September 27, 2017

Opinions too close to the truth

GUEST: Joel Kovel, psychotherapist, college professor, political activist, and author of many books including Enemy of Nature and Overcoming Zionism, talks about his latest book The Lost Traveller's Dream.

Joel Kovel's most recent book is an adventure story, his own wanderings in an often corrupt and morally bankrupt world. 

Often paying the price for writing opinions too close to the truth, Kovel describes his time at Bard College after his Overcoming Zionism was published. It turns out that Bard, supposedly a bastion of liberal thought along the Hudson River, is a hotbed of Zionist machinations. Where else would one find out how many times the president, Leon Botstein, travelled to Israel in one year (10 times), and who pays the bills when Botstein travels abroad as emissary of American neoliberalism (George Soros). 

William Blake's rarely pleased anyone with his attacks on the Church of England, perhaps the moral tyranny of his day. Like his compatriot, Thomas Paine, his expressions were always too harsh, too damning. Blake, like Paine, wanted to throw off the chains of oppression and didn't care who was insulted by his blazing contradictions. 

Joel Kovel thinks that Zionism is but another tragedy for the Jewish People. He thinks that capitalism will inevitably bring about the end of life on Earth. Not popular opinions, of course. But by presenting the contradictions of American life, we can begin to envision a greater truth. 

September 13, 2017

Alliances to mute criticism of Israel's apartheid state

GUEST: Donna Nevel, psychologist, educator, writer and long time activist for justice in Palestine and Israel, talks about her Islamophobia training program and the role of the Israel Lobby in spreading racism directed towards Muslims.

Talking to Donna Nevel about American racism is a learning experience. She has thought and written about so many types of discrimination that she can compare and contrast different movements, and even explain their histories.

That is why I am so impressed by her Islamophobia training seminars. Donna is Jewish, but her religion presents no barrier to exposing and attacking racism where it exists. Part of the history of Islamophobia in the US can be traced to Zionist Jewish and Christian groups. Without a full understanding of why the Jewish Defense League pours money into convincing Americans to hate Muslims, we are all powerless to stop this most recent form of racism. 

PEP is the acronym for progressive except for Palestine. Leaving one group out isn't really about human rights at all. It is more about making alliances to mute criticism of Israel's apartheid state. Like  all true progressives, Donna values everyone's rights. Our country desperately needs teachers like Donna Nevel.

September 1, 2017

Paying my taxes to the empire

GUEST: Robert Piper, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with the rank of UN Assistant Secretary General, talks about his role in documenting Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation.

Robert called in from Gaza, where he travels through at least once every week. He knows all the players, so his insights were new and interesting.

He had boundaries, of course. The interview taught me as much about the UN as about Gaza. There were positions that could not be taken, like the fact that Hamas is openly resisting the occupation while the PA, bought and paid for the Israel and the US, is content with being the occupation's boots on the ground.

Israel's vicious military slaughters in Gaza were "conflicts" rather than war crimes, with blame attributed to both sides. Were those Robert's observations, or the what the UN, itself under US financial and military control, is forced to say?

Words like apartheid and genocide were not part of our discussion. Can the UN be more that a reporting agency under these restraints? And can the reports it issues really get to the bottom of Israel's 60 years of occupation and repression? 

Like many of us who work on the left, the acceptance of evil makes us into facilitators rather than agents of change. I like to think that I am free to say what I want on this radio program, and I feel very good about that. I have also paid my taxes to the empire for the last sixty years of Israel's occupation. Perhaps we are all facilitators.