FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Supporting the Palestinian Cause

There’s a strange dynamic in the Palestinian cause encouraged by a large group of Palestinian supporters.  It’s an energy that is very easy to fall into or feed, but one that works directly against the Palestinian cause.  I remember doing a public talk on the situation in Hebron, Palestine which included many videos of the human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers, settlers, and police.  At the end of this talk, a man in the back stood up, said hateful things about Jewish people and concluded with suggesting genocidal violence against the Jewish population would be the only cure.

Having lived under the incredibly hateful regime in Hebron, which is the absolute unmasking of colonialism, the man’s comments and energy did not inspire hope; they just added another layer of unconscious hatred to the mix.

What is the Palestinian cause about?  Peace, freedom, justice, equality, liberation of the land, rights and dignity, the worth of every life.  These are just a few things.  Yet, in response to the brutality of the Israeli apartheid, many supporters feed an energy that is the exact opposite of this, thinking it will help free Palestine.

You can see this in responses to online videos showing Israeli brutality.  Comments about Israelis as “animals,” “disgusting human beings,” “monsters,” and that advocate for a new Hitler, or the bombing and killing of all Jews are in no way rare.

The documentary Defamation, by an Israeli filmmaker, shows clearly how these unconscious sentiments easily play into feeding Israeli brutality.  The film follows Israeli high school students, who visit Auschwitz en masse the year before they enter the army.  Their teachers and the secret service detail meant to provide “security,” lie to the students repeatedly, telling them that Jews are hated by the entire world who would kill them in a moment if given the chance.  They tell the students not to talk to anyone in Poland, feeding the illusions by telling them what Polish people think about them rather than letting the students find out for themselves.

It’s clear how the innumerable comments dehumanizing Israelis or advocating for brutal genocidal violence against them play into this mindset.  Rather than appeal to the humanity in the people, such comments push them into a corner, with only the Israeli government to turn to.  The Israeli government is able to manipulate this situation very easily.  The entire Israeli society has moved to the right in the last decade, to a startling degree.  Calling someone a disgusting inhuman monster over and over, the world acts surprised as nearly the entire society begins to reflect this.

It is easy to be blind to this, to get sucked into frustration and rage in response to the treatment of Palestinians.  I found myself in a similar place, so I say these things because I have been through it myself.  There is no question that the people of the world are confused about how to deal with the energies we are faced with.  But if supporters in the West align themselves deeply with the values of the Palestinian cause, they will have a kind of protection that ensures that the energy they create has more to do with that of liberation than with the sickness of colonialism.  They will find themselves like those Palestinians we all admire, those who can create deep warmth and openness in their homes in the midst of apartheid hell, rather than more akin to, for example, hate-filled Israeli settlers in Hebron who cannot see their own sickness.  Many Palestinians seek a one state solution, full of values like equality, democracy, freedom, respect.  There is no way Palestinians want support of their cause to increase hatred and sickness in the world, and as supporters we have an important part to play in this.

Who will remember that justice does not mean hatred, that freedom has something to do with wisdom and discernment and self-responsibility?  These voices are greatly needed, more and more of them.

The book Refusenik: Israel’s Soldiers of Conscience documents the transformation that many former Israeli soldiers make to become people who speak out against the Occupation and who would rather go to jail than participate in it.  The testimonies demonstrate again and again that such growth is possible.  The Refusenik members spent a lot of time outside Israeli soldier transportation centers, talking to soldiers and encouraging them to take up their right to think as humans, rather than give that power to the army.  They understood the mentality the soldiers and Israeli society were immersed in and used the knowledge to speak to the humanity of the soldiers as a way to break through.  They show an example of what transformation is about, and how growth, maturity, and wisdom can increase.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Ted Rall
If This is a Democracy, Why Don’t We Vote for the Vice President Too?
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Robert Koehler
FBI, King and the Tremors of History
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail