Years ago, I pleaded with my Congressional representative to take a stand regarding the suffering of the Palestinians. I shared with him what I had seen on a recent visit into Gaza and the West Bank. I talked about people being shut up in refugee camps, the lack of food, water, medical care and education. “Life there is unfair, and its harshness is supported by our government.”
He thought for a while. “I am as concerned for the suffering of the Palestinians as anyone,” he responded. “But I am not going to do or say anything that will get me labeled, ‘anti-Semitic.’”
After a little more pleading, I said something like: “I am beginning to understand politicians. You are not moved by right or wrong, by justice or even your religious professions. The only thing that will get a response from you is the fear of being embarrassed. So, what if I got about 300 people out of my congregation to come down here and picked your office with signs saying that you support the torture of children?”
He registered a little surprise and said, “You wouldn’t do that.”
I came back with, “I would if I could.”
I think that what is true for politicians may also be true for Israel and her supporters. For years, the American Jewish community has uplifted Israel as a shining “miracle” of democracy and freedom, an inspiration to the world. Support for Israel has been a hundred percent with no consideration for right or wrong, justice, or Jewish ethics. However, two things are happening which seem to be an embarrassment for Zionist supporters, especially in America and especially among young Jews.
First - Research done by the new Jewish historians almost universally declares that the glorious story of Israel’s founding is more fiction than fact. The real history of 1948-1949 unveils a lop-sided blood bath of ethnic cleansing. Leon Uris lied.
Second - The attack on the Mavi Marmara and the murder of nine humanitarian aid volunteers, including an American, shocked much of the world. Before the flotilla, it was the 23 day massacre of the population of Gaza, shut in and bombarded, which killed 1390 people, according to B’tsalem. Before that the 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, dropping four million cluster bombs, killing more than a thousand people, mostly civilians, the 2003 murder of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, the 1983 massacre of unarmed refugees in Sabra and Shatila, the 1982 bombardment of Lebanon, and the 1967 Six Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Uninterrupted throughout this history is the occupation with settlements, checkpoints, mass imprisonments, the stealing of land and water and the construction of an apartheid wall. Add all this up, and these are just the most outstanding crimes that cause Israel embarrassment.
Reacting to last winter’s invasion of Gaza and the midnight raid by commandos on the unarmed passengers of the Freedom Flotilla:
--Students at Cornell University lined pathways with 1300 black flags commemorating the dead in Gaza.
--Turkish parliament voted unanimously to “revisit the political, military and economic relations with Israel.
-- Nicaragua suspended its diplomatic relations with Israel.
--Norway reconfirmed its arms ban on Israel and called on all other states to follow Norway’s position which excludes trading arms with Israel.
--Swedish dockworkers decided to blockade all Israeli ships and cargo to and from Israel.
--The South African trade union federation, COSATU, called for greater support for the international boycott, divestment, and sanction campaign against Israel, urging all South Africans to refuse to buy or handle any good from Israel or have any dealings with Israeli businesses.
--In the United Kingdom the largest trade union, UNITE, unanimously voted to boycott all Israeli companies.
-- In Oakland, California, union members and community activist set a historical precedent by blocking the offloading of an Israeli ship for 24 hours. And
-- The student body of Evergreen State College voted with a 79 percent majority to divest from companies that profit from the occupation.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions will not bring Israel down. The destruction of Israel is not the goal But what DBS will do is embarrass Israel and its supporters,
According to Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein, professor at City University of New York:
The increased and brutal frequency of war in this volatile region has shifted international opinion. One poll registering the fallout from the Gaza attack of 2008-09 in the United States found that Americans voters calling themselves supporters of Israel plummeted from 69 percent before the attack to 49 percent in June 2009, while voters believing that the United States should support Israel dropped from 69 percent to 44 percent.
Jewish pollster, Steven Cohen in a 2005 survey found that, “the attachment of American Jews to Israel has weakened measurably in the last two years.”
The survey found 26 percent who said that they were “very” emotionally attached to Israel, compared with 31 percent who said so in a similar survey conducted in 2002. Some two-thirds, 64 percent, said they follow the news about Israel closely, down from 74 percent in 2002, while 39 percent said they talk about Israel frequently with Jewish friends, down from 53 percent in 2002. …48 percent said “Israel matters a lot” compared with 58 percent in 2002. Just 57 percent affirmed that “caring about Israel” is a very important part of my being Jewish,” compared with 73 percent in a similar survey in 1989.
Hopefully, with enough embarrassment, Israel will lose more of its American Jewish support, which might be the best hope Palestinians have for some relief. At least a little embarrassment might be a good influence on our politicians.
October 25, 2010
 “Poll Show Dip in American Voters Supporting Israel” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (June 16, 2009, Cited by Norman Finkelstein, Ever Fewer Hosannas, published in Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi, p. 262
 Omar Barghouti, Our South Africa Moment, Cited in Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi, p. 276-278.
 Op cit, Finkelstein, p. 256.
 From the same article cited by Norman Finkelstein, p. 258-93