FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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:

November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail