Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Overcoming Zionism at Busboys

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Overcoming Zionism at Busboys

Article excerpt

Professor Joel Kovel of Bard College discussed his controversial new book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, at Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, DC on Jan. 28.

Kovel told the packed room that he wrote his book not only because he was outraged by what is going on in the Middle East, but also because he was outraged at how society has stifled debate. The former Green Party presidential candidate said he knew full well how alternative voices are ignored and silenced within the United States. "However nothing approaches the marginalization of discourse and debate when it comes to the subject of Israel/Palestine," Kovel said, noting that every person who runs for high political office in this country must show his or her full support for the state of Israel. "If they don't," he stated, "they are finished before they even start."

During his book tour, Kovel said, people have approached him saying they think as he does but cannot bring themselves to say anything in public. "We have a long way to go," Kovel acknowledged, "but the ice is breaking. The argument is opening up."

According to Kovel, Israel has become an ancillary of American foreign policy as well as U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. The ongoing war in Iraq and a possible attack on Iran are related to America's relationship with Israel. The West is inserting itself into the lands of Asia and the Middle East in order to destabilize these societies and make it possible to extract the region's resources, Kovel argued. Israel has appointed itself to create unrest in the area. "There are other governments I have trouble with," he told his audience. "I don't want to give you the impression that I think Israel is the worst government in the world. That is not the point-[but] Israel is our baby."

Israel has one narrative and the Palestinians another, Kovel noted. Israel justifies its present war crimes by pointing to past Jewish suffering, such as in the Holocaust. "There is a psychological connection," he said, "but no way does that make it right. International law could never justify such a thing." Observing that Israel is constantly violating international law, Kovel pointed out that the U.N. has passed over 70 resolutions decrying Israel's infractions, and Israel's response is that U. …

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