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July 28, 2016 4:28 am

I Agree With Cornel West

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /

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Professor Cornel West. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Professor Cornel West. Photo: Wikimedia Commons – I agree with Cornel West.

I never thought I would find myself writing those words. West, a leading African-American author and intellectual, is a vicious critic of Israel. He supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He says Israel’s leaders are “war criminals.” In a speech at Princeton last year, he made the wildly absurd claim that the Israelis “are killing hundreds [of Palestinians] daily.”

But even a broken clock gives the right time twice a day, so on the rare occasion that West utters words of truth about the Palestinians or Israel, I must acknowledge that.

Speaking to a Jerusalem Post reporter on July 26, on the floor of the Democratic convention, West said that he was disappointed the platform did not go further, but he vowed to continue his struggle. He declared: “The Palestinians will be free, brother. Ain’t no doubt about that.”

And that’s where Cornel and I agree.

Since 1995, more than 98 percent of the Palestinians have been living under the occupation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) (and, since 2007, 100 percent of the residents of Gaza have been living under the occupation of Hamas). Ain’t no doubt in my mind: one day, brother, the Palestinians will be free of the cruel totalitarian Palestinian regimes that occupy and oppress them.

One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the freedom to democratically choose their leaders. Mahmoud Abbas was elected head of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005 for a four year term.  Yet somehow he is still in office, seven and a half years since his term expired. And Hamas has not held a democratic election since taking over the Gaza Strip nine years ago.

One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the right to freedom of speech.  Najat Abu Baker, a member of the Palestinian parliament, recently hid out in the parliament building for seventeen days to avoid being arrested by the PA police. The warrant for arrest was issued because — as the New York Times put it — “Ms. Abu Baker said Mr. Abbas should resign and suggested that there would be money to pay educators if ministers were not so corrupt.”

One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the right to free assembly. Earlier this year, 20,000 Palestinian public school teachers went on strike because they had not been paid (those were the unpaid educators to whom Ms. Abu Baker was referring). When some dissidents tried to hold a rally in support of the strikers, “the PA security services set up rings of checkpoints to prevent the teachers from attending the demonstration,” according to Ha’aretz. Twenty teachers and two school principals who did manage to reach the rally were arrested for doing so.

One day, brother, the Palestinians will no longer have their basic human rights violated by the Palestinian occupation regime. According to the State Department’s most recent report on human rights around the world, the PA is guilty of”abuse and mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights;” “restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly;” “limits on freedom of association and movement;” “discrimination against persons with disabilities” and “discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status;” and “limits on worker rights,” including “forced labor.”

So, I agree with Cornel West: one day, the Palestinians will be free. The question is — how long will it take Professor West to acknowledge just who it is that the Palestinians need to be liberated from?

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

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  • I am pretty sure that democratic establishment, being puppet of criminal monster Hillary, will much destroy Israel. Hillary is a big anti-Semite. Even a Jew Sanders is anti-Israeli. The only chance for Israel to remain in force and survive is Trump and leading by him Republicans. If a Jew doubts and think whether to vote Hillary, he is either not Jew or the strait stupid.

  • Dave

    Ain’t never gonna happen!! West and his cronies will never acknowledge that the PA and Hamas are corrupt, oppressive, evil tyrants whose primary aim is to steal the billions in aid that should go to aiding the people they are supposed to care for. They care not a whit for peace!

  • Only a Jew can agree with something that vicious Jew hating, Israel bashing and pseudo intellectual Cornel West.

    Flatow is the weakest of Jews, even with the death of his daughter at the hands of the terrorists he forgives them.

    He’s going to love when Clinton brings in 200,000 Syrian refugees and unleashes a Holocaust on the Jews.

    Read the Opinion page of the WSJ about a Syrian billionaire who tells that they have been indoctrinated to hate Jews and to kill Jews wherever they find them.

    Is that what you want to bring to this nation and rape and kill your wives and children?

    I am so disappointed at the lack of strong Jews and fear that Judaism and Jews will disappear like the Etruscan, the Jebusites and the Philistines.

    Wake up. Please and be strong and tough.

  • al

    The author’s false premise here attempts to legitimize the genocidal lie of “Palestinian” identity– there is no such thing. It is a ruse to attack Israel, period. Why does Alg. post such rubbish?

  • Luis

    Well, Mr Flatow your article title certainly caught my eye, and I am very pleased that it did. Congratulations on an excellent article. I only wish that there were a way to make sure that West read it. And I would pay good money to be present when he did. You have made a fool of him, not that he needs any help, and using his own words. One wonders if a person of his reputed learning somehow has missed the facts as you present them and as the realists of the world know them, or if it is pure, simple, unadulterated hypocrisy. If he wants to use the Palestinian hypocrisy to try to make Jews squirm, well, there are better ways. Thank you.

  • YairJ

    He is not a critic of Israel. Criticism is judgement; Slander and the spewing of mad hate are different things entirely, and do not deserve to be referred to by a term that implies a consideration of the facts and the application of standards.

    • Luis

      Yair, your comment that West is not a critic of Israel is correct. He simply does not have the intellectual competence to utilize criticism, probably of anything, being the animal that he is, so he resorts to slander. Great observation, thanks.

  • Arthur Toporovsky

    Absolutely brilliant. It just goes to show that for all of West’s clamoring for “human rights” for the Palestinian Arab people, he doesn’t have the slightest interest in their actual human rights.

  • The takeover of the Democrats by folks who hate Israel has been exposed by a Sanders’ campaign that harps on “Palestine” injustice:

  • art frank

    This Jew hater is the darling of the left. Can’t be criticized because he’s black. And he will play the race card whenever anyone disagrees with him.And he’s not the only one. Same goes for race baiters and shakedown artists sharpton and jackson and a number of black caucus members. This is the new normal in our country.

  • Bravo. About time someone deliniated the crimes against Palestinians committed by the PA and Hamas

  • I am 100% agree with Stephen Flatow, but who reads these articles? The Palestinians? The UN? The UNESCO? The US Government members? Who will change the situation? Unfortunately the American Jews, who have a power and money, like Sanders, are brainwashed with their socialistic ideas (maybe because they did not live in the real socialism – in the Soviet Union,or Cambodia, or North Korea), or simply they understand everything, but they are sold out for 30 shekels. I am with you, Stephen,
    Iosif Plagov,the father-in-law of Elena Plagova, killed in the bus explosion by terrorist in Jerusalem, June 18,2002.

  • Stephen Flatow’s final paragraph is very apt. The problem is that Palestinian Society is NOT historically democratic. Modern western political values are utterly alien to the ancient culture of the Palestinians.

    However, the core of the problem lies in two historical mistakes: one, by the Jews; and one by the Palestinians and the Arab world.

    The historic mistake of the Jews is NOT, with very few exceptions, to want to know who the Palestinians REALLY are – and, by Palestinians, I refer to those just of the West Bank.
    Their known history goes back BEYOND being Arab (C7th CE)and BEYOND Palestine (C2nd CE). They are ancient Cana’anites and
    ancient Israelites – a new term Isra-Cana’anites covers the ground.
    Were modern Jews to go back this far, they would see a link.

    The historic mistake of the Palestinians has been to jump into a state of fierce enmity with returning Jews who have re-settled the land. By doing so, they have lost a valuable link. This enmity was not inevitable.

    BOTH of these historic mistakes can, and need, to be repaired.
    Should this happen, peace will break out.

    The COMMON mistake both sides are making together is to want to continue hostilities because it greatly suits them. Positions have become agreeably fossilized.

    We want peace actually means we DON’T want peace.

  • richard sherwin

    yes oslo ‘occupied’ the palestinians with the PLO and Hamas. with the help of the UN and Eurocrats theyve been kept occupies, suppressed, repressed, oppressed ever since by the same collection of arab gangsters their failed arab liberation armies willed for them via the defuncting Arab League. And after these oppressors vanish, if ever, just what will they be left heirs to? a sloppy educational system of jewhating, a tradition of blaming everyone but their own politicians/rulers/oppressors. like most of the arab sunni world.

  • I love your piece brother Stephen, every word is a gem. Thank you!!!

  • Elaine Fox

    Cornel West is scheduled to give a guest lecture at the Watermill Center, Robert Wilson’s retreat in the Hamptons, soon. The lecture series is avant garde and wonderfully supports the arts and therefore tends to lean left. But great lectures in past by Daniel Liebeskind, for example.

    I am a coward because I am afraid to put myself in situation to challenge his blind anti-Israel stance all alone. Alone, my credibility would not hold up and it would therefore hurt our cause and reinforce the anti-Israel publicity. Small groups of Israel supporters armed with the facts should attend such programs together to make our voices and the truth be heard.

  • stevenl

    For this to happen, an army of “Green Princes” will need to rise.

  • Mr. Fkatow: Your write quite well and are very articulate. Except that your basic premise is incorrect. The only occupied individuals aside from the few Gazans who have lived in Gaza for centuries, are the mostly illegal (and some legal) Syrian and Egyptian Arabs and Beduins who moved into Israel during the past 80-90 years(especially during the British Mandate when the British did their best to keep the Jews out and let these Arabs in) to benefit from the Jewish revitalization of Israel. The “Palestinians” took the name “Israeli” in 1948 and the term has no historical meaning anymore. Irrespective of the flawed Israel Governments “Hasbara” and use of the term to refer to these Arabs living in Gaza and Yehudah and Shomron (and even in Israel or even Jordan). The Israeli Government never ceases to amaze me to not realize that once they use a term (to their detriment) the world will take hold of it. For example, the “PLO” was an illegal terrorist group as defined by the US Government. Once Peres and his hoard created the Oslo accords (by bribing a couple of Knesset members to switch to their side for the vote) thus starting to talk to this “PLO” and make deals with them, well lo and behold ,the US Government position changed. Since the Israelis were now working with the “PLO”, then the US remove them from their terrorist list and PUSH the Israelis even further to give more and more to these Arabs. Another is this “Two state solution” nonsense; once uttered, it is hard to retract, even though “state” is not defined and could be considered similar to a state in France or the US where they are self governed but still controlled by a “Federal” Goverment, herein to still be know as Israel. This may be the Israeli intent but not what the world thinks. To conclude, even to use these “terms” as a frame of reference is flawed. Do not allow your enemy to frame the conversation. One is bound to lose and is currently happening around the world. Words and catch phrases are the key today. Please reconsider your words. Thank you for your generally strong views. Chaim..Toronto

  • west is not a clock, not even a broken clock. everything that comes from his mouth is a lie (remember Mary McCarthy on a disreputable, stalinist, playwright…[paraphrasing] “that everything she says is lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.'”? remember that? that’s west.) he is a disgusting caricature, a cartoon, a parody, an insult to academics and intellectuals, Black and otherwise.

    and, making matters worse, this morally obtuse buffoon assumes a posture of moral discernment and superiority and presumes to judge others.

    Sarah Silverman’s line is always applicable to west: “you’re being ridiculous.” west is ridiculous.

  • Lily teperow

    I cannot understand how any Jew today can be democrat. But in 1934 Walter Lippmann a most respected journalist wrote he understood why Hitler treated the Jews as he did. It was to satisfy the needs of his people. Can you beat that. So today we have the same mentality today.

  • enufizenuf

    I do not agree with the degenerate moron Cornel West. The palestinians can never be free so long as they have a false identity based on a phony historical narrative. They never existed as a distinct people till the 1960s, and, brother, that ain’t long enough to qualify you as a people. For that matter, Cornel West doesn’t really exist, either, for every electrical impulse which takes form in his brain is as big a lie as that of palestinian nationhood. He rants his lunatic rants due to the discomfort in his mind and loss of contact with his soul. The palestinians suffer a similar malaise grouped together with other raving disconnected souls out of touch with both the realities of life on earth and the sublime and beautiful, lacking contact with a loving God.

  • Superb piece, well written, good finish.
    My regrets on the loss of your daughter.

  • You’re expecting too much.

  • Isahiah62

    OK fooled me with the headline but …

    “One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the freedom to democratically choose their leaders.”

    Umm when they did vote it was for HAMAS

    why give even this hostile racist judenhasser a mention?

  • Mr. Flatow
    You could have come up with a catchier headline than agreeing with WEST.
    To give that man any ink space is repugnant. I’m guessing that you thought a provocative title will get noticed. I can come up with at least 3 different headlines with as much of a hook than yours.

    It just makes me angry to bring any attention to such a dangerous man.

    Your article? I cannot agree with you more!