DMFI board member Archie Gottesman wanted to “burn” Gaza

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Archie Gottesman’s 2018 call for genocide against Palestinians in Gaza is now receiving attention.

Democratic Majority for Israel

Archie Gottesman, a board member of Democratic Majority for Israel and president of the board of directors of Zioness, was exposed Wednesday as an advocate for genocide directed at Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

As first noted on Twitter by Eli Valley, a writer and artist, in June 2018 Gottesman tweeted: “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”

Nearly as disturbing is that Gottesman acknowledged it “won’t matter.” She then contended that “The UN will just give another meaningless sanction.”

For all the anti-UN vitriol from advocates for Israel and the Israel lobby, she is recognizing that the international body really doesn’t protect Palestinians at all.

Gottesman has deleted both her Twitter and her Facebook accounts. As of this writing, no statement has been issued by either DMFI or Zioness. Neither organization responded to questions from The Electronic Intifada.

At the time of the tweet, Gottesman had a daughter serving in the Israeli army – the very military Gottesman is presumably calling on to commit genocide. Both mother and daughter regard such service in an occupying army as “badass.”

DMFI’s biography for Gottesman describes her as a “Democratic activist and the co-founder of JewBelong, a groundbreaking organization focused on rebranding Judaism.” For nearly 30 years, the biography continues, she was the Chief Branding Officer/Principal of Edison Properties.

With such branding expertise, it’s impossible to think she didn’t understand the import of her words. Her statement clearly must be branded as a call for Israel to carry out a genocide directed at two million Palestinians in Gaza living under Israeli occupation and siege.

For his part, Valley rebrands DMFI as Democratic Majority for Genocide.

So far, Gottesman remains on the board of both DMFI and Zioness, an astroturfing organization that describes itself as “unabashedly progressive,” even though it also calls itself “unapologetically Zionist.”

Indeed, Brooke Goldstein, asserts Zioness was “funded and incubated” by The Lawfare Project, a right-wing organization.

Goldstein, the executive director of The Lawfare Project, holds the bizarre and bigoted opinion that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian person.”

Twitter responses were highly critical of the 2018 tweet from Gottesman:

Valley also highlights that in December 2018 Gottesman directed her vitriol at Rebecca Vilkomerson, accusing the then executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace of being an “anti-Semitic bitch.”

For the record, I know Vilkomerson as an advocate for equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. Gottesman is leveling a cruel and false charge of anti-Semitism.

Vilkomerson told The Electronic Intifada that “Archie Gottesman is saying the quiet part out loud – her hatred for Jews who speak out for Palestinian rights is probably only second to hatred of Palestinians themselves.”

She added, “Despite trying to dress it up in more palatable language, this is exactly what the DMFI stands for.”

In December 2020, DMFI approvingly cited the work of Regavim, a right-wing settler group connected to Bezalel Smotrich.

Smotrich is a member of Israel’s parliament who supports segregation and expulsion for Palestinians – ideas that have been called potentially genocidal by Daniel Blatman, a prominent Israeli scholar of the Holocaust.

Anti-Palestinian racism pervades DMFI, an organization that worked unstintingly to prevent Senator Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted her concern, though it’s not just anti-Muslim hate, but anti-Palestinian hate being voiced by Gottesman:

Such hate “should have no place in our party,” Omar wrote.

It’s long past time for veteran leaders of the Democratic Party to ask some basic questions about the racism of the DMFI.

But they won’t.

And that failure to respond will be the same whether Gottesman stays on the DMFI board or is removed before the week is up.

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Democratic Majority for Israel appears to draw its inspiration from a phenomenon plaguing the major political parties in Britain such as the Labour/Conservative/Liberal Friends of Israel. These and other rancid front groups played a major role in the campaign to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership and enforce a fiercely pro-Israel stance throughout the country. We may expect more of these astro-turfed outfits to attach themselves to the Democrats in days to come, since that's where the principal danger resides. The party's base is gradually turning away from the apartheid state, and the fear in Zionist circles is that in time real pressure will be brought to bear from below to loosen Israel's grip on policy and funding.

It's thus not surprising that figures like Gottesman now represent the public face of the Israel lobby within the Democratic Party, though her extravagant viciousness may require some tempering. Genocide really should be invoked in less strident tones. Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer the noble, emollient declarations of Golda Meir, Abba Eban and their like, so full of rueful sentiments while defending acts of mass extermination.

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Could not agree with you more. Jeremy Corbyn was crucified by the zionist lobby and the zionistas in the UK because he spoke for human rights of Palestinians. This lobby now controls both labour and tory politicians and so we have the govt. that we do .. full of incompetents and lick spittles.

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Once again, Tom Hall is astute and eloquent. Yes, indeed, Ms Gottesman will have to learn to sound like a democrat while she surreptitiously pursues genocide. Yet her intemperate statements reveal the delusions which underpin the political strategies of Herzl's heirs. The project to turn the whole of Palestine (and beyond, who knows, as the boundaries are not set) into a Jewish State rests on an anti-democratic mentality. Certainty is not intrinsic to democracy. On the contrary, a lively exchange of views and a recognition that evidence alone restrains us from the wildest conclusions, means democracy is inimical to dogmatic assertion. Herzl had at best an oblique relation to democracy. His aim was to rescue the Jews from what he saw as their despicable status. Before he conceived of a Jewish State, he toyed with the notion of mass conversion of Jews to Christianity. He was a man in search of salvation for his "people", whatever that term might mean. Thus, the likes of Ms Gottesman are condemned to dissimulation for their conceptions arise from a pre-democratic, anti-democratic view. When they state clearly what they would like - genocide in Gaza for example - they are repugnant. They must dissemble. They must wear the mask of democrats while fearing and hating the idea of a democratic Palestine. It is sometimes said Israel is a partial theocracy, but its theocracy is in fact fundamental. Its democracy is subverted by it for in a true democratic State every citizen must enjoy equal rights. And that is to think merely of a democratic State rather than of a society in which democratic equality has made the State unnecessary. For the followers of Herzl, the State is indispensable, as only its power can guarantee their ability to control and oppress. Herzl gave birth to no anarchists. His progeny are confirmed Statists and their State has to be armed for obliteration. Such is the miserable corner in to which Ms Gottesman has painted herself. The only exit is equality.

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Abounding thanks to those who have commented. May I just add a small reminder about Gaza: 80% of its current inhabitants are rightful citizens of that portion of (Mandate) Palestine that tends now - illegitimately - to be called "Israel". Needless to say, this situation is NOT compatible with the United Nations Charter. The so-called "State of Israel" can violate International Law, but it cannot destroy it. Only the Security Council and in particular its permanent, veto-empowered members can do that. But they obviously don't want to. Whose responsibility is it to change these corrupt governments?

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Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, TheNation.com, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.