I don’t usually spend much time reading the blog that the eager Zionist apologist– the eager Zionist!– Jeffrey Goldberg writes at The Atlantic. Today, I didn’t spend a long time there, but I did read two interesting items:
In this one, JG writes that he is currently in Israel, and–
- I happen to be around a lot of Israeli generals lately, and one I bumped into today said something very smart and self-aware: “Does everybody in the world think we’re bananas?” He did not let me respond before he said, “Wait, I know the answer: The whole world thinks we’re bananas.” I asked this general if this was a good thing or a bad thing. After all, Nixon seemed bananas and he achieved great things internationally. So did Menachem Begin. This is what the general said, however: “It’s one thing for people to think that you’re crazy, but it’s bad when they think you’re incompetent and crazy, and that’s the way we look.”
… I’m not going to predict the political fall-out from this, because I’m not clever enough to fully grasp Israeli coalition politics. [Ah, Jeffrey, as though Israel is only country that has “politics”, eh? ~HC] But the feelings of shame and embarrassment are palpable, and someone will have to pay a price.
About that shame and embarrassment: I just met with the son of a friend who serves in an elite Israeli army unit, one very much similiar to Flotilla 13, the Naval commando unit deployed so disastrously against the anti-Israel flotilla, and he explained the shame this way: “These soldiers are the best we have. We are Israel’s deterrent. People in the Middle East need to think we are the best, and we are the best, except that when we’re sent into situations without any intelligence, without any direction, with paintball guns instead of sufficient weapons, with no understanding of who we’re fighting. Then we’re going to have a disaster… ”
Then, from last week, he had this really interesting account of an interview he had conducted a few days earlier with Marcy Winograd, the political activist challenging arch-Zionist Rep. Jane Harman in the Democratic primary in California’s 36th congressional district (someplace in Los Angeles), to be held June 8th.
In a statement on her website today, Winograd slammed into Harman for having been so silent about Israel’s flotilla murders. It said,
- “If my opponent wanted to exercise leadership, she would demand the U.S. government condemn these murders. Her silence leaves those of us in the 36th congressional district once again to wonder whether Jane Harman truly represents all the people of this district, or just the military contractors and those who prioritize Israel, right or wrong. Her tacit approval of such violent tactics also reconfirms my assertion that Harman’s policies make us all less–rather than more–safe. ”
Harman last week launched a media campaign attacking Winograd for her promotion of equal rights and justice for all in the middle east. Winograd states, “Millions around the world see the truth unfolding on their TV screens. My opponent can twist my calls for human rights, but the people see that there needs to be accountability for violence, and a sane policy for peace in the middle east.”
All power to Marcy Winograd in her campaign!
Highlights from Goldberg’s interview with her:
- Jeffrey Goldberg: What originally motivated you to challenge Jane Harman?
Marcy Winograd: My original motivation had a lot to do with her covering for the Bush Administration’s crimes, covering for the invasion of Iraq and covering for the massive illegal wiretapping program. Jane Harman failed in her duty to provide oversight as the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee. She either didn’t read or didn’t take seriously doubts raised by members of the intelligence community about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and she recklessly took us to war on the heels of that. Then I saw her on “Meet the Press” attacking The New York Times for finally releasing a story on illegal wiretaps and I thought to myself that someone has to challenge her, someone has to challenge Democratic incumbents who are complicit in the crimes of the Bush Administration. We need real representation, not someone who is in the pocket of special interests.
JG: What special interests is she in the pocket of?
MW: Wall Street, weapons manufacturers, Israel. Not Israel, but AIPAC, because it’s not necessarily the same.
… JG: Talk about how you would fight terrorism.
MW: I would work very hard for a peace agreement in the Middle East with Israel and Palestine. I think that is part of the problem, certainly not the whole problem, but it creates a great deal of tension which fuels this kind of opposition. I would, as I said, reassess whether we need all these bases, or whether we would be better off investing our resources in working with NGOs to improve local economies. I mean, in Afghanistan, forty percent of the adult population is unemployed. The biggest enemy is poverty and unemployment.
JG: Is there anything you would do against terrorism militarily?
MW: I would join the International Criminal Court. I believe in diplomacy and the rule of law. When people are perpetrating acts of terrorism they should be tried before the world in the world court or tried in absentia. The strongest defense is when you create coalitions of people around the world, not when you have divided the world.
JG: Go this Henry Waxman question. Are you for a bi-national state or are you for a two-state solution?
MW: I consider myself a realist, okay? I’m Jewish. I’ve labeled myself as a Jewish woman of conscience who is compelled to speak out because of the suffering in the world. I support peace, so whatever both sides can agree to, which would probably be an agreement on a mutual exchange of territory, I would fully support, because I want peace. However, and let me share this with you, I grew up in a strong Zionist family, I sang at my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, I sent my daughter to Jewish pre-school, I went to Israel when I was in my 20s. That’s my background, and all that being said, I know that Israel was born on land where a million Palestinians lived. For many Jews the birth of Israel is a celebration, but for the Palestinians it was the nakba, a catastrophe. There’s no safety or security in barring people from their homeland. Ultimately, Jews and Palestinians need to learn to live together, just as they lived in peace for many years.
JG: Can you be a liberal and a Zionist at the same time?
MW: Well, there’s a less-harmful Zionism. I don’t see Zionism as liberal. Zionism categorizes Jews as a race, which makes it easier for Jews to be targeted.
JG: Zionism doesn’t categorize Jews as a race, it categorizes Jews as a nation.
MW: To me, there’s no safety in creating a nation predicated on either racial or ethnic supremacy.
JG: How did you come to this view?
MW: I’ve been torn about this for a long time, and not really wanting to look at it, which a lot of Jews probably feel, wanting to turn away from it because it’s too painful. It’s too tied to our identity, to our neighborhoods, to our whole orientation. I My primary concern is peace. I don’t feel comfortable advocating for a country based on ethnic and racial supremacy. Personally, I’m a believer in equality, one voice, one vote, Israelis and Palestinians, one voice, one vote, that’s my personal position.
JG: Eventual bi-nationalism.