Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Letter to Gershon Baskin

By Becky Johnson
March 5, 2011



Dear Gershon Baskin,

I am a resident of the Santa Cruz area and read recently that you will be speaking at Temple Beth El in Aptos this coming Tuesday. I read your Feb. 21st article "Encountering Peace: Mirror, mirror on the wall"
I found your article to be a masterpiece of subterfuge, innuendo, and filled with hatred. You said you are on the S.H.I.T. list? You BELONG there!! I won't go into every error, glaring omission, or fantastical "vision" as time is of the essence. But here are a few.
Gershon Baskin photo courtesy of Tikkun

YOU WROTE: "While riding in a Jerusalem taxi recently I noticed that the name of the company was decorated with stars of David. I asked the driver about it. He replied: “Yes, our company only hires Jewish drivers, so our passengers can feel safe.”

What you FAILED to write is that Palestinians, both those who live in
the Palestinian territories and those Arab-Israelis who live within
Israel proper, are taught that they must wage "jihad" against
"the Zionist entity" and that if they kill "an infidel---extra points if they're Jewish!"
then you as a Muslim will be transported to heaven into the hands of Allah
and if you are a male, you will be rewarded with 72 blushing virgins in heaven
waiting for you.

NO. YOU let your readers BELIEVE that Jews in Israel or only motivated by racism.
That is a horrible lie that apparently awards you a sinecure. You repeat it here when you write:
" I remember as a boy of nine visiting Virginia several months before the Civil Rights
Act was passed, and seeing signs on restaurants that read “whites only.”


AS IF. AS if Jews are only a "bunch of racists" who are maintaining their privilege!! What a lie! Jewish citizens in Israel are well aware of the murderous policies and practices fomented against Jews and Israel every day. Before (what I'm sure YOU call the "apartheid wall") Israel's security barrier went in on the W. Bank, Israel suffered 128 suicide bombing attacks from W. Bank Palestinians. Oh, and when an attack was "successful" (lots of people DIED), those same Palestinians danced in the street and held parties. The suicide bombers?

Oh, they are all MARTYRS who get elementary schools and streets named after them. Facts completely missing from your article (or your MIND apparently!).

Also missing from your article:
Israel is the ONLY democracy in the mideast
Israel is 20% Arab-Muslim
Israel has people from all the countries of the world: blacks, Indians, Hispanics, Russians, Swedes, Asians etc.
Israel pays for and treats Palestinians (even wounded terrorists) in their state of the art hospitals
Israel has no death penalty. Nor do they lynch "collaborators" in their streets like the Palestinians do
Israel gave up Gaza to make peace displacing 10,000 Jews. All they got was MORE rocket attacks!
Israel allows ALL religions to practice in Israel--only stopping Mormons from proselytizing door to door
Israel HAS returned land to Arabs who owned it prior to 1948-they set up a govt. agency to do so!
Israel gave up 94% of the land it conquered in 1967---just to make peace with Egypt!
Israel has a responsibility to protect its citizens from attacks
Palestinians are the most highly educated of all Arab peoples---directly due to Israel's influence and school-building between 1967 and 1993
"Occupied territories" is an obsolete concept. Currently the Palestinians are self-governed with Israel responsible for border control, airspace control, immigration, and sea control--per the negotiated agreement with Arafat in 1993
Arabs in E. Jerusalem were double-counted in census reports. Once by the PA and once by Israel. MOST want to BE Israeli citizens because the standard of living and free healthcare are so much better. MOST voted in the Israeli elections and boycotted the PA elections.
Your biggest lie is that if only Israel was serious about making peace, it would happen. I'm sorry. You are wrong. The Arab countries need to :

--recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state
--stop the incitement in their schools and mosques against Jews and Israel
--eliminate their OWN laws which make it a capital offense to sell property to a Jew,
don’t allow Synagogues or Jewish holy books in their countries, and don't allow
Jewish citizenship

Sincerely,
Becky Johnson



HERE IS BASKIN'S ARTICLE:

Encountering Peace: Mirror, mirror on the wall
By GERSHON BASKIN
21/02/2011

No matter how much concealer we apply, we cannot change reality or
mask the fact that our Knesset has become a bastion of xenophobia.





While riding in a Jerusalem taxi recently I noticed that the name of
the company was decorated with stars of David. I asked the driver
about it. He replied: “Yes, our company only hires Jewish drivers, so
our passengers can feel safe.”

I remember moving trucks in Jerusalem with large signs reading “Jewish
workers only.”

There were ads in the Yellow Pages for companies that only employed
Jewish workers. I guess it’s become politically incorrect to be so
blunt. I saw a pizza place in Baka that was searching for delivery
boys “after army service,” which definitely made me think – do
delivery boys in southwest Jerusalem need combat training? It must be
a tough job.

Now there is “SOS Israel,” founded in 2003, which even has a Facebook
page organized to oppose any agreement with the Arab world which
includes “giving up territory.”

Today this kind of organization has also adopted an agenda to save
Jewish girls who have developed relations with Arab boys. This new
expression of Jewish enlightenment is also issuing kashrut
certificates to companies that don’t hire Arab workers. Can you
imagine an organization in France giving out certificates to companies
that don’t hire people of Middle Eastern background? I remember as a
boy of nine visiting Virginia several months before the Civil Rights
Act was passed, and seeing signs on restaurants that read “whites
only.”

Now, under our own eyes, our government is being led by politicians
and parties which are pushing bills that would move us toward the
Nuremburg laws, such as the anti-incitement bill, the admission
committees bill and the bill to protect Israel’s values, to name a
few.

For the reader’s amusement (or chagrin), here is what a future
proposed bill could look like, with the way things are going:
Understanding that the purity of Jewish blood is essential to the
further existence of the Jewish people, and inspired by uncompromising
determination to safeguard the future of the nation, the Knesset has
resolved the following, which is promulgated herewith: Marriages
between Arabs and Jews are forbidden. Marriages concluded in defiance
of this law are void, even if performed abroad. Extramarital
intercourse between Arabs and Jews is forbidden. Arabs will not be
permitted to employ Jewish females under the age of 45 as domestic
workers.

SOME MKs would anxiously support such a proposal. They would even add
all kinds of amendments regarding Jews who in any way support Arab
interests.

They would certainly remove my right to write in The Jerusalem Post. I
am already a proud member of the right-wing’s list of self-hating
Israeli traitors, also known as the S.H.I.T list.

In 1984, when Meir Kahane was elected to the Knesset, I brought to the
Education Committee a copy of the Nuremberg laws and superimposed
Kahane’s political platform. This made the front pages, and most
Israelis were shocked by Kahane’s extreme racism. Today, no one is
particularly upset that our Knesset has become a bastion of
xenophobia.

The rise of racism is a direct outgrowth of our refusal to make peace
with our Palestinian neighbors. Yes, it is our refusal. There is a
Palestinian partner for peace, and anyone who doubts that is ignorant
of the facts. Our publicists and politicians can rewrite the
“narrative” as they please, but it will not change the fact that if
Israel was serious about making peace on the basis of what has already
been negotiated, it would be possible to end this conflict.

We might feel secure because the US used its veto in the UN, but we
shouldn’t live with the illusion that US support is a form of
security. Israel is being delegitimized by its own actions. The
legislative agenda of Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, the National Union and
a significant part of the Likud, together with the continuation of the
occupation, settlement building, the destruction of Palestinian homes
in east Jerusalem, the removal of Jerusalem residency rights from
hundreds of Palestinians each year who were born in the city, the
taking over of Palestinian properties owned by Jews prior to 1948
while denying Arabs the same rights, no longer fools the world. Our
policies and democracy do not go hand-in-hand. The charade is over.
Instead of a “light unto the nations” Israel’s policies are leading us
into the darkest era we have known as a state.

I write this with rage in my heart, and a deep sense of pain. I am
filled with rage at the public’s silence in the face of our ugliness.
I’m furious that voices of people such as Bennie Begin and Dan Meridor
are not heard.

Those who propose racist and xenophobic legislation in the name of
“saving Jews and Judaism” are acting in my name. My Judaism does not
include hatred of non-Jews. My Israel is one that seeks peace with its
neighbors and sees our future linked to our ability to reach
agreements that sustain life, build prosperity and care about the
welfare of people less fortunate than us.

I want to believe that the reality we see today is symptomatic of a
society in the final days of a conflict. I want to believe that Israel
has already recognized there will be a Palestinian state, and that the
occupation must end. There are anti-Semites who work to delegitimize
Israel, but they can cease their activities because our government is
doing it so much better. The mirror eventually shows us reality,
regardless of how much makeup we use.

The writer is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and
Information (www.ipcri.org) and is in the process of founding the
Center for Israeli Progress (http://israeli-progress.org).

4 comments:

Becky Johnson said...

GERSHON has already replied to my letter. Here is what he wrote:

Well my dear Becky – as you said time is of the essences, so rather than correct your letter which is filled with erros and myths, I invite you to come and hear me speak. I welcome a debate with you after the talk. It is sad how easily you mistake propaganda for fact.



Gershon

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that he's Zionist- that he believes in the right of the Jewish people to self determination in their ancient homeland. Have you heard differently?

bacci40 said...

becky,

while i admire your passion, i think you hit on the wrong point.

there is no evidence that israel is creating a set of nuremberg like laws...except in this idiots mind.

if there is a need to change employment laws in israel...fine

but creating a fantasy scenario is not the way to do it

Anonymous said...

While some of what Baskin writes is legitimate criticism of Israel that I share, she must also realize that Israel is not acting in a vacuum.

Comments like the one below need to be better qualified:

".The rise of racism is a direct outgrowth of our refusal to make peace with our Palestinian neighbors. Yes, it is our refusal. There is a Palestinian partner for peace, and anyone who doubts that is ignorant of the facts. Our publicists and politicians can rewrite the “narrative” as they please, but it will not change the fact that if Israel was serious about making peace on the basis of what has already been negotiated, it would be possible to end this conflict"

Although peace may be possible on the West Bank controlled by Abbas, I have yet to see Hamas show any interest in accepting a Jewish state in the region no matter its borders.

Her comments also ignore the peace proposal put forward in 2000 and 2008. And explain the racism that existed before 1967.

She should also understand that some of the xenophobia in Israel is the direct result of Hamas (and other groups) actions and calls for the destruction of Israel. I am not excusing it but she should consider to balance her article with demands that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist and make peace.