From Zionist to Anti-Zionist Activist – Phyllis Bennis on Reality Asserts Itself pt1


The Real News Network is starting a new series in Reality Asserts Itself starting with the interview From Zionist to Anti-Zionist Activist – Phyllis Bennis on Reality Asserts Itself pt1.

On RAI with Paul Jay, Phyllis Bennis traces her development from active Zionist youth to whom Jewish identity meant support for Israel, to a leading American anti-Zionist writer and analyst


Bennis initially has a hard time recalling what changed her mind about the issue, but eventually gets to the heart of the transition.

For me the transition started to happen in earnest when I started working with and becoming friends with some Palestinians. When you realize that these are real people with many similarities in background to me and some with educations superior to mine, you start thinking differently from the stereotypes that you grew up with.

When I started to think about the indignities that my friends suffered because they were Palestinians, it became impossible to accept that this was right.

Even after many discussions with one of my friends, I still clung to my view about the history of the formation of Israel and he clung to his. It wasn’t until many years after we agreed to stop discussing the issue, that I started to come to the realization that he had been right about more things than I had realized at the time.

Before I go any farther, I will recall my words from a previous post Scholarship and Politics: The Case of Noam Chomsky.

As I said to Sharon after reading the chapter on propaganda in the book Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges, you really don’t know who to trust anymore.  I am not even sure I trust myself.


I read the book Peace Be Upon You, The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence by Zachary Karabell. Then as sort of an antidote I reread the book Exodus by Leon Uris.

Only after reading Exodus again did I recognize the racism in the attitudes of the Jews in Israel toward the Palestinians with whom they had grown up. As Phyllis Bennis said in her interview with Paul Jay, we had grown up thinking what a wonderful book and movie Exodus was. Now I can see how one-sided it was. Now I can see how one-sided are the positions of many of today’s Israeli leaders.


December 12, 2013

The second part in the series is covered in my subsequent post Fmr. Israeli Intel. Chief Says Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Greater Risk than Nuclear Iran – Phyllis Bennis on Reality Asserts Itself pt2.


December 13, 2013

The final two parts of the series are:

Syria’s Six Wars and Humanitarian Catastrophe – Phyllis Bennis on Reality Asserts Itself (3/4)

and

One State or Two, Solution Must be Based on Palestinian Rights – Phyllis Bennis on RAI (4/4)

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