Recognizing the humanity of the Palestinians is not the new standard for solidarity–though Bernie Sanders & Rabbi Michael Lerner both got away with it. What does it even mean to recognize their humanity? Does it mean as distinct from dogs? Or as the same as Israelis & the rest of us?
Such a formulation has a meaning in politics only in the barbaric phase of capitalism when racism dominates world politics. But it is not sufficient to allow people a pass on Palestinian justice. Once you recognize that they are indeed human beings (they’ll be so glad to hear that) you have to choose where you stand on the colonial occupation of their lands, on Israeli apartheid & that great big apartheid wall, on ethnic cleansing, & on their claims to self-determination.
If you think, after all of Israel’s aggressions & barbarisms, that their very own little bantustate addresses Palestinian demands for justice, then maybe your understanding of what a human being is isn’t the problem. Maybe the real problem is your understanding of justice.
A word of solace to those panicking at the prospect of a Drumpf presidency: he is not going to march into the White House & start building a wall on the southern border. US agribusiness is absolutely dependent on the labor of undocumented immigrants–as are construction, meat packing, & several other industries. His braggadocio is not going to preempt the imperative needs of several multi-billion dollar industries.
He is not going to lay down a ban on Muslims entering the US. The US Immigration Service carefully monitors who does & does not enter this country. Modifications are & can be made in their practices without a single word from Drumpf. More importantly, the presidency is not yet a dictatorship & will not become one unless oligarchic rule is challenged & sees no other way to defend its system. There is a history & a method to fascism that is not going to be altered by his bombast.
As for those wars he promises? Clinton has promised even more. But neither of them will go to war against any country unless the generals in the Pentagon, the CIA, all those government think tanks & high-level consultants, & the oligarchy agree to it.
If we do our political work & build the social movements for change & justice, we have less to fear & more cause for hope.
The postmortems on the Sanders revolution are as tiresome as they are exhaustive when the death of an illusion is something to be lauded, not grieved.
The parsing of differences between Clinton & Drumpf have just begun & promise to make the next five months a hell on earth. It’s the price the rest of us pay for lesser evil politics.
Palestinian solidarity activists are called upon to tell the truth, the whole truth, about their struggle against Israeli colonialism. We are not authorized to accept discounts on their behalf on their right to self-determination.
It is not sectarian idealism to stand by principles & reject the compromises, betrayals, & political idiocies of a bantustate solution or to criticize liberal Zionists (like Rabbi Michael Lerner) who try to make that a realistic possibility for Palestinians.
Call me a nitpicker, but that speech by Rabbi Michael Lerner at Mohammad Ali’s memorial service got a whole lot less impressive when he called for a Palestinian bantustate rather than a democratic secular state for Palestinians & Jews.
The good rabbi is my political generation & well-versed in the gestalt of 1960s & 1970s activism: antiwar, pro-civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights. He may be progressive on many questions but he remains–despite the violence of Israeli colonialism, apartheid, & ethnic cleansing–a liberal Zionist supporter of Israel. Like Chomsky & Finkelstein, he opposes the violent character of Israel but refuses to acknowledge the inextricable relationship of apartheid to the ideology of Zionism & Jewish supremacism. He supports Israeli colonialism.
Also like Chomsky & Finkelstein, he is an opponent of BDS. He often tries to appear impartial, equivocal even, but he opposes it. You can’t play both sides of the street in politics & the good rabbi is long enough in politics to know that. He’s written a book titled “The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left” where he attributes criticism of Israel to “internalized anti-Semitism” & tries to distinguish “legitimate criticism of Israel from Israel-bashing.” So he sure as hell doesn’t support BDS which he considers a threat to a Jewish-only state.
Lerner has the politics of J Street, the liberal alternative to AIPAC & the organizational attempt to give a more humane face to Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing.
Swell that he talks tough to power but not if its to be in a better position to shill for Israeli colonialism & stick Palestinian justice in a bantustate.
It’s just so wrong, so sickening that Bill Clinton eulogized Mohammad Ali.They report Ali planned his own memorial service. His doctor reports he suffered no brain impediments from Parkinson’s Disease. But he must have been out of touch with political realities from the Clinton era: the war on Black youth that incarcerated thousands of Black kids for drug use (many for life without parole) & minor infractions; the evisceration of welfare that forces poor women, children, disabled, elderly to scrounge for food from food banks & dumpsters.
We honor Ali as the people of Louisville did today–as one of ours. Whether he knew it or not, he had nothing in common with Clinton.
“Ruins of an Utopia” by Rollie Mukherjee, depicting the Indian occupation of Kashmir. No one understands the barbed wire realities better than Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Long live Kashmiri Intifada! Long live Palestinian Intifada!
Things just keep getting better & better with lesser evil politics–just when you think they’ve met their Waterloo in the candidacies of Drumpf & Clinton. In any sane society, such a run-off would be the eclipse of electoral illusions. But none cling so tenaciously to pipe dreams than the so-called “progressive left” who will now move from the Sanders revolution to the Clinton bandwagon.
Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of the progressive left, will chasten the impetuous thrust of the “Bernie or Bust” movement with her recent vigorous endorsement of Clinton. She told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC: “I’m ready to work my heart out for Hillary Clinton.” She also told Maddow she was ready & willing to be Clinton’s running mate. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict the “Bernie or Bust” crowd will make a stampede back to the Democratic Party if Warren is the vice presidential candidate.
Based on Warren’s compromised politics, it’s actually a very good political fit. But the progressive left considers Warren an exemplar of democratic politics for the same reasons they went gaga over Sanders. She talks consumer rights even while she supports reactionary foreign policy, most especially Israeli colonialism. It’s the old story of provincialism going overseas to roost–& of their not being able to draw connections between economic devastation in the US & drone warfare overseas.
It is the height of political naivety, if not idiocy, to parse political distinctions between Clinton & Drumpf–though we will be thrust into a vortex of scare-mongering by media & politicians like Warren. Either one would be a disaster for working people in this country & around the world. Both of them would be administering the policies of a ruling oligarchy who will not allow their vested interests & corrupt system to be taken out by either of the two wretched candidates but will give the winner the full support of all its agencies of rule. Neither one would be allowed to get out of line with US oligarchic interests which include continuing the war on the Black community; increasing attacks on social services like welfare, education, social security, Medicare & Medicaid; military build-ups in the Asia-Pacific region; military intervention in the Middle East & support for Israeli colonialism. The programs of Drumpf & Clinton would be indistinguishable except in style.
This should be the election & the era for abandoning the dead-end of lesser evil politics & for forging new, realistic ways to make this world suitable for human beings to live & love in.
(Photo is Warren from screen shot of Maddow interview)