Readers and comrades,
Philip Weiss is a founder and co-editor of Mondo Weiss. His video interview (link below) with Tzvia Their, a former Zionist, is a brief portrait of a person who really made the effort to tear down the walls of propaganda, walls that prevent the simplest conversations between human beings.
Hillary Clinton’s “evolution” on gay marriage has been opportunist to this very day, so there we have a starkly different story. Obama and Hillary Clinton were public and vocal defenders of “one man, one woman marriage” because they put their political careers first. Now that the tides of history have left them in the swamps, they are still putting their political careers first— and engaging in every kind of self-serving historical revisionism. As Hillary Clinton said to Terry Gross, “I think you’re trying to say that, you know, I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons. And that’s just flat wrong.”
Yes, Hillary Clinton used to be opposed and now she’s in favor and she did it for political reasons. And that’s just plain true. Of course, career Democrats can fill banquet halls with high end donors of all sexual persuasions.
The Clintons have made lucrative careers as “public servants,” and often give moralistic lectures on qualities such as civic courage and leadership. Though they have never been able to find their spines with a flashlight. When a journalist has a spell of honesty (in this case Terry Gross, see below) and points out that other people did show more courage and leadership, Hillary Clinton blithely changes the subject by saying a minority will always be “out front.” A career politician, by contrast, waits for the opportune moment to jump to the front of the parade, once the cause that had a fighting chance looks like a winner.
Obama and Hillary Clinton were both acquainted with the ideas and methods of Saul Alinsky. I find that fascinating, because Alinsky’s ideology can be so easily elided into the up to date happy talk of “public / private partnerships.” Along the way, both Obama and Hillary Clinton ditched the last traces of orientation to the working class, and became public hucksters of the corporate state.
For the majority of middle class “progressives” wedded to the Democratic Party, we can nearly predict there will be no “moment of truth” in 2016. They will vote by rote. There is an apocryphal story about a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution who is supposed to have said, “Our aim is to celebrate the first American Revolution, and to prevent the second.” Apocryphal or not, that sums up the practical wisdom of “progressives” in 2014, so scared of their own shadows that many of them long ago declined to be called liberals.
Kerry is sent on errands of diplomacy to pull long faces and mouth high-minded phrases. What he is absolutely forbidden to say is that “the Jewish state” is neither secular nor democratic, and remains a colonial power. Many other issues of similar magnitude require both courage and leadership, rather than the lectures on courage and leadership we will get once again in the presidential campaign.
The single most important political issue in 2016 is independent political action against the parties of war and empire. Without such action, no other issue has a fighting chance against the ruling class.
Peace and solidarity,
‘I was a Zionist till I was 64. I want to hit myself’
Philip Weiss on June 27, 2014
Excerpt – Full text and video interview with Tzvia Their with Mondo Weiss link: http://tinyurl.com/mhud7k5
Yesterday there was a demonstration in Union Square, New York, to protest the Israeli “rampage” in the West Bank. Several demonstrators held up the names of Palestinians killed or critically injured by Israeli soldiers during the raids. One of the organizers of the demonstration was an Israeli-American named Tzvia Thier. I interview her as she passed out flyers, above.
It’s a long video, but Thier is a candid and passionate person and I urge you to watch segments of her comments: particularly her revelations about Zionism manipulating Jews at 3:30 and 6:45, and the incredible statement at 8:20 or so that until she joined the Sheikh Jarrah demos in 2008, at age 64, she’d never met a Palestinian as a human being.
Human rights activists are ‘out front’ of others and ‘thank goodness they are’ –Hillary Clinton
Philip Weiss on June 17, 2014
A lot of people are talking about Terry Gross’s interview of Hillary Clinton last week in which Gross sought to pin Clinton down on the question of whether she changed her mind about gay marriage or just came out in favor when it was safe to do so politically. I often criticize Gross here for her old-school Middle East opinions. But this interview shows her brilliance– patient, penetrating, precise, courageous. The portion I’m excerpting below, though, is about Clinton stating that activists are out front on human rights and get other people to change their minds. It’s a truism, of course, but a good one. I think the unspoken part of this exchange is the idea that Terry Gross actually supported gay marriage back in the 90s, as did many progressives. She doesn’t say so, but you can sense it in her firmness with Hillary’s prevarication; she is honoring the vanguard’s courage by seeking to establish just when Hillary got in, and why. Some straight folks I know refused to get married out of solidarity with their LGBT brothers and sisters. (Not me; I was in the regressive camp here, I had to be educated/reformed.)
I offer this exchange because it is wise about how political movements operate. And let’s be clear: Palestinian rights are today in the vanguard. You can change your mind or next week or in a decade, but you will change your mind, or become irrelevant.