Bulletin N°282


New Year's Day 2007
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
We at CEIMSA wish you a happy and liberating New Year.


Source: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/index.php

Critical analyses in social science should produce clear thinking which might save us from making big mistakes, for instance from becoming tacticians for strategists whose intentions are against our own best interests. Or in the words of the famous 19th-century historian, Henry Brooks Adams : "Politics, as a practise, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

The 4 items below to begin this new year speak to a false consciousness produced by a politics of fear and to corrective measures which are now being advanced by democratic movements for social justice.

A. is an article, sent to us by Professor Bertell Ollman, on "Holocaust Deniers and the Iraq Study Group" by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle (Pluto Press, 2004) and retired faculty member at Duke and Yale Universities.
B. is an article by Meron Benvenisti, "The temples of the occupation", first published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, and forwarded to us by Professor Edward Herman.

C., also forwarded to us by Professor Herman, is an article by Israeli labor organizer, Ran HaCohen, discussing "The Embarrassment of the Wretched" and other successful tactics for Peace and Justice.

Item D. is a call by Historians Against War for support of the mass antiwar mobilization to be held in Washington, D.C. on January 27-29.

And we leave you on this New Year's day with words of wisdom from three intellectual giants who have contributed so much to our international socialist culture :

Howard Zinn : "If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves."

Noam Chomsky: "The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about."

Bertrand Russell : "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

from Bertell Ollman :
28 December 2006

The long apology for Zionism that you just forwarded to me deserves the one below as a riposte . . . .

Holocaust Deniers and the Iraq Study Group
by Mazin Qumsiyeh
As a Palestinian-American, I am appalled that many people meeting in Teheran claim to support Palestine while denying or trying to minimize Jewish suffering.  Few at the conference articulated that the Holocaust did happen, was horrendous, and it needn't be denied in order to support Palestinian human rights or to oppose Zionism (throughout I refer to political Zionism not cultural Zionism).
This is not surprising, considering that Zionists constantly and intentionally conflate Zionism with Judaism.  This is accomplished in many ways: using Jewish symbols for Israel, choosing a national anthem that speaks of Jewish yearning (even though 20% of the population is not Jewish), emphasizing Israel as a Jewish state, speaking of "the Jewish people" as united in support of Israel, even though most Jews are not Zionists, and countless other ways.
But to me the most dangerous Zionist myth that contributes to anti-Jewish ranting in Teheran and beyond is that political Zionism is the defender and protector of Jews against a hostile (gentile) world.  The truth is otherwise, and is now well documented in declassified archives, in Zionist archives, in letters and books, and it is rather "inconvenient" (to put it mildly) to political Zionists.
In 'Mein Kampf', the only Jews admired were the Zionists. Hitler called it a "great movement out of Vienna" that helped him dispel the doubts he had as to whether Judaism simply represented another religion or was a nationality (and thus did not belong in Europe).  After the 1935 Nazi racial laws were introduced, the Zionist Federation of Germany was the only Jewish group allowed to function, with offices open in Berlin until 1942. This is not surprising, considering that they (ZFG) wrote to the new Nazi regime that "Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group".
Edwin Black's book "The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine" is an eye opener on the tragic practical results of this convergence of these two segregationist ideologies.  In the US, a powerful Zionist lobby scuttled efforts to bring Jewish refugees from WWII; this is documented in books by Jewish leaders and intellectuals like Alfred Lilienthal and Morris Ernst.
The future first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, rejected plans to save Jewish children, telling a meeting of Labor Zionist leaders on 7 Dec. 1938: "If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative.  For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel." Iraqi Jew (and ex-Zionist) Naiem Giladi exposed this and other of Ben Gurion's scandals in a book by that title.  (e.g. Zionist underground forces bombed Jewish targets in Baghdad to achieve Zionist objectives of driving Jews to Israel).
Sigmund Freud wrote a letter rejecting putting his name in support of the Zionist project on psychological grounds :
Whoever wants to influence the masses must give them
something rousing and inflammatory and my sober judgment of
Zionism does not permit this. It would have seemed more
sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less
historically-burdened land. But I know that such a rational
viewpoint would never have gained the enthusiasm of the masses
and the financial support of the wealthy.  I concede with
sorrow that the baseless fanaticism of our people is in part
to be blamed for the awakening of Arab distrust.
In a letter published December 1948 in NY Times by Alfred Einstein and 26 other leading American Jews we read :
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made
by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in
Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party.
This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom
terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and
misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the

Begin went on to become Israeli Prime Minister and his party morphed into the Likud, and its allies in the US became the neoconservatives who pushed for the war on Iraq.
The horrors of what happened in Europe as a result of 19th century nationalism fed the ethnocentric nationalism known as Zionism, and was used to justify the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestinian society. It is now destabilizing Western Asia and encouraging other narrow chauvinistic ideologies (e.g. Bin Laden's Pan-Islamic nationalism mirroring Zionism by claiming to represent members of a particular religion wherever they live).
The Iraq study group report recognized the centrality of the Israel/Palestine question to the spiraling mayhem and loss of US credibility, but failed to suggest the only change that would make a difference: a shift in US foreign policy goals and strategy to promote human rights and International law. The latter four words are ironically missing from both the "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East" and the "Report of the Iraq Study Group."
Mazin Qumsiyeh is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle".  He served on the faculties of Duke and Yale Universities.]

References/Books :
Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (New York : Carroll & Graf, 2001).
Lenni Brenner, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis (Barricade Books, 2002)
Lenni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir (London: Zed Books, 1984).
Marc H. Ellis, Israel and Palestine: Out of the Ashes, (London: Pluto Press, 2003).
Naeim Giladi , Ben Gurion's Scandals (Flushing: Glilit Pub. Co., 1995).
Alfred M. Lilienthal, What Price Israel (IPS Reprint edition, 1969)
Tom Segev with Haim Watzman (Translator) The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust, (New York: Owl Books, 2000).
Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse, Neturei Karta, USA, New York, 1977.

Freud's Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 26 February 1930; posted at the Freud Institute in UK website: www.freud.org.uk./arab-israeli.html. June 21, 1933 memo from The Zionist Federation of Germany, reprinted in Brenner, 51 Documents, p. 43. Translated from German by Dr. D. S. Blondheim, Federation of American Zionists, 1916, Essential Texts of Zionism; Jewish Virtual Library www.us-israel.org/jsource/Zionism/pinsker.html Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Reissue edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p.56.

from Edward Herman :
30 December 2006
Subject: Haaretz: Benvenisti: The temples of the occupation

What gets me is that the Israelis are so much more critical of their own state than many Americans and Europeans.

[Although Benvenisti does not use the term in this detailed description of how Israel maintains control over the lives of Palestinians and has since the creation of the state, if there is one word that most quickly comes to my mind when defining zionism is not its inherent racism and belief in Jewish supremacy, but its equally  inherent sadism which long before there was an intifada in the occupied territories was expressed through over a thousand military laws that covered everything from prohibiting the wearing of the Palestinians colors to requiring a permit for the growing of a tomato plant.]

The temples of the occupation
by Meron Benvenisti

So far, of the dozens of checkpoints promised to be removed from the West Bank in a "gesture" to Mahmoud Abbas, not a single checkpoint has been dismantled. 

It will be interesting to see what excuse they come up with after the weather improves. The plan to remove the roadblocks has been delayed over some excuse or another for several years, and in the meantime their number has multiplied. We can assume with reasonable certainty that the newest attempt to ease the lives of the Palestinians will fail like its predecessors, because the regime of roadblocks is not a matter of a marginal gesture, nor a matter of quantity, whose reduction is likely to signal change in the situation prevailing in the occupied territories. Instead, the roadblocks are the foundation of Israeli control of the West Bank, and they fulfill three major roles: symbolic, geo-strategic and socio-political. Therefore anyone who attributes only tactical-security or settlement-dependent significance to them is missing the point. 

In this respect, the IDF officers (who sabotage any effort to remove obstructions) are more faithful to Israel's basic perception than are the prime minister and the defense minister, who are using the roadblocks as a short-term political means. The hundreds of permanent and mobile roadblocks, the constructed and improvised ones, the cement blocks and the revolving gates, the mounds of earth and the ditches, are all designed for one purpose: to show who has the power to control the lives of the Palestinians. Small groups of young, inexperienced and frightened soldiers serve as the agents of the power that forces millions of people to behave according to arbitrary rules that interrupt the most basic routines of their lives. This domination is implemented for the most part without any need for force, by exploiting the fear of the Palestinians. 

The disdain for the Palestinians and the arrogant use of a mentality of submissiveness is reflected not only by the roadblocks themselves but by the checking procedures, which are conducted without any sensitivity to the dignity and needs of the Palestinians, who are expected to wait in line in silence or else be "punished." Colonial regimes have always been based on the arrogance of a small number of soldiers who controlled the lives of million of natives with minimal force, and a dependence on deterrence, which guaranteed the inferior status of those subject to their authority. 

The Israelis have improved on the colonial system: Instead of the occupying powers dictating the lives of the natives on a daily basis in their towns and their villages, they for ce an indirect regime of imprisonment on the natives, fencing them off and interfering in their daily routines. Here, the ruler does not encroach on their space, but they are forced to plead with him in the temples of the occupation, the roadblocks; and as long as they surrender to the rules imposed on them, the occupier knows his status is secure. 

The roadblocks serve as a first-class geo-strategic means: They institutionalize the expropriation of the physical space and the public infrastructure of the West Bank and their transference to the exclusive use of the Israelis. The map of the hundreds of roadblocks erected in Palestinian populated areas outlines the physical division of the West Bank into areas west of the separation fence that have been annexed de facto, and the Jordan Valley that has been cut off from its surroundings, and 10 Palestinian enclaves from Jenin in the North to Mt. Hebron in the South.

The mounds of earth and the cement blocks, which are ostensibly scattered randomly, in effect constitute a complete geo-strategic system, and therefore the "removal" of several mounds of earth or obstructions is liable to spoil the scheme so carefully planned out. And those who believe that "the ideology of Greater Israel has been shelved" should understand that the roadblocks symbolize the expropriation of the West Bank territories without annexation, albeit with the addition of the creation of Palestinian "reservations."

The geographical division has fragmented the Palestinian community into weak and impoverished sub-communities, where centers are disconnected from peripheries, urban centers are eroding and rural areas becoming poor, families are separated, and medical treatment is denied along with access to higher education. This division is imposed in the hopes that the political and social siege will result in demographic distress and perhaps to emigration.

The planners of the roadblock regime devoted great effort to the planning and implementation of the system, but apparently were mistaken in their assessments of the efficacy of their method. Palestinian society is demonstrating signs of strong cohesion and adjustment to the cruel living conditions forced on it, and there are no signs that the strategic goals have in fact been achieved. Therefore, the planners feel that they must increase the number of roadblocks each year, and this number has already reached 522, i.e. an obstruction for every 3,500 Palestinians. Anyone who seriously desires to stop this march of folly - when even its limited usefulness for security is in doubt, and its damage clear to everyone - must order the dismantling of all the roadblocks that are not deployed on the borders of sovereign Israel, and must not surrender to the army officers' wheeling-and-dealing. 

from Edward Herman :
30 December 2006
Subject: The Embarrassment of the Wretched , by Ran HaCohen

Ran HaCohen has a long history of solid activism and journalism. In 1987, an article by him in the Jerusalem Post exposing the nefarious relationship between the Israeli labor federation Histadrut and the South African apartheid regime was the inspiration for the first action of the Labor Committee in the Middle East which picketed the annual dinner that the San Francisco Labor Council held for the Histadrut which, amazingly, maintained an office in the headquarters of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. Our picket line was so embarrassing to the Labor Council and to then Mayor Willie Brown, an African-American, who spoke at the dinner and snuck in by a back entrance to avoid crossing the picket line that not only was this the last such dinner but soon afterward the Histadrut closed its office and left town. Now, if they would only leave Palestine.


The Embarrassment of the Wretched
by Ran HaCohen

[A recent call for a cultural boycott against Israel by John Berger and others has elicited one of its more wretched responses in the Guardian (Dec. 22), signed by Anthony Julius and Simon Schama. I confess I haven't heard of Anthony Julius before – I am told he is a lawyer, and lawyers sometimes bend truth for their clients. But Simon Schama is a prominent academic, professor of history at Columbia, a man of science. He should know better.]

Who's Singling Out?

A recurrent theme in anti-Palestinian propaganda (usually misnamed "pro-Israel") is "Don't Single Out." The idea is that evil should be addressed everywhere; the greater the evil, the greater the protest against it should be; and since there are worse cases of evil than Israel's, Israel should not be criticized. Not now, at least: perhaps after all other evils have been eradicated.

The article by Julius and Schama is no exception: you'll find this cliché as argument number three:

"[T]hough the call [to boycott Israel] purports to affirm universal, human rights values, it is incapable of explaining why it seeks a boycott of Israel, alone among the nations of the world. It says nothing about the abuses and human rights breaches inflicted on Israel's citizens. It says nothing about the egregious human rights abuses committed elsewhere in the world (Darfur, Chechnya, and many other places)."

Let's apply the Don't-Single-Out argument to the writers themselves. If, as they claim, evils should be addressed top-to-bottom, then Schama and Julius must either consider the proposed boycott the greatest evil on earth, or else they have already done their best to address all greater evils.

Is the proposed boycott really the greatest evil on earth? Well, I haven't heard of a single human injured, killed, or even suffering because of it. But while Julius and Schama were busy writing their article, Gaza had been under Israeli siege for months on end. Numbers of dead reached historic levels; a million and a half human beings have been locked in the tiny Strip, deprived of proper medical care and on the verge of starvation. Schama and Julius don't even mention this evil.

At the same time, the U.S. government has been using Julius' and Schama's tax money to train and arm one party of the feared Palestinian civil war – coincidentally, the party that lost the recent democratic elections. Schama and Julius don't mention this evil, either. But they did find the time to single out the call for boycott and to write against it. And they do have the nerve to blame the initiators of the boycott of "singling out," i.e., of hypocrisy.

But – you may argue – perhaps the writers have already addressed all the greater evils on the globe, so that they can legitimately find time to address the boycott? Well, I tried to trace Schama's peace activism. Googling "Schama and Israel" yields just one relevant result: during the last Lebanon war, when Israel was flattening entire neighborhoods in Beirut, killing at least 1,140 civilians, 30 percent of them children under 12, Prof. Schama went out of his way to express this devastating criticism of Israel's atrocities: "what Israel's doing – bombing city centers – is ultimately not going to help its own attempt to get rid of a mini-army like Hezbollah," he told BBC. Bombing city centers, then, is quite fine – the only problem is that it's not all too helpful. A brave criticism indeed. And so moral, too.

I then Googled "Schama and Darfur": nothing of relevance. "Schama and Chechnya": nothing at all. (By the way, how about U.S.-controlled Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Everything fine over there?) But now I have to be careful: perhaps Simon Schama has been an unrelenting and indefatigable activist for peace and justice in Palestine, in Darfur, in Chechnya, and in "many other places," as he puts it. But as far as I can see, his relentless activism hasn't left any trace on the World Wide Web (where his name yields more than 450,000 results). Perhaps the public activity of Schama – honored "Commander of the British Empire" – was done entirely in private.

Occupation Whitewashed

o dismiss the analogy drawn between Israel and South African apartheid, Julius and Schama claim that "Palestinian, Druze, and other minorities in Israel are guaranteed equal rights under the basic laws. … There are no legal restrictions on movement, employment, or marital relations."

This claim is correct, at least on a layman's level: an informed historian and a serious law expert should have known that marital relations between partners of different religions/ethnicities are not possible under Israeli law; but let's not expect too much. What turns their words into pure demagoguery is that neither John Berger, nor the boycott initiative, not even the Palestinian call for boycott mention the status of minorities within Israel as their motivation for the boycott, or for comparing Israel to South African apartheid.

Julius and Schama know very well why Israel is likened to apartheid South Africa: not because of minorities within it (discriminated as they are), but because of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. With this, of course, they cannot cope. So first they dismiss a claim not claimed, and then move on to distract from the occupation with a single, counterfeit sentence:

"[T]he relations between Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank are not governed by Israeli law, but by international law."

That's indeed one of the greatest pearls I have ever read in this context. I challenge the legal expert and the honorable historian to supply one piece of evidence for a single aspect of "the relations between Israel and the Palestinians" – i.e., of the occupation (a term the writers carefully avoid) – which is actually "governed" by international law. Does international law allow creating settlements and moving the occupier's population to occupied land? Does international law allow deporting occupied persons, individually or en masse? Does international law allow constructing the apartheid wall? Does international law allow setting hundreds of checkpoints and a permit system that makes Palestinian economic and even family life utterly impossible? Does it allow confiscation of land and property, as Israel's occupation forces constantly practice? International law does not allow any of these. Israel does not respect a single paragraph of international law, which, according to Schama and Julius, "governs" its relations with the Palestinians.

If a history student claimed, say, that in the 17th-century Dutch Republic certain relations were "governed" by some legal principle, not bothering to mention that that legal principle was not accepted by the concerned party, was not implied, and had no impact on reality whatsoever, I am sure Prof. Schama would finish him off, rightly dismissing his statement as pure charlatanism. But when Israel's occupation is at stake, Schama himself readily resorts to this kind of demagoguery.

Historical Analogies

ne doesn't have to be a professor of history at Columbia to know that historical analogies are always controversial, simply because history never really repeats itself. The apartheid analogy has been under fire, too: e.g., because unlike the blacks in South Africa, the Palestinian liberation movement struggles for a nation-state and not for a single multi-ethnic one. I myself agree with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who recently said that what Israel is doing in the occupied territories is worse than apartheid; "apartheid" has by now turned into a euphemism. Dismissing an historical analogy, as Schama and Julius are doing, is always easy.

However, Julius and Schama insist on introducing their own historical analogy: in an article criticizing the boycott as "banal," they themselves use the most banal analogy of all, namely that of Hitler's Germany. There's no need to address this analogy, nor would it have been worth mentioning at all, were it not for the extremely manipulative manner in which Julius and Schama introduce it. The nexus between the present boycott initiative to "April 1933" Germany is fabricated by a single sentence, standing suspiciously alone as an independent paragraph. It reads:

"This is not the first boycott call directed at Jews."

What a manipulation. Berger's is indeed not the first boycott directed against Jews: it's not a boycott directed against Jews at all. It is directed against Israel, not against Jews. Some of its supporters are Jews, but this doesn't really matter. To discredit the boycott, Julius and Schama lie about its target, portraying a political boycott as a racist one. By this manipulation, the writers in fact reaffirm the defamation that "all the Jews" are culpable and thus responsible for the Israeli occupation. This is precisely the criminal logic behind indiscriminate terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians and Jews worldwid


from Historians Against the War :
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006
Subject: HAW Endorses January 27-29 Mobilization in DC

Dear HAW members,
The Steering Committee has endorsed this major national mobilization by United for Peace and Justice, to hold the new Democratic majority accountable to the verdict of the voters on November 7:  Out Now!
Below is part of a UFPJ alert seeking local coordinators, to meet the goal of getting every single congressional district to DC on January 27-29.
We will shortly forward to you an important appeal by Vassar College faculty to support UFPJ financially, also endorsed by HAW.

Van Gosse,
for the Steering Committee

Dear UFPJ Member Groups:
Momentum is beginning to build for the politically urgent  mobilization on Jan. 27th. There are already some 450 endorsements for the demonstration and we are hearing from groups around the country that they are organizing to get people to Washington, DC.  In order to send the strongest, clearest message to the new Congress we are working hard to have the largest turnout possible.

And we have set another important goal for this mobilization: We want to have at least one person from each of the 435 Congressional districts marching on Jan. 27th to help represent the truly nationwide peace majority.

We're asking member groups and individuals to sign up to be a local coordinator for people coming from their area to DC. Being a local coordinator means doing the things you are undoubtedly already doing -- spreading the word and encouraging people to come to DC, arranging buses, car caravans or rideshares, helping people find housing in DC, hosting a sign-making party -- but it also will mean following up with people in your area who will find you through the website listing.

Many of you are already working on some or all of these activities -- and more! Now we've set up this system to help people in your area connect with your efforts. By signing up as a local coordinator, you will be putting your congressional district on our map that will show that folks are coming from all around the country to stand up for peace!

If you want to know more about the role of the coordinators before signing up, please get in touch with either Leslie Kauffman (lak@unitedforpeace.org) or Susan Chenelle (susan@unitedforpeace.org), and both can be reached by phone at 212-868-5545.
If you have other creative ideas for organizing people to come to DC that we haven't listed here or in our materials on the website, please send them to lak [at] unitedforpeace.org and we'll share them in future bulletins to member groups.
Visit www.unitedforpeace.org for further resources and updates on the January 27-29 mobilization. Together we can end this war!

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Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3
Grenoble, France