Palestine Can Win!

Expanded version of my talk at May 4th, 2024  demonstration in Olympia in solidarity with Palestine

by Peter Bohmer, May 14th, 2024; member of Palestine Action of South Sound

I am reminded in May, 2024 of the global movement of 1968. The US war against Vietnam was raging. There were powerful movements across the globe calling for immediate withdrawal of the US from Vietnam and in many cases in solidarity with the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the North Vietnam Army fighting against the US and the South Vietnamese Army.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, April 4, 1968. There were major uprisings in many cities following his assassination, mainly in Black communities. Social movements increasingly linked the Vietnam War and US imperialism to racial and other oppressions in the U.S. It is important for us to do that now.

1968 was the year of the Columbia University student occupation that demanded the end of the university’s complicity with the Vietnam war and that Columbia not buy up land in Harlem to build a gym for Columbia University, displacing residents. Black students did a simultaneous occupation. There was serious repression at Columbia; 700 were arrested and many more were beaten by the New York Police Department. There was a subsequent occupation there, later in the spring of 1968. The repression furthered resistance at Columbia and beyond and increased the popularity of this movement among students. …

Palestine talk from May 4, 2024 demo, Olympia

A letter to Young Activists

by Peter Bohmer. May 14, 2024

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ExarchiaPicture1.jpg

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters.” Frederick Douglass

I have been an activist for reform and revolutionary transformation since 1967. For me, being an activist has meant directly involving myself in activities  groups,  and organizations in order to change policies at a local and national level and to raise consciousness about the causes, consequences and solutions to  poverty and the inequality of income and  wealth, police brutality and repression, U.S. militarism and intervention in other countries,  climate justice, for  quality health care and housing for all, and for reproductive rights. This in addition to solidarity with liberation struggles and ending capitalism and ending capitalist alienation, exploitation, and oppression. Being anti-racist has also been central to my theory and practice since the 1960’s, strongly influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Freedom Movement and in the 1970’s, the Chicano and American Indian Movement (AIM).

What follows is link to my letter!

Letter from a lifelong activist for radical transformation

Video of February 21, 2024 Forum, “Jewish Perspectives on the Israel War on Gaza”

Different perspectives -Rabbis David Basior and Seth Goldstein, Evergreen faculty, Nancy Koppleman and me (Peter Bohmer) at The Evergreen State College.

https://evergreen.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=629dcb9d-785c-4212-8627-b120001bd99a

A Jewish anti-Zionist Perspective on Palestine, Revised and Updated!

Jewish anti-Zionism revised.

A Jewish anti-Zionist Perspective on Palestine!

by Peter Bohmer, Economics for Everyone

January 16, 2024

My background causes me to support the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since 1967, I have actively opposed the U.S. military aid and ideological support for Israel, and in solidarity with Palestine.

I mourn the deaths of 26,000 people murdered in southern Israel and Gaza over the last three weeks (as of January 15, 2024), 1200 in Israel, mainly by Hamas and over 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza and 350 Palestinians in the West Bank by the Israeli military and settlers. More than 20 Palestinians have been killed for one Israeli.

My parents grew up in Vienna, Austria. The German military and Nazis were welcomed by much of the Austrian population when they invaded in spring 1938. Germany immediately annexed Austria. My dad was 22 when he was incarcerated in Vienna by the Austrian Nazis and frequently beaten. According to Nazi records, he was imprisoned for being “political” and Jewish.  He was released after four months. My parents escaped a few days later to France.

My parents wanted to leave Europe because they expected an imminent Nazi invasion of France. They were denied visas to Australia and Canada because of these countries’ antisemitic immigration policies. After a few rejections, my parents were admitted to the U.S. in June 1939. My grandfather and at least four other relatives were gassed to death in concentration camps. 

Antisemitism, as anti-Jewishness, has been prevalent all over Europe and to a lesser but real extent in the U.S.  It continues today although less systemic. Many Jewish people as a response have seen their liberation and fair treatment as integrally connected with the liberation of all people, e.g., Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, the many socialist Jews, in the civil rights and anti-apartheid movement and in the Palestine Solidarity movement.

Because of this history of oppression, I grew up believing Jewish people would not oppress others. I was naïve. A majority of Jewish people in Israel and around the world support a Jewish dominated state.  A Jewish state where Palestinians are systematically displaced from their land and are treated less than equal within the Israeli state formed in 1948; and less than human on the land Israel seized in 1967: the West Bank Gaza, and East Jerusalem. When you take someone’s land or enslave them, as what also happened in the U.S., there is a strong tendency for the dominant group to justify it.

In addition, Zionism means the right of return for anyone around the world who is Jewish while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their millions of descendants who were expelled from Israel’s 1948 created borders are not allowed to return. Most of the population of Gaza are Palestinians forced out of Israel in 1948 and their children and grandchildren. A Jewish dominated State where Palestinians have lived for millennia is Jewish supremacy.

I am anti-Zionist which is fundamentally different from being ani-Jewish. The Netanyahu led Israeli government, many leaders of the Republican and Democratic Party and some Jewish groups in the U.S. try to undermine criticisms of Israel and support for Palestinian self-determination and justice by calling criticism of Israel, antisemitic.

Some criticisms of Israel are motivated by hatred of Jews, e.g., white supremacist groups in the US, and we should never ally with them in opposing the Israeli occupation.

Zionism means a Jewish State where the laws, educational system and major institutions favor Jewish people, and that Palestinians are second class citizens or non-citizens. Don’t allow Zionists to define you as antisemitic because you are Anti-Zionist.

Apologists for Israel claim that the focus on Israel’s human rights violations of Palestinians is antisemitic because there are other countries that commit as bad or worse violations than Israel, e.g., Saudi Arabia. My response is that this is not antisemitic; it is important that Israel be strongly criticized. Rather than lessening our condemnation of Israel, let us increase our denunciations of other violators.  In addition, no country today is a worse violator than Israel. “The number of people facing possible starvation in the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks is the largest share of a population at risk of famine identified anywhere since a United Nations-affiliated panel created the current global food-insecurity assessment 20 years ago (Stephanie Nolen, New York Times, January 12, 2024). According to Robert Mape, a military historian, “Gaza is one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history” (Julia Frankel, Associated Press, January 11, 2024).

It is urgent that we in the U.S. oppose the ongoing and growing Islamophobia and racism towards Palestinians and the repression of pro-Palestinian voices in our government, universities, and mass media. Let us support all those whose jobs are being threatened because they are speaking up.

It is not an exaggeration to call the Israeli occupation, apartheid; and Gaza an open-air prison that has become a concentration camp.  Violence and displacement by Israeli settlers and the IDF of Palestinians have also increased in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as has the blockade of Gaza even before October 7th.  Groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.N. Secretary General, and the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem use these terms although we seldom find them in the mainstream media or by U.S. politicians.

This does not justify the killing of Israeli civilians in southern Israel but let us understand history  did not begin with what happened on Saturday, October 7th but with British colonialism and the 1948 Nakba (forced removal of Palestinians) and Israeli occupation of the rest of Palestine after the 1967 war. Moreover, Israel’s revenge, mass murder, starvation and collective punishment of Palestinians including the 16-year blockade of Gaza is a war crime that is wrong and will not bring security to Jews.

All Israeli governments, Labor, Likud, Netanyahu, and the recent mass Israeli social movement that had opposed the Netanyahu government’s increasing authoritarianism towards the Jewish population, are rejectionist. This means they do not accept Palestinians as equals, nor Palestinian self-determination, neither in the past nor present.

Whether it’s one state or a real independent two state solution, it must center economic and political justice and equality for all, especially but not limited to Palestinians. This includes the right of Palestinians to return to inside the 1948 borders that Israel imposed. I believe most Palestinian groups, including Hamas would accept this (see, Hamas Contained by Tareq Baconi).

Since 1967, the U.S. has unconditionally supported the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank, the annexation of East Jerusalem, and made more than a dozen vetoes in the UN security council of resolutions critical of Israel. The U.S. has since October 7th, vetoed UN resolutions calling for a cease fire and negotiations. The U.S. provides $3.8 billion dollars of military aid annually and has committed to continue this through 2029. Biden has proposed an additional $14 billion of military aid to Israel, and there is little opposition in Congress. His administration is also sending additional weapons without even getting congressional approval.

Rather than supporting a cease fire now and negotiations, the Biden administration is also sending Israel military advisers, and given Israel carte blanche to continue its invasion of Gaza and commit the murders of tens of thousands and further ethnic cleansing.  The Biden administration has carried out the bombing in Yemen of Ansar Allah (the Houthis) on January 11th and 12th. The Houthis have been attacking ships going to and from Israel and will stop attacking them when Israel stops attacking Gaza. It has become an Israel and U.S. war against Palestine and its allies.

The more we actively support the end of the Israeli occupation and U.S. support for Israel, the more we have the right to criticize the Hamas killings and taking of more than 200 hostages. The hostages should be freed but so should the ten thousand Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

I differ from the few groups and individuals who justify the October 7th murder of Israeli civilians by the Hamas led attack. They claim because the Palestinian struggle is anti-colonial and for self-determination all actions are justified. The killing of Israeli civilians, especially those and their descendants who fled the Nazi control of Europe is wrong. Many of them were not granted permission to immigrate to Great Britain, the U.S., Canada, Australia and other countries because of antisemitism and had no place else to go but Palestine.  This does not justify the forced displacement of Palestinians but makes Israel somewhat different from other settler colonialists.

I am critical of those who ignore or even worse, support the mass killing by Israel in Gaza, directly by massive bombing and the ongoing military invasion. But also, indirectly by blocking most food, water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies from getting in. To defend Israel’s  genocidal policies by calling it self-defense is horrendous. The Israeli starvation of the population in Gaza, the forced displacement of 90% of its population and the resulting spread of contagious diseases and the destruction of hospitals will cause far more deaths this year of Palestinians than even the bombing and shootings. It is an Israeli war on the people of Gaza, not only Hamas.

On Thursday, January 12th, South Africa presented its strong case charging Israeli with genocide against Gaza to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  South Africa documented in great detail the various elements needed to make the legal case that Israel’s policy was genocidal, i.e., 1) Israel’s intent to destroy a group of people; and 2) Physical acts that carried out this intention. The ICJ is likely to make a finding soon that there is a real possibility of genocide and therefore, Israel must end its war against Gaza until the full case is heard. This ruling won’t get Israel to begin a cease fire but can help to strengthen our movements to work towards this end. For the full text, see Jewish Voice for Peace. Also see the Center for Constitutional Rights, a major U.S. law organization,  providing legal analysis of Israel’s genocidal polices in Gaza and U.S. complicity.

Israel claims a Zionist State is the only security for Jews around the world. Long run security cannot be based on the oppression and domination of another people. People will rise up. Israel is developing formal relations with and recognition by some of the conservative Arab states in the Abraham Accords.  That will not further security in the long run, as the population in Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, etc. strongly support the Palestinian struggle.

The Hamas attack of October 7th shows the limits of this immoral strategy of Israel. Even if Israel destroys Hamas, oppression breeds resistance and Israel will eventually be defeated. Moreover, this security state strategy moves Israelis further to the right.

For moral and political reasons, the security of Jewish people and Palestinian people requires the end of the Israeli occupation, the end of U.S. support for Israel, and justice for all Palestinians.

The goal of a Palestinian socialist organization, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, DFLP, is, “a people’s democratic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews live without discrimination, a state without classes and national oppression, which allows Jews and Arabs to develop their national culture together”.

A global movement in support of a permanent cease fire now and ending the Israeli siege of Gaza is growing rapidly. There were coordinated protests all over the world with this demand on January 13th, 2024. In the United States 400,000 protested in Washington DC on this date and in addition calling for the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. In Olympia, many hundreds marched in spite of the cold weather.  Very hopeful is the growing social movement against the Israel war on Gaza and U.S. complicity and in support of Palestine self-determination. Contact me to get involved in the Olympia area if you are not already, peterbohmer@gmail.com.

Let us get involved and do what we can in the streets, in letters to newspapers, by pressuring politicians to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel including  proposed increases, and for ending U.S. support for Israeli aggression. Israel could not continue its war on Palestinians without U.S. government military support. Expose and challenge US corporations like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed-Martin that have profited from the sale of billions of dollars of weapons to Israel, paid by our taxes. Support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel.

Educate yourselves, friends, family, workplace and community about the colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Speak up! It’s our responsibility to do what we can to change U.S. policy so that it is more in line with popular sentiment all over the world including majority U.S. support for a cease fire now.  A minimal demand is for an immediate cease fire, an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza and no increase in U.S. military aid to Israel.

I often hear that Palestine-Israel is too complicated to take a position on, or there is no solution because Israelis and Palestinians are equally victims.  An insightful response in a talk at Evergreen by Khader Hamide, a leading Palestinian activist who the U.S unsuccessfully tried to deport, “Palestinians are losing their land, and their lives and Israelis are losing their humanity.”

A common slogan among Jewish people and Israeli leaders is “Never Again”, which they usually restrict to Jewish people. The holocaust against Jewish people is horrendous but so is the holocaust against African people, Native and indigenous people, and others. Let us mean by “Never Again” for All People. That is both the moral and strategic position.

Thank You!

 

 

 

Thank You!

 

 

My life in 2023, End of the Year Letter

My Life in 2023!

letter by Peter Bohmer,

January 4, 2024

Dear friends and family,

Rather than writing you individually, I am writing all of you a letter about my life in 2023. I would love to hear from you. This letter is a little less personal and more political than I planned but I hope you stick with it.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and fulfilling year. We have just ended 2023 in the midst of the horrific Israeli attack and destruction of Gaza and the murder and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with total US government complicity and support. The massive and active opposition to Israeli and US aggression is impressive and growing, including in the U.S. and among many Jewish people. Let us do what we can to deepen and broaden this movement.

Even in this time of sadness, let us find happiness by connecting with our friends. Friends and human connection are very meaningful and so important to me. You are a central part of my life, and this letter is a part of maintaining this relationship whether you are in Olympia or thousands of miles away. For those outside of Olympia, I hope to see you more in person. I do spend a lot of time on the phone with a few of you. For example, I speak many times a week to my close and longtime friend, Michael Albert.

I am doing well personally and physically although horrified by the Israeli war on Palestine and especially the mass killing of children, the starving of the population and the destruction of hospitals and homes. Since October 9th, I have been actively opposing this war and US support for it. More later in this letter. I have also although to a lesser extent opposed the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.  …

End pf Year Letter 2023

Stop Israeli Apartheid

Stop Israeli Apartheid!

by Peter Bohmer,   December 9, 2023

I want to thank the organizers of this important event. We are living in a time of many crises. Let’s draw strength from gathering together in community and solidarity.

I will talk about anti-apartheid activism for Palestine.

Apartheid was the name given to the institutionalized segregation in South Africa–from the land where one could live, to voting and employment. Every aspect of life was dictated by apartheid.  It was legal and institutionalized from 1948 until 1994 when Nelson Mandela became President.

Zionism means a Jewish State where the laws, educational system and major institutions favor Jewish people, and Palestinians are second class or non-citizens. It means Palestinian families expelled in 1948 and their offspring cannot return to Israel, inside the Green Line, even though they lived there for generations. 

This is apartheid. So is the illegal and immoral occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem where Palestinians have been displaced, imprisoned, and killed by the Israeli military and settlers.  Gaza is an open-air prison that has become a concentration camp.

Don’t let Israel define antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Many Jews are anti-Zionist, e.g., JVP, and some Zionists, e.g., many Christian evangelicals, are Zionist and anti-Jewish.

I’m anti-Zionist which is fundamentally different from anti-Jewish. The Netanyahu-led Israeli government, most Republican and Democratic politicians, and some Jewish groups in the U.S. undermine criticisms of Israel and support for Palestinian self-determination by calling criticism of Israel, antisemitic.

Let’s not let them get away with it!

I recently completed a civil rights tour of key sites in Mississippi and Alabama of the powerful 1950’s and 1960’s Black Freedom Movement. The connection between Israeli apartheid and Jim Crow in the South was undeniable. The bravery and resilience of Black people and civil rights activists is analogous to the courage of Palestinians resisting occupation. My “End Israeli Apartheid” button resonated with most Black people we met.

In the 1970’s, a powerful social movement against South African apartheid developed globally. Activists supported the many levels of struggle inside South Africa.   

We boycotted South African goods, pressured universities and cities to divest from stock and bonds of complicit companies and pushed for sanctions against corporations profiting from Apartheid. This is BDS.  It isolated South Africa and contributed to the eventual end of apartheid although racial oppression continues.

Nelson Mandela, the leader of the anti-apartheid movement made the connection to Palestine: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians.”

There is a history of global movements against Israeli occupation and apartheid that continues today. It includes those of us here and courageous local activist, Rachel Corrie, who led by example. In 2003, Rachel went to Rafah as part of the ISM. She was murdered by the IDF for protecting the home of the family she was staying with.

Her death is mourned all over the world, her life, celebrated. She inspired our local food co-op, who donated to tonight’s auction, to be the first co-op in the US to join the BDS movement. Let’s honor Rachel’s legacy of Palestinian solidarity which has taken great leaps forward since October 7th by our actions.

Across the world, including in the US, millions are mobilizing against Israelis genocidal policies and the US Military’s support. On November 4, 3000 people participated in a demonstration in Olympia. Two days later, hundreds of protesters delayed for hours a ship headed to Israel with munitions.

This movement is multigenerational, multiracial, and practices a diversity of tactics. More want to get involved. Every Monday night, 80 of us have been organizing Palestine solidarity actions including tonight’s benefit. Talk to me later if you’re interested in planning actions targeting corporations supporting Israel’s war or future fundraisers.

Today’s movement gives me hope for the future, but Palestine cannot wait. Two apartheid movements have been defeated. Let’s join the fight to make it three.

Since 1967, I have been in solidarity with Palestine and actively opposed U.S. military aid and ideological support for Israel. My history of lifelong activism stems in part from being Jewish.

My parents grew up in Vienna, Austria. My dad was 22 when he was incarcerated and frequently beaten by Nazis for being Jewish. My parents escaped Europe and eventually were admitted to the U.S. in 1939. My grandfather and many relatives were killed in concentration camps.

I grew up believing Jewish people wouldn’t oppress others because of our history of oppression. I was naïve. Sadly, most Jewish people in Israel and around the world support a Jewish dominated state. I don’t want this done in my name.

We live in the U.S. Our government’s backing made this mass-murder possible. The more we fight for the end of Israeli occupation and against U.S. support, the more we have the right to criticize Hamas’ killings and taking of 240 hostages. However, history didn’t begin October 7th but with British colonialism and the 1948 Nakba.

Yesterday, the US shamefully vetoed a UN resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire. To call Israel’s ethnic cleansing ‘self-defense’ as the US does is grotesque. A ceasefire and end of the siege are important but insufficient.

A solution, whether it’s one state or a real two state, must center economic and political justice and equality for all, especially Palestinians. This includes the right of Palestinians to return to inside the 1948 Israeli imposed borders.

Educate yourselves, friends, and family about Israeli settler-colonialism. It’s catastrophic.  Our responsibility is to do what we can to change fundamentally, U.S. policy. We are the majority and beginning to have an impact.  Khader Hamide, a Palestinian activist said, “Palestinians are losing their land, and their lives and Israelis are losing their humanity.” This is even more true today.

A common slogan among Jewish people is “Never Again”, usually limited to only Jewish people. The holocaust against Jewish people was horrendous but so is the holocaust against people of African descent, Native and indigenous people, and now Palestinians.

Let us mean “Never Again” for Everyone. This is the moral and strategic position.

Stop the war on Gaza, end Israeli apartheid and occupation!

Solidarity!

dec9benefitfinalversion

A Jewish Anti-Zionist Perspective, updated, October 29, 2023

The Jewish Case for Palestine:

Jewish anti-Zionismrevised1029a

By Peter Bohmer, Economics for Everyone

Given at “A Conversation on Gaza-Israel War”, program at the Olympia Center,

October 17, 2023, revised 10/29/2023

I want to share how my background causes me to support the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of all of Palestine including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since 1967, I have actively opposed the U.S. military aid and ideological support for Israel, and in solidarity with Palestine.

I mourn the deaths of 9500 people murdered in southern Israel and Gaza over the last three weeks (as of October 29th) over 1400 in Israel, mainly Israeli civilians by Hamas and over 8000 Palestinians in Gaza and growing numbers in the West Bank by the Israeli military, the IDF. Let us take a moment to reflect on this death of human life and the injuries of many more.

My parents and grandparents were Jewish from Central Europe, my parents grew up in Vienna, Austria. The German military and Nazis were welcomed by much of the Austrian population when they invaded in spring 1938. Germany immediately annexed Austria. My dad was 22 when he was incarcerated in Vienna by the Austrian Nazis and frequently  beaten. According to Nazi records, he was imprisoned for being “political” and Jewish.  He was released after four months. My parents escaped a few days later to France.

They wanted to leave Europe because they expected an imminent Nazi invasion of France. They were denied visas to Australia and Canada because of these countries’ antisemitic immigration policies. After a few rejections, my parents were admitted to the U.S. in June 1939. My grandfather and at least four other relatives were gassed to death in concentration camps. 

Antisemitism, as anti-Jewishness, has been prevalent all over Europe and to a lesser but real extent in the U.S.  It continues today although less systemic. Many Jewish people as a response have seen their liberation and fair treatment as integrally connected with the liberation of all people, e.g., Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, the many socialist Jews, in the civil rights and anti-apartheid movement and in the Palestine Solidarity movement.

Because of this history of oppression, I grew up believing Jewish people would not oppress others. I was naïve. A majority of Jewish people in Israel and around the world support a Jewish dominated state.  A Jewish state where Palestinians are systematically displaced from their land and are treated less than equal within the Israeli state formed in 1948; and less than human on the land Israel seized in 1967: the West Bank Gaza, and East Jerusalem. When you take someone’s land or enslave them, as15 what also happened in the U.S. there is a strong tendency for the dominant group to justify it.

On Facebook recently and for years, I have been accused by individuals of being antisemitic. An earlier version of this talk given on October 17th in Olympia, Washington  was censored and removed by Facebook administrators for being inappropriate. I am anti-Zionist which is fundamentally different from being ani-Jewish. The Netanyahu led Israeli government, many leaders of the Republican and Democratic Party and some Jewish groups in the U.S. try to undermine criticisms of Israel and support for Palestinian self-determination and justice by calling criticism of Israel, antisemitic.

Some criticisms of Israel are motivated by hatred of Jews, e.g., white supremacist groups in the US, and we should never ally with them in opposing the Israeli occupation.Zionism means a Jewish State where the laws, educational system and major institutions favor Jewish people, and that Palestinians are second class citizens or non-citizens.

Zionism also means the right of return for anyone around the world who is Jewish while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their millions of descendants who were expelled from Israel’s 1948 created borders are not allowed to return. Most of the population of Gaza are Palestinians forced out of Israel in 1948 and their children and grandchildren. A Jewish dominated State where Palestinians have lived for millennia is Jewish supremacy.

Moreover, the Israel government has supported many anti-Jewish and antisemitic governments such as Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and provided arms and military training to the military dictatorships in Guatemala and Argentina in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Israel was furthering US foreign policy in these actions, one important reason why the U.S. has been such a supporter of Israel. While opposing antisemitism, don’t allow Zionists to define you as antisemitic. My perspective is similar to Jewish Voice for Peace (jewishvoiceforpeace.org). They have been organizing a series pf powerful demonstrations and sit-ins in, mainly in  D.C., demanding an immediate cease-fire and against U.S. support for the Israeli war.

It is not an exaggeration to call the Israeli occupation, apartheid; and Gaza an open-air prison that has become a concentration camp.  Violence and displacement by Israeli settlers and the IDF of Palestinians have also increased in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as has the blockade of Gaza. Groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.N. Secretary General, and an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem use these terms although we seldom find them in the mainstream media or by U.S. politicians.

This does not justify the killing of Israeli civilians in southern Israel but let us understand its causes did not begin with what happened on Saturday, October 7th but with British colonialism and the 1948 Nakba (forced removal of Palestinians). Israeli’s revenge, mass murder, starvation and collective punishment of Palestinians including the16 year blockade of Gaza is a war crime that is wrong and will not bring security to Jews.

All Israeli governments, Labor, Likud, Netanyahu, and the recent mass Israeli social movement that has opposed the Netanyahu government’s increasing authoritarianism  towards the Jewish population, are rejectionist. This means they do not accept Palestinians as equals, neither in the past nor present.

Whether it’s one state or a real independent two state solution, it must center economic and political justice and equality for all, especially but not limited to Palestinians. This includes the right of Palestinians to return to inside the 1948 borders that Israel imposed.

Since 1967, the U.S. has unconditionally supported the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank, the annexation of East Jerusalem, and made more than a dozen vetoes in the UN security council of resolutions critical of Israel. The U.S. just vetoed a UN resolution calling for a cease fire and negotiations. The U.S. provides $3.8 billion dollars of military aid annually and has committed to continue this through 2029. Biden just proposed an additional $14 billion of military aid to Israel, and it is sure to be passed by Congress.

Rather than supporting a cease fire, negotiations and opposing the massive Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza, the Biden administration is sending Israel additional weapons and military advisers. The U.S, has sent since October 7th, two aircraft carriers and 2000 marines to the Middle East in support of Israel, and has given Israel carte blanche to invade Gaza and commit the murders of tens of thousands and further ethnic cleansing.  

The more we actively support the end of the Israeli occupation and U.S. support for Israel, the more we have the right to criticize the Hamas killings and taking of more than 200 hostages. I differ from the few groups and individuals who justify the October 7th murder of Israeli civilians by the Hamas led attack. They claim because the Palestinian struggle is anti-colonial and for self-determination all actions are justified. The killing of Israeli civilians, especially those and their descendants who fled the Nazi control of Europe is wrong. Many of them were not granted permission to immigrate to Great Britain, the U.S., Canada, Australia and other countries because of antisemitism and had no place else to go but Palestine.  This does not justify the forced displacement of Palestinians but makes their situation somewhat different from other settler colonialists.

I am also critical of those who ignore or even worse, support the mass killing by Israel in Gaza, directly by bombing and the ongoing military invasion. But also, indirectly by blocking most food, water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies from getting in. To defend Israel’s increasingly genocidal policies by calling it self-defense is horrendous.

Israel claims a Zionist State is the only security for Jews around the world. Long run security cannot be based on the oppression and domination of another people. People will rise up. Israel is developing formal relations with and recognition by some of the conservative Arab states in the Abraham Accords.  That will not further security in the long run, as the population in Egypt, Morocco, the UAE, etc. strongly support the Palestinian struggle.

The Hamas attack of October 7th shows the limits of this immoral strategy of Israel. Even if Israel destroys Hamas, oppression breeds resistance and Israel will eventually be defeated. Moreover, this security state strategy moves Israelis further to the right.

For moral and political reasons, the security of Jewish people and Palestinian people requires the end of the Israeli occupation, the end of U.S. support for Israel, and justice for all Palestinians.

The goal of a Palestinian socialist organization, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, DFLP, is, “a people’s democratic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews live without discrimination, a state without classes and national oppression, which allows Jews and Arabs to develop their national culture together”.

Let us do what we can in the streets, in letters and by lobbying politicians to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel including the massive, proposed increases and for ending U.S. support for Israeli aggression. Expose and challenge US corporations like Boeing and Raytheon that have sent billions of dollars of  weapons to Israel, paid for by our taxes. Support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel.

Educate yourselves, friends, and family about the colonization of Palestine. It is a horrible situation for Palestinians, especially in Gaza and it is our responsibility to do what we can to change U.S. policy so that it is more in line with popular sentiment all over the world including declining U.S. support for the Israeli occupation.  A minimal demand is for an immediate cease fire and an end to the siege of Gaza.

I often hear that Palestine-Israel is too complicated to take a position on, or there is no solution because Israelis and Palestinians are equally victims.  An insightful response in a talk at Evergreen by Khader Hamide, a leading Palestinian activist who the U.S unsuccessfully tried to deport for 20 years: “Palestinians are losing their land, and their lives and Israelis are losing their humanity.”

A common slogan among Jewish people and Israeli leaders is “Never Again”, which they usually restrict to Jewish people. The holocaust against Jewish people is horrendous but so is the holocaust against African people, Native and indigenous people, and others. Let us mean by “Never Again” for All People. That is both the moral and strategic position.

Si Se Puede!

Thank You!

Global Justice and Participatory Socialism

We live in a world of obscene economic inequality within and between nations. In this essay, I will address what a participatory socialist society[1] would mean for global justice and equity.

A guiding principle is that the quality of life would be the same within and between societies[2].

A goal is global equity, the same quality of life within and between nations (societies), with diversity of cultures, diversity of what is produced, in the kinship sphere, etc.

There is no moral justification for the quality of life being better because one lives in one society rather than another, it is an accident of birth.  Global equity should be a principle of groups and individuals advocating in favor of participatory socialism.,,I am including both the text and the video of my talk. https://znetwork.org/zvideo/global-justice-and-participatory-socialism/


[1] I am using the term, participatory socialist. Many of the authors in this text use the term participatory society. The difference is over terminology, not over the vision.

Global Justice and Participatory Socialismrev28202023

Jewish Anti-Zionism

STOP the War on Gaza and U.S. Support for Israel!

 A Jewish anti-Zionist Perspective

By Peter Bohmer, October 17, 2023

Economics for Everyone

I want to share how my background causes me to support the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of all of Palestine including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since 1967, I have actively opposed the U.S. military aid and ideological support for Israel, and in solidarity with Palestine.

I mourn the deaths of 4500 people murdered in southern Israel and Gaza over the last 11 days, over 1400 in Israel, mainly Israeli civilians by Hamas and over 3000 in Gaza and growing numbers in the West Bank by the Israeli military, the IDF. Let us take a moment to reflect on this death of human life and the injuries of many more.

My parents and grandparents were Jewish from Central Europe, My parents grew up in Vienna, Austria. The German military and Nazis were welcomed by much of the Austrian population when they invaded in spring 1938. Germany immediately annexed Austria. My dad was 22 when he was incarcerated in Vienna by the Austrian Nazis and frequently  beaten. According to Nazi records, he was imprisoned for being “political” and Jewish.  He was released after four months. My parents escaped a few days later to France.

They wanted to leave Europe because they expected an imminent Nazi invasion of France. They were denied visas to Australia and Canada because of these countries’ antisemitic immigration policies. After a few rejections, my parents were admitted to the U.S. in June 1939. My grandfather and at least four other relatives were gassed to death in concentration camps. 

Antisemitism, as anti-Jewishness, has been prevalent all over Europe and to a lesser but real extent in the U.S.  It continues today although less systemic. Many Jewish people as a response have seen their liberation and fair treatment as integrally connected with the liberation of all people, e.g., Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, the many socialist Jews, in the civil rights and anti-apartheid movement and in the Palestine Solidarity movement.

Because of this history of oppression, I grew up believing Jewish people would not oppress others. I was naïve. A majority of Jewish people in Israel and around the world support a Jewish State.  Palestinians are systematically displaced from their land and are treated less than equal within the Israeli state formed in 1948; and less than human on the land Israel seized in 1967: the West Bank Gaza, and East Jerusalem. When you take someone’s land or enslave them, like what also happened in the U.S. there is a strong tendency for the dominant group to justify it.

On Facebook recently and for years, I have been accused of being antisemitic, I am anti-Zionist which is fundamentally different. The Netanyahu led Israeli government, many leaders of the Republican and Democratic Party and some Jewish groups in the U.S. try to undermine criticisms of Israel and support for Palestinian self-determination and justice by calling criticism of Israel, antisemitic.

Some criticisms of Israel are motivated by hatred of Jews, e.g., white supremacist groups in the US, and we should never ally with them in opposing the Israeli occupation. Zionism means a Jewish State where the laws, educational system and major institutions favor Jewish people and that Palestinians are second class citizens or non-citizens.

Zionism also means the right of return for anyone around the world who is Jewish while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their millions of descendants who were expelled from Israel’s 1948 created borders are not allowed to return.  A Jewish dominated State where Palestinians have lived for millennia is Jewish supremacy. Moreover, the Israel government has supported many anti-Jewish and antisemitic governments such as Orban in Hungary, today, and provided arms to the military dictatorships in Guatemala and Argentina in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Israel was furthering US foreign policy in these actions, one important reason why the U.S. has been such a supporter of Israel. While opposing antisemitism, don’t allow Zionists to define you as antisemitic. My perspective is similar to Jewish Voices for Peace, jewishvoicefor peace.org.

It is not an exaggeration to call the Israeli occupation, apartheid; and Gaza an open-air prison becoming a concentration camp.  Violence and displacement by Israeli settlers and the IDF against Palestinians has increased in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as has the blockade of Gaza. Groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.N. Secretary General, and an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem use these terms although we seldom find them in the mainstream media or by U.S. politicians.

This does not justify the killing of Israeli civilians in southern Israel but let us understand its causes did not begin with what happened on Saturday, October 7th but with British colonialism and the 1948 Nakba (forced removal of Palestinians). Israeli’s revenge, mass murder, starvation and collective punishment of Palestinians including the16 year blockade of Gaza is a war crime that is wrong and will not bring security to Jews.

All Israeli governments, Labor, Likud, Netanyahu, and the current mass Israeli movement that has opposed the Netanyahu’s government increasing authoritarianism towards the Jewish population, are rejectionist. This means they do not accept Palestinians as equals, neither in the past nor present.

Whether it’s one state or a real independent two state solution, it must center economic and political justice and equality for all, especially but not limited to Palestinians.

Since 1967, the U.S. has unconditionally supported the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank, the annexation of East Jerusalem, and made more than a dozen vetoes in the UN security council of resolutions critical of Israel. The U.S. provides $3.8 billion dollars of military aid annually and has committed to continue this through 2029.  

Rather than supporting negotiations, and opposing the massive bombing of Gaza and an Israeli invasion, the Biden administration is sending Israel additional weapons and two aircraft carriers in support of Israel, and giving Israel carte blanche to invade Gaza and commit the probable murders of tens of thousands and further ethnic cleansing.

The more we actively support the end of the Israeli occupation and U.S. support for Israel, the more we have the right to criticize the Hamas killings and taking of 200 hostages.

Israel claims a Zionist State is the only security for Jews around the world. Long run security cannot be based on the oppression and domination of another people. People will rise up. Israel is developing formal relations with and recognition by some of the conservative Arab states, the Abraham Accords.  That will not further security in the long-run, as the population in Egypt, Morocco, the UAE, etc. support the Palestinian struggle.

The Hamas attack of October 7th shows the limits of this immoral strategy of Israel. Even if Israel destroys Hamas, oppression breeds resistance and Israel will eventually be defeated. Moreover, this security state strategy will further move Israelis to the right.

For moral and political reasons, the security of Jewish people and Palestinian people requires the end of the Israeli occupation, the end of U.S. support for Israel, and justice for all Palestinians.

The goal of a Palestinian organization that is socialist, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, DFLP, is “a people’s democratic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews live without discrimination, a state without classes and national oppression, which allows Jews and Arabs to develop their national culture together”.

Let us do what we can in the streets, in letters and lobbying to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel including the recent increase and ending  U.S. support for Israeli aggression. Support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel.

Educate yourselves, friends, and family about the colonization of Palestine. It is a horrible situation for Palestinians, especially in Gaza and it is our responsibility to do what we can to change U.S. policy so that it is more in line with popular sentiment all over the world including declining U.S. support for the Israeli occupation.

I often hear that Palestine-Israel is too complicated to take a position on, or there is no solution because Israelis and Palestinians are equally victims.  An insightful response in a talk at Evergreen by Khader Hamide, a leading Palestinian activist who the U.S unsuccessfully tried to deport for 20 years: “Palestinians are losing their land, and their lives and Israelis are losing their humanity.”

A common slogan among Jewish people and Israeli leaders is “Never Again”, which they usually restrict to Jewish people. The holocaust against Jewish people is horrendous but so is the holocaust against African people, Native and indigenous people, and others. Let us mean by “Never Again” for All People. That is both the moral and strategic position.

Thank You!

Jewish anti-Zionism