Thursday, April 15, 2010







Here, our April Women in Black vigil: Sue, Hellen, Geraldine, La Professoressa, a visitor from Haifa and myself. Judith Butler, an old friend, speaks to the University of Berkeley Student Senate about divestment:
The first thing I want to say is that there is hardly a Jewish dinner table left in this country [USA]--or indeed in Europe and much of Israel--in which there is not enormous disagreement about the status of occupation, Israeli military aggression and the future of Zionism, binationalism and citizenship in the lands called Israel and Palestine. There is no one Jewish voice, and in recent years, there are increasing differences among us, as is evident by the multiplication of Jewish groups that oppose the occupation and which actively criticize and oppose Israeli military policy and aggression. ..
Of course, we could argue on what political forms Israel and Palestine must take in order for international law to be honored. But that is not the question that is before you this evening. We have lots of time to consider that question, and I invite you to join me to do that in a clear-minded way in the future. But consider this closely: the bill you have before you does not ask that you take a view on Israel. I know that it certainly seems like it does, since the discussion has been all about that. But it actually makes two points that are crucial to consider. The first is simply this: there are two companies that not only are invested in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and peoples, but who profit from that occupation, and which are sustained in part by funds invested by the University of California. They are General Electric and United Technologies. They produce aircraft designed to bomb and kill, and they have bombed and killed civilians, as has been amply demonstrated by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. You are being asked to divest funds from these two companies. You are NOT being asked to divest funds from every company that does business with Israel. And you are not being asked to resolve to divest funds from Israeli business or citizens on the basis of their citizenship or national belonging. You are being asked only to call for divestment from specific companies that make military weapons that kill civilians. That is the bottom line....
Lastly, let me say this. You may feel fear in voting for this resolution. I was frightened coming here this evening. You may fear that you will seem anti-Semitic....To struggle against fear in the name of social justice is part of a long and venerable Jewish tradition;it is non-nationalist, that is true, and it is committed not just to my freedom, but to all of our freedoms, So let us remember that there is no one Jew, not even one Israel, and that those who say that there are seek to intimidate or contain your powers of criticism. By voting for this resolution, you are entering a debate that is already underway, that is crucial for the materialization of justice, one which involves having the courage to speak out against injustice, something I learned as a young person, but something we each have to learn time and again. I understand that it is not easy to speak out in this way. But if you struggle against voicelessness to speak for what is right, then you are in the middle of that struggle against oppression and for freedom, a struggle that knows that there is no freedom for one until there is freedom for all. There are those who will surely accuse you of hatred, but perhaps those accusations are the enactment of hatred. The point is not to enter that cycle of threat and fear and hatred--that is the hellish cycle of war itself. The point is to leave the discourse of war and to affirm what is right. You will not be alone. You will be speaking in unison with others, and you will, actually, be making a step toward the realization of peace--the principles of non-violence and co-habitation that alone can serve as the foundation of peace. You will have the support of a growing and dynamic movement, intergenerational and global, by speaking against the military destruction of innocent lives and against the corporate profit that depends on that destruction. you will stand with us, and we will most surely stand with you. (printed in The Nation, April 13, 2010)
And from South Africa:
Judge Goldstone has been banned by the South African Zionist Federation from attending is grandson's bar mitzvah--this as an act of retribution for Goldstone's report to the United Nations. As one Jewish blogger said, "What has happened to our people?"
What has happened to our people?