July 11, 2009

Naomi Klein in Bil'in, June 26, 2009

I have a feeling that this will not be covered in the mainstream media at all.

The Faster Times:

(Naomi) Klein is the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, both staples of many Western liberal/leftist book collections. She was invited to speak by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC) because Klein is one of a growing number of high profile Western authors, artists and cultural figures who have signed on to a 2005 Palestinian civil society call to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel until it complies with international law.

Over three hundred people crammed the small venue which was followed by a lively question and answer session. Although technically in the region on a book tour for the Hebrew release of Shock Doctrine, Klein focused her remarks on critiques of boycotting Israel as a tactic, and the motivation of Western states to torpedo the recently held Durban Review Conference held in Geneva this past April. She ended by making an emotional appeal to those “who are on the fence [about the call for boycott] to please join,” acknowledging that her delayed endorsement of the boycott campaign in 2008, three years after the call was initially made, “was nothing but cowardice.”

It's not without controversy, but I do applaud Klein for speaking out. I don't think Klein is anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic at all--although if this gets covered in the US at all, it will be on Fox and that's exactly how they'll characterize her. However, in order for there to be any true negotiation for peace in the region, there MUST be a little more honesty and a little less knee-jerking on the subject. Klein explains where she's coming from:

I wanted to start by letting you in on a little secret. There is a debate among Jews. I used to say “the Jewish community” but then I got excommunicated. So there is a debate among Jews - I’m a Jew by the way - about whether the lesson of the Holocaust should be “never again to anyone”, or “never again to us.” That’s what it pretty much boils down to. And there are a lot of people who believe that the lessons of the Holocaust was “never again to us, never again to the Jews.” Because we suffered this tremendous crime against humanity, we have the right to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves safe. In fact we even think we get a kind of get one genocide free card out of this. [...]

There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that says that the lessons of the Holocaust is “never again to anyone”, and that it is precisely because of what we experienced as Jews that we must denounce racism, denounce systems of segregation wherever they crop up, even and especially when they crop up amongst our own. I am proud to put myself - and I thank my parents for this - in that second tradition. That’s why I’m proud to join in here tonight.

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