29 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street Stifled Solidarity With Gaza Flotilla After Dan Sieradski Query – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You yourself wrote that:

    “Palestinians must give up their idea of a right of physical return for those refugees who fled or were expelled in 1948”

    This was one of the necessary components for “real and lasting peace” according to your analysis.

    You reached this conclusion after thirty-five years of being “intellectually and politically absorbed by the issue of Middle East peace.”

    Not only have you completely abandoned this position, but you attack those who currently hold such a view as not being a “truly consistent progressive” and even accuse this particular person of being “false” to himself just for holding the same position that you yourself held after studying and contemplating these issues for decades.

    Daniel Sieradski is a man who is himself not even 35 years old.

    Yet, Daniel Sieradski is a man who has stood in front of bulldozers and volunteered for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and has been spit at in the face for standing up for Palestinian rights in these and other ways.

    He continues to hold a position on the Right of Return that you yourself held and espoused when you began this blog. A position you claimed was necessary to advance peace and one you said you reached after thirty-five years of being absorbed in the issue. A position that you have abandoned only relatively recently – and having done so now chastise anyone who holds your previous position in the most unflattering of terms.

    Your inflexibility with respect to this issue and adherence to a litmus test that you yourself would not have passed a few years ago (i.e. one is not “a truly consistent progressive” if one shares your previous, rather than current, position on ROR) is surprising in light of your other views about inclusiveness and working together to bring about peace in the region and the world.

    I would respectfully urge you to reconsider your criticism of this man who seems to be a natural ally in so many important ways.

    1. Yes indeed. I held such a view 10 yrs ago or more when I first started this blog. I retain the right to change my views as I have on this issue. I’ve explained the transformation of my views on this subject a number of times.

      Changing one’s mind is fine. But stubbornly maintaining one’s views in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary is intellectually & politically dishonest, a sin of which Sieradski is guilty.

      I did not “recently” change my views. I changed them after I closely studied the Geneva Accords which were first published around 2003. My views gradually changed starting around 2004. Seven years is not “recent.”

      As for Sieradski’s human rights activism, of course I have no quarrel with that as no one 10 yrs ago would quarrel with my own progressive views about the I-P conflict SHORT OF my views of ROR. You don’t get to call yrself a “human rights activist” if you’re for the human rights of everyone in the world but the 1 million expelled by Israel during the Nakba. So again, I applaud Sieradski for what he does on behalf of progressive causes, but I criticize for where he is lacking as he is grievously so on this issue. Of course, it’s not just ROR as my post makes clear. His views are deeply inconsistent on a whole range of issues including the Gaza flotilla.

      I’d also venture to say that SIeradski knows the Jewish community quite well. But I strongly doubt he has any close relationships with any Palestinian activists. And it shows in the tone-deafness of some of his statements. And the reason why I believe this is that 10 or 20 yrs ago I was someone holding views very much like him.

  2. I am having difficulty understanding the “nuances” between genocide and co-existence. Maybe Sieradski could elucidate these differences as he picks his side.

    Daniel, please tell us which side you choose?

    Genocidal occupation or peaceful co-existence?

    America is wising up to who the real warmongers are, so you better choose quick.

  3. Speaking of “disjointed, confused statement[s],” I think you have to choose one of these or the other:

    “The one thing I detest more than anything else in progressive politics is litmus tests.”

    “You can’t hope to be a truly consistent progressive when you’re AWOL on Nakba and ROR.”

    To the extent that I find anything in “progressivism” worth defending, I’m with you on the second, not the first. But they’re really incompatible.

    1. Rejecting ROR out of hand as Sieradski does renders him not fully progressive. He may call himself a liberal Zionist along the lines of Gershon Gorenberg. But progressive he ain’t. It would be as if he calls himself a supporter of OWS, but claims recent U.S. immigrants have no right to participate because they have no claim on the benefits the movement seeks as latecomers to this country.

      The litmus test I was referring to is the false dichotomy offered by the mainstream Jewish community bet pro and anti-Israel with anyone strongly criticizing Occupation or Israeli policy or holding that a just resolution of the conflict involves addressing Palestinian claims being “anti.”

  4. Perhaps Richard has changed position. Most serious people have done so. Perhaps Sieradski has changed positions or simultaneously holds contradictory positions? He would not be the only one.

    I am sad that OWS rescinded a call to support the flotillas or decry the siege of Gaza. even if OWS is mostly about economics, where is it written that OWS must ignore human rights violations which are a prime result of 1% action all around the world?

    Is not the anti-Palestine stance of the USA’s MSM a result of 1% action? Is not — therefore — the USA’s government’s anti-Palestine stance controlled and dictated by 1% concerns? Is not the USA’s oligarchic governance scheme — governance by the BIGs rather than by the people — an evidence of the power of the 1% in America?

    I cannot say that every evil in the world today comes from the 1% but so much does, and the siege of Gaza — allowed by USA — is an example.

    1. So well said Pabelmont!
      Tis true that many started out with a collection of beliefs years ago, but in this last decade shift has happened.
      The saying: ‘when you know better you do better’ is fitting.

      Here’s a brief quote I read earlier today of former CIA chief of the OBL unit, Michael Scheuer, who stated- “it is the Israeli lobby in America that is dragging the US into wars and that “Israel, itself, as a country, it is not the problem. The real problem are the leaders of the Jewish American community in the US, who influence and corrupt our Congress to support Israel when we have no interest there.
      US mainstream media is not going to nuance the propaganda which has served the 1% for decades.
      We do not need gate-keepers like Sieradski. Whether they are from such alleged ‘progressives’ or the righties, what we need is TRUTH and consistent effort everywhere people gather, to end the 1% wars against the people…the old, sick, poor, children, unemployed, veterans not unrelated to the war against the Islamic world. As Scheuer stated:
      “we are definitely fighting a religious war. And until we come to realize that – we are never going to be able to end it.” Ending the Gaza blockade is one significant part of ending the “crusades”.

    2. Of course I’ve changed positions. 10 yrs ago ROR was an extremely touchy issue for me. People evolve as they’re forced to confrontuncomfortable questions & inconsistencies in their position. Maybe Sieradski will develop views that are more internally consistent over time. One can hope.

    3. It just occurred to me how beautiful the phrase “Occupy the Occupiers” is. It is not enough that they steal the land and livelihood of Palestine, they are thieving away the discourse as well. “Occupy” and “Palestine” cannot be separated. Sieradski needs to find his own word.

  5. Yes..but this ‘conniption’ has been there even since OWS movement began. Most notably amongt the right wingers desperate to discredit them, that is surely a ‘doth protest too much’, because in their minds they know it will happen sooner or later, has anyone noted how the Zionist right wingers are the most vocal about the OWS anti semitism, that sure looks like a guilty conscience.

    Sieradski’s fears over the OWS movement being hijacked by pro Palestinian activists are unfounded. When it’s about economics, the aid will be questioned, and he should know it’s not just Israeli aid, or the Gaza flotilla.

    If you tot up all the aid which goes to all countries, it still doesn’t amount to the biggest waste, which is the military expenditure. Has the OWS made any noise about this? Not loud enough that’s for sure.

    HE has made it a defining moment by which Jews must choose to defend a deracinated OWS or reject it because it has rendered the Palestinians as superfluous to their really important goals.

    This is a dangerous move, if it does come about, pitting against a mass movement, shouldn’t be something he ought to encourage. The majority support OWS.

  6. and another thing, as the OWS movement grows, so their attitudes may change. Even if the movement distances itself from the flotilla for now, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Bear in mind, a lot there, probably are more concerned with the internal problems the faces.

  7. I’ve been in India for two weeks (and won’t return until nov 22) but my wife has been down at OWS regularly. It is a weird animal that quite deliberately refuses to get involved in “anything political.” I don’t know how, then, it can push levers of power. It should not be judged or measured by anything done in other cities. This tweet was way outside what the group tends to approve. OWS does not want to be co-opted, period. So I think the whole context of the post is off-base even if the facts as stated are absolutely correct.

  8. The denial of Palestinian rights is to the newly created Israel (and so-called progressives) what slavery was to the newly independent USA. It’s one of the great moral causes of our time that must be addressed, sooner or later.

    “All men are created equal” except slaves
    Progressive Except on Palestine

    1. In other words, let fear of being labelled an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew obstruct the pursuit of Justice.

      The corrupting forces inside the media in the United States have been the American friends of Israel. In the absence of a corrupt media, the 1% would have been more critically scrutinized, presumably leading to a fuller accountability in terms of economic management on the part of government.

      The schizophrenia sold off as reality by the mainstream media is a creation of Jewish and Christian Zionists. Therefore if you want to bring the 1% in accountability, you must confront the Zionists.

      Anything short of that will set you up for failure.

      1. i might add that in the absence of Zionism, there would still be corrupting forces inside the media. However, the collusive nature of the corruption that we currently see would be hard to replicate in the absence of an emotional ideology like Zionism.

  9. I notice you changed the title of this post from “Occupy Wall Street Stifled Solidarity with Gaza Flotilla at Dan Sierdski’s Urging” to “OCCUPY WALL STREET STIFLED SOLIDARITY WITH GAZA FLOTILLA AFTER DAN SIERADSKI QUERY” – bit of a difference there. Would you like to perhaps explain your reasoning behind this alteration?

    1. Sieradski saw an OWS tweet he didn’t like & then either asked or tweeted a question asking why the tweet had been published. His query was certainly meant to get the tweet removed though Sieradski denies this (he often denies facts that are uncomfortable for him). Though I believe his query was essentially urging that it be removed, I thought using language a tad softer was warranted. Sieradski has made abundantly clear his hostility to the original tweet & the entire notion of including the issue of Israel-Palestine in OWS. That’s more important than whether he urged a tweet be deleted or queried about why it existed.

    2. Thanks for the response Richard. Do you think OWS can continue to claim that it represents the 99% if it attempts to address issues only peripherally related to its core economic concerns?

      1. Every issue? OWS’s official agenda thus far seems to actually be pretty narrow. This is a strategic move aimed at achieving consensus and being as widely representative as possible. OWS hasn’t made any statements or set any policies or offered support to any cause outside it’s specific agenda. Why should Palestine be the exception exactly?

        1. “OWS hasn’t made any statements or set any policies or offered support to any cause outside it’s specific agenda. Why should Palestine be the exception exactly?”

          There is the statement on anti-semitism that is on Occupy Judaism and on facebook where rather strangely we are told:

          Like this page to sign the statement! (You don’t have to be Jewish!) * https://www.facebook.com/ows.antisemitism

          The statement notes that:

          “The presence of a few anti-Semitic signs among thousands and thousands proves only that anti-Semites will take any opportunity to promote their hateful views.”

          Considering that the acts reported are denied to have been carried out by #OWS people, and that it isn’t made clear what was on these ‘anti-Semitic signs’ I think its hard to argue that the statement is part of any ‘official agenda’ (whatever that is) or even part of any #OWS specific agenda.

          Its great that #OWS is explicitly standing up to anti-Jewish racism but as I have already commented, the oppression of the Palestinians cannot be ignored.

          The tweet of support for #FreedomWaves seems to fall rather neatly into this part of the Declaration of the Occupation:

          “To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.”

          And we are told that there WAS consensus on that declaration!!

          * I have never seen a statement saying you don’t have to be Black to sign a statement opposing racism.

        2. One need only read the OWS Declaration, Principles of Solidarity and Statement of Autonomy on the OWS web site. There you will see that the issues discussed are overwhelmingly domestic, and while they allude to international issues, they most certainly do not specify any specific issues. You can simply go to http://www.nycga.net/ and click under resources. I didn’t realize one had to have a PhD in OWS in order to simply reiterate what one has read and/or witnessed.

        3. In a comment below, @Roy Bard cited 3 of 23 bullet points in the OWS Declaration that make reference to non-domestic issues. He uses that to assert that OWS “should be in full support of the Occupied of Palestine.” But whether it should or it shouldn’t isn’t the issue. The point is that OWS has not, to date, declared its support for any external political or human rights situation. That may or may not change in the future, but for now, as Dan Sieradski correctly noted, there isn’t any consensus regarding the I/P conflict.

          1. The claim that OWS has not declared its support for any external political or human rights situation is false. Here’s a sample of tweets from the @OccupyWallSt timeline:

            “Greece goes on general strike Wednesday. We need to express solidarity! #ows” (18 Oct)

            “http://t.co/m1IOYOdk #solidarity to Greece once again! #ows We need to be building up for massive strike action ourselves!” (19 Oct)

            “http://t.co/tVavtUJ3 How you can help Bradley Manning while supporting #ows” (20 Oct)

            “Congrats Libya! Your struggles against the #Gadhafi regime is over. Let’s hope for a bright future #solidarity” (21 Oct)

            “Clarification: We are totally against NATO intervention in Libya and would have rather seen the rebels rise up alone #ows” (21 Oct)

            “http://t.co/9u4ft0ze We need world wide #solidarity for Egypt on November 12th #ows #occupycairo” (4 Nov)

  10. One of Daniel Sieradski’s first intervention with #OWS was a tweet which read:”hey #OccupyWallSt – if you want jews to feel comfortable joining you, tell ppl to put away off-topic anti-israel signs f.cl.ly/items/2t0t0f0u…” The link went to a picture of a man holding a sign which read: “End Financial aid to Israel/ End Occupation of Gaza”


    It doesn’t do much to bolster his claim that he isn’t seeking to exclude support for Palestinians.

    To me, it seems clear from the #OWS general statement that zionist ideology is incompatible with the values of the movement.

  11. These are the relevant parts of the Declaration of the Occupation, which I believe show that the movement should be in full support of the Occupied of Palestine.

    “As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and *those of their neighbors*; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people”

    “We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”

    They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

    They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

    They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

    If we are FOR people defending their own rights & those of their neighbours, and AGAINST colonialism. torture and murder of innocent civilians, and the arms trade, then we really cannot support the Occupation of Palestine.

    Zionist ideology can never allow the Palestinians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as Israeli Jews and it is inconceivable that the alternative world that is being yearned for could possibly incorporate the continued subjugation of Palestinians.

  12. Since when does a mere expression of solidarity become a mission statement, a call to arms, or a core deliverable?

    “We support and would like to express #solidarity to #FreedomWaves #Palestine #ows”

    Would the following expressions of solidarity elicit any response or controversy from:
    (a) the Occupy Wall Street general assembly, or OWS supporters?
    (b) lobbies for the Chinese, Sri Lankan or Egyptian governments?

    [We support and would like to express #solidarity to protestors demanding freedom #Tibet #ows]
    [We support and would like to express #solidarity to #Tamil civilians in internment camps #SriLanka #ows]
    [We support and would like to express #solidarity to political prisoners #Egypt #ows]

    “Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” ~ Martin Luther King Jr

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