I was invited by a Palestinian man with a connection to a Palestinian television show, Palestine TV, owned by the Palestine Authority, to be a guest on the show October 14, 2021; here is a link to a Facebook site showing the taped TV show, which was aired live on television. Another Palestinian, an old friend of mine, told me that Palestine TV is widely watched by Palestinians and their Diaspora world wide. The show is in Arabic, but I was provided with a simultaneous translator who, my old Palestinian friend told me, did a superb job. Unfortunately, due to technical problems that the TV station later apologized for, I couldn't hear what was being said to me and wasn't even sure when I was supposed to talk. Nonetheless, I was told afterwards that it went fine.
Below are my notes for what I said (though I'm not sure at what point my interview stopped being aired.)
I was also told I would be invited to an English version of Palestine TV sometime later.
THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME…
HERE’S HOW I LEARNED THAT WE CAN DEFEAT ZIONISM
Let me tell you about a man named Michael and what happened one day in 2011. Michael was a very pro-Israel Jewish colleague of mine when I worked at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. With his facial muscles twitching in anger, Michael put his finger a quarter inch from my nose when I was collecting signatures at work in support of the Palestinian Right of Return, and screamed at me, "You're this close to being Hitler!" He seemed on the verge of punching me in the face.
A few days later I ran into Michael in the cafeteria and asked if he had a minute to talk and he reluctantly said OK (because we were colleagues and had to work together.) I then spent 15 minutes relating to him how the Zionist leaders had betrayed European Jews during the Holocaust and continued to oppress ordinary Jews today. I told him facts that my subsequently written article , titled Israel’s "Government Attacks Ordinary Jews As Well As Palestinians," includes. Here are the kind of things I told Michael:
Zionist leaders opposed any rescue of Jews from the Nazis that did not send them to Palestine.
Zionist leaders refused to send money to Jews in Czechoslovakia to bribe senior Nazi officials to delay or prevent the transport of Czechoslovakian Jewry to Auschwitz and other death camps; the Zionist leaders said they needed dead Jews to have standing at the post-war negotiations about Palestine.
Zionist leaders in control of the post-war Displaced Persons camps with many Jews forced Jews—with beatings and removal of food rations—to be unwillingly drafted to go to Palestine to fight Arabs when they wanted to go to the U.S.
Israel today has 3rd highest gap between rich and poor in the world. (In 2017 33.6% of Israeli workers earned no more than the minimum hourly wage, which was the price of 1 1/3 gal milk in Israel, VERSUS the U.S. minimum hourly wage that is the price of 2 1/3 gal milk in the US where it’s still a poverty wage.)
Holocaust survivors in Israel have demonstrated and protested against the government that makes them live in abject poverty. Haaretz headlined: “Thousands of Israeli Holocaust Survivors Still Living in Poverty, Fighting for Recognition: Seventy years after the end of WWII, some 20,000 aging Holocaust survivors receive little or no support from Israel, and 45,000 live under poverty line.”
450,000 Israelis in 2011 demonstrated AGAINST THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT in streets all over Israel in 2011 opposing the continuing rise in the cost of living (particularly housing) and the deterioration of public services such as health and education. They called for increasing taxes on the rich.
The demonstrators had the support of about 90% of the Israeli public according to polls!
The huge demonstrations failed to win anything. Why? Zionism killed the movement! When 8 Israelis were killed by Palestinians on the Egyptian-Israel border (in a conflict deliberately created by Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to make them a frightening bogeyman enemy), Netanyahu merely had to demand that the demonstrators be patriotic and stop opposing the Israel government that was (supposedly) protecting them from their “real enemy”—Palestinians.
As long as the Israeli billionaire ruling class can keep most Israeli working class Jews mortally frightened of Palestinians as "the real enemy," a veritable existential enemy, then the ruling class can be confident that these Israeli Jews, despite their real grievances against the Israeli ruling class, will limit how far they will go to challenge its power over them because they view it as their protector against their real enemy.
Michael listened in dead silence, astonished to hear me defending Jews. Prior to this he had assumed that I was an antisemite since I was anti-Zionist. Now he was learning he had been wrong.
The next week, after I had shown the powerful anti-Zionist film Jenin Jenin during the lunch hour at work, I was returning to my office and passed Michael in the hall. Now he was very friendly! He told me that he wasn't able to attend the film because he had a conflicting work meeting but that he would surely attend the next film if I showed one. (I didn't show another film before retiring, alas.)
Please know that Michael is not the only formerly passionately pro-Israel Jew to respond this way to what my article says! They changed from being pro-Zionist to anti-Zionist.
The facts I told Michael refuted the Zionist Big Lie that says Israeli violence against, and oppression of, Palestinians is for the purpose of making Jews safe. Michael was won over ONLY because I refuted the Zionist Big Lie. Had I merely told him about Zionist oppression of Palestinians he would not have changed his mind because he believed that that oppression was necessary for the purpose of making Jews safe.
Refuting the Zionist Big Lie this way is how the anti-Zionist movement can make itself IMMUNE to any accusation of being antisemitic. This is how the anti-Zionist movement can win to its side the millions of currently pro-Zionist Jewish "Michaels." And even more importantly, it is how the anti-Zionist movement can win to its side the many more millions of non-Jews around the world who, to their credit, don't want to do anything that might be antisemitic and who thus listen to what these Jewish "Michaels" say in order to decide whether or not to support Israel. This is how to persuade people that it is antisemitic NOT to oppose Zionism. This is how the anti-Zionist movement can WIN, and not just remain a passionate minority that can't actually defeat Zionism.
We CAN defeat Zionism. It requires knowing how to win over the great majority of the public to oppose Zionism, the way the great majority of it came to oppose apartheid in South Africa. And this in turn requires knowing why we do not have that magnitude of support in the public today.
It is true that opposition to Zionism is growing in the U.S. Israeli violence is horrifying more and more people. This is great news, but not good enough news. We are still unfortunately very far from having the magnitude of support we need to win, and there is a specific reason why we are not attaining it, a reason we need to overcome.
Anti-Zionists OUGHT to have the strong support of 90% of the public in the U.S. (and in Europe, Great Britain, Australia and other nations whose governments support Israel.)
But according to Gallup polling, only 25% of Americans sympathize more with Palestinians than with Israelis. 75% support Israel.
In contrast, the vast majority of Americans opposed South African apartheid. Gallup polls showed U.S. public support for sanctions against South Africa rosse from 42% in 1985 to 62% by 1990. By 1999 Nelson Mandela was #14 in Gallup's list of people Americans most widely admired in the 20th century. THIS is what prevented the U.S. government from continuing to support South Africa’s apartheid and even oppose it with sanctions.
What explains the huge difference between the weak support for Palestinians versus the enormous support for black South Africans?
The explanation is not that Americans are ignorant of the fact that Israel uses cruel violence to impose apartheid and ethnic cleansing on Palestinians. They KNOW the facts. For example:
A former U.S. president (Carter) published a book titled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
The mass media reports on Israeli massacres of civilians in Gaza
The NYT printed above the fold on the first page individual photos of 64 Palestinian children killed by Israel in merely eleven recent days under the headline “They were just children.”
Netanyahu bragged (though falsely) that Israel is a (quote) “Nation-state of the Jewish people and of them alone”—an assertion that employs the same kind of racist language that the KKK uses in the U.S. to argue for an exclusively white state, and which the vast majority of Americans find repugnant.
The explanation for the weakness of the anti-Zionist movement compared to the movement against South African apartheid is that South African apartheid had no persuasive Big Lie, but Zionism’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing doeshave a persuasive Big Lie.
The Zionist Big Lie is that the violent ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws are, sadly and unfortunately but nonetheless truly, necessary to make Jews—survivors of the despicable Nazi holocaust—safe. The Big Lie says that everything that anti-Zionists object to is necessary to make Jews safe.
If one agrees with this Big Lie then one is forced to agree with former Harvard President, Larry Summers, who proclaims that anti-Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent because it opposes that which is necessary to make Jews safe.
Most Americans will not support any movement that they believe is antisemitic in effect if not intent. A minority will—the people who are so horrified by Israeli violence that they will oppose it even if they wrongly believe it is required to make Jews safe--but not the majority.
Why Is the Zionist Big Lie So Persuasive?
The Zionist Big Lie is only persuasive because virtually nobody is refuting it by proclaiming the TRUTH, that Zionist violence and oppression of Palestinians has NOTHING to do with making Jews safe.
Making Jews safe is only a pretext for the real but unstated purpose of Israeli violence and oppression of Palestinians, which is two-fold:
#1) to enrich the Zionist upper class by theft of Palestinian property and, by letting Jews own homes stolen from Palestinians, make ordinary Jews and Palestinians view each other as the enemy, and
#2) to make Palestinians be so angry at Israel (supposedly the "state of the Jewish people") that they can be portrayed as the frightening bogeyman enemy of Jews that the Israeli billionaire ruling class needs and uses to control and economically oppress Israeli working class Jews to get even richer; the Israeli billionaire rulers pretend to protect ordinary Jews from “the real enemy” as long as they obey their Israeli rulers despite all the huge grievances they have against them.
When we expose the Zionist Big Lie as false—as my online article “Israel’s Government Attacks Ordinary Jews As Well As Palestinians” does—we will gain the support of the vast majority of the public, including Jews who, like Michael was, are today passionately pro-Israel.
If anti-Zionists make it their #1 task to refute the Zionist Big Lie with the truth, we can defeat Zionism.
But if anti-Zionists continue to ignore the Big Lie and ignore the accusation that anti-Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent, then Zionism will prevail.
The Zionists don’t care if anti-Zionists expose the facts about Zionist violence against, and oppression of, Palestinians, if that is ALL they do. Why? Because the Zionists already admit to this, and assert that it is all necessary to make Jews safe; and they say anybody who objects to it is an antisemite in effect if not intent.
But when anti-Zionists ALSO refute the Zionist Big Lie, THAT’s what deprives Zionism of the public support it needs to avoid the fate of South African apartheid.
THAT’s how we win!
I propose that we do all we can to reach the ordinary people who are PRO-Zionist, and convert them to be anti-Zionist the way Michael was converted—with the TRUTH about the real anti-working class purpose of Zionism. To do this requires going around the anti-working class institutions that don’t want us to reach ordinary people with this vital truth.
This’ll drive Zionist leaders CRAZY because their antisemitism accusation won't work anymore!