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David Harris-Gershon
David Harris-Gershon
David Harris-Gershon is the author of What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? His work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.



Netanyahu compared Obama to those who appeased Hitler pre-Holocaust in Yad Vashem speech

Jul27

by: on July 27th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Near-universal rage has been directed at presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who yesterday said Obama would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven” with the Iran deal.

As one with countless family members who were murdered in the Holocaust, I too joined those enraged by Huckabee’s vile exploitation of Jewish victims:

However, the unfortunate truth is that Huckabee’s comments stand out because of the disgusting imagery he used, not because the utilization of Holocaust comparisons is unique with regard to Iran-deal critiques.

Indeed, Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has made statements similar to those for which Huckabee has rightly been scorned. This includes a speech he delivered recently at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, where he compared Iran to Nazi Germany and those negotiating with Iran – President Obama included – as Nazi appeasers:

“The Nazis sought to crush civilization and have a master race rule the Earth while destroying the Jewish people. In that same way, Iran seeks to dominate the region and to spread outward from there, with the declared intention of destroying the Jewish state.”

[...]

Appeasing tyrannical regimes will only increase their aggression and is an approach that is liable to drag the world into larger wars. The bad deal with Iran signals that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned.”


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“Jewish Jew baiter Jew baits.” – Bloomberg’s Eli Lake Smears Glenn Greenwald, Represents the Hatred Which Pervades American Jewish Discourse on Israel

Jul25

by: on July 25th, 2015 | 9 Comments »

Eli Lake, formerly a senior national security correspondent for Newsweek and current columnist for Bloomberg, decided today to represent in a single Tweet all that is toxic within the American Jewish community when it comes to discussing Israel.

Lake, himself Jewish, responded to fellow Jewish journalist Glenn Greenwald’s critique of congressional Iran-deal supporters with the following, vile description:

What caused Lake, who is no fan of the Iran deal, to parrot anti-Semitic language and direct it toward a fellow Jew? He took exception to Greenwald’s suggesting that some Republican members of Congress are prioritizing Israel’s interests over those of the United States in opposing the Iran deal.


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American Jews overwhelmingly SUPPORT Iran deal, despite all-out assault by Netanyahu & AIPAC

Jul23

by: on July 23rd, 2015 | 5 Comments »

When an historic nuclear agreement with Iran was announced on July 14, Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, immediately lambasted it as a “historic mistake.” He then warned that Israel would not be bound by it, and pledged to lobby Congress to oppose it. And he did so after claiming that this opposition was on behalf of “the entire Jewish people.”

Soon after, a host of American Jewish organizations, including those pluralistic institutions which are supposed to represent the broader American Jewish community, took up Netanyahu’s mantle, pledging to oppose the Iran deal on account of the (claimed) danger it poses to Israel. Unsurprisingly, so too did AIPAC, which so far has raised $30 million for its massive lobbying effort to kill the agreement, including television spots in 40 states.

When J Street expressed support for the deal, Jeffrey Goldberg – who has long predicted Israel would bomb Iran and opposes the deal – wondered aloud if those Jews who support it could be considered ‘pro-Israel,’ given the Israeli government’s opposition.

From Netanyahu to AIPAC to Goldberg, the unspoken assumption was that the American Jewish community – and certainly those Jews who care about Israel – overwhelmingly opposed the deal. And those who supported it? Well, they were anything from not sufficiently ‘pro-Israel’ to self-hating Jews who want to see Israel destroyed.

But guess what? A poll just released, overseen by the country’s preeminent sociologist and pollster who focuses on the Jewish community, Steven M. Cohen, shows that the overwhelming majority of U.S. Jews support the Iran deal.


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An open letter to black America from a white, Jewish man of privilege

Jul22

by: on July 22nd, 2015 | 8 Comments »

Dear black Americans,

I’m a white, Jewish man from Pittsburgh who, over the last year, has watched videos of Eric Garner being murdered, read about Tamir Rice being murdered, and shuddered over Ferguson after Mike Brown was murdered. On television and online, I’ve been confronted with disturbing images of black bodies being destroyed. And I’m telling you, I can’t bear it any longer. I can’t bear to learn any more details about Sandra Bland. I’m sick to my stomach, losing sleep, feeling unsteady. Yet you keep showing me images, telling me stories. And I have to look away.

It’s too much.

Which is to say: good. Don’t let up, not for a second. Make me and all of white America feel uncomfortable until police stop murdering innocent women, men and children. Make us feel perpetually uneasy until our criminal justice system – “the New Jim Crow” – no longer exists as an institutional tool to disenfranchise black citizens. Get in our faces and make us unable to ignore you until the United States is no longer as dangerous for black Americans as war-torn countries like Myanmar.

Confront us in our social media feeds, disrupt our travels, interrupt our lives.


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The Chutzpah of Netanyahu Calling Iran Deal an “Historic Mistake”

Jul14

by: on July 14th, 2015 | 6 Comments »

The historic accord reached Tuesday between Iran and a United-States-led coalition of world powers has inspired strong and varied reactions across the world. Among these, the initial reaction offered by Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has become a point of focus.

In particular, much attention is being given to his calling the Iran deal an “historic mistake.”

Now, nobody is surprised by Netanyahu’s position. Nor is anyone surprised by his bold pronouncement. Indeed, in an unprecedented breach of diplomatic protocol earlier this year, Israel’s leader tried to undermine President Obama’s foreign policy by speaking before Congress, an address secretly orchestrated by John Boehner. This move – having a foreign leader come before Congress to undermine a sitting President – was the height of chutzpah. And it was a move, his trying to scuttle the deal before Congress, which Netanyahu called an “historic mission.”Despite all this, Netanyahu now calling the Iran deal an “historic mistake” demonstrates even greater chutzpah. Not because of how his words apply to the Iran deal, but how they reverberate given his own rule.

See, the real historic mistake is Netanyahu’s continued embrace of Israel’s decades-old occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.


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Jewish & Palestinian Women Are Fasting in Front of Netanyahu’s Home for 50 Days

Jul13

by: on July 13th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Over 300 Jewish and Palestinian women will be fasting together over the next six weeks in a tent outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. Those fasting are part of Women Wage Peace, which formed during the Gaza war last summer as a collective voice standing against Israel’s brutal assault. Their fast is taking place from July 7 to August 26, marking the 50-day span of last year’s violent conflict, in which over 2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed.

The purpose of their fast is twofold: 1) to demand pursuit of a political resolution and peace accord between Israel and Palestine, and 2) to spark conversations about Israel’s failed and painful use of violence to resolve its geopolitical conflicts.

Women chant in front of Netanyahu


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Israeli Soldiers Reveal the Horrors of Gaza in ‘Breaking the Silence’ Report

May18

by: on May 18th, 2015 | 5 Comments »

A major in Israel’s infantry, who fought in the Northern Gaza Strip during Israel’s assault in the summer of 2014, talks of devastation. He talks of endless barrages, buildings collapsing, city streets being razed by bulldozers, entire neighborhoods erased.

Then he says, You want to hear a joke? You’re reading his words in a report, so you have no choice but to nod as he explains, This is a joke that was popular in the army during the war:

Why do Palestinians only sing the chorus? Because they have no verses left.

The punchline only makes sense if you know that in Hebrew, the word for houses (בתים) is the same word for verses.

The solider tells you this anonymously because he must. You don’t know his name – only that he is “01″ – nor do you know the names of the over 100 Israeli soldiers who recently gave testimony to Breaking the Silence, an organization which normally works with soldiers who wish to reveal the ugly truths of Israel’s occupation.

Now, in a report released this month entitled, “This is How We Fought in Gaza,” Israeli soldiers, their identities hidden, have given the world a window into what life fighting in Gaza often looked like.

The overriding theme is destruction. Pure, unrelenting destruction motivated by fear, by the justifiable desire to minimize military casualties at almost any cost.


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White House Chief of Staff: Israel’s 50-year occupation must end

Mar23

by: on March 23rd, 2015 | 9 Comments »

Speaking before J Street conference attendees in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough amplified President Obama’s policy rift with Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Responding to Netanyahu’s pre-election rejection of Palestinian statehood and subsequent attempts to walk back said rejection, McDonough had this to say:

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made,” McDonough told the J Street conference in Washington, whose left-leaning audience received his remarks enthusiastically.

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he said. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”


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I am now a ‘Pro-Pressure’ Jew

Mar21

by: on March 21st, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has obliterated what it means to be ‘pro-Israel,’ setting Israel on a course towards national suicide which mainstream American Jewish organizations seem intent on enabling.

However, I and many others refuse to stand idly by as Israel self-destructs, understanding that to truly be ‘pro-Israel’ now means to be ‘pro-pressure’ – to champion nonviolent measures capable of forcing Israel to change from without, including those initiated by the Obama administration.

The phrase ‘pro-Israel’ over the years has come to signify supporting Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. In other words, it has been synonymous with support for the two-state resolution for Israel/Palestine and opposition to a single-state outcome. It has been synonymous with championing self-determination for both Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

However, in a 24-hour period leading up to and during Israel’s latest elections, Netanyahu concretized with his words what his actions already established: an Israel committed to perpetual occupation and discrimination. An Israel committed to a right-wing version of single statehood. An Israel committed to national destruction.

He did so by formally rejecting Palestinian statehood, embracing perpetual occupation and settlement expansion, and employing racists rants about Palestinian citizens “coming out in droves to the polls.” By doing so, he was rewarded with a striking victory and mandate which will likely lead to the most right-wing Israeli government in its history. It’s an outcome many in Israel’s own security establishment feared as more dangerous than any enemy, an outcome some think will inevitably lead to full, national apartheid.

Many Americans and diaspora Jews are, for the first time, realizing this, thanks to Netanyahu’s racist rhetoric and rejection of two states. Which is why ‘pro-Israel’ can no longer mean supporting Israel’s government. Indeed, for many it now means strongly opposing it, with being ‘pro-Israel’ meaning to be ‘pro-pressure,’ to back measures which will force Israel to change from without before it destroys itself from within.

As an American Jew invested in Israel and Palestine’s future, I now formally consider myself to be a ‘pro-pressure’ Jew. Allow me to explain:


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Netanyahu Rejects Two-State Solution Amidst Plummeting Poll Numbers

Mar12

by: on March 12th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, released a statement this week via Likud, his political party, making official what has been implied many times over: that he rejects the idea of two, self-determining states as the path toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The statement made clear that Netanyahu now disavows a speech he delivered at Bar Ilan University in 2009 as “no longer relevant.” The speech’s topic? The path towards creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. To hammer home Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian statehood, the statement threw in the following, just in case its intention wasn’t clear:

“Netanyahu’s entire political biography is a fight against the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Truer words have never been spoken.


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