Naomi Klein speaks out on Israel

| March / April 2003

You wrote an article on Israel for your college newspaper called ?From Victim to Victimizer.? Tell me about that controversial article and the dramatic response to it.

The experience of writing about Israel was so incredibly negative for me 11 years ago that I haven?t written about Israel since. I had gone to Israel at the start of the first intifada, when I was 19. I didn?t know what it was. People talked about an intifada and I thought it meant a heat wave, because it was really, really hot. I went with my mother, and we met with people from the women?s movement in Israel, and the peace movement, so I was exposed to the fact that there is diversity of opinion there. I was also exposed to the way in which Israeli violence and the militarization of the country affects women in particular, and creates a culture of violence. A lot of our discussions were about how women were told that every other issue had to be deferred until there was peace, so issues like violence against women and abortion were not considered truly legitimate or important until this moment, which never seems to come, arrived. I started to think about the whole psychology of being so determined not to have violence inflicted on you that you can?t see when you inflict violence on others.

This, of course, resonates in the present tense as well.

We see this right now with Sharon, when he?s giving speeches about how they [Israel?s enemies] want to chase Israelis into the sea, and he can?t see that he?s the one doing the chasing. The way we talk about our victimization and the way we talk about our history in the mainstream sense, instead of extending sympathy and compassion, has had the opposite effect. We are blinded to the victimization of others and can even have a sadistic streak, which is reflected in the high levels of domestic violence in Israel. It?s a psychology that Jews are really unwilling to see because our narrative is one of triumph over tragedy. It?s never that simple.

What happened when you were in college?

The Jewish community in Toronto just decided to lynch me. And not just the students?it was the entire Jewish community, including B?nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and some of the richest Jews in Canada who fund large sectors of the university I was attending. A meeting was called by the Jewish Student Union about what to do about the article. I saw the flyers for the meeting, and since nobody knew what I looked like, I thought I would go. A young woman stood up and said, ?If I ever meet Naomi Klein, I?m going to kill her.? And she was two people away from me. I remember the feeling of my heart beating in my chest. After more than an hour of listening to people discuss me, I stood up and said, ?I?m Naomi Klein, and I wrote ?Victim to Victimizer,? and I?m as much a Jew as every single one of you.?

1/15/2009 11:31:36 AM

The world community is pressuring the United States to stop arming and giving diplomatic immunity to Israel. This Israeli bombing of Gaza is inhumane and criminal. It amounts to Genocide and those responsible ought to be brought before an international criminal court of justice. The corporate fascist media in the U.S are nothing but Zionist apologists. The time has come for Israel to STOP once and for all its evil colonial occupation of Palestine. We have had enough with this domination, this unjust war against the Palestinians. Israel has engaged in an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, and in a outgoing expansion of their Jewish settlements on Palestinian territories for years now. Hamas is a consequence of the brutal, abusive and ruthless Israeli occupation. The Palestinian people and Hamas are simply resisting and fighting for their freedom. It's a struggle for liberation and self determination. And for an autonomy and sovereignty that Israel has deny them for way too long now. As long as Israel continues its heinous crimes against the Palestinians There will be no "security for Israel" and no peace in the middle east. We owe it to the Palestinian people to have autonomy over their territories without Israeli intervention, occupation and control of their borders. All the Palestinians want is a sovereign Palestinian state or Palestinian territories. And a peaceful coexistence with Israel. Guillermo Kuhl ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, science for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war is; I would rather be torn to shred

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