, drip by drip, on the collective consciousness that has never forgotten the Holocaust but had shut its eyes, heart, and soul to the injustice of the Palestinian Nakbah. How long could we continue to survive with our false consciousness if it ignores forever that of the Palestinian people?” (p 181).

V. United States .

17. Rae Abileah (peace activist, member of anti-war CODEPINK) , “”Shattering the Israel barrier (A Tikkun Olam barrier)”: “By December 2008, I was living in San Francisco and still working as local groups coordinator for CODEPINK, when Israel bombed Gaza rendering the landscape a strip of rubble and blood. Many, like myself, who had been more or less silent about Israel's Occupation, could no longer turn away from thus gross massacre and violation if human rights. In its twenty-two day assault, Israel 's Operation Cast Lead left in its wake over 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children, and hundreds of unarmed civilians, killed by Israeli forces, who also razed hospitals, schools and thousands of homes. The destruction was so intense , it could not have possibly been an act of “self-defence”… In May 2011 I was a co-organiser of “Move Over AIPAC” … During Bibi's Israeli PM  [Netanyahu's] speech to Congress, in which he received twenty-nine standing ovations and outright adulation, from our elected officials, I rose from my seat in the Congressional gallery, unfurled a banner and said “Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians!” I was assaulted by members of the audience, hospitalized, and arrested fro disruption of Congress (pp 187-188 & 194-195).

18. Jesse Bacon (peace activist and BDS promoter), “1996”: “In April, Rabin's successor Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, like our current US president, launched a bombing campaign against Lebanon as part of his larger election campaign … One of these campaign advertisements landed in a Lebanese refugee camp, exploding and killing hundreds of civilians… I confronted my [Jewish] girfriend about the Lebanese camp bombing, I am wordless, beseeching, maybe holding the one Israel article for that day with a picture of bombed rubble. She tells me, “ Israel has to defend its borders”… I did not lose any close friends or family members by “coming out” on my views on Israel … I have come full circle with Jewish Voices for Peace … The divestment movement has grown into a truly world-wide, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment , and Sanctions movement” (pp 201 & 203-204).

19 Anna Balzer (author, peace activist), “Confronting the sacred cow”: “” As I write in the introduction to my book, “Witness in Palestine ”:”I was welcomed everywhere I went, particularly in southern Lebanon , where I was taken in by several families of  Palestinian refugees ..My new friends told me stories of past and present military attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation, imprisonment without trial, torture , and government-sponsored assassinations”…  I resolved to travel to Israel-Palestine to t see th situation for myself and was shocked to witness Israel violating the most fundamental values on which I was raised… All that changed in 2005 with the historic call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel , until it complies with international law by fulfilling its obligations to end the Occupation, grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel , and respect the right of return for  Palestinian refugees… The BDS call includes an invitation to all who believe in justice and equality, including Israeli Jews, to join the BDS movement. Israeli organizations like Boycott from Within and the Coaltion of Women for Peace have responded to the call by becoming active BDS advocates” (pp 207-208 & 214-215).

20. Rich Forer (peace activist), “A startling awareness”: “Then I noticed a book by an American professor, Norman Finkelstein. The writer's surname met my chief requirement [being Jewish and thus “unbiased'], and the title drew my attention” Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Antisemitism and the Abuse of History”… I read that Joan Peters' book “From Time Immemorial” has been “exposed as an academic hoax” … I was already faced with the prospect that long-held, nearly sacred beliefs were about to be deflated…   But there is another choice that gets to the root of the problem: we can examine our beliefs, lay bare their emptiness and let true compassion awaken. It is my experience that this choice leads to peace” (pp 219 & 228).

21. Hazel Kahan (peace activist and broadcaster), “An accidental activist”:”One day everything changed. It was 2006. I was back in Jerusalem , walking on the Promenade and I saw the Wall for the first time, stalking its pernicious way across the hills , encircling Abu Dis… From that day on the wall became the lens through which I looked at Israel … I became obsessed with the Wall. My Israel dream had turned into a nightmare… My radio programme became a platform for informing Americans and Israeli Jews about the Occupation, the checkpoints, the olive farmers and their imperiled trees,  the shifting face of American Jewish opinion, Palestinian women singers, Palestinian Israelis, authors – anything that would be informative, interesting and powerful” (pp 235-236).

22. Yaniv Reich (peace activist, academic, ICAHD volunteer), “Hybrid states”: “I distinctly remember the first cracks in my Zionist nationalism. One fissure-inducing moment arrived when I came across Edward Said's “Orientalism:” in a university class on global change and world order…  I had not even heard about the settlements in all my years as a member of the Jewish community ! I was shamed not only of this behaviour, but of my ignorance until then. My worldview was shifted by this new knowledge. I would never be the same again… this technological revolution has brought images and stories from Israel-Palestine to a much wider audience than was possible when a small set of media sources framed nearly all news … Of course, my own small contribution in the form of my blog on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, “Hybrid States”, can also be considered a part of this new technology of information”” (pp 242 & 244).

23. Rich Siegel (musician and peace activist), “The cult of atheist Zionism posing as Judaism”: “{Picture of author holding a poster saying] “WHEN  DO WE JEWS NOTICE THAT ISRAEL IS INSANE?”” … I consider myself a cult survivor. I was raised in the cult of Atheist-Zionism-Posing-As-Judaism… I married for love, disregarding the Jewish directive against intermarriage… I picked up some material, including “Understanding the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict: A Primer” by Phyllis Bennis. I got to the section about the Deir Yassin massacre. Jews massacring Arabs. My jaw dropped. This had somehow been concealed from me all my life… For me its simple: One God, one human race, equality, justice,. We live in a world that tries to make things very complicated. They are not” (pp 249, 256 & 259).

24. Wendy Elisheva Somerson (member oif Jewish Voices for Peace), “How I became a self-loving anti-occupation Jew”: “I feel blessed that , unlike so many Jews, I have found connection t a Jewish community that is critical of Zionism and the Israeli government… On the journey to deepening my commitment to Judaism, I found myself becoming more and more committed to speaking up for Palestinian human rights… I look forward dot the day when Palestinians gain selff-determination, Israel is forced to change its ways, and we are all released from the cycle of reenacting historical traumas' (pp 266-267 & 269).

25. Ariel Vegosen (peace and justice activist ), “My journey home”: “In college I launched full on into activism and direct radical actions resulting in being arrested… I joined a movement to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan . I protested against the IMF and World Bank. It was only natural for me to find out about Palestine . The equation was heartbreaking but obvious. I was raised and educated to struggle and work for justice. If it's wrong to occupy Iraq , wrong to colonise women's bodies, wrong to segregate people based on race, then its obviously wrong to take Palestinian land, put Palestinians behind walls, suppress  them economically, and bomb their cities and villages. Once you know the truth you can never go back… I am still questing for a better future, an end to the Occupation in Palestine , as well as an end to the occupation I see worldwide. I am working for a word free from racism, sexism, homophobia, atheism, classism, militarism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other interlocking oppressions. Perhaps when that world is reached , I will finally feel at home. Until then I continue to wander” (pp 274-275 & 280).


A major commonality in these accounts of anti-racist Jews finally realizing the immense ongoing injustice to the Palestinians is their indignation over being lied to, this leading to their resolve to “bear witness”. It is indeed fitting that an anagram for ISRAEL is e-LIARS. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity.  Please tell everyone you can about the ongoing Palestinian Genocide. We cannot walk by on the other side.

Dr Gideon Polya currently teaches science students at a major Australian university. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007): http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has just published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .




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