Scott Horton Interviews Rebecca Vilkomerson

Scott Horton, September 18, 2009

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Rebecca Vilkomerson, National Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, discusses the activist campaign to stop Caterpillar from selling bulldozers to Israel, what interested people can do to help promote peace, how the peace party can learn from the organizational and media saturation successes of the war party and the importance of criticizing anti-Semitism as well as those who misuse the charge (see MuzzleWatch).

MP3 here. (23:24)

Rebecca Vilkomerson is the National Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She has over fifteen years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, program development and fundraising in the United States and Israel. In the U.S., she focused on economic justice issues, especially regarding women. She has been an active member of JVP since 2002, and lived in Israel with her family from 2006-2009.

Most recently, Rebecca worked for a Palestinian Israel public policy center and a Bedouin-Jewish environmental and social justice organization, as well as continuing her work as an activist for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. Her study, Public Policy in Divided Societies: The Case for a Civil Rights Institution was published in July, 2008 by Dirasat, the Arab Center for Law and Policy. She is also currently an editor of Jewish Peace News. Rebecca is a graduate of Connecticut College and has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

13 Responses to “Rebecca Vilkomerson”

  1. I was just the other day thinking about the whole Israel/Palestine mess, and came up with what I think is a useful analogy.

    As I understand it, the rationale that Israelis use for their eviction of Palestinians from their country is that Jews once lived there, but they either left or were expelled about 2000 years ago.

    Now consider this: many of my ancestors were forcibly expelled from Britain only 200 years ago. Granted, they had committed crimes, but really petty stuff so they and their children might eat. Hardly reasonable grounds for lifelong exile. This is not some vague historical event lost in the mists of time. I know their names. I know where and why they were arrested. I know what some of them looked like. I know where they came from.

    Now, lets say I wanted to reverse this clear historical injustice and return to my ancestral land, from which I am only a few generations removed. I turn up and discover, say, a Pakistani or Jamaican family living on land that belonged to my ancestors. Using the Israeli rationale would I not be justified in turning up with a gun and evicting the interlopers so I could 'reclaim' the property? After all, only 200 years have passed. These newcomers have at best only occupied 'my' land for a couple of generations. And I bloody well know my ancestors came from this very place, and have the documents to prove it.

    Of course no right-thinking person would entertain the notion for a second. It would be wildly unjust, utterly immoral and illegal in umpteen different ways.

    And yet Israelis think they can do the same thing, with far more tenuous connection to the land, against established inhabitants who have connections going back scores of generations.

    Israelis have had a gold pass in the western world since 1947. But that is rapidly running out. However appalling the suffering of Jews in WWII, it doesn't justify the suffering of Palestinians in the 21st century. Auschwitz does not justify Gaza. In fact it does not justify evicting one single Palestinian family from their home. The chicken of this massive injustice is rapidly coming home to roost. Either the Israelis are going to find a way to co-exist in the same space with Palestinians, or they are going to find themselves friendless, isolated and increasingly vulnerable, in spite of their nukes.

    Oh, and from a libertarian perspective (not that I would describe myself thus, but nonetheless…) wouldn't the Israelis be far better off trading goods and services with their multitudinous neighbours than trading insults and cluster bombs?

  2. In fact a lot of the zionist online activists such as the megaphone-guys swarm to pro-peace blogs, especially if they are ran by jews, and intentionally fills it with anti-semitic hate speech in the comment section to give the impression that the supporters of such blog posts are nazis that wanna exterminate the jews etc.

    It is very easy to do, and very effective.

  3. The funny and yet grave is that the Palestinians or the Arabs never done anything that came close to the Holocaust. If some one is to pay for the sins of the Holocaust, it is definitely not the Palestinians. Your analogy about the right to reclaim your family residence when only few generations were expelled is profound, but consider also the fact that many Palestinian roots go back even before the ancient Israelites lived in the land of Palestine. They were called the Philistines and the Canaanites. They were there when Alexander the Great was heading east to Persia.

    Abe Dalis

  4. Many Israeli immigrants today have not a drop of Jewishness in them racially or theologically, yet they are given priority over the indigenous population in every magnitude, sense, and every direction. Not to forget that rights to nationality in our modern times can not be determined by race or religion. The fact that many supporters of Israel are willing to buy into this cheap argument renders such supporters either childish or evil. I am not mad at the poor Jews who settled in Israel and needed a place that is more human than racist Europe; I am mad at those who were consciously a violent arm for the colonialist West. They were there to facilitate control over the rich oily Middle East and ensure that the Arabs remain non-united as to put an end to colonialism in its various forms. Christian Europe never paid a price for the atrocities it committed against humanity; it always found some one else to pay for its sins. More creatively, this time it found some one to pay and another to advance its old dirty interest of colonialism in a single blow. Two birds in one stone!

    Abe Dalis

  5. Both comments above {Redsauna & Dnn}are correct,the Jews have milked the holohoax and anti-Semite issues to long,its old!!!Besides ,most JEWS aren`t even Semetic but descended from Turkic tribes from ancient Khazaria,but Arabs like{Palestinians} are indeed Semetic {descended from Abraham and Shem}!!!So,when these Ashkenazia shylocks calls a nationalist /patriot anti-Semite ,you yell back and say I`m NOT,anti-ARAB!!!That’s how I deal with the zionist,Talmudic,Christ Killers!And the commenter{Dnn} is right,the Isreali mossad,is constantly on the media ,web,movies,tv,magazines,etc they control most of mass media,for the sole purse of mocking our religions,morals,institutions,and subver our folk to immorality and to prevent anti-Jewish backlashes!The nomadic/vagabond roaming Jews,have been expelled from most every nation they have settled in !The Jews encourage their gentile host nations to fight other gentile nations,and kill and maim the best of our folk ,in fracticide wars,that only benefit international JEWISH capitalists and Communists!American automaker patriot Henry Ford,wrote a great book titled{The International Jew!}It`s a great book,that most people NEVER even heard about,because how powerful the Jews are at blacking out anything ,that’s critical of their vile,evil ways!Isreal is guilty of collective punishment and war crimes committed by a aparthied state!Hail Al maqawama al sharifa!Long live Palestine & IRAQ!

  6. Very good point.

    It would have been somewhat less appalling (but still highly unjust) if the UN had designated, say, Upper Austria (birthplace of Hitler and many enthusiastic Nazis) as a homeland for Jews.

    The fact that Palestinians, who played precisely no role in the Holocaust, were made to suffer, and continue to suffer, for the sins of European 'Christians civilisation', is a reality that simply does not seem to sink into the heads of most us in the 'West'. But everybody in the Arab and Muslim worlds feels it keenly like an old piece of shrapnel lodged in the body.

  7. Reality is even more complex. Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv University historian, has documented that many Palestinians are descended from Jews who remained in Palestine after the Roman destruction of 70 AD/CE. How do they fit into the equation? On one hand, they are descended from Biblical era Jews, not farfetched stories about ancient Cannanites, so this complicates the Palestinian myth. But, on the other hand, it shows that Palestinian roots go back nearly two millenia and are a branch of ancient Jewry, the foundation of the Zionist myth skewered by the above posts.

  8. You are right in that if somebody is to pay for the sins of the holocaust it is Europe. And since germany surrendered unconditionally it would have been very easy to carve out a jewish state there.

    However Europe, being anti semitic did absolutely NOT want a jewish state, so they were more than happy to give english occupied german lands to the jews to form their own little state instead of having a jewish state in europe.

  9. That is exactly what happened.

    This woman's organization will get almost no coverage by the major media. However, the major media is considered useless by almost every thinking person. The internet is now providing accurate info for whomever seeks it. The only question is: What will the Zionists-warmongers do next?

    They won't just lose power due to free speech. That just isn't their style.

  10. It must be tough to be one of the chosen people.

  11. At the very least, the only cop on the beat – the U.S. – divided the land. But that division is not going to happen. The Israelis are ever more radicalized and determined to hold all the land. All this talk about a two state solution is a waste of time. The Israelis will find a way not to do it. Even if the Obama people develop some guts and withdraw U.S. aid, the Israelis, more self-sufficient than ever, still will not do it. So ahead there is nothing but more misery and disaster.

  12. Sorry. Mean the U>N>

  13. Abe Dalis makes a point which is not made often enough. The Holocaust was a European phenomena. To hear people talk one might think the Iranians where responsible. Look the concentration camps where in Germany and Poland.

    What is really sickening is the way Western Politicians inhabit this fantasy world which some how inverts history and makes the Arabs responsible.

    By the way did you know that Israel could have been in Canada or Uganda as the british government considered offering zionist these locations as a possible homelands. I suppose all you can conclude from this is that Arabs rank beneath Inuit and Africans in western racist lexicon.

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