“It’s what I think about
when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me
largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the
crisis in Israel-Palestine.
have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has
remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded
in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in
a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds
well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected
criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened
in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices
reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the
Many civil rights activists and
organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack
concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear
loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism.
They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will
be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.
many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights
because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission,
which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against
Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.” [x]