Israel’s Messy Package (Part 1)

“Creating land already occupied by Palestinians would ‘imperil not just American but all Western interests in the Middle East.'”

Dean Acheson, 1947, statesman and foreign policy expert
for several presidential administrations,
including as
 Harry Truman’s Secretary of State

In the early 1900s, both sides of my Jewish family fled the Kiev countryside because of the militant anti-Jewish pogroms, leaving dead my paternal great grandfather and my grandmother’s infant sister killed by armed men on horseback who burned their farm to ground. Both my grandfathers were born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They didn’t know each other and didn’t know they would someday each meet and marry women, all four families strangers to each other but all springing from thriving family farms outside Kiev. My mother’s folks sought refuge in Glasgow, Scotland, before most of them came to the US after WWI. My paternal grandmother and her siblings, the oldest was 12-year-old Pincus, came alone in steerage and settled in Hartford, Connecticut. Growing up in this family, we all lived decidedly to the far left of Reform Judaism, anxious to not be so “jewish” as to be noticed, understandably so.

In 1967 I spent the summer in Durban, South Africa, getting to know some of my cousins, the half of the next generation of the Glasgow clan who chose to emigrate to South America instead of America. When I arrived in Durban, one cousin, a young woman close to my age of 19 at the time, was unexpectedly out of the country, much to her family’s consternation, joining the Israeli zionist army who that year expanded the chartered territory of Israel through violence and repression, into Gaza and parts of Syria and Egypt.

Photo by LeftMedia  Flickr/creative commons

Photo by LeftMedia
Flickr/creative commons

That summer, I came to realize that my childhood ideas about Israel were overly simplistic: My US born family were just plain Jews, explicitly not zionists, allowing themselves to adopt the modern myth that the establishment of a modern Israel was a gift from the world (and Palestinians) following the horrors of WWII death camps (rather than an unlawful occupation of another’s country).

Before going to South Africa, my personal radicalization was underway as a deeply embedded anti-Vietnam War activist, so this summertime visit to the shores of the Indian Ocean solidified my life long commitment to pacifism. My quest for world peace is a force within me that always questions why anyone goes to war. Israel is the case study, forcing the question, How could a group, a culture and religion combined, victims of hatred for 100 years, partially eradicated in concentration camps 70 years ago, themselves become purveyors of violence and oppression?

I came to understand that this militant campaign for a Jewish state, dominating control in the Middle East, and especially over Jerusalem’s ancient, holy geographic touchstones, had being going on since the beginning of the 20th century, around the same time as my relatives’ horrors and forced migration from what is now Urkaine. This scheme was doomed from the start because of its underlying motives, not to bring peace but to go to battle if necessary for what they perceived they were owed simply because they believed they represented a race of people who are the most pure and the highest expression of religious superiority. For these reasons only, however delusional, these militant Jews should always hold a deferential berth in the world. Since WWII, this battle has resulted in the displacement and disenfranchisement of an entire population who, ironically, itself shares the same legacy despite not being “jewish.”

Any attempts at forming a theocracy are fate-filled mistakes that only end badly, whether you are talking about Israel or other countries, including in the US where we are suffering under a nascent political theocracy that would enslave its citizens just as surely as those calling for Sharia Law.

The scheme to reign supreme began long before Israel formally declared it independence in 1948, and long before my young cousin risked her life in 1967 to further an expansion throughout ancient Palestine, displacing and killing everyone in the way.

Israel is a state founded and run on the basis of religious extremism and discrimination, and should be fairly dealt with on that basis.


Israel’s Messy Package (Part 2) which delves into the monolithic Israel Lobby that has long controlled our Congress and decides who can and cannot become President of the United States; and why those who escape Israel’s fancy hypnotism and stand up for the human rights of Israel’s victims — the Palestinians themselves joined by groups such as CodePink and activists worldwide, all the time forced to endure so much criticism, even from their left flank.

Inform yourself further with Alison Weir’s recent book, Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel, and websites such as and, and, of course, here at www.venusplusx, Facebook/venusplusx, and Twitter/venusplusx.


Our Horrible Days

How Do We Respond to This Really Horrible Day?

“It’s too late to reverse the death and destruction, but it’s never too early to advocate for peace and life.” — 

by Alfonso Flickr/creative commons

by Alfonso
Flickr/creative commons

Just 3 days ago, believing things are getting worse at a faster pace than ever before, we revisited Where Does of All This F*cking Evil Sh%t Come From? to offer up some explanation of why the world seems to be plummeting downward.

Yesterday, everything got much worse.

While the media was fixed on the passenger jet that was shot out of the sky by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, ground troops started rolling into Gaza with seeming impunity. Today, I am publishing in full Raushenbush’s thoughtful, 400-word call for action — we are fast losing our humanity but each of us must recognize that we are not impotent.


What a horrible day. Israel has begun a ground offensive in Gaza, the White House is on lockdown, and a plane has been shot down in Ukraine. Today’s news piles on an already shaking landscape of ISIS in Iraq, immigrant children suffering on the U.S. border, and still missing Nigerian girls. My Twitter feed has been raging with information and disinformation today, but underneath the diatribes I have been struck by a sense of despair and disbelief that the world can unravel this fast, and anger at our sense of impotence.

But we are not impotent, and this is not “happening to us.” We, the human race, are doing this to ourselves. These aren’t natural disasters, or “acts of God.” It’s just us, humans, having completely lost our humanity. We are warring, and hurting, and intentionally or unintentionally killing one another through direct assault or indifference and neglect.

We have forgotten that we belong to one another, that we are connected, that we are all sisters and brothers, that we need one another.

Today, right now, I want us to take back our power, and begin to mend together what has been ripped apart.

It is too late to bring back the innocent lives that have been lost so far in the Middle East, but it is not too late to stop the killing that is happening now.

It is too late to bring back the innocent plane passengers who died in Ukraine, but as a human race we can insist that this is unacceptable and not let the incident be a springboard for even more violence and hatred.

It’s too late to reverse the death and destruction, but it’s never too early to advocate for peace and life.

It is hard to know what to do, but, even within this dark day, we need to continue to insist on the possibility of peace — and to have that start with ourselves. If all I can do today is pray for peace and the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians and refuse to accept that war is inevitable or hate is natural, that will be a start. If I can pray for the people in that plane and try not to be swept into a rage calling for revenge, if I can make myself open to being an instrument of peace, then that will be a start. That is one, very small, way that I can respond to this horrible day.

Each person who loses their life for no reason represents a tragedy. What would each person have done to contribute to a better world? There were 100 experts heading to an AIDS conference in Malaysia, for example. When will it end? What can you do to make the world better today by advocating for peace and life?