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Alice Kisch Responds to Gershon Gorenberg
Alice Kisch--Sunday, November 27, 2011--Today I received several emails referencing your NY Times November 27, 2011 op-ed “Israel’s Other Occupation,” which I’ve now read. I gotta tell you, Mr. G., the reading is pretty tough going. It’s tough going because it’s virtually impossible to get past your repeated references to Israel’s “democracy” and to your support of the “two-state solution.” (All of which causes us to wonder what planet you actually live on, and in which decade of which century?) Not to mention your “Accidental” empire which, if one looks at the history and origins of the Zionist movement starting, perhaps, in the late 19th century, is anything but “accidental.”

We in the U.S. don’t have – and have never had -- “democracy,” as defined by rule/power “Kratos” by the people “Demos.” Ancient Greece, the alleged creator of “democracy,” was a system of city-states that allowed voting only by its “citizens,” that is, people who were NOT women, NOT slaves, NOT foreigners and NOT males under the age of 20; additionally, each member of the “citizen” population had to have had parents who were born in Athens. Further, votes by citizens of wealth had more weight than votes by other citizens. Sound familiar?

This Ancient Greek model of democracy may resonate among the Jewish citizens of Israel, and appears to have enthusiastic support in the government of Israel, but it certainly does not speak to the U.S. idea of democracy nor to the idea of democracy in what are considered the “democratic” states on this planet. The ability to vote does in no way translate to “democracy.”

We need to hear “real talk” about this matter with someone who self-defines as a skeptical Zionist – and we’d also like to know what a “skeptical Zionist” is! Because it seems to us that you are defending the international power structure that is all too disturbingly evident not only in Israel and the United States, but in Egypt, in Syria, in Bahrain (etc. etc.) and in the fierce and brutal opposition to the Occupy movement. (For the sake of simplicity one can define the power structure as a system that favors profit/money over the welfare of human beings.) And for the most part, The New York Times has been and continues to be a defender of this power structure.

Perhaps on your next visit to California you can come and talk to us and explain, person-to-person, with ample time for questions and answers, how you can seriously talk about Israel’s democracy and about the advisability of a two-state solution. And why you seem to place most of the blame for Jewish settler violence on the settlers themselves and not on the long-standing policies of the government of the State of Israel and, prior to Israeli statehood, on the policies of the Jewish Yishuv (settlements) in Palestine. By “us” and “we” I mean Jews, Muslims, Christians, Palestinians, Israelis and others – a large population of Bay Area residents who spend many of their waking hours trying to work toward a just and peaceful resolution of the horror that is contemporary Israel-Palestine.

With cordial regards,

Alice Diane Kisch

Emeryville, California, USA

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