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Marching to Jerusalem

Protests, marches, sit-ins, boycotts—all these nonviolent techniques have been employed in support of the Palestinian cause, but violence has remained at the core of the enterprise.  For decades, well-meaning people have suggested that a wholehearted embrace of nonviolence would do more for the Palestinians than their continuing resort to terrorism.  Now comes word of the Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for March 30.  Don't look to the event as the long-sought beginning of a Palestinian commitment to a strategy of nonviolence.

Relevant Links
The Truth About the Global March  Elliot Jager, CiF Watch. You can’t tell the players without a program: a complete guide to the March and its organizers, funding, and tactics.
Hunger Games  Elliot Jager, Jewish Ideas Daily. Another nonviolent tactic: the hunger strike of Islamic Jihad operative Khader Adnan, to which Israel recently capitulated.
BDS Secrets  Ran Baratz, Jewish Ideas Daily. Those Palestinian NGOs from which Western anti-Israel activities take their cues: What are they? Who do they represent?
The Global March to Jerusalem  Ehud Rosen, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. A history of the eddying anti-Israel currents that gave birth to the March.
No Springtime for Palestinians?  Sol Stern, Jewish Ideas Daily. Don’t the Palestinians, at least as much as any of the other peoples of the Middle East, need a new beginning of consensual government?

The March, say its organizers, will be a "renewed true effort towards ending the occupation through peaceful national movements inspired firstly by our convictions, secondly by the justice of our cause, and thirdly by the spirit of the Arab Spring revolutions and the determination of young people who were able to overthrow dictatorships."  

The stated goal of the March is to bring "millions" to Israel from around the world to "demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and Judaization policies affecting the people, land, and sanctity of Jerusalem."  The plan calls for massive marches on Israel from Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza, all in the direction of Jerusalem, as well as coordinated protests in world capitals.

And the day scheduled for the March is "Land Day," long a date for anti-Israel rioting across the country.

Most of the March organizers are members of Muslim Brotherhood organizations in Britain, Egypt, and Gaza, including Hamas, and Islamist groups in Pakistan, India, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, and South Africa.  The funding appears to come mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.  The effort is supported by a large network of Palestinian NGOs, including the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (which awarded a prize to a cartoon of a caricatured Jew standing over a dead Arab child holding a bloody pitchfork) and the International Solidarity Movement, "committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land."  These groups are supported by Western foundations and individuals. 

The European and American organizers include Code Pink, "working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations," and include well-known anti-Israel campaigners like Gretta Duisenberg, Paul Larudee, Mazin Qumsiyeh, and Huwaida Arraf (Mrs. Adam Shapiro).  Most of the individuals are veterans of the International Solidarity Movement and have participated in various flotillas and "fly-tillas."  They are true believers in Israel's destruction.

Individual endorsers include the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Princeton Professor Cornel West, and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, all of whom would doubtless deny that the goal of the March is Israel's destruction.  But the organizers assert that the "occupation of Palestine" began in 1948.  It is fatiguing to have to point out again that to support this claim and the claim of a Palestinian "right of return" (never mind the organizers' denunciation of "Judaization") is, simply, to support the end of Israel.

The Global March to Jerusalem is a transparent, self-evident provocation.  To pretend otherwise would be risible—were it not for the real possibility that the marchers will actually provoke, or directly cause, violence.  Indeed, for the March organizers, such a result would be the very definition of success: They will say, as Monty Python has put it, "Now we see the violence inherent in the system."           

As with the Gaza flotilla, the Viva Palestina convoy, the weekly separation barrier protests, and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, there is a fundamental asymmetry between the positions of the Palestinians and the Western participants in the March.  For the Palestinians, nonviolence is merely another tool on a spectrum.  Violence is almost never completely disavowed.  Indeed, stone-throwing is not regarded as violence at all, just free speech; and the "absolute right of people under occupation to resist" is inevitably paired with the phrase "by whatever means necessary," making protestations of nonviolence unpersuasive. In any case, the demand for a "right of return" carries the explicit threat of violence at all levels—personal, legal, and cultural.

But the logic of Western supporters of the March and other such "nonviolent" protests remains puzzling.  Once in Gaza or the West Bank, these "nonviolent" Westerners typically consult and consort with Hamas leaders who espouse genocidal intent toward Jews.  When in gay-slaying Iran, they modestly don local garb to show respect for local sensibilities.  They remind us again of the red-green alliance between the Western Left and Muslim groups, a complete unity of vision and method at whose core is the determination to see Israel destroyed.

Still, why the continued attraction of the Left to fascism?  Why do staunch secularists, Christian universalists, and a few Jews fawn over clerical fascists who are both forthright and experienced in their oppression of other religions and of women?  Why do staunch anti-imperialists eagerly follow the black banner of Islamists who loudly proclaim their pursuit of a global Islamic empire?

Stupidity no longer suffices as an explanation; perhaps only deep-seated self-loathing and desire for self-annihilation will do. Metaphorically, this is accomplished through the submergence of the self in the whole, or literally through extinction of that which is different. There is also the pursuit of strident ideological conformity, and there has been a continuing Western romance, somewhere between a dalliance and an embrace, with "revolutionary" violence.  All are features of fascism.

That Israel is the first target of this impulse toward revolutionary self-rectification is wholly predictable.  At one level, there are no contradictions in attacking Israel for being both theocratic and "ethnocratic," for both its capitalist modernity and cosmopolitan post-modernity; Israel is the universal villain, and the March supporters are just classical anti-Semites.  At another level, we see again that when there's annihilating to be done, self- or otherwise, Jews are expected to go first.

That anti-Israel protestors do not lift their voices against Syria, or Iran, or Hamas need only be mentioned in passing; such sanctimonious hypocrisy killed the concept of "human rights" long ago.  A decade after philosopher Michael Walzer asked, "Can there be a decent Left?" the Global March to Jerusalem shows how hard it is to answer in the affirmative.

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Gary Wexler on March 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm (Reply)
Another brilliant and creative strategy from organizers on the side of de-legitimization. They know how to do what the supporters of Israel do not do. They think strategically, ccreating big ideas that will capture the imagination and move virally through the internet, press, word of mouth, and community organizing. These organizations know how to cooperate with one another internationally to get public opinion on their side. On the other hand, when it comes to marketing our cause, we Jews cooperate with one another very little, because we are all protecting our individual organizations'' territories and dismissing potential leaders. They succeed where we don't.
Ellen on March 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm (Reply)
Thanks for this nice piece. Yes, there can't be a morally decent left, and that is why younger Jews in America who care about Israel and Judaism trend strongly to the right and conservative views. The predominance of liberal views in public opinion polls of American Jews reflects the dinosaur generations from 60 years old to dead, who will never change their views about how evil the left is and has been for quite some time, because that would mean the repudiation of everything they have stood for in their entire lives.

I went to a meeting recently of the Republican Jewish Coalition in an orthodox synagogue in Northern New Jersey. The average age of the audience was 30-40. Go to any liberal cause and look at what the average age of the Jewish audience is - 60 to dead. Maybe if you're lucky, 50 to dead.

Long live the future trends.
Truth on March 23, 2012 at 12:41 am (Reply)
Students from American University campuses have been sent to meet with Hamas and the leaders of the Global March on Jerusalem: Mazim Qumsiyeh, ISM, BADIL, Bharghouti. See
Larry Snider on March 24, 2012 at 7:17 am (Reply)
To have a real conversation about the focus of the Jewish left, whether Israeli, American, European, or "other," would be significant in its own right. To shed light on the smaller subsection of the left that chooses to engage in far more provocative action, such as the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem, is also important. Jews who grow up with a well-defined sense of social justice, and are taught from a young age to act on as well as think about injustice, and who are given a disturbing vision of the asymmetrical life and livelyhood of most Palestinians, tend to consider it in a vacuum and never get enough information to weigh the conflict and its manifestations in broader terms.
Ken Besig on March 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm (Reply)
Israel makes comfortable liberal Jews uncomfortable and annoyed because their comfortable liberal non-Jewish friends are so at odds with the existance of a Jewish State. Being Jewish makes them automatically a target for their non-Jewish liberal friends' wrath, and the only way to remain on good liberal terms with them is to try to outdo them in their loathing of Israel. It is a terrible conflict-- because no matter how far a liberal Jew tries to distance himself from Judaism, he knows that his liberal non-Jewish friends harbor a distrust of him.
Reluctor Dominatus on March 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm (Reply)
When people ask me what my faith is, I tell them Judeo-Christian; and they look at me in puzzlement. Nazis and Socialists shared the same side of the political spectrum. Today's leftists are not progressive; they are Gramsci "progressives" who share very little with the traditional understanding of what a liberal is and stands for. Either way, my alliances are in this order: God, the United States, then Israel. That a country of all nations, founded upon a document saying quite clearly that our rights come from our creator, happens to be the richest country on earth in natural resources and attitudes is not a fluke of nature but part of God's plan. If this country ever loses sight of its God-given purpose to stand beside Israel against all others, my allegiance will change.
SW on March 25, 2012 at 8:29 am (Reply)
"Why the continued attraction of the Left to fascism?" Fascism is a leftist ideology to begin with. Gathering all those ideological names which demand obedience to a powerful, central authority--with weak government, respecting individuality, on the one side, and a massive demand for obedience, trampling individual rights, on the other--the question answers itself, historically and unambiguously. Civil disobedience against authority is purported to be a hallmark of the left; but when they accede to power, such disobedience is punished rapidly and severely. Ba'athist Syria is today's example, but the marchers on Jerusalem have more interest in toppling a democratic Jewish state than in championing those losing their lives in Syria. It is for them a no-risk political win: They play-act caring while they support Islamic fascism in order to topple Western civilization, with the basic purpose of installing a new order--the same old leftist socialism that has failed nation after nation.
Larrt on March 25, 2012 at 11:52 am (Reply)
This is actually a foolish slam at liberalism. The article itself notes that the march is made up primarily of Islamists, with only "a few Jews." Nor is any evidence given, or evident in American society, that any significant numbers of liberals even remotely embrace fascism.
SW on March 26, 2012 at 2:25 am (Reply)
There was no "foolish slam at liberalism." Rather, the march includes many prominent "liberals." Please go to the march's website and note the following, especially from North America:

1.Dr. Amir M. Maasoumi
2.Ann Wright, United States Army colonel, ret.
3.Benjamin Monnet, World Assembly Member, USA/Korea
4.Clayborne Carson, Professor & Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University
5.Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist; mother of US soldier killed in Iraq; author
6.Cornell West, Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University; Philosopher, writer and Civil Rights Activist
7.David Hartsough, Director, Peaceworkers, San Francisco
8.Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, Presiding Minister, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, San Francisco
9.Edward Peck, Retired US Ambassador and career US Diplomat
10.Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
11.Dr. Hatem Bazian, Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley
12.Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus, Trinity Church of Christ, Chicago
13.Joe Meadors, Veteran and Survivor of the 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty
14.Dr. Judith Butler, American philosopher and Professor, University of California, Berkeley
15.Fr. Louis Vitale, Order of Franciscan Monks; Pace e Bene; nonviolent resistor
16.Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, American rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement
17.Marcy Winograd, Los Angeles teacher, peace activist and former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives
18.Medea Benjamin, Co-founder Code Pink and Global Exchange
19.Michel Warschawski, anti-Zionist activist and journalist; co-founder, Alternative Information Center
20.Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT
21.Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
22.Roger Leisner, Radio Free Maine
23.Samuel F. Hart, U.S. Ambassador, ret.
24.Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian-American author and Founder of Playgrounds for Palestine
25.Uri Davis, author and civil rights activist

Perhaps all of these liberals, and those from other nations, must now be relabeled "Islamists?"
Larry on March 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm (Reply)
The comment lists march supporters who are presumably not Islamists, but the article's author himself stated that "most of the March organizers are members of the Muslim Brotherhood." In reality, a solid majority of American Jews are indeed liberal, as long evidenced by their voting record. While those opposed to liberals have every right to voice their thoughts, they should try not to spout nonsense in the course of doing so.
SW on March 27, 2012 at 8:58 am (Reply)
The complaint is that some liberals are sullying the perceived reputation of other liberals. Here is another view: "The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature--I'm 80 years old now--suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state. Indeed, democracy is the special condition--a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already." Norman Mailer, Gaining an Empire, Losing Democracy? February 25, 2003. When one disagrees with a progressive who wants to be seen as liberal, he washes away a history of "progressive" political socialism, which resulted in German Socialism, Soviet Socialism, and Sino-Socialism, not to mention Italian Fascism. Small government dedicated to protecting the individual against the collective cannot be big government intent on collectivizing the individual into itself. Checked the national debt recently? Checked the number of wars begun by Bush and continued by Obama? Checked the number of new deployments of the U.S. military under this adminstration? That all must be some of the "nonsense" we are supposed to refrain from mentioning.

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