Margaret Atwood Accepts Israel's Dirty Prize Money - Shame!

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Why make this an abstract argument about a non-existent boycott of Canada? Are you uncomfortable dealing with the reality of the BDS campaign with the overwhelming support of Palestinian civil society and organizations?

Is the AFN calling for a boycott of Canada?

Cheese. Swiss cheese. Full of holes. lots of air.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Machjo wrote:

Cueball wrote:

And as I pointed out there is an international boycott of Israel. Obviously, Atwood does not support it. End of story.

 

There's an international boycott of China too, yet if the opportunity arose to go and visit my friends again in a few years time, I won't boycott them to spite their government. I couldn't care less about any anti-Chinese boycott unless it's on the part of the UN. Keep politics out of personal lives and do not politicize culture.

In this case I draw a direct parallel from my own personal experiences abroad with what Atwood is doing. She's essentially saying she will not insult a people and culture to spite a government. Never the twain should meet.

I presume you are not going to China to accept large sums of money, and be part of events attended by important Chinese political figures who will be using you to enhance their legitimacy on the international stage.

NDPP

There SHOULD be a boycott of Canada  - but it won't likely be called by the AFN:

http://mostlywater.org/media_advisory_first_nation_trip_to_israel

This was of course protested and this 'Grand' Chief who Canada paid more than the Prime Minister, has gone on to the Royal Bank. But truly our settler state Canada has succeeded with its indigenous genocide and colonialist occupation in ways Israel can only dream of and there IS linkage between their settler state and ours. As there is linkage between the indigenous resistances as well. Please DO support both and realize that here YOU are the usurper, the settler and the occupier. Yes decolonize here too asap.

And F**K Maggie Atwood who attempts to prove herself right no matter how wrong and her dirty Zionist blood money! Because despite her awful sellout..

Palestine's Popular Resistance Continues

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/may082010/palestine-update-mq.php

(BILIN, West Bank) - "A poll reveals that a majority of Israelis are willing to ban human rights organizations in the 'Jewish state'. A bill introduced in the Knesset would outlaw an Israeli human rights organization which exposes Israeli war crimes..."

serious thread drift

al-Qa'bong

Canada is far from perfect, but at least we say "First Nations" here.  The existence of pre-colonial Palestinians is grudgingly accepted by Zionists, if at all.  Recall Golda Meir's "there is no such thing as a Palestinian," and the Zionist myth that Jews came to a "land without people."

Now there's fiction that Margaret Atwood could learn from.

NDPP

Open Letter to Margaret Atwood: Reject Tel Aviv University Prize

http://salem-news.com/articles/may092010/atwood-letter-rd.php

"...such artists must be prepared to face the suspicions that their own career interests have blinded them into sublimating the iniquity of their own role when they thus deny the victim's will. This denial adds an unpalatable note of self-pity to your attempted appropriation for yourself of the role of victim ('no matter what I do, some people are going to disagree..') as you accept that lucrative Prize.."

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

[/quote]

Keep politics out of personal lives and do not politicize culture.

 

..no one can wave a magic wand and say poof, there will be no politics there. if there is a human activity that does not have a political dimension to it i wouldn't mind hearing about it. politics is what humans do..like breathing.

[/quote]

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Below is a response to your email to Margaret Atwood.

Yours sincerely,
Vivienne Schuster.

Dear     ,

Since I accepted the Dan David Prize and it has been announced, I have received several letters from different groups asking me to reverse my acceptance and boycott this event. Amitav Ghosh of India, with whom the prize is shared, is also a target of this campaign. He and I have been chosen to receive the Dan David Prize for our literary work-work that is said to depict the twentieth century. In my case, women and the environment also feature. Here is the citation:

http://www.dandavidprize.org/index.php/laureates/laureates-2010/111-2010....

I sympathize with the very bad conditions the people of Gaza are living through due to the blockade, the military actions, and the Egyptian and Israeli walls. Everyone in the world hopes that the two sides involved will give up their inflexible positions and sit down at the negotiating table immediately and work out a settlement that would help the ordinary people who are suffering. The world wants to see fair play and humane behaviour, and it wants that more the longer the present situation continues and the worse the conditions become.

As soon as I said that, in an earlier letter, I got yelled at for saying there were two sides, but actually there are (or possibly more than two). See:

http://www.islamidavet.com/english/2010/03/04/hamas-slams-arab-vow-to-re...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1126655.html

I certainly have no power to influence these events.

However, the Dan David Prize is a cultural item It is not, as has been erroneously stated, an "Israeli" prize from the State of Israel, nor is it a prize "from Tel Aviv University," but one founded and funded by an individual and his foundation, just as the Griffin Prizes in Canada are. To boycott an individual simply because of the country he or she lives in would set a very dangerous precedent. And to boycott a discussion of literature such as the one proposed would be to take the view that literature is always and only some kind of tool of the nation that produces it -- a view I strongly reject, just as I reject the view that any book written by a woman is produced by some homogeneous substance called "women." Books are written by individuals. Novels are the closest we can come to experiencing human lives in particular places as they unfold in time and space, and lyric poems are the closest we can come to co-experiencing another human being's feeling-thought.

Another dangerous precedent is the idea of a cultural boycott. Even those strongly endorsing a financial boycott, such as www.artistespourlapaix.org<http://www.artistespourlapaix.org/>,  Artists For Peace, reject cultural boycotts, which they see as a form of censorship. (See their December 22 posting, in their Israel-Palestine file.) Indeed, such boycotts serve no good purpose if one of the hopes for the future is that peace and normal exchanges and even something resembling normal living conditions will be restored.

 PEN International, an organization of which I am a Vice President, is in favour of continuing dialogue that crosses borders of all kinds. www.internationalpen.org.uk<http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/>  "International PEN, the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries." (See U.S. PEN's recent New York Tariq Ramadan Cooper Union event, for which they were attacked by extremists from all sides.) Moderates who want to promote dialogue always get hammered twice as much, as they get stones thrown at them from several directions at once.

 In this situation, threats to open discussion come from both sides of the wall: consider this report from IFEX: http://www.ifex.org/israel/2004/07/28/israel_palestine_journalists_press...

I realize that I am caught in a propaganda war between two desperate sides in a tragic and unequal conflict. I also realize that, no matter what I do, some people are going to disagree with my decision and attack me for it. That being the case, I have chosen to visit, to speak with a variety of people, and - as much as is possible -- to see for myself, as I have done in other times and other countries many times before, including several behind the Iron Curtain and Iran and Afghanistan.

If I can go to the Occupied Territories, I will. After that, I will write my own "Open Letter" - something that I would otherwise be unable to do. Groups opposing my going to Israel, and to the region, should bear that in mind.

 In that letter, I am very likely to call attention to a hard truth about the whole region: it is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The Dead Sea is evaporating rapidly, and heat is increasing.  Unless some immediate and shared thought and work is done soon, there will not be a Middle East to dispute about, because no one can live there anyway. See the exemplary work being done by Friends of the Earth Middle East, http://www.foeme.org/index.php  , which brings together projects spanning Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

See also this 350.org photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/4039198451

See also this Barn Owl Israel/Jordan/Palestine story:

http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2009/04/barn_owls_israel.html

These initiatives are examples of how people can live together and work together for desirable common ends. And how - increasingly, around the world - we will have to. Nature recognizes no national borders, and does not negotiate.  If the world were a basketball, the biosphere would be a coat of varnish. Our ability to remain alive depends on that thin skin. At my age, I am devoting much of my increasingly limited energies to the cause of bio-viability - the ability of life to continue living on this planet.

Finally, I believe that those behind the choice for the Dan David Prize acted awarely, and that they fully intend to hear something about colonialism, unequal power, and in my case the subjugation of women and the perils facing us because of environmental degradation. Otherwise, why would they have invited me?

With respect,

Margaret Atwood.

Jingles

Quote:
Dear     ,

Since I accepted the Dan David Prize and it has been announced, I have received several letters from different groups asking me to reverse my acceptance and boycott this event. 

Blah blah blah...Look over there! Climate change!

I'm keeping the prize and the money, so fuck off

With respect,

Margaret Atwood.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Margaret Atwood wrote:
In that letter, I am very likely to call attention to a hard truth about the whole region: it is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The Dead Sea is evaporating rapidly, and heat is increasing.  Unless some immediate and shared thought and work is done soon, there will not be a Middle East to dispute about, because no one can live there anyway. See the exemplary work being done by Friends of the Earth Middle East, http://www.foeme.org/index.php  , which brings together projects spanning Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

If we need any evidence that climate change has taken over as the new fetish of well-meaning, white Western liberals, this is it. Do you think Palestinians living in Gaza give a fuck about the Dead Sea's evaporation? Wtf? Most of the letter is ignorant--thanks for the two "sources" "proving" that there is more than one side to the conflict, btw--and displays total disengagement with the issues (despite her appeal to "sympathy," which is dubious), but this passage I quoted above is mindboggling and its virtuosic ignorance. Ick.

skdadl

Jingles funny.

 

Yeah, I agree, Catchfire. That letter is, ah, disappointing. There's no way that the politics of climate change are neutral wrt other kinds of politics. The MIC, eg, is an obvious major contributor to the despoliation of the planet, and Israel is a major player in the MIC -- more than any other factor, that's why the U.S. can't disengage from its political support for Israel, and it would be one of Steve's main motives too.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Despite Atwood's failure on this issue, it's often interesting to read the rationalizations in such cases. It can reveal a great deal about the artist's vision that might otherwise remain hidden, debatable,  or only guessed at. 

"Books are written by individuals," says Margaret Atwood. Whenever I read this I laugh. Let's just leave aside the great Encyclopedia by Diderot et al, shall we? Or some book called "The Bible" which, I understand, Atwood has read? lol.

In fact, books are impossible without the society that created the conditions for them to be written. There is the whole issue of a part of society having the leisure time to write a book. There is the whole issue of language - a collective invention - that is presupposed by the writing of a book. There is the whole issue of the audience.

Sidebar: in our mass production world we can add more. How many people were involved in the publication of Atwood's books? I don't think "The Handmaid's Tale" was published in her basement. Advertising and marketing, at a trillion dollars a year in the US, are also involved with the distribution and sale of books. Can the author claim credit for all this?

Back to the main point. For whom are these books written? Or does the author live, outside of society, "paring his fingernails" - to borrow a phrase from James Joyce - and outside of social life?

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By announcing her (alleged) intention to visit the occupied territories, Atwood has given the Israeli regime plenty of time to ensure that she won't be allowed in. And, of course, that won't be her fault, will it?

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Green Grouch

LOL, Jingles. What you said. (And BTW, the drying up of the Dead Sea has never been conclusively linked to climate change. It's related to Israeli and Jordanian upstream uses for irrigation. But I suppose acknowledging this distracts from deep and meaningful dialogue.)

Since when do cultural boycotts mean that all personal conversations with individuals, or channels of communication for meaningful discussion, are automatically cut off?

"Another dangerous precedent is the idea of a cultural boycott. ... Indeed, such boycotts serve no good purpose if one of the hopes for the future is that peace and normal exchanges and even something resembling normal living conditions will be restored."

Upstream in this thread someone said Atwood had supported the South African boycott. Did she? And if so, did she support the comprehensive sanctions that included a sports boycott?

I recall arguments against the South African sports boycott saying exactly the same stuff she spouts here: "sports promote understanding and boycotts will lead to anger and alienation, players aren't political and it's unfair to penalise them, and anyway such a boycott will never help bring about a fair resolution." I guess we know how history judges those remarks, though it also needs to be said that economic apartheid continues in South Africa.

Culture/ academia is to Israel what sports were and are to South Africa. So I'm not clear why the difference for her. Perhaps it hits closer to home for her as a writer and it's a wee bit too uncomfortable. Or perhaps her acknowledgement of an "unequal" conflict doesn't extend to recgnising that the situation in Palestine has nothing to do with failed "dialogue".

MarkyMark

It's quite something when someone who has a longstanding record of speaking out on progressive causes takes a courageous and nuanced position and is effectively excommunicated by her ideological peers.  Even worse, she is being branded a pariah and whore.  All this for daring to question the increasingly shrill and simplistic orthodoxy that there is only one possible way to view the ongoing conflict.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

The only person that is branding Margaret Atwood "a pariah and whore" is you, MarkyMark. Why is that?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Maggie and Amitav Ghosh's acceptance speech and context

Quote:

MARGARET: Propaganda deals in absolutes: in Yes and No. But the novel is a creature of nuance: of perhaps, of maybe. It concerns itself, not with gods and demons, but with mortal people, with their flawed characters, their unsatisfactory bodies, their sufferings, their limited and often wrong choices; with the dubiousness of their own actions and the unfairness of their fates.

AMITAV: Writing a novel often requires you to see life through the eyes of those you may not agree with. It is a polyphonic form. It pleads for the complex humanity of all human beings.

MARGARET: The public territory the novelist defends is very small, even in a democracy. It’s the space of free invention, of possibility. It’s a space that allows the remembrance of what has been forgotten, the digging up of what has been buried.

AMITAV: Worldwide, novel-writing is under constant pressure, both from political groups who want to co-opt it, and from powerful governments who’d like to silence it. Around the world, novelists have been shot, imprisoned, and exiled for their failure to toe somebody else’s line. But they continue to write stories.

Quote:

We two fiction writers are very small potatoes indeed in the context of the momentous political events now unfolding. But writers everywhere are soft targets. It’s easy to attack them. They don’t have armies, they can’t retaliate. We have both received a number of letters urging and indeed ordering us not to attend, on the grounds that anything connected with Israel is tabu. (Oddly enough, neither the President of Italy, Giorgo Napolitano – winner of the “Past” category for reason and moderation in political affairs – nor the three computer scientists – Leonrad Kleinrock, Gordon Moore, and Michael Rabin – who were awarded in the “Future” category — were targeted by these correspondents.) We have both sent letters to many but not all of the urgers and orderers. (Not all, because in some cases the petitions etc. have appeared online without having been sent to us first.) The letters we have received have ranged from courteous and sad to factual and practical to accusatory, outrageous, and untrue in their claims and statements; some have been frankly libelous, and even threatening. Some have been willing to listen to us, others have not: they want our supposedly valuable “names,” but not our actual voices.

In other words, the all-or-nothings want to bully us into being their wholly owned puppets. The result of such a decision on our part would be – among other things – to turn us into sticks with which to beat other artists into submission, and that we refuse to do. We are familiar with what other artists of many countries have been put through in similar circumstances.

Quote:
What then is our position?  It may be summarized by this excerpt from a speech made by Anthony Appiah, President of PEN American Centre, on April 27.

“What you may not know is that both Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh have been subjected to an …offensive urging them to reject the award as part of a campaign of cultural isolation against Israel. The literary community in this country does not speak with one voice on the question of Palestine. But I want to be clear about where the PEN American Center stands on one aspect of this vexed issue. We have to stand, as we have stood from the very beginning, against the very idea of a cultural boycott. We have to continue to say: Only connect.

We have to stick with our founding conviction that writers must reach out across nations. To stand anywhere else would be to betray our history and our mission.”

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

We have to continue to say: Only connect.

There isn't much of a view from her room, is there?

MarkyMark

She's clearly being branded as a sell out, the idea being there is only right way to view it and she chose the wrong way for money, with that money being blood money.  It's shameful and another reason BDS is a cunning ruse to obfuscate and deceive.   The letter from the students clearly takes the position that Zionism is Racism and there should be no homeland for the Jewish People, contrary to the partition plan and subseqent UN resolutions and peace agreements including with the Palestinian Authority.   Let them say what they want, but I don't think that outcome is either just or remotely comparable to South Africa.  BDS seems not to be focused on pressuring Israel to actively pursue the two state solution but rather on undoing it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

al'Qa-bong wrote:
There isn't much of a view from her room, is there?

What I found particularly egregious in that response is not only the intense insularity she exhibits, but the fact that she has tried to refigure that insulation as a humanizing process--as if she needs to find the "human" in the Israeli apartheid campaign even as she denies the humanity of the Gazans affected by it. All they get is her "sympathy," not the "creature of nuance" gaze which the novelist, presumably, always sees.

I don't see in black and white either, but the nuance I see doesn't make it okay to reject allies against injustice in favour of half a million dollars from Tel Aviv university.

Green Grouch

I'm not buying this somewhat precious subtext that seems to claim that writers have responsibilities, needs or gifts shared by no one else.

"In other words, the all-or-nothings want to bully us into being their wholly owned puppets. The result of such a decision on our part would be - among other things - to turn us into sticks with which to beat other artists into submission, and that we refuse to do."

Why is it necessary to identify cultural boycott supporters as "all or nothing"? Turning down a prize, which is what Atwood has been asked to, is hardly the same as asking her to refuse to associate with any and all Israelis. Besides, the wholly-owned puppet of Margaret Atwood is manufactured in China through the auspices of the disingenuous Unemployed Philosopher's Guild.

How is taking seriously the call of Palestinians (and other writers) to refrain from legitimizing Israel's actions by supporting its cultural life the equivalent of turning writers "into sticks with which to beat other artists"?

"We have to stand, as we have stood from the very beginning, against the very idea of a cultural boycott. We have to continue to say: Only connect."

Right. Because cultural boycotts destroy every vestige of communication and every opportunity for connecting, as I'm sure Desmond Tutu would agree. And writers like Alice Walker are just nasty little misanthropes.

"We have to stick with our founding conviction that writers must reach out across nations. To stand anywhere else would be to betray our history and our mission."

Oh. You have a mission! (Not to mention a sense of Destiny.) Well then. I'll just take my comic book off to the corner and watch hockey until I repent and someone lets me read a novel again.

I have no time for anyone who has made any kind of threat; such eejits do the movement much more harm than good. But the threats of a minority do NOT delegitimise the very valid call to non violent action coming from many Palestinians (some of whom are writers) and a courageous minority of Israelis (some of who are... wait for it.... Writers! They may even write-gasp!-novels.)

 

 

Green Grouch

MarkyMark: "BDS seems not to be focused on pressuring Israel to actively pursue the two state solution but rather on undoing it."

That would be redundant, seeing as how half a million Israeli settlers have already helped ensure a two state solution is impossible.

Snert Snert's picture

Are the other award winners -- in the "past" and "future" categories -- going to refuse their prize?  Were they asked to?

al-Qa'bong

Before Ms. Atwood complains too loudly, she should be thankful that she isn't being treated the way the Israelis treated writer Ghassan Kanifani.

CMOT Dibbler

I don't see in black and white either, but the nuance I see doesn't make it okay to reject allies against injustice in favour of half a million dollars from Tel Aviv university.

Does she need the money?  Is she bankrupt?

Star Spangled C...

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

I don't see in black and white either, but the nuance I see doesn't make it okay to reject allies against injustice in favour of half a million dollars from Tel Aviv university.

Does she need the money?

I don't "need" the money but could certainly use it and would be happy to accept a lucrative award from someone who admires my work. Wouldn't you.

al-Qa'bong

I nominate Star Spangled Whoosis for the Pol Pot Prize for Purple Prose.

 

It's pretty prestigious and pays a pretty penny.

CMOT Dibbler

The grand Mufti of Jerusalem was not "the Palestinian" leadership. He was a single Imam who the British bestowed the title of Grand Mufti upon

But he was at the head of the Arab revolt in '36. What convinced him to turn on the British?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

1. Here is an important Palestinian author for babblers to familiarize themselves with.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) - the Israeli regime could not even accept poetry by Darwish in their schools.... despite the fact that Darwish's poetry had been translated into 20 languages.

2. Why is the Israeli government afraid of Palestinian poets?

Quote:
What is a surprise, however, is that this summer the Israeli government cracked down on a Palestinian literary festival (Palfest) which opened in East Jerusalem. The event in question, which was supported by the British council and UNESCO, was a week-long festival featuring some distinguished international literary figures.

Since the Israeli government prohibits Palestinian political activity in east Jerusalem (which it annexed after the 1967 war), it felt justified in closing down the cultural event. The spokesperson for the Israeli police explained that the event was shut down because Israel believed it was organised or funded by the Palestinian Authority. The organizers of the festival deny this allegation.

It seems the Israeli apartheid regime makes no distinction between cultural and political activity. I wonder if author Atwood will have anything to say about that? lol.

Compare the actions of the Israeli regime here with the pronouncements of M. Atwood.

3. Palestine Festival of Literature

Unionist

Hey N.Beltov, [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/armed-israel...'s a thread[/url] from last year about the brave Israeli armed literary critics shutting down the festival.

 

CMOT Dibbler

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

I don't see in black and white either, but the nuance I see doesn't make it okay to reject allies against injustice in favour of half a million dollars from Tel Aviv university.

Does she need the money?

I don't "need" the money but could certainly use it and would be happy to accept a lucrative award from someone who admires my work. Wouldn't you.

Answer the question.  Is she having money problems?

Star Spangled C...

How many Jewish poets do you imagine are included in the curriculum in public schools in Gaza?

Star Spangled C...

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

Answer the question.  Is she having money problems?

How the hell should I know about the financial status of Margaret Atwood. If i had to guess, I'd imagine she's pretty comfortable and that for most writers who've already achieved a certain level of success, awards are less about money than about recognition and prestige. She's a talented writer, she's worked hard for many years. A foundation decided to honour her. I say Mazel Tov!

Unionist

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

How many Jewish poets do you imagine are included in the curriculum in public schools in Gaza?

Not sure about Jewish poets, but a fair number of Israeli bombs were included recently in the public school curriculum in Gaza.

 

Star Spangled C...

Unionist wrote:

Not sure about Jewish poets, but a fair number of Israeli bombs were included recently in the public school curriculum in Gaza.

And a lot of Qassam rockets were introduced to pre-schools in Israeli towns like Sderot.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

In defending her acceptance of the DD Prize at Tel Aviv U, author Atwood has denounced/strongly objected to "lumping together" cultural activity (like the sort that writers, such as herself, do) and political activity (like the BDS campaign). She wants a Chinese Wall between the two.

I guess she'll have to denounce such "lumping together" by the Israeli regime that uses state violence to enforce such views through the barrel of an Uzi? (see Israeli crackdown on Palestinian literary festival above.) I mean, if the anti-apartheid activists use words, and the Israelis use guns, then, surely, the great author will need to ALSO voice her objections to the Israeli actions? And this, whether it was yesterday or last year.

Of course, that might "interfere" with the collection of a $0.5 Million prize winnings, eh?

Am I mistaken or is M. Atwood a sitting duck on this one?

Unionist

I side with the oppressed. You side with your own. That's the difference between the glorious Jewish tradition of enlightenment, and the poison that Zionism has created. The Jewish enclaves, be they kingdoms or ghettoes, have always ended in disaster. But Jews among the nations, fighting shoulder to shoulder and indistinguishable in aim and interest, are invincible.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

MarkyMark wrote:

She's clearly being branded as a sell out, the idea being there is only right way to view it and she chose the wrong way for money, with that money being blood money.  It's shameful and another reason BDS is a cunning ruse to obfuscate and deceive.   The letter from the students clearly takes the position that Zionism is Racism and there should be no homeland for the Jewish People, contrary to the partition plan and subseqent UN resolutions and peace agreements including with the Palestinian Authority.   Let them say what they want, but I don't think that outcome is either just or remotely comparable to South Africa.  BDS seems not to be focused on pressuring Israel to actively pursue the two state solution but rather on undoing it.

She is being declared wrong in going Israel to accept a prize knowing full well that Israel is engaged in the cultural gencide of an entire people. It is you who is branding her with various smears. And Zionism is a racist ideology no less than any other ideology founded on etnic exclusivity and racial supremacy. Zionism has plenty in common with right wing nationalism, white supremacy, Apartheid South Africa, and Jim Crow. It has little relationship with pluralistic democracies.

With that said, I will shut up about her and give her the benefit of the doubt. Let us watch and listen as she travels to Israel and see how much effort she puts into going to Gaza and the West Bank and learning about life as a Palestinian living under the boot heel of an oppressive, brutal, and racist regime.

ETA: And she is wrong. Racists don't listen to reason. They never have.

Cueball Cueball's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

In defending her acceptance of the DD Prize at Tel Aviv U, author Atwood has denounced/strongly objected to "lumping together" cultural activity (like the sort that writers, such as herself, do) and political activity (like the BDS campaign). She wants a Chinese Wall between the two.

I guess she'll have to denounce such "lumping together" by the Israeli regime that uses state violence to enforce such views through the barrel of an Uzi? (see Israeli crackdown on Palestinian literary festival above.) I mean, if the anti-apartheid activists use words, and the Israelis use guns, then, surely, the great author will need to ALSO voice her objections to the Israeli actions? And this, whether it was yesterday or last year.

Of course, that might "interfere" with the collection of a $0.5 Million prize winnings, eh?

Am I mistaken or is M. Atwood a sitting duck on this one?

$450,000. 10% of the prize is awarded to University of Tel Aviv students.

CMOT Dibbler

She's a talented writer, she's worked hard for many years. A foundation decided to honour her. I say Mazel Tov!

But she knows what the IDF is doing in the Occupied territories. Her choice to accept the award is insane from a humanitarian standpoint.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, for those of you trying to maintain that the prize exists somehow outside to the functioning of Israelis state institutions, as a purely "private" matter, and so is not tainted with issues revolving around Israeli state policy, the fact that the winner is obliged to contribute money for scholarships that are then redirected to the University of Tel Aviv means that Atwood is directly supporting the Apartheid system.

Coming Face To Face With Israeli Racism

Quote:
A few days ago, an incident in Tel Aviv changed my entire perception of Israel. Naive as I am, I thought that Tel Aviv is a more liberal and left leaning city in Israel. So I figured that I would not feel too incredibility uncomfortable wearing a Free Palestine T-shirt. So I went about my day just thinking that I'm another Israeli walking the streets of Tel Aviv. But I was wrong. I was very wrong. I was not just another Israeli. I had a very dark tan and 2 weeks of facial hair that I was too lazy to shave off. Thus, wearing my Free Palestine T-shirt, I was no longer an "Israeli," I had for all intents and purposes become a "Palestinian."

An idea for Ms. Atwood? Perhaps she could don a Hijab, and see how far she gets.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Be sure to read post 4 in the comments and think back to recent claims of threats.

MarkyMark

Frustrated Mess wrote:

MarkyMark wrote:

She's clearly being branded as a sell out, the idea being there is only right way to view it and she chose the wrong way for money, with that money being blood money.  It's shameful and another reason BDS is a cunning ruse to obfuscate and deceive.   The letter from the students clearly takes the position that Zionism is Racism and there should be no homeland for the Jewish People, contrary to the partition plan and subseqent UN resolutions and peace agreements including with the Palestinian Authority.   Let them say what they want, but I don't think that outcome is either just or remotely comparable to South Africa.  BDS seems not to be focused on pressuring Israel to actively pursue the two state solution but rather on undoing it.

She is being declared wrong in going Israel to accept a prize knowing full well that Israel is engaged in the cultural gencide of an entire people. It is you who is branding her with various smears. And Zionism is a racist ideology no less than any other ideology founded on etnic exclusivity and racial supremacy. Zionism has plenty in common with right wing nationalism, white supremacy, Apartheid South Africa, and Jim Crow. It has little relationship with pluralistic democracies.

With that said, I will shut up about her and give her the benefit of the doubt. Let us watch and listen as she travels to Israel and see how much effort she puts into going to Gaza and the West Bank and learning about life as a Palestinian living under the boot heel of an oppressive, brutal, and racist regime.

ETA: And she is wrong. Racists don't listen to reason. They never have.

Well you're entitled to your view but she is entitled to hers as well.   What's happening is that those who don't take that extreme a view are being branded as indifferent to social justice.   Israel was created as a "Jewish state" and exists under international law for that purpose.   Its existence means that those who endured persecution, discrimination and mass murder now have a place to go where they can live as Jews and, in fact, simply live.   It has nothing to do with racial supremacy.    That doesn't mean that every state policy of Israel is a good one, but this effort to demonize, deligitimize and destroy Israel under the banner of social justice will fail and in so doing will irreparably damage the historic coalition that has fought many battles for noble causes over the decades.

Again, had she been asked not to go to Israel during the blockade of Gaza, she (and others in a like position) might well have considered it, but since the "ask" seems to have been dramatically more expansive, irrational, unreaaonable, unjust, unattainable and irresponsible, she had no choice.  Why should she be slandered and ostracized for taking a position that is consistent with agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority (i.e., that Israel is a legitimate state)?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

 

MarkyMark wrote:
Israel was created as a "Jewish state" and exists under international law for that purpose.   Its existence means that those who endured persecution, discrimination and mass murder now have a place to go where they can live as Jews and, in fact, simply live.   It has nothing to do with racial supremacy.

What a pile of crap.

Jonathan Cook wrote:

Israel excludes a nationality of "Israeli" to ensure that, in fulfillment of its self-definition as a "Jewish state," it is able to assign superior rights of citizenship to the collective "nation" of Jews around the globe than to the body of actual citizens in its territory, which includes many Palestinians. In practice it does this by creating two main classes of citizenship: a Jewish citizenship for "Jewish nationals" and an Arab citizenship for "Arab nationals." Both nationalities were effectively invented by Israel and have no meaning outside Israel.

Israel's big and small apartheids.

Got anything to say other than apologetic for the Israeli regime/system?

MarkyMark

N.Beltov wrote:

 

MarkyMark wrote:
Israel was created as a "Jewish state" and exists under international law for that purpose.   Its existence means that those who endured persecution, discrimination and mass murder now have a place to go where they can live as Jews and, in fact, simply live.   It has nothing to do with racial supremacy.

What a pile of crap.

Jonathan Cook wrote:

Israel excludes a nationality of "Israeli" to ensure that, in fulfillment of its self-definition as a "Jewish state," it is able to assign superior rights of citizenship to the collective "nation" of Jews around the globe than to the body of actual citizens in its territory, which includes many Palestinians. In practice it does this by creating two main classes of citizenship: a Jewish citizenship for "Jewish nationals" and an Arab citizenship for "Arab nationals." Both nationalities were effectively invented by Israel and have no meaning outside Israel.

Israel's big and small apartheids.

Got anything to say other than apologetic for the Israeli regime/system?

Go read the Partition Plan.   Israel was created as a "Jewiish state."   Having said that, its non-Jewish citizens have full equal rights and certianly any comparison to apartheid South Africa doesn't hold water.  And of course from a minority rights perspective Israel's Arabs have rights that dwarf the minority rights in any Arab country.  And nobody gets upset when there is talk of an "Arab people."  Why not?   

And from a Canadian perspective, this should be easily understandable.  Quebec is now viewed as a nation, and the "collective" rights of the French are given supremacy with some rights of others affected, such as the right to choose English language education and the right to do business in English even with English customers.   Not to mention the fact that Canada exists on lands that once were inhabited only br First Nations and who now are subject to an "Indian Act" and with a history of residential schools.   Should Canada be unwound and all its inhabitants return to their countries of origin?

Cueball Cueball's picture

MarkyMark wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

 

MarkyMark wrote:
Israel was created as a "Jewish state" and exists under international law for that purpose.   Its existence means that those who endured persecution, discrimination and mass murder now have a place to go where they can live as Jews and, in fact, simply live.   It has nothing to do with racial supremacy.

What a pile of crap.

Jonathan Cook wrote:

Israel excludes a nationality of "Israeli" to ensure that, in fulfillment of its self-definition as a "Jewish state," it is able to assign superior rights of citizenship to the collective "nation" of Jews around the globe than to the body of actual citizens in its territory, which includes many Palestinians. In practice it does this by creating two main classes of citizenship: a Jewish citizenship for "Jewish nationals" and an Arab citizenship for "Arab nationals." Both nationalities were effectively invented by Israel and have no meaning outside Israel.

Israel's big and small apartheids.

Got anything to say other than apologetic for the Israeli regime/system?

Go read the Partition Plan.   Israel was created as a "Jewiish state."   Having said that, its non-Jewish citizens have full equal rights and certianly any comparison to apartheid South Africa doesn't hold water.  And of course from a minority rights perspective Israel's Arabs have rights that dwarf the minority rights in any Arab country.  And nobody gets upset when there is talk of an "Arab people."  Why not?

This is full of holes.

1) The area controlled by Israel does not conform at all to that of the partition plan. Appealing to its validity is absurd, since Israel is in occupation of double the territory it was assigned by the partition. Logically, if you are going to assert the authority of the partition plan, you should be arguing that Israel should give up more territory than offered by Palestinians during the Oslo accords.

2) Israeli illegally controls and occupies the remaining territory assigned for an Arab state under martial law.

3) Jewish citizens living in the occupied territories are afforded full rights as Israeli citizens. Arabs living under the occupation have no such rights, must carry pass books, and can not even travel on Jewish only roads, are not inhibited by pass laws or any of the aspects of military law that Palestinians are forced to live with.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

We are talking about the application of racially prejudiced laws by the state Israel, as state policy.

MarkyMark

Cueball,

If we're talking the '67 lands, I probably agree with most of the arguments made by Israel's critics.   But the Gaza students' letter to Atwood goes well beyond that, as does Hamas.  And that's what Atwood was asked to accept and what she is meant to be ashamed for not agreeing to.

The Partition Plan creates Israel as a "Jewish state" while also contemplating an "Arab state."  Why is this unjust?   And if it was, do you feel the same away about the partitioning of the subcontinent to create a Muslim Pakistan out of India?   That caused much more dislocation but the problem was not perpetuated as one side didn't keep all refugees in camps until the end of time.

By the way, the occupation is not "illegal" as you say-242 and 338 require Israel to return lands as part of a comprehensive peace deal which includes its full recognition with defensible borders, none of which are on the table as far as Hamas is concerned.   If Israel's occupation is "illegal," so too is Hamas's Charter and its general position.   Both sides are meant to commit to and implement the two state solution.   Israel says it is committed but does some things that suggest otherwise, and Hamas explicitly rejects it while citing with approval the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as if it were the Declaraton of Independence or Magna Carta.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

MarkyMark wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

MarkyMark wrote:

She's clearly being branded as a sell out, the idea being there is only right way to view it and she chose the wrong way for money, with that money being blood money.  It's shameful and another reason BDS is a cunning ruse to obfuscate and deceive.   The letter from the students clearly takes the position that Zionism is Racism and there should be no homeland for the Jewish People, contrary to the partition plan and subseqent UN resolutions and peace agreements including with the Palestinian Authority.   Let them say what they want, but I don't think that outcome is either just or remotely comparable to South Africa.  BDS seems not to be focused on pressuring Israel to actively pursue the two state solution but rather on undoing it.

She is being declared wrong in going Israel to accept a prize knowing full well that Israel is engaged in the cultural gencide of an entire people. It is you who is branding her with various smears. And Zionism is a racist ideology no less than any other ideology founded on etnic exclusivity and racial supremacy. Zionism has plenty in common with right wing nationalism, white supremacy, Apartheid South Africa, and Jim Crow. It has little relationship with pluralistic democracies.

With that said, I will shut up about her and give her the benefit of the doubt. Let us watch and listen as she travels to Israel and see how much effort she puts into going to Gaza and the West Bank and learning about life as a Palestinian living under the boot heel of an oppressive, brutal, and racist regime.

ETA: And she is wrong. Racists don't listen to reason. They never have.

Well you're entitled to your view but she is entitled to hers as well.   What's happening is that those who don't take that extreme a view are being branded as indifferent to social justice.   Israel was created as a "Jewish state" and exists under international law for that purpose.   Its existence means that those who endured persecution, discrimination and mass murder now have a place to go where they can live as Jews and, in fact, simply live.   It has nothing to do with racial supremacy.    That doesn't mean that every state policy of Israel is a good one, but this effort to demonize, deligitimize and destroy Israel under the banner of social justice will fail and in so doing will irreparably damage the historic coalition that has fought many battles for noble causes over the decades.

Again, had she been asked not to go to Israel during the blockade of Gaza, she (and others in a like position) might well have considered it, but since the "ask" seems to have been dramatically more expansive, irrational, unreaaonable, unjust, unattainable and irresponsible, she had no choice.  Why should she be slandered and ostracized for taking a position that is consistent with agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority (i.e., that Israel is a legitimate state)?

Why is truth always an extremist view to extremists?

Zionism, the creation of a Jewish homeland, is no different from the Ayran Nation's demand for a Christian heritage homeland or the Nation of Islam's demand for a nation for African Americans, or White South Africa's demand for a separate, white homeland. Israel was created as a "Jewish State" and a "White State" and an "Imperial State" on lands that belonged to another people. But the racist narrative of Zionism would have us believe those people never existed: "A land without people for a people without land". But then again, Zionism doesn't really deny the existence of Palestinians as much as it denies their humanity--they are not people. They are not entitled to any legal, political or social rights or protections.

Every state policy of Israel is branch of a tree that is poisoned by the root of racial supremacy, the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of a native people, and their continued subjugation, imprisonment, slow eradication, and cultural erasure.

What part of that is not true? Israel can only be defended as a racist state using the same language, tactics, and arguments used by every racist regime, group, and ideology throughout the 20th century. 

Atwood falls for the same trap as so many of her contemporaries which is surprising for a feminist, if you ask me. She argues there are two sides to the question. Then surely she must agree the man who beats his wife also has a legitimate stake in the oppression of his spouse. She cares for his kids, she cooks his meals, she cleans the house, she is there for him to relieve his pent up aggression. He certainly has an economic stake in the matrimonial home as well as he has concerns about his safety as it is may be in her best interest to do him serious harm to reduce the ongoing risk to her and her children. Would Atwood agree the abuser has an interest to which the abused must offer a compromise or an accommodation? I don't think she would. So why would she think a state founded on racial superiority and ethnic cleansing and governing a subjugated people through brute military force is different? I'd really like to know.

Because if it is different, than maybe everything is different including her concern for the environment. After all, BP, Exxon, et al, have an interest in the continued rape and degradation of the planet for the purpose of shareholder profit.

Cueball Cueball's picture

It stuck me as interesting that Kaiser Whillem II's plan to move the Poles from Eastern Poland in WWI was called the "Land Without a People" program. This same program under a different name was taken up by later German governments in the 1940's after Germany "occupied" Poland. To day I found out that "occupation" was not illegal.

Heh! All is good in moral relativism land I guess.

declareIndependance declareIndependance's picture

Stop picking on Atwood...

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Shalom everybody

Cueball Cueball's picture

One thing I find particularly ironic about Atwood's ultra-whiney "I am the victim" trope is her claim that "writers have no armies". There she is ensconsed in the protection of one of the most powerful military machines on earth, one that is entirely dedicated to stripping the original inhabitants of the region where the University of Tel Aviv sits, so that her and her colleagues can hob-knob with each other, give eloquent speeches, and wax poetic about climate change without fear of interuption from the millions who were dispossessed in order to arrange for her comfort.

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