Is She Jewish? Does it Matter?
The National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) conference was held in Ann Arbor Nov. 2-4, but no JWPF members even knew about it until our friend Michael – from the Yom Kippur protest in Boulder, Colorado – informed this writer that he was planning to attend.
But alas, neither Michael nor this writer had any luck registering for this event. Code Pink member Sasha Gelzin informed me that this conference was open only to students. Is she Jewish? Does that matter? Well, yes, it matters. Jewish activists in the Palestine solidarity movement have quite the gatekeeping history, and it would be nice to know where the organizers stand on the issue of Israel’s claimed “right” to exist as a Jewish state. Code Pink won’t tell us and neither will conference-supporter Jewish Voice for Peace. Vigiler M points out that Ms. Gelzin is a frequent contributor to the Anti-Zionist Zionist (AZZ) Phil Weiss, whose gatekeeping prowess was exposed in our last report. Sasha runs her conference the way she sees fit: keeping those who might not share her political views out of the work sessions this conference provides.
An extensive interview with one of the attending students indicates how powerful this method of spoon-feeding select information is, without the “interference” of opposing points of view. This young man was able to recite chapter and verse the teachings of Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky, hardly reacting to the Jewish Zionist identity of these two individuals. “International consensus”, “Strategic use of Israel by the United States”, “US Imperial interests”, “Two-state solution now, one-state later”, “seeking realistic solutions”. It was like having a conversation with Norman himself. Having read only the introduction to The Israel Lobby by Mearsheimer and Walt, this very likable student was able to denounce its conclusions. As a friend’s father is fond of saying: “You never know”, but the likelihood of NSJP ever shrugging off their Jewish manipulators, or actually mounting a legitimate boycott campaign, remains doubtful. Two vigil supporters carrying “Boycott Apartheid Boycott ‘Israel'” signs into the open-to-the-public final session were summarily given the literal boot before they even set foot in the lecture room.
Ali Abunimah Wants (Almost All) Voices Heard
Electronic Intifada Director Ali Abunimah addressed the organization during closing ceremonies and called for the Palestinian story to be told on campuses. But he certainly wasn’t about to identify Jews as the group of folks holding his Palestine under lock and key (and gun). One has to wonder what’s really going on when Abunimah launches a full-scale dynamic silencing attack against our friend Gilad Atzmon for his nerve at examining Jewish identity politics. Jews may be the most highly-visible, well-connected, politically manipulative, wealthiest single group that supports the Jewish state, but outside of a peep of accusation from Noor Ali, who also addressed the small audience at closing, you wouldn’t know it from this conference. See “Ali Abunimah & Gilad Atzmon at the OK Corral” for the full story.
As a four-year-old boy noticed in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, about 62 years ago: “Sump’n ‘tinks in here.”
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