FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hamas Voters Are Military Targets

by

On July 28, Rabbi David Seth Kirshner, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, claimed at an Israel rally near the United Nations that Gazans who voted for Hamas were not civilians, but legitimate military targets, as reported on Mondoweiss.

Rich Siegel protested to the rabbi on email as soon as he read about his speech. On Saturday, August 2, Rich and I mounted a small protest at Temple Emanu-El in Closter, NJ, Rabbi Kirshner’s pulpit. Rich carried a sign, “When Will We Jews Realize That Israel is Insane?” I carried my all-purpose “Zionism Threatens Us All.” In Rich’s account:

The police were called, and we were very politely advised by a policeman that we had the right to be there, as long as we stay off their property, which we did. Here’s where it gets interesting. Many congregants shouted “Fuck You” at us and/or gave us “the finger”. These are people on their way to a worship service. Not all did. Many ignored us, and a few engaged us in conversation. But there was a surprising number of obscenities/obscene gestures, coming from people on their way to worship. I am “Music Minister” at a Unity Church. I tried to imagine what would happen if anyone saw reason to picket my church (although it’s difficult to imagine that anyone would have need to do so.) I really can’t imagine anyone from my church shouting obscenities if that were to happen. I think our congregants would invite the protestors in to the service, and I think they would be invited to meet with the minister. To me this represents the difference between people who are involved in the sincere worship of God, as compared with people who are worshipping idols, in this case the idols of Jewish tribal identity and the Jewish state.

Afterward, there was correspondence between Rich, a congregant, myself and the rabbi. Here is my email to Rabbi Kirshner and the congregant, and the rabbi’s brief response:

Dear Rabbi Kirshner:

My name is Harry Clark. I was the person standing with Rich Siegel on the sidewalk at the synagogue driveway last Saturday, carrying a sign, “Zionism Threatens Us All”.

I read your letter to the congregation about our presence .

The police officer did not express your extreme sense of menace and peril when he spoke with us. He smiled politely, assured us that we were within our rights to stand and protest where we did, and warned us for the record not to enter the grounds, which we obviously had no intention of doing. He might have found the tone of your letter somewhat hysterical.

Here is the paragraph from your speech at the UN rally.

“When you are part of an election process that asks for a terrorist organization which proclaims in word and in deed that their primary objective is to destroy their neighboring country and not to build schools or commerce or jobs, you are complicit and you are not a civilian casualty.”

The Gaza voters rejected the Palestinian Authority and elected Hamas because of the former’s corruption and utter failure to improve their condition, not in order to destroy Israel. Israel’s blockade of Gaza, not Hamas, is why Gaza lacks schools and commerce and jobs. The people of Gaza have no control over Hamas’s actions. To declare them combatants and fair targets for Israel’s arsenal is to advocate the massacre of civilians, a heinous war crime. The UN has condemned the Israeli attacks on UN shelters, and denied that its facilities were used by Hamas, which you claim justifies Israel’s slaughter of civilians with advanced weaponry. Israel, which kills, beats, imprisons and tortures Palestinian minors, is the child abuser.

Hamas supports a two-state solution, in the view of Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA and a fellow at Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Israel’s irredentism, not Hamas’s, is the obstacle to peace. Israel promoted Hamas as a way of weakening the secular Fatah, Yassir Arafat’s faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestinian refugees in Gaza are from Ashkelon and other places from which Israel expelled them in 1948. See Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” for Zionist planning and expulsion of the Palestinians.

See the work of other Israeli scholars, such as Motti Golan, Zeev Maoz, Avi Raz and Avi Shlaim, for scholarly accounts of Israel’s belligerence and irredentism. Read courageous Israeli journalists such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass in Haaretz. All these authors tell a very different story from the one your congregants heard in your presentation on Tuesday I’m sure.

Arthur Hertzberg, your distinguished predecessor at Emanu-El, once called for Israel’s aid to be reduced to make it more amenable to peace. He would likely have disagreed strongly with your jihad against the people of Gaza. He would also have disagreed strongly with the air of existential crisis, for American Jews and for Israel, that American Jewish leaders like you foment daily. In 1987 he wrote: “The tragedy of the last twenty years is that the new Jewish power has not been open to the counsels of moderation.” What would he make of the present atmosphere, and of your contribution?

It is a positive thing about US society that millions of European Jews could emigrate from the most impoverished and oppressed conditions, and rise to the top. Today, the organized Jewish community, with its myriad institutions and affiliations, is overwhelmingly powerful. That power created Israel in 1948, and has developed Israel’s belligerence and irredentism since 1967. Today Congress leaps to do AIPAC’s bidding. Presidents dare not challenge Israel’s behavior even when vital US interests are at stake. It has been a catastrophe for Palestine and the wider Middle East, for Israel itself, and for the US.

It is the moral apocalypse for American Jews. Your eagerness to contrive crisis, dread and aggression from a position of overweening power is frightening. In the opinion of many, your ignorance and fanaticism are the crisis. One is appalled by the present, and is terrified of the future, if you are not stopped.

Best regards…

Rabbi David Seth Kirshner:

I am blocking your future emails.

Your ignorance is a drain on my time.

Harry Clark’s article “The End of Modern Jewish History,” which expands on these issues, will appear in Left Curve,  No. 38, forthcoming in April. He may be reached at his web site http://questionofpalestine.net

 

 

Harry Clark can be reached at his web site, http://questionofpalestine.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail