I'll be participating in: Marxism and Israel: Left Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

I will be participating in an interesting panel discussion: Marxism and Israel: Left Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Monday, November 15, 7pm 
Thomas Hunter Hall, 930 Lexington Avenue, Room 414

Take the Quiz! Israel: 

Perception & Reality

Part 1. The Origins of the State of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Holocaust
Background to This Quiz:
Much of the material for this Revolution quiz comes from or was updated from a fact sheet about the state of Israel that appeared in a previous issue of this paper (when the name of the paper was the Revolutionary Worker). In the spring of 2006, a student at the School for International Training in Vermont posted that fact sheet to an online discussion group. The Dean of Graduate Studies called for a campus forum—not to debate the content of the fact sheet, but to criticize the student who sent it for violating the school’s policy on "appropriate use of the electronic media" by posting "material that may be or may be perceived as harassment"! Apparently a simple examination into the actual history of the state of Israel was verboten. The incident is alarmingly indicative of the atmosphere on college campuses and intellectual centers, where a number of prominent universities have "disinvited" or driven off campus everyone from poets to historians who’ve criticized the state of Israel.

Get the quiz here

Talking with Michael Slate about taking out "After the holocaust..."

This was a chance to talk about a whole range of experiences taking out Bob Avakian's quote "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel." We particularly focused on some of the conspiracy theory stuff I've run into that argues that Israel is NOT a strategic asset for the US in the Middle East and the world, but .... conflicts with US interests.... is a product of the corruption and manipulation of the system by the Israel lobby or "the Jews".... etc, and the actual reality embodied in the quote. Listen

"After the holocaust..." at USSF

I was part of a panel (with Pam Bailey, who has a very powerful presentation on the current situation in Gaza). I talked about "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel" (Bob Avakian). Controversy, as always. I showed a clip from taking this out on the streets because its good for people to actually 'experience' the experience of taking this out - 3 min clip with rough subtitles at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeUlZfCN8I0.

Radio interviews on experiences with "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people...

I was interviewed on Fred Nagel's Classwars show on the Vassar College station about experiences taking out "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people" (Bob Avakian) -- among other things. I thought it was an interesting conversation -- I brought in experiences taking this out to the Holocaust Museum, KAMP, and Michael Lerner's Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference. Why is Israel something terrible that *happened to* Jewish people? Can something be morally wrong when done to one group of people, and morally right when done to another? What are the actual lessons of the holocaust? Fred had some interesting insights and did a great interview - it didn't even feel like being on the radio. Plus we chatted about meals in Cairo:


I mentioned to some of you that I was on a one-hour call-in show in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago engaging with a mainly African-American audience on similar themes. A lot of deeply felt solidarity for the Palestinian people, and a lot of confusion about who actually runs the world, set up Israel, and the historic role of oppressors using scapegoating to misdirect the anger of those they oppress. That station doesn't keep archives, but I'll try to get an audio to post.

Stay in touch. anyone going to the US Social Forum in Detroit?

Alan Goodman

At KAMP -- with "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the State of Israel."

At KAMP -- with "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the State of Israel." 3 days after the massacre on the Mari Marvara


Video available now: Condemn the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Video recording now available (Courtesy of Fansmiles Productions.)
(Adobe Flash format. Download file, play in Windows Media Player or open file in Firefox.)
Audio recording also available.
Held June 1, Tuesday, 7pm

Emergency Forum:
Condemn the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Alan Goodman, writer for Revolution newspaper
Chris Hedges, author, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle"
Abdeen Jabara, past-president of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee
Joel Kovel, author of "Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine"
Adam Shapiro, human rights activist and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement
hosted by Andy Zee

You can't say that at Columia -- but that's intolerable!

Open Letter to the Columbia Community and Challenge to Debate:
“After the Holocaust, the Worst Thing that Happened to Jewish People is the State of Israel
“After the Holocaust, the Worst Thing that Happened to Jewish People is the State of Israel.” This is the title of a talk I gave at a town hall meeting in Manhattan last year during Israel’s massacre of Gaza (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzoCr5DcVig). It is a quote from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
I know. You can’t say things like this at Columbia University. Even mainstream academics on campus who bring up well-known, substantiated facts about the situation of the Palestinian people or the crimes Israel commits against them fear for their tenure, their careers, and even their physical safety. But that’s intolerable! Anyone on this campus who has a modicum of appreciation for the importance of academic freedom and free speech should be appalled at this chilling atmosphere at Columbia in relation to one of the most important issues in the world – the nature and role of Israel and its crimes against the Palestinians.
The nature and role of Israel is central to understanding the whole situation in the Middle East, the so-called “war on terror,” and the oppression of the Palestinian people. As a correspondent for Revolution newspaper, I come from a perspective that analyzes the roots of all this in the nature of global imperialism.
The suppression of critical examination of the nature and role of Israel at Columbia is part of a societal ruling “out of order” any serious critique of Israel. I can speak to this from personal experience: Zionists posted public threats against myself and Adam Shapiro of the International Solidarity Movement when we spoke at the Manhattan emergency town hall meeting against Israel’s Massacre in Gaza last year.  I was surrounded by 28 NYC police cars for 2 hours and issued a criminal citation for “criticizing Israel” with “no permit” (that is the wording on the citation) for holding a banner with the message of this challenge in front of the Holocaust Museum in Manhattan; and I was part of the Gaza Freedom March that was denied the ability to witness and protest the inhumane conditions Israel is imposing on Gaza – the Egyptian government under orders from the United States refused to allow us to enter Gaza.
I will make a compelling case that “After the Holocaust, the Worst Thing that Happened to Jewish People is the State of Israel.” I’ll debate anyone, anywhere on campus who can make something close to a serious, substantial argument that this is not true. I draw on my own personal transformation from a pro-Israel Jewish person to an internationalist who looks at the world from the interests of humanity, and a communist. And I challenge everyone in the Columbia community who finds the current dangerously distorted, censored, and suppressed atmosphere when it comes to Israel and its crimes to help facilitate me speaking on campus, including in a debate.
Contact me to help make this happen, or to engage in or arrange a debate next Fall:

Bay Area Barnstorming -- questions so far

Day 2 of week long Bay Area Barnstorming with Gaza Freedom March Report-Back. Taking me to a church, a college, a high school, an art studio, and living rooms...  Questions asked so far: Why historically can people in that part of the world not get along -- Christians, Jews, Muslims? Why are so many Palestinians still in Gaza? How big a factor is Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East? What is your solution, given you object to the West vs. Islamic fundamentalism choices? How does Iran fit into the picture? How do I convince my Jewish friends that Israel is wrong? What is Israel trying to accomplish by blockading Gaza? What is the story with Egypt? What about voices of dissent in Israel? Why would Israel destroy the American International School in Gaza? If Hamas is using the tunnels to bring in weapons, how can we argue against Egypt's wall to close them...

Report Back from the Gaza Freedom March - 2/21/10 Berkeley 7 PM

Report Back from the Gaza Freedom March
A presentation by Alan Goodman

Sunday, February 21st at 7:00 pm, 
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar Street in Berkeley (at Bonita)
Alan Goodman was a participant in the Gaza Freedom March on December 31, 2009, in Cairo, and covered this historic event for Revolution newspaper.

Alan's slideshow- presentation illustrates and brings to life the critical situation for the people of Gaza one year after Israel’s massacre. It highlights the importance of the Gaza Freedom March, in breaking the siege of Gaza.

This presentation paints a vivid picture of challenges of persevering with the mission of the march in Egypt after Egyptian authorities banned the marchers from going to Gaza – including the "great debates" among the participants over whether to accept an offer from the Egyptian government to allow 100 of the 1300+ marchers into Gaza as a humanitarian mission.

And it paints a living picture of "everyday people" from around the world who, at great risk and sacrifice, went on the march.

Based on interviews with dozens of participants – some of whom have been to Gaza recently – Alan Goodman’s report-back from the Gaza Freedom March paints a living picture of the situation faced by the people of Gaza.

And, from the perspective of a reporter from Revolution newspaper (revcom.us), Alan’s presentation poses important questions about the global forces behind the blockade of Gaza, and the oppression of the Palestinian people.Bring your toughest questions about the situation of the Palestinian people, and the state of Israel! Q&A / discussion to follow presentation.                                     

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar Street in Berkeley (at Bonita)

For information call: 510-684-8270. $10-15 at the door, sliding scale students & unemployed, no one turned away for lack of funds. Co-sponsored by the BFUU Peace & Social Justice Committee, Oakland Educational Association Peace & Justice Caucus, and Revolution Book.

The Gaza Freedom March: A Call to the World Part I:

The Gaza Freedom March: Part I: Locked Down in Cairo - in REVOLUTION newspaper

At precisely 10 am on December 31, 2009, a dozen or so "tourists" moved swiftly into eight lanes of traffic in the middle of a main thoroughfare through the center of Cairo, Egypt. Hundreds of signs in English and Arabic emerged from suitcases and backpacks: "End the Siege!" "Free Gaza!" This was the signal. Within seconds, hundreds of other "tourists" poured into the streets to join them — the Gaza Freedom March was on! After an hour of pandemonium, security forces had managed to push the protesters to the sidewalk, where they were surrounded and detained by phalanxes of riot police for seven hours. The Gaza Freedom March, which was already front-page news in Egypt and the Middle East, became a living call to the world: Free Gaza! Read on…

video clips from my report back on Gaza Freedom March

3 clips up at www.youtube.com/alanxgoodman from the presentation I'm using for report-backs on the Gaza Freedom March.

Also, seems people are finding my talk at the Emergency Town Hall Meeting to Oppose the Massacre in Gaza last year relevant, including the arguments I made to speak to people who keep asking "but what about those Hamas rockets?"

Stories to tell!

Over the course of participating in, and covering the Gaza Freedom March for REVOLUTION, I recorded some 30 interviews with participants. Those interviews tell the stories of people who at great risk and sacrifice left their families, jobs, and countries to be part of the March. These interviews also  provide a window into the conditions and lives of the Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere.

They include the experiences of the Bahrain delegation -- a doctor and a nurse who were in Gaza during the war.... the story of a woman whose husband is in Gaza, and who documented the brutal conditions and irrepressible spirit of people there last May, five months after Israel's "war" (massacre)... the experience of the a Jewish woman from the U.S. who was provoked by the Israeli-orchestrated massacre of Palestinians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla to discover the roots of Israel in ethnic cleansing, and then to go on the "Birthright unplugged" tour and witness the situation in the West Bank... 

Photos: Above- Teachers at The American International School in Gaza stand outside their former school building last May. The building was destroyed by Israel in last year's massacre of Gaza; Right - the takeout window at Sam's Pizza in Gaza City. Credits: Linda Todd, used with permission - if reprinted please credit.

And the interviews paint a picture of our experiences here, including that of the Luxembourg delegation (10 people from a tiny country in Europe) who made it to the northern Egyptian town of Al Arish near the Gaza border and who spent their confinement there mobilizing the local population in opposition to Egypt's planned wall....with people who participated in the activities of the GFM all over Cairo

I interviewed students, political activists... people who identified their values as Christians, Muslims or Jews as motivating factors.... about why they came. The interviews shed light on why all kinds of "normal everyday" people awakened to the real situation of the Palestinian people -- experiences they had that opened their eyes... and what it was about their backgrounds that made them receptive to hearing, seeing, and thinking about the situation of the Palestinians. They show the potential for mobilizing the people of the world to support the liberation of Palestine, and to oppose the crimes of Israel and the U.S. and the whole network of oppressive power in the Middle East.

And there are different perspectives and insights on the causes of the oppression of the Palestinian people, and how that fits into a larger picture of a world of oppression and injustice.

Here's how you can help make this material available to the world:

* Post or email me (alanxgoodman@gmail.com) your suggestions on how to present this material in REVOLUTION newspaper, at revcom.us, or in other ways....
* Volunteer to transcribe one or more of these interviews.
* Volunteer to translate this material into Spanish for RevoluciĆ³n, or into Arabic (or other languages)
* Network / collectivize / dialog on how those of us who were part of and documented this experience in different forms can amplify its impact.
* Arrange to have me speak to your students, your activist group, your community organization, your church/mosque/synagogue, radio show, etc... including as part of group report-backs from the GFM.
* Include me on panels / forums / debates in Israel and Palestine (consult before listing me of course)
* Other ideas?

Again, feel free to post ideas here, or email me at alanxgoodman@gmail.com.


New Year's Eve, Cairo: One critical impetus for the Gaza Freedom March is the impeding move by Egypt to build a deep wall at the Gaza border that would cut off the flow of essential survival material for the people of Gaza. I’ll be writing more about the nature of this planned wall, and the terrible danger it presents based on what I’ve learned from other delegates on the March. Stopping that wall has been a demand of the Gaza Freedom March.

Right: The Egyptian mass media, even while providing somewhat sympathetic (and very prominent) coverage for the Gaza Freedom March, has been inundating the public with fears that "drugs and contraband" are going through the Gaza tunnels and endangering Egypt's security. This from a regime that has blocked any possibility of legal commerce and criminalized the transport of any goods in or out of Gaza.
* * *

Tonight, a bunch of us including a young crew from Canada are relaxing a bit in the hotel lobby, summing up the tumultuous events of the last few days, and watching one of the cable news neworks. A story comes on about the impact of global warming on the highly vulnerable country of Bangladesh – a country which is almost entirely very near sea level. A slight rise in the level of the world’s oceans, resulting from the melting of glacial and polar ice, threatens to flood much of Bangladesh – a densely populated country of 160 million people.

This particular story focused on how Bangladesh’s larger, more powerful neighbor, India, is building a wall, 2,100 miles long, to seal the border between the two countries. The high, heavily reinforced barbed wire fence is not going to keep out water, it’s being built to keep out people. Scientists are saying that some 15 million people will be displaced in low-lying regions of Bangaldesh by mid-century, and the wall is to seal them into desperate Bangladesh and out of India

When the story ended, a delegate commented with bitter insight: “Seems like the solution to everything these days is to build a wall.”

What an indicting truth! In a world that so badly needs global cooperation among people, all the capitalist system can do is build walls – to keep people out, or to keep people in. All, in one way or another, to fortify a system of grotesque inequality and brutal oppression.

* * * 

What almost nobody knows, these days, is that in a communist world, people would be able to pool their energies, creativity, and unleash the positive side of diversity and uneven development to solve the massive problems humanity faces.

As the editorial in the current issue of REVOLUTION says: “The world cries out for revolution, communist revolution which, as the Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA states, can bring  ‘a whole different way of life…in which human beings, individually and above all in their mutual interaction with each other, can throw off the heavy chains of tradition and rise to their full height and thrive in ways never before experienced, or even fully imagined.’ (Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage. A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, September 2008. See revcom.us.) A revolution to bring about this whole new era in human history is both necessary and possible. And we have, in Bob Avakian, the leadership we need to advance on this path…"
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Links: Global Warming: Catastrophe from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal | Excerpt from Raymond Lotta webcast: "The Elephant in the Room: Can Anything Short of Revolution Solve the Environmental Crisis?"