WW3 REPORT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS: DRIVING A WEDGE IN CONSENSUS REALITY
by David Bloom and Bill Weinberg
The editors of World War 3 Report talk to two Palestine
solidarity activists, Steve Quester from Jews Against the Occupation (JATO), and Zaid Khalil,of Stop US
Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN), groups
that call for the full right of return for Palestinian refugees, and an end
to all US aid to Israel. Quester and Khalil talk about their entry into
solidarity work, their experiences in Palestine with the International
Solidarity Movement (ISM), and the challenges currently
facing Palestine activism.
WW3R: Let's start with your backgrounds. How did you get from point A
to point B, where you come from, your folks.
ZK: My name is Zaid Khalil, I'm an American national of Palestinian
ethnicity. I describe myself that way because Palestine is not a
sovereign state, and I was born in the US, so culturally I'm more
American that anything else, whatever that means. I was born in South
Jersey, God help me, in a fairly racist town. I've been to occupied
Palestine six times, I just recently got back Oct. 17 from a two
month trip there. I've been there twice this year.
WW3R: Six times your whole life?
ZK: Yeah, first time I went there was '86, went back in '88, went back
in '92, '98, Apr. '02, during operation Defensive Shield, and Aug. 17
to Oct. 17.
WW3R: And your parents?
ZK: My parents were born in a village called Al-Mazra'a Ash-Sharqiya,
which is 13 km northeast of Ramallah,. My mother was granted American
citizenship from my grandfather, who came to the United States in
1913, fought in the first world war for the United States, gained
citizenship, went back there, married. My mom was born, and my mother
and father married and emigrated here in 1957.
WW3R: You wouldn't call yourself a Palestinian-American?
ZK: Well, the reason I identify myself that way is because I really
want people to understand that when I go over there, I'm an American.
For instance, when I go to a checkpoint, I hand them my American
passport, and I'm allowed to pass through. Through the gun sights of
a sniper I'm a Palestinian, because of the way I look.
WW3R: What about to the Palestinians?
ZK: To Palestinians, I'm both and neither. On one level I'm American,
because just culturally I share characteristics of Americans. But on
another level, people do identify me as a Palestinian. So for
instance, I notice how quickly I'm able to form relationships with
people in the West Bank, like really quickly.
SQ: I remember people always asking you, the minute you started
speaking Arabic, even though you have an American accent, "OK, where
are you from?", and what they wanted to know is, Al-Mazra'a
Ash-Sharqiya -- like they needed to place you in a Palestinian
context and localize you. They didn't care where you were from in the
WW3R: So how many times have you been back since the current Intifada began?
ZK: All together, two and half months, but the first period, when I
was there in April, can't be measured in days, because I would say I
was awake almost the equivalent of the month in the second trip,
because it was so incredibly dangerous, it was so crazy, just awake
all the time. Whereas the second period was very, very different. I
mean, much more institutionalized, the oppression. Much more
depressing, in my opinion.
WW3R: This would be after re-occupation began in June?
ZK: Yeah. I mean the occupation always been there, it's been occupied
for 35 years. What Palestinians call "inside 1948," has been occupied
since 1948. Palestinians still refer to Israel very much as occupied
territory too, but they also recognize that it's Israel at the same
WW3R: When you say that they know it's Israel, what does that mean exactly?
ZK: In the American-Israel lexicon, people talk about recognizing
Israel as a state, or recognizing the existence of Israel. [The
Palestinians] can't help to know Israel exists. It's in their face
every day. So Israel exists. They refer to people as Israelis, or
actually, they refer to people as Jews. The Palestinians don't
usually use the term "Israelis." But that's also because Israelis
identify themselves as Jews, too, which is pretty horrific, if you
really think about it. Because, number one, Judaism is a religion
that has existed for three thousand years. Zionism is not. They've
co-opted Judaism and put it on the side of tanks, you know, the
symbol of Jews, the Star of David on the side of tanks. And F-16's.
WW3R: Sometimes without the flag, it's just the star, right?
ZK: Yeah. They'll graffiti it, they literally graffiti it in a way
that you can imagine Nazis graffitiing the swastika.
WW3R: Graffitying on walls and stuff?
ZK: Yeah, so for instance, after they went through and demolished the
whole entire social structure, all these NGO's and ministries, like
the health and education, after they defecated on the floors and
trashed the whole entire place, looted it, they would put the Star of
David on a mirror, in lipstick...
WW3R: So they are using the star as a symbol of...
ZK: Power, dominance. I mean, that you can't escape. So when
Palestinians say Israel exists, they say it exists as a reality. Only
in the mind of a complete narcissist would people constantly question
that. But at the same time there is this collective memory of
Palestine that has not been erased. And actually, it very much has
formed through the Zionist movement. Because during the Turkish
period, you know, there was a certain amount of autonomy. When people
had allegiances, it was local. The whole idea of the nation state had
a devastating effect.
WW3R: Steve, tell me about your background.
SQ: I'm Jewish, I was raised in a not-very-religious Reform household
with liberal and Zionist politics, but the Zionist thing was not
very strong. I was the one that took that ball and decided to run
with it, you know, chose to spend my summers between junior and
senior years in high school in Israel. Spent a year of college there,
and two years there after college. The story of my political life
throughout my adult and teenage years, is trying to reconcile an
anti-racist, anti-imperialist world view with what I was supposed to
think as a Jew about the Middle East, and it took a long time to work
through that. I used to think I was a traitor, for thinking the
things I thought about Palestine. I'm way over that now.
WW3R: When did you think that?
SQ: When I was in my 20's, I started looking around me, really
thinking through stuff, and reading, meeting Palestinians and talking
WW3R: When you say that you took Zionism and ran with it, what did
Zionism meant to you then, how did you define it?
SQ: Well, that Jews owed loyalty to Israel, that Jews automatically
have a connection to Israel, that it's a good thing for Jews to
emigrate to Israel...that's what I mean. I was gonna do it, I was
considering the army, the whole nine yards...
WW3R: So was there a decisive turning point?
SQ: No, everyone wants to know the big turning point. There was no
decisive turning point. It was a gradual process over many years.
WW3R: You've said that being gay led you to deal more with the
margins when you were in Israel, that you drifted more towards Arab
groups when you were a student. Can you talk about that?
SQ, Well, I think that being queer, I think you have a different take
on conformity, on what you're supposed to do and who you are supposed
to know, and so it was just very automatic and natural to me to
befriend the Palestinian who was on my dorm floor at Hebrew
WW3R: Is that unusual?
SQ: Yeah, I think so.
WW3R: When you say Palestinian, you mean Palestinian Israeli?
WW3R: But Hebrew University is supposed to be a pretty tolerant place, no?
SQ: Yeah, sure, it's tolerant. They tolerate the Arabs. [Laughs]
WW3R: And what happened when the current intifada broke out, where
would you say you were politically at that point?
SQ:, Oh, I just, just completely snapped. I ran out and bought a
Palestinian lapel pin to wear. That's when my focus changed from
peace and dialogue to solidarity. Y'know? There's like this horrible
thing happening to millions of defenseless people, and people of
conscience just have to be in solidarity with them. And Israel is
just obviously the enemy here.
WW3R: And when you say solidarity, that means in terms of choosing sides?
SQ: Yeah, I've chosen sides, absolutely.
WW3R: Alright, but is solidarity necessarily mutually exclusive with dialogue?
SQ: You know, those two years after college that I lived in Israel, I
was all about dialogue, I was a volunteer with Interns for Peace, we
did "encounters" between Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews,
primarily children and youth. And I learned a lot, I acquired a lot
of very good skills. But in terms of moving forward an agenda of
liberation, it was a fucking waste of time, you know,? Let's talk
about reconciliation after liberation. This is no time to do it, you
WW3R: And what would liberation require?
SQ: The complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from all of the
West Bank, including East Jerusalem and all of the Gaza Strip, and
the unconditional right of return for any Palestinian who wants it.
And then it's time to start talking about reconciliation, because
there will still be deep and horrible wounds, and you can never get
back the lost half century or more...
WW3R: But do you then support just anything that goes on in the
Palestinian liberation struggle?
WW3R: Where do you draw the line?
SQ: You know, this struggle for Palestine, since the beginning of
Zionism, has always been about targeting civilians. Zionism by its
nature targets civilians, it's about the removal of a civilian
population and its replacement by a militarized colonial population,
so I draw the line at targeting civilians, which is a much, much
smaller phenomenon among Palestinians than it is among Israelis.
With the Palestinians, it's desperate acts, by desperate people. But
in no case is it justified or justifiable, and in no case does it
move forward any kind of agenda of liberation. I think the suicide
bombers are Sharon's best friend.
ZK: For me it's a little bit fuzzy, I mean, my biggest fundamental
problem is--what are settlers? Do they constitute civilians? And
then, the question is, OK, if they don't constitute civilians, if we
take the view that they are more or less paramilitary--what about
their kids? And do you justify indiscriminate killing...?
SQ: For me, I don't. That's on the wrong side of the line I drew, you
know? I don't support untargeted attacks on settlements, per se. I
don't think that moves forward an agenda of Palestinian liberation.
WW3R: Well, what about what Zaid's saying? I mean, some of the
settlements serve as military bases, they have surveillance up there,
they occupy the heights. There's armed settler militia, right? In the
[November] Hebron attack, they were killed along with the soldiers.
SQ: Absolutely. The point is, infiltrating a settlement, walking into
a home, and opening fire on anyone you can get your gun trained on,
even if they're all adults in the room--I don't see that it's either
justifiable or practical, in terms of the end they're trying to
achieve. But, you know what? It's not my main concern. My main
concern is Israeli oppression, Israeli imperialism, and they way the
U.S. uses Israel for its interests in the Middle East. I'm not the
one whose going to decide how Palestinians are going to liberate
themselves. I'm going to decide how I as an American Jew am going to
stand with Palestinians. So, I'm not going to strap bombs on myself
and walk into a mall in Tel Aviv, alright? But it's not where my
focus needs to be.
WW3R: Zaid, is there somewhere where you disagree with that?
ZK: Well, not necessarily disagree. But, I think, basically there's
two ways of justifying--not necessarily justifying, but
understanding--attacks against civilians. If you're going to do armed
struggle, you do it from a moral perspective, or you do it from a
tactical perspective, OK? So, now the question is...
WW3R: It can be both, no?
ZK: Well, in general, once you go into the realm of armed struggle,
morals go out the window. You can take an entirely pacifist stance,
and say the killing of anyone is immoral. OK, I can agree with that,
to a certain degree, if you take that stance. So now, we should judge
it based on tactics. And, one of the things you see, is tactically,
attacks on civilians inside of Israel just doesn't work. I mean, it
generates fear, but fear is not necessarily the only thing you want
to generate. But on one level, tactically, it acts as a deterrent.
And to a certain extent, there needs to be some level of deterrence
against settlers who are publicly subsidized to live in these places.
Not only publicly subsidized, but fully armed and backed the fourth
powerful military in the world. There needs to be some level of
WW3R: But this hasn't been the pattern that's been followed. There
have been attacks in Israel proper as well as the settlements.
ZK: That's right, and part of the reason is because settlements have
been so difficult to penetrate. They are colonial fortresses, they
sit on top of mountains, they're entirely ringed by a perimeter, with
sniper towers, soldiers with the best equipment American dollars can
pay for. But you don't have that at settlements like Gilo, the
Jerusalem settlements, which are more easily penetrated by going
through Jerusalem, which Palestinians can do. It's not easy, but I've
done it two or three times myself--gone into Jerusalem without having
to travel through a checkpoint.
WW3R: Why did you want to avoid a checkpoint?
ZK: I think I was just going for different cab fares, you know? It's
like, all of a sudden, you're at Qalandia, someone says, you know,
taxi to Jerusalem, and you're like, well, alright.
SQ: We went around the Qalandia checkpoint to get from Mizra
Ash-Sharqiyyah to Ramallah. It was interesting because we had to go
through this stone quarry, it was also sweet because we got this ride
to Ramallah. You know, the alternative is to travel the way the
Israelis want you to travel, which is you get a ride to the
checkpoint, wait on line--a rather long time, in the sun--you subject
yourself to the authority of the state, you go through, and then you
get another car.
WW3R: You put yourself at considerable risk, though.
SQ: You know, whatever. [Laughs] I mean, if I wanted to minimize the
risk, I would have stayed here.
I don't agree, about the minute you chose armed struggle it's not
about morality. I don't think there is anything immoral about taking
aim at a soldier, at an occupying soldier walking down your street,
or an armed settler walking down your street, and shooting him. I
don't think there's anything immoral about that at all.
ZK: If you take the extreme pacifist point of view then all forms
of violence against military and settlers is wrong. My point of view
is that soldiers are legitimate targets and you would have to have a
strong argument for attacking colonists. I feel that there is
sufficient justification for attacking adult colonists.
SQ: And I think that it's telling that principled pacifists, people
who live their life that way, people like Quakers, Christian
Peacemaker Teams, are extremely active in the Palestinian struggle.
You know, it's like, if you're a pacifist, you don't start deciding
that other people do not deserve human rights cause they're not
pacifists. That's not how it works.
WW3R: What if you're asked, well, here you are going to stand in
solidarity with these people, and they're going in and blowing up
civilians in Israel--how do you respond to that?
SQ: Human rights are not a reward for good behavior.
ZK: What I say is this. First thing, not all Palestinians actually
support suicide bombings. Many do. Some consider it morally
deplorable, and also harmful to the whole struggle. You get a wide
spectrum. And on the other side of the spectrum, people say, things
like, "Neither ethics nor tradition can disqualify terrorism as a
means of combat. First and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of
the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances,
and it has a great part to play in our war against the occupier." The
quote is from Yitzak Shamir from 1943, who later became an Israeli
Prime Minister. The occupier he was referring to was the British, who
facilitated the Zionist colonial enterprise from settlements to
statehood and after. So you can imagine the level of contempt he had
for the indigenous population.
WW3R: He killed a Swedish diplomat.
ZK: Yeah, he killed a Swedish diplomat, Bernadotte.
SQ. The interesting thing about the Stern Gang, Shamir's group, is
that they were the last people in history who referred to themselves
as "terrorists." This is a term that had existed since the French
Revolution, and up till that point was primarily a term that people
applied to themselves, it was only after World War two, decades later
that it became a term that one applies to the enemy one wants to
JATO AND THE ISM
WW3R: In a nutshell, what is JATO?
SQ: JATO is a group of really smart Jews, who take an
uncompromisingly anti-racist anti-imperialist stand towards the
struggle for Palestine, and stand in solidarity with freedom for
WW3R: What are their demands, what are their goals?
SQ: Right of return, total withdrawal from the '67 territories, and
restoration of full human and civil rights on both sides of the green
line, and end to economic attacks on Palestine, and the end of the
muddling and confusion between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
WW3R: And what is the ISM?
SQ: The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led
coalition that invites internationals to come to Palestine to do
non-violent direct action alongside Palestinian activists.
WW3R: And when did you become involved in that?
SQ: In April. Someone who had been on the first August and December
campaigns came and spoke at the founding meeting of the Palestine
Activist Forum of New York. I was thrilled. It sounded like a smart
idea, and a very good fit for me.
WW3R : And how long were you there for?
SQ: April I was there a week, in August I was there three weeks.
Planning to spend all of next summer there, and I'm going to spend my
sabbatical year there in 2004.
WW3R: And what did you come away with from your time there?
SQ: Now I know what occupation looks like. I have no idea what it's
like to live under occupation, but I know what it's like to visit
under occupation, and it's really scary and horrible. And I've gotten
a chance to sit and talk with Palestinians under occupation,
including people who support attacks on Israeli civilians. I was able
to start to understand where people are coming from, and...
WW3R: What is their rationale?
SQ: You know, I didn't really pick away at it with people, I didn't
really interrogate them. There are a lot of people who just talk
about it very matter of factly, you know? Wearing a martyr picture
around their neck, the pendants, "this is my brother, he was killed
in an operation in Netanya," you know? It's like, it's an operation,
it's a war. Someone at an internal JATO report-back this summer,
after the nine of us came back, said, "look, whatever you say about
these bombings, and whatever your stance is on them, it's not
mysterious why they happen."
SQ: A military occupation this length of time, and of this severity,
is historically unprecedented. And it's surprising to me that
Palestinian civilians aren't just flinging themselves at the tanks at
this point. So how people continue to go on at all, it's just amazing
to me. And that some of them are not going to go on anymore? I get
it. I totally get it.
WW3R; So what did you hope you could accomplish by going there? Did
you think you could make a difference?
SQ: Yeah, I thought I could. I thought that I would afford protection
to Palestinians immediately around me for the time I was there, and
that's true, I did. That's limited, you know, it's limited to one's
actual presence, but it's something. And I felt that I could help
make non-violent resistance possible, because non-violent resistance
has been so systematically crushed by the Israeli military for
decades. And I succeeded in that a little bit, just a little bit.
WW3R: The ISM is helpful in that way, it helps the Palestinians
SQ: A little bit. I think the ISM is most helpful for morale. I get
these emails saying, they've re-occupied Nablus again, please come
back. You know, they feel so abandoned, they have been so completely
abandoned by the world, I think it's important for them to see
internationals willing to put themselves on the line, at least for a
WW3R: Zaid, what do you think of that?
ZK: It's kind of interesting. See, we're coming in from different
perspectives. I thought that to a certain degree that I could help
out. This last trip really solidified in me the basic fact that I am
Palestinian. When it comes down to it, if I'm walking down the street
and there's a tank 200 meters away, I'm Palestinian. The question is,
what's my effectiveness. And in terms of protecting people, I wasn't
effective at all.
WW3R: Because they can tell you're Palestinian?
ZK: Yeah, it's right on my face.
WW3R: But what about internationals in general, international
activists in Palestine?
ZK: I think there are a lot of things that are good about it, a lot
of things that Steve addressed, as far as raising morale. Probably
the most important thing that will come out of this is that when
people go over there and directly experience it, it kind of changes
their relationship with regards to struggle. It makes them an
intrinsic part, they've seen it with their own eyes, it will be
something that they won't forget. And they come back here, really the
place where it matters, and talk about it and work on it and try to
build solidarity here. I think that's one kind of thing that we
haven't worked on well enough. It's kind of strange that I' ve met
more activists from different parts of the United States in Palestine
than I have in the United States. And that's something that we really
need to start working on as we do our activism here.
SQ: I think in terms of moving Palestinian liberation forward, the
most important thing about volunteering with ISM is what one can then
do, back here. You know, even if we are primarily talking to people
who are already sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle. I think that
by speaking, and by showing images and relating experiences, we can
do a great deal to strengthen the movement, to strengthen people's
resolve to keep struggling, because we have some credibility, from
having been there.
WW3R: But in terms of non-violent action on the Palestinian side, do
you see internationals as being helpful to that?
ZK: Theoretically, yes. But every demonstration I've taken part,
where there hasn't been Israelis, they've opened fire on
us--internationals, and Palestinians.
WW3R: How many internationals have been hit?
ZK: People have been hit by shrapnel. I've been hit by shrapnel, from
an M-16 bullet. The thing is, you don't necessarily need to hit
people. You just need to send a message, that, we're gonna hit you. I
mean, tear gas usually is sufficient. Let me tell you, 20,30 cans of
tear gas, and you ain't gonna stand it.
WW3R: So you've been in demonstrations where they've fired live ammo
ZK: Oh yeah. I mean, I've been in international-only demonstrations
where they fired live ammo.
SQ: It was my impression that after that incident on April 1st
, the Israeli soldiers were much more careful when there were
internationals around, that they were not hesitant to use sound
grenades, smoke bombs and tear gas, but that they held off on the
live ammo because it was such bad PR for them when they hit
[activist] Sharon and hospitalized her. She was an Australian, was
hit in the belly, with the bullet.
ZK: I actually disagree. I think they'll shoot, they won't shoot at
anyone, but they'll shoot, and that's enough, usually, cause the
thing is, you have to make it look erratic. So for instance, when I
was in Kuffim, and we organized a demonstration, first they threw
sound bombs, then they threw the tear gas, and then all of a sudden
this soldier came up--[makes a machine gun noise]--and just started
shooting. It was over everyone's head, but everyone's ducking. Let me
tell you, if there's bullets flying, you're ducking. I don't care who
you are. And that included Palestinians. People are smart enough to
know--you're getting shot at, you duck, you hit the ground. I hit the
ground in a second.
WW3R: And is that the end of the demo?
ZK: After a while, yeah. Non-violence is something you can do only if
you're not going to be met by massive violence. Once you're met with
massive violence, there's not much you can do. A good example is when
the Muqata'a [Palestinian Authroity HQ] was surrounded the last time,
and you had demonstrations spark up--they shot people, they shot and
killed people in Tul karm,. They shot and killed people in Ramallah...
SQ: With the exception of young Baha [Albahsh],who was killed in
Nablus, I'm not aware of any Palestinians who have been shot and
killed in the presence of internationals.
ZK: No, there haven't been.
SQ: I think that's significant.
ZK: I think it is significant.
SQ: I mean, Baha was not at a demonstration, he was walking down the
road with an ISM person...
ZK: Actually, they were standing still...
SQ: And I believe that the Israeli who shot him made a mistake, was
going against orders, because it hasn't happened before, or since.
They don't want to be doing this with international witnesses,
they've plenty of opportunity to do it when we're not around.
ZK:I don't think it was a mistake, and most internationals don't
interpret it that way.
WW3R: How do they interpret it?
ZK: They interpret it as a message, because of the situation of how
this kid was killed. He was fourteen years old, he was standing with
three clear internationals about 100 to 120 meters from this tank. In
Nablus. And the internationals were asking him for directions, they
had walked with him, they were asking, where is, he had pointed over
in some direction, just like that, you know?
WW3R: I remember reading press accounts. I mean ,there was just so
much activity, I don't know if the internationals noticed what was
happening. I think it was an APC, actually...
ZK: Yeah, an APC
WW3R: But is sounded, from the account of Ewa Jasiewics
thought he'd been deliberately targeted.
WW3R: And that the soldiers knew who Baha was.
ZK: Yes, because they had seen him around, and this particular
commanding officer was particularly harsh to internationals, picking
them up off the street, and sending them out, as happened to one of
the JATO members... So basically., they're a football field away,
right? And they shoot this kid, there's internationals maybe about
two of three away on either side, right? The kid's pointing, they
shoot him, entering here, exiting out
[points at chest]... like, clear,
shoot to kill. All the internationals took it as a clear message. A
couple of internationals had already been taken away by the army,
sent to a police station, and processed. One of them went back to
Britain after Baha got killed, because he was so devastated by it.
Yeah, I think it's obviously not the internationals' fault for not
protecting the kid, but what it does show is that, Israel has cover.
They've got cover.
SQ: Really, who outside of our activist e-mail circles even knows the
story of how Baha got killed.
WW3R: Actually, that ended up in the Guardian, the Telegraph...
SQ. Alright, well, outside this suffocating US media vacuum it was reported...
ZK: It's interesting to see how they first reported it. First they
said he was a bomber. Then they said he was throwing a Molotov
cocktail. Then they said they would investigate, and that's when it
drops off the radar. I'm actually interested to see when the
investigation of the shooting incident of me comes to a close...
SQ: Yeah, right.
WW3R: Was Baha's death a soldier's decision? Is that an individual
ZK: I think that was actually from the regional commander; he'd been
seeing us around.
WW3R: I thought that we could talk about JATO's upcoming campaign.
SQ: The way that our perspective is frozen out in the organized
Jewish majority, you know, it's not like there's a debate. I phoned
my childhood rabbi, someone I have very good memories of. I said, I
was in the West Bank, I was thinking I could come talk about what I
saw--and he launched into a rant. You know, he just ranted at me for
ten minutes, it was unbelievable. There was no way he was going to
let me near anybody in that congregation where I had been bar
WW3R: Zaid, how did you find your way to JATO?
ZK. [Laughs] That's actually a really interesting question. I didn't
start getting active till a year ago--literally almost a year ago
today. There was this Palestine Activist Forum meeting where I walked
in being the one person who was not involved in activism at all. It
was kind of a blank slate. I was well-read, which helps, and I also
had experience, you know, of being there, so...
One of the reasons I actually decided to actually go into Palestine
activism was because I saw for the first time that Jews were active
on the issue. So I saw that there's clear chance of entering into the
American consciousness. Because I've always said that Jews in
particular in this country have the strongest voice on this issue. A
lot of it has to do with the underlying racism in this country.
Namely, that you can't take a Palestinian or an Arab at his word, you
know. And as I became more active, and started working more closely
with these people, they developed into my friends, which is entirely
kind of normal for me.
WW3R: So you're saying before you met these folks you didn't have
much sense that there were anti-occupation Jews ...
ZK: I mean, I saw groups like Jews For Justice in Palestine, which
published that pamphlet, but outside of a few intellectuals, I didn't
know about it. It's entirely, entirely squashed. Not only within the
overall media, and the way things are framed, but within the context
of the way Arabs view this issue--which is really unfortunate. They
view it through lenses that are similar to the media lenses. Namely,
instead of looking at it from the standpoint of imperialism, they
look at it from the standpoint of Jews controlling--you know,
controlling these imperial powers. So it was that the Jews controlled
Britain, the Jews control the United States....
WW3R: And that's not what it is?
ZK. [Laughs] I mean, that's pretty ridiculous. One thing I said to
Palestinians, is "Let's take a look at a state that has had lots of
cooperation with Israel, let's take a look at Saudi Arabia. Now,
through this logic, would you extend, and say that King Fahd is a
Zionist? To get the technical sense of what Zionism means, it means,
Jews from around the world emigrate to Israel. Emigrate to Palestine
to create a state for the Jews. I mean do you really think that King
Fahd gives a shit? Do you think that George Bush really cares about
Jews emigrating to Palestine? I mean, he might... [Laughs]
SQ: I really don't think he does. I think he cares about oil profits.
WW3R: We don't know, he may be a Christian Zionist.
ZK: He may be. I mean, Bush is kind of on the fringe of religious
fanaticism. Let's look at Clinton, or any other administration that
has supported Israel. And what you see is that you just can't
reconcile this vision of the Jews controlling everything and the
overall structure of power, and the institutions that it serves .....
WW3R: You talked about seeing these Jews that were involved in this.
I assume that meant something to you.
ZK: Well, I want to clarify. A lot of that has to do with
restructuring my own internal biases. So for instance when I first
entered conversations with people on this issue, the first thing I
would do is, you know, give a whole slew of Jewish and Israeli
intellectuals who argue this perspective. But I don't necessarily
agree with that, I don't want to fall into those traps of feeding
into this form of racism against Arabs. You know, there are people
who are telling the truth, and it shouldn't matter what their
SQ: I want to support that. I mean part of what helped with moving my
own transformation along was a decision to read what people had to
say about themselves. So I picked up "The Arabs of Israel" by Sabri
Jiryis. And I started reading Palestinian poetry, et cetera. I think
it's really, really crucial to listen to people speak for themselves.
That's something JATO has made a point of. We'll get invited to a
place to speak, because we're Jewish, and we're pro-Palestinian, and
we'll use that as leverage, but we'll show up with Zaid, or we'll
show up with Nihaya. And we'll be like, OK, "Now it's time to listen
to a Palestinian, helllloooo." So yeah, I think that's really
THE CAMPAIGN TO END U.S. AID
WW3R: Let's talk about the upcoming JATO campaign to end US aid to Israel.
SQ: There are a bunch of us in JATO who think that US aid is root of
the problem, that without US aid to Israel there would be no
occupation, because it would be unsustainable. We don't have any
illusions that we're going to end US aid to Israel. But we think that
in order to illuminate what's really happening internationally and
its implications for Palestinian people, it's important to focus on
US aid, and it's important to focus on the way that the United States
aid package for Israel is ultimately a subsidy package for
well-placed US corporations, many of them based in Texas.
WW3R: Who are Israel's defense contractors and so on?
WW3R: Why does JATO want to end all US aid?
SQ: Because ending aid would end the occupation.
WW3R: OK, well, what argument do you use to people who say "Well, you
know, if we end all US aid to Israel they won't be able to defend
themselves, and they're under attack."
SQ: They're not under attack, they're attacking, and they are clearly
able to defend themselves. The US aid is not going to self-defense,
it's going to oppression of Palestinians. Israel has an extremely
large and well-armed army that without another penny of US aid could
perfectly well defend from attack.
ZK. I agree with everything you're saying, but ideologically, I frame
it entirely differently. Decision of where aid is going should be
based on need. And Israel is the sixteenth wealthiest country in the
world. They don't need aid. They'd have a self-sustainable economy,
if they didn't spend 40% of their budget on their military, which is
aggressive, like Steve was saying. People actually say, if you cut US
aid, you are being anti-Semitic. There are people on the left who
actually argue that. But you have to look at aid from the framework
of need. Now, granted, that is not how US aid is distributed. From
the PR perspective, that's how it's distributed, but it's nonsense.
Obvious places for need are, you know, sub-Saharan Africa. But all of
sub-Saharan Africa combined doesn't get the aid that Israel gets.
SQ: All of sub-Saharan Africa plus all of Latin America minus
Colombia combined, does not get the aid that Israel gets. You know,
take the three billion and redirect it to the global fund on
AIDS--you'll be doing something good with the money.
ZK: Yeah! I mean, when people say "end us aid to Israel," the
logical corollary to that is, "because they don't need it."
WW3R: The BBC ran a story this week that the IMF came out and said
that Israel doesn't need additional aid, "special aid" as it's put,
to get out of this recession, which is how it's been billed. So,
what's JATO planning to do?
SQ: There's been talk about doing some high-profiles "zaps" of
pro-aid national figures. Disrupt a speech by Hillary Clinton, for
instance. There's been an idea floated of putting together a
conference in Washington, of various Palestine activist groups
opposed to US aid to Israel, and inviting politicians, seeing who
comes, you know? We ought to see who our friends are. We don't have a
lot of them...
WW3R: Might hear nothing but the crickets chirping...
SQ: You know, there's one or two congressmen who I think might show...
SQ: Maxine Waters, John Conyors., you know? It would be cool if they
ZK: How about that guy from Texas, Ron Paul.
SQ: Maybe, could happen. You know, a lot of the things JATO's gonna
do are the things that JATO has been doing all along, but just
connecting it to US aid. Like we're having a Hannukah action, we're
gonna teach you about the economic strangulation of Palestine, AND
we're gonna tell you that US aid supports all this.
WW3R: JATO has a different approach from SUSTAIN, right? SUSTAIN'S
approach is more incremental.
SQ: JATO has tried to focus itself from going from just Palestine
solidarity as a whole, to ,let's just focus on US aid. SUSTAIN has
gone from, the focus on US aid is too big, to let's go after
caterpillar, and when were done with them, let's go after someone
else, because it can raise awareness. But, I also get the impression
from being on the No Aid to Israel listserv, which is SUSTAIN"S
listserv, for SUSTAIN, ending aid to Israel is a hook on which to
hang Palestine activism. And that, as individuals what they're really
about is the same thing as people in JATO and people in PAFNY and
the people in Al-Awda, which is Palestine activism, and that, you
know, the ending aid thing even though that seems to be in their name
their raison d'etre, is a hook.
ZK: Personally, I want to form a SUSTAIN chapter in New York. For the
very reason of addressing ending US aid in particular, to
particularly non-Jewish activists, because I think there's a void in
NYC that isn't addressed.
ISRAEL AND U.S. IMPERIALISM
WW3R: Alright, well here's something which I've
been trying to figure out which I'd like both of your opinions on. There's
different theories as to why the US is sinking all this money into Israel
year after year after year. One you could sort of call the pork-barrel
theory, that it's about defense contractors who are making money off of the
weapons sales and so on. And then there's what you might call the Jewish
conspiracy theory, which is that America is controlled by Israel, and that
AIPAC is pulling the strings. And then there's what you might call the
Chomsky theory, which I've always bought, which is that the US needs a proxy
force in the Middle East as a counter-balance to the Arabs. But it seems to
me that since the end of the Cold War, and since operation Desert Storm,
that's made a lot less sense. Because during the Cold War, when Nasser was in
power, and so on, the Arab world was closer to the Soviet Union, at least the
radical states in the Arab world were closer to the Soviet Union. And a lot
of the other states were sort of equidistant between the two powers, and
there was this sense that there was a proxy force that was needed to
counterbalance them. Now it's been more than ten years, there is no more
Soviet Union, and since Desert Storm, when the first Bush built this sort of
new Pax Americana, and actually wooed a lot of the Arab states over into his
camp, I've been a little bit stumped as to why this relationship persists.
And why US imperialism still perceives Israel as a useful proxy.
SQ: I think that the Chomsky theory and the pork-barrel theory
are inseparable, that ultimately it's always been about oil profits. And
what's underlying the Chomsky theory is US craving for oil profits, for a very
small segment of Americans, ultimately, and I think that the end of the Cold
War doesn't impact on that need at all, that the United States and its allies
continue to need an unstable and dependent Middle East in order to continue
to extract oil profits from it. A Middle East in which Arab
self-determination is really consolidated, they way Nasser was trying to do,
would put the end to the outflow of capital from that region to this...
WW3R: Right, but antagonizing the Arabs
with this continued massive support for Israel is only going to hasten the
demise of compliant regimes.
SQ: Well, I think the facts on the ground have not borne you out.
Even as United States support for Israel has become more and more
uncritical, and more and more lavish, the number of illegitimate Arab proxy
states for US imperialism has increased. And the extent to which Arab ruling
interests kind of kow-tow to the United States has increased. I think the
sort of general level of turmoil that exists as long as this irritant is
stuck in the side of the Arab nation..., it is a very good thing for the
United States. I think that, to put it crudely, the Arabs can't get their shit
together as long as they've got this monster army doing the US' bidding on
the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.
WW3R: How is it preventing them from
getting their shit together?
SQ: Because they're focused on Palestine, and not on their problems.
WW3R: But that might actually prove a
catalyst to them getting their shit together.
SQ: Hasn't yet. That's what Nasser tried to do, and he crashed and burned.
ZK. See, I actually disagree with your interpretation of Chomsky's
theory because if I'm correct the Soviet Union was never in the picture in
his theory the whole idea was that US support for Israel is to diminish--
serve as a proxy-- to diminish any form of radical nationalism --the kind of
virus --the spreading of the virus of independent states taking on their own
WW3R: Well, yes, but the Soviets were
encouraging that. They supported Nassar and they supported Saddam and
ZK: Yes, but the United States also, would, supported Saddam. The
United States also supported. In terms of, like for instance Nassar first
went to all western Europe. First they went to the United States to buy arms.
ZK: And this is very similar to...
WW3R: But all that changed with '56.
ZK: ...Nicaragua, you know. Nicaragua went to everywhere but the
Soviet Union to defend themselves initially. Initially. And no one would sell
them anything. So it wasn't the Soviet Union in general regard the Middle
East as US territory. And they didn't really put that much focus. Yes they
armed Syria as you know, as a deterrent against Israel, but Israel was
essentially put in there to be the regional bully. With the help of their
local cops on the beat, Iran and Turkey.
SQ: And the Phalangists.
ZK: Well those were the colonial gendarmes of Israel. But like also
Pakistan was a part of that. The thing is, is that radical nationalism has
been replaced and to a large extent due to US interference with what's now
emerging as a kind of Islamic form of I guess people like to call it
fundamentalism. But but it's more or less an Islamic form of nationalism.
Creating an Islamic nation. And so now this is this was fairly clear from the
80s. This kind of transition. From this cold war independent radical
nationalism to now focusing on this type of Islamic nation that's being borne
out. So Israel still plays that role. Because it can now move into on one
level support on another level crush it
WW3R: Well Israel is not going to crush
Islamist uprising in Saudi Arabia or Egypt. And in fact it can serve as a
provocation for such uprisings.
ZK: That's true. I mean This is...
WW3R: I mean I'm trying to figure this out
myself. I'm frankly confused.
ZK: I don't know if support for Israel is about maintaining
WW3R: Credibility of what?
ZK: Namely if the US changes its stance on Israel, well God knows who
they're going to change their stance on next. Israel's like the love of the
American elite. They've been so since '67.
WW3R: Right but why has it persisted so
long. That's what I'm trying to figure out.
SQ: Look at the results. I mean, things are great for the United
States and Egypt. You've got 50 million people there. Something really
independent and anti-imperialist arose there. Like Nassar tried to do. That
would be really bad for the US. Things are great there now; we've got
Mubarak. He's in firm control. It's been that way for a couple of decades.
That's all about Israel. That's all about all this manipulation that happened
with Carter around Camp David. It's what put Saddam, Mubarak in where they
are as firmly in power as they are. I think that Israel has played a really,
really useful role for the US in the region. Is the US playing a dangerous
game? Sure. Could US policy spark an Islamist uprising in Saudi Arabia or
Egypt? Sure, but I think that this whole package of alliances, and aid, and
rivalries -- the whole web the US keeps going around Israel -- is what would
probably cause an Islamist rebellion to fail. The power and the strength of
tyrants like Mubarak and Fahd have everything to do with the US power in the
region that's centered in Israel.
WW3R: I see that has to do with US power
because the US is certainly providing plenty of aid and petro-dollars
respectively to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but what does it have to do with
ZK: What you're really hitting on are some really important
paradoxes. On one levelm it's so weird that you're bringing this up because
these are real paradoxes that I'm not exactly sure how to reconcile. On one
level you do see this kind of, things do, it can, it's not that great for the
United States and what indication's that it's not that great is their
current plans. Their current plans of redrawing the Middle East signifies
that something needs to be changed in order to further this alliance, this
kind of re-alliance towards us , reliance towards us, otherwise known as
obedience, more or less. And now the question is how does it fit in with
Israel. And so on one level I think I'm trying to make it rational,
rationalize it, but then there's serious irrational segments of this
administration that have to be looked at really carefully. So for instance
this is what I was talking to you guys about before You have full
infiltration of super pro-Israeli Likudnik hawks from specifically the
Pentagon. They see it in terms of dual interests. For instance, JINSA --
which is where a lot of these guys come from, including Dick Cheney, Richard
Perle, the 2002 Henry "Scoop" Jackson award-- which is the JINSA award in
honor of Henry Jackson who was a US Senator back in the 60s, super
pro-Israeli senator -- that was given to Wolfowitz. The previous year was
given to the secretaries of the three armed forces, the Air Force, the Navy,
and the Army. And you know Wolfowitz was part of numerous position papers
calling for regime change in Iraq. JINSA's overall framework is guarding the
security interests of the United States and Israel. And what I'm wondering
is, is this ideologically driven? Does it extend beyond this rational theme
of imperialism to move into this kind of irrational scheme of just, almost
sheer racism and domination through racism? I mean, Henry Kissinger, when he
formulated his plan of stalemate back in the 1970s, it was almost entirely
based upon racism.
WW3R: What kind of stalemate?
ZK: Stalemate being that at that point Sadat was trying to basically
negotiate with Israel. Calling for full withdrawal for full peace. And which
was actually more than what was eventually "compromised" in the Camp David
accords in '78. But that was blocked by Kissinger . He said let's do this
process called stalemate. No peace, no negotiations, only force. And his
whole entire framework was that they had nothing to fear about these Arab
armies. These guys don't know how to operate a gun. This was what the guy was
saying. A lot of this actually can be found inside of "Fateful Triangle".
This disgust. I think there are frameworks of racism --there is a system of
racism inside this kind of framework of thought that should be addressed that
is irrational. I mean I don't know. I really don't know
SQ: I think that the US for the most part behaves very rationally in
pursuit of its own imperial interests. Yes, Bush is surrounded by millennial
Christian fundamentalists. But Clinton wasn't, and he tried to, at Camp
David, to lock the key in the Palestinian jail. It doesn't mean that they're
going to succeed. So far I think that, you know, the US ruling class has been
very successful in pursuing their own interests but, you know, Bismarck was
very rational in pursuing German interests and ultimately failed. So yes they
could misstep. Yes, there could be a disaster. But I think that at the core
of their doing is just rational pursuit of greed.
ZK: It could really just be this same concept of stalemate playing.
Yes. It could really be that. I mean, why are we insisting on regime change
in Iraq? Why is it that these guys can be so outright in their statements?
For instance Perle and Feith. Feith, Douglas Feith is now, he's director of
Middle East policy for the Pentagon. Why is it that they can go to the
incumbent Netanyahu administration in 1996 and lay out plans that they're
implementing right now? I mean, this administration is different than the
Clinton administration. It's actually different than the previous Bush
administration too. It's much more like Reagan. And there are marginal
SQ: But they're marginal.
ZK: They're marginal but the effects are not marginal. Like what they
pursue in policy may be marginally different but the overall effects it can
have can be fairly dramatic.
SQ: But don't you think that the suffering that's happening right
now all over Palestine isn't that, aren't Palestinians reaping what Clinton
and Barak sowed?
ZK: Yes. But this could only be the beginning. And that's, I think,
when you look at what these lunatics are planning, which they spelled out in
WW3R: Which is what, '96?
ZK: Yeah, '96 when Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, they
were all inside of the administration on one level or another.
They were giving their advice as to what the Netanyahu
administration should do. And the first thing was supporting regime change in
Iraq. They said, and I'm quoting, this is an important strategic aim to
Israel in and of itself, neutralizing Syria, Syria's territorial
ambitions, meaning the return of the occupied Golan Heights... And also,
neutralizing Iran. Michael Ledeen, who was also a contributor, came up with the
concept of what's called, "total war", permanent war,
and not just against Iraq, but Iran and Saudi Arabia are to
follow. I mean, real lunatics. And, you can just dismiss this as pure
nonsense, if you're a rational person, it does sound like nonsense. The
problem is, they're all running the show, so you have to take it seriously.
SQ: For me, it's like, imagine that you drop an inkblot on very porous paper,
and you watch it spread. That's American power in the Middle East. You start
with the Arabian peninsula, most of it--there were some problems in Yemen,
you know, then you had Jordan, but that was kind of unstable. Then you had
Israel. It's a good wedge, and over the years, the power has spread and
spread and spread so now we've got Egypt, we hadn't before. Syria's no longer
a problem, used to be a problem. Jordan is completely entrenched and stable
now. Lebanon used to be a problem, and has stopped being a problem. And now
we're gonna take care of Iraq, and just move it out, you know? We've got
Afghanistan, so then Iran will be surrounded, so they're next. To me, it
looks to me like a progressive march of power; and it certainly doesn't seem
like US support of Israel has impeded that march at all.
WW3R: How has it helped?
SQ: That's... I think it's complex, and it's complex in ways that I
don't fully understand. But, I think that there's something about keeping an
irritant in an area you want to control, that is useful to the empire,
because as long as there's an irritant, as long as there's turmoil, you're in
a better position to play forces against each other.
ZK: Also, it's not just the Middle East region where Israel serves as a
strategic client. If the US wants to do anything nefarious, particularly in
South and Central America, Israel is the channel to go through. Or South
Africa. When Congress called for sanctions, the Reagan administration just
re-routed it thru Israel.
SQ: And the United States will always have a foothold. Let's say that
things go south for US imperial interests; the Saudi royal family is
overthrown, Mubarak is overthrown, Abdullah is overthrown... Israel cannot
turn against the United States. A surge of Israeli nationalism only leads
to a stronger alliance with the United States, it's the opposite of every
other country in the region. So, there will always, always be this strong
military foothold. You know, if these calculations fail, if the attack on
Iraq causes this horrible calamity for US imperial interests, well, you can
pick up the pieces and start again. Start in Tel Aviv, and move on out
again. We can never be shut out of the region.
ZK: I don't know if this is a worry for US planners, but there's also
another scenario. I've forgot what it's called, there's a specific term for
it, but it's basically the madman scenario, the crazy scenario--that if the
US drops its support for Israel, that Israel might just nuke the world. In
1982, for instance, Saudi Arabia made a proposal, that is almost identical
to the proposal they made in 2002, and Israel had a reaction to that. What
they did is send a bunch of fighter jets over the Saudi peninsula. And it
was a clear signal. It was a signal specifically to the United States:
We're running our own agenda here, and you've basically built up a Sparta,
and it might go out of control, so
you'd better stay in line. It's kind of like the tail wagging the dog. I
don't know how significant it is, but it's certainly a possibility.
SQ: There's an interesting parallel from the cold war. You know, it was
never the Soviet Union that dictated what Cuba did, Castro would figure out
something Cuba could do that would be nice for the Soviet Union, and go to
Khrushchev or whoever and say, Now how much more are you going to give us?
So, I think there is an element of that--this is not an obedient client
state, but it is a strategic asset.
THE "APARTHEID WALL"
WW3R: I want to talk about the fence,
because that's part of the current ISM campaign, to focus on the fence,
ZK: The fence. My God. Alright, what you have right now, it's just
unbelievable. I mean, basically what's happening is the construction of
ghettos, in places like Qalqilya, Tul Karm, and all the adjacent villages.
And the fence is not a fence, it's a wall, it's a 30 meter wall, with a sniper tower
every half-kilometer. Steve, you've seen pictures of them.
SQ: Your pictures of that wall freaked me out. I had no fucking idea
till you showed those slides at the mosque in Long Island. You need to show
those slides to EVERYBODY.
ZK: People try to say it's like the Berlin Wall. It's nothing like
the Berlin Wall. It's completely...
SQ: It's much bigger.
ZK: It's bigger, it's like, it's much more, man, it's much more
Nazi-like. I swear to God, I don't use that term loosely. I mean, they're
constructing ghettos, literal ghettos.
WW3R: How so?
ZK: I mean, so for instance, Qalqilya is surrounded 80% by this wall.
And the wall's not on the Green Line. It's inside the West Bank. And the way
they're confiscating land, they're not putting out the whole map of what
they're going to take. What they do is, they issue orders little by little,
and simultaneously, in different areas, so all of a sudden, they just see how
much they can get away with, and then they take a little more; see how much
they can get away with, and then take a little more.
SQ: Did you know that there are American Jewish philanthropists who
are financing the building of the wall in the northern West Bank, because
Jews in Afula and that area have been complaining, how come they don't get a
wall? "They get a wall in Petah Tikva, how come we don't get a wall in
WW3R: Afula is where?
SQ: In the north, just north of Jenin, near Beit She'an
WW3R: I thought the intention of the wall
was to completely encircle the West Bank?
SQ: The intention of the wall is to separate Palestinian population
centers in the West Bank from Jewish population centers in Israel.
ZK: That's one part of it. But it's also to further integrate the
central Samarian settlements into Israel permanently. For instance, Ariel. My
uncle is a cartographer that has written a pretty extensive paper on it, and
he's expecting that they're going to incorporate Ariel inside the wall. Ariel
goes all the way past Salfit, which is 20 km inside the Green Line. But the
way it's being done is that it takes more and more. So Alfe Menashe, and
Zufin--these are settlements that are around the Qalqilya area. Qalqilya
marks the beginning of the central region, the "greater Samaria
region"--that's the settlement-colony term. And so what happens is when you
incorporate this through this wall, what you're essentially doing is
disconnecting Palestine from Palestine, disconnecting the West Bank from
itself, you're instituting cantonization. And when you add on the way the
wall's going to be encircling population centers, like TulKarm and Qalqilya,
you have the creation of a full ghetto.
WW3R: So this wall is not going to go in a
straight line, it's actually going to make circles around Tul Karm and
ZK: Oh, yeah. Qalqilya is going to be encircled about 80%, like
this [makes a horseshoe shape with his hands]. Jayyous, same thing. Jayyous
is more extreme than Qalqilya, because Jayyous lost 70% of it's land in
1948, so they've been farming on the remaining 30%, and they're losing 90%
of that, about 12,000 dunams. What's going to be left is just the city. Now,
to get to Jayyous, what you have to do is stop in a roadblock at a town
called Azzoun, which is like 5-10 kilometers away, and grab a taxi. And even
that's going to be cut off. So, in other words, you can't drive to Jayyous
from anywhere in the West Bank. Like, let's suppose you're going to take your
car starting off from Qalqilya--you wouldn't be able to get there. You can't
even leave Qalqilya, because there's a checkpoint. There's no way to get out.
So it's permanent cantonization of each and every single area. This is South
Africa times 20.
WW3R: Now why is the wall circling around
it? Are there settlements on each side?
ZK: Yes. It's entirely surrounded by settlements. It's also got to do
with what land they want to take. That region is the water-rich region of the
West Bank. In Jayyous alone-- and this is a small village, like 3,000 acres;
not much, right?--there are seven water aquifers. So this is like, the water
rich basin. The type of crops that grow there are amazing--you have mangoes,
you have oranges, you have grapefruits...
WW3R: So it's no accident what they're
ZK: Oh no, it was carefully planned.
SQ: It also seems to increase the benefit of the wall for the Israeli
demographic warriors, because you know, on the Israeli side of the wall, you
have a bunch of empty land, that was Palestinian West Bank land that was
confiscated to build the wall. The wall goes smack up against homes on the
Palestinian side. If the wall is constructed in a way to make life in those
homes unlivable, you can, to an extent, depopulate the Palestinian side, you
can create that empty space on the other side too.
WW3R: The original intent, I think,
[former Defense Minister] Ben Eliezer's intent, was motivated by security
ZK: Yeah, and I think they're gonna get some results from it.
WW3R: Well, There's no doubt they're going to get results from it,
because there haven't been any suicide attacks from Gaza, which is already
ZK: Yes. Yes, that's correct. That's exactly what they're doing,
Gazafication of West Bank.
WW3R: But at the same time they're using
this fence to grab stuff.
WW3R: Any closing thoughts?
SQ: What is crystal clear, I think, to an observer from the outside,
is that any agreement that does not include full Israeli withdrawal from all
territories occupied in 1967 will fail. And so, any Israeli politician who's
walking into talks with an idea that full withdrawal from the 1967 occupation
is unacceptable, is going to walk away without an agreement.
ZK: Well, they might have an agreement, they just won't have peace.
SQ: That's been crystal clear since 1967.
WW3R: Anything else?
SQ: Everything that distracts from an analysis of imperialism and of
corporate manipulation of state policy is ultimately barking up the wrong
tree while the dirty work carries on.
ZK: Do you think if the organized Jewish community took an
anti-racist stance with regards to US policy in Israel, do you think they
could maintain the same level of support that they have now?
SQ: I think that JATO can drive a wedge. What's stopping a lot of
Americans, Jewish and not Jewish from taking an anti-imperialist stance or
anti-racist stance is accusations of anti-Semitism. I think that does play a
role in public opinion, and I think we can short -circuit that. When we did
our report-back at Union Theological Seminary someone said, "You know I get
accused of anti-Semitism by my Jewish friend when I want to talk about this."
I turned to him and said, "Use us as cover." You know? Don't let them cow
you. People need to hear that.
Bill Weinberg and David Bloom are co-editors of the e-weekly War on Terror news compendium World War 3 Report . They can be reached at email@example.com.
Jews Against the Occupation can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUSTAIN NYC can be reached through Zaid Khalil:
The International Solidarity Movement can be reached at