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Teaching young people to hate: the ugly face of J Streetís anti-Palestinian bigotry exposed


August 19, 2012 - For years, J Street has posed as the kinder, gentler face of the Israel lobby, the alternative to hardline AIPAC. Anyone whoís paid close attention knows that has never been the case, and behind the smiling exterior that J Street boss Jeremy Ben-Ami projects are similar hardcore anti-Palestinian views. And it seems teaching anti-Palestinian bigotry to the young is part of J Streetís mission. Take a piece by Jeremy Zelinger, a J Street Summer 2012 Communications Intern, published on J Streetís website on 14 August which says : I am not satisfied with a pro-Israel voice that shouts about military threats from Hezbollah but is silent about the demographic threat from a stateless Palestinian population. ...

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Teaching young people to hate: the ugly face of J Streetís anti-Palestinian bigotry exposed

Ali Abunimah

August 19, 2012

For years, J Street has posed as the kinder, gentler face of the Israel lobby, the alternative to hardline AIPAC.

Anyone whoís paid close attention knows that has never been the case, and behind the smiling exterior that J Street boss Jeremy Ben-Ami projects are similar hardcore anti-Palestinian views.

And it seems teaching anti-Palestinian bigotry to the young is part of J Streetís mission. Take a piece by Jeremy Zelinger, a J Street Summer 2012 Communications Intern, published on J Streetís website on 14 August which says (emphasis added):

I am not satisfied with a pro-Israel voice that shouts about military threats from Hezbollah but is silent about the demographic threat from a stateless Palestinian population. Just as Israel needs to prepare for war, it must also prepare for peace. A pro-Israel voice should express the importance of both.

This is bigotry and racism of the worst kind. As Iíve said and written many times before, we should have zero tolerance for talk of Palestinians as a "demographic threat" just because (a) theyíre born and (b) theyíre not Jews.

Widespread "liberal" Zionist bigotry

This bigotry is not restricted to the "right-wing" of Zionism. The Washington Postís liberal columnist Ruth Marcus recently characterized Palestinians as a "demographic threat" and African refugees and migrants as a "deluge."

Former State Department diplomat Aaron David Miller (who once described his role during his years of US government service as being "Israelís attorney"), wrote in a New York Times op-ed about Israel last week that:

The countryís demographics look bad ó too many ultra-Orthodox Jews, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs and not enough secular Jews.

What would you call someone who wrote, say, that, 'Mississippiís demographics look bad Ė too many African Americans, poor white people and Latinos and not enough White Evangelical Christiansí?

Yousef Munayyer recently took this kind of widespread bigotry to task in a piece in The Daily Beastís Open Zion:

An ideology that seeks to build a society around a certain type of people defined by ethnicity or religion is inevitably going to feature racism, supremacy and oppressionóespecially when the vast majority of native inhabitants where such an ideology is implemented are unwelcomed.

But this premise of too many Arabs, too many Palestinians, too many __________ (fill in the blank with people unlike you) is so common in the discourse on the Israeli/Palestinian question today that the racism inherent in it rarely ever questioned.

Itís not enough that Peter Beinartís Open Zion publishes views by Munayyer. That does not get them off the hook. They ought to do much more, and come out clearly and explicitly against any talk of a "demographic threat."

Donít expect that any time soon, however, because the fear of Palestinian babies lies at the core of "liberal" Zionism.



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:: Article nr. 90485 sent on 21-aug-2012 07:44 ECT

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