JVP: The best hope for ending the occupation is to support ‘the inspiring nonviolent Palestinian movement for change’ and the global BDS movement

Jewish Voice for Peace has issued the following statement on the escalation of violence in Israel/Palestine:

Any act of violence, especially one against civilians, marks a profound failure of human imagination and causes a deep and abiding trauma for all involved. In mourning the nine lives lost in Gaza yesterday, and the one life lost in Jerusalem today, we reject the pattern of condemning the loss of Israeli lives while ignoring the loss of Palestinian life. We do not discriminate. Life is life. One lost life is one life too many-whether Palestinian or Israeli.

Within the context of 44 years of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, in the past two years (Jan 31, 2009 – January 31, 2011), over a thousand Palestinians have been made homeless by home demolitions, hundreds have been unlawfully detained, and over 150 men, women and children have been killed by the IDF and settlers, according to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem (1) . Many acres of Palestinian land were taken and orchards uprooted by armed settlers. Countless hours were lost at checkpoints, often fruitlessly, while Palestinians attempted to get medical care, jobs, and access to education. One and a half million Gazans have been living with a limited food supply, lack of electricity and dangerously toxic sewage.

This is occupation: daily, persistent acts of structural violence. These acts don’t reach our headlines because they are so habitual, so we learn not to see them. But Palestinians live them everyday, and we must keep that in mind, even as we ponder the terrible events of the past few weeks (2):

  • Someone or some people (we don’t know who) bombed a bus stop in Jerusalem, injuring 30 and killing 1 Israeli civilian;
  • An Israeli bombing killed 3 children and an older man in Gaza;
  • Someone or some people, (we don’t know who), murdered 5 members of a family, including three children, in Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank;
  • The Israeli government suddenly tightened the siege of Gaza and escalated military attacks, killing a total of 11 Palestinians and injuring more than 40 since mid-March;(3)
  • Palestinians fired over 50 shells and rockets from Gaza into civilian areas in southern Israel.

These terrible acts of violence remind us that to end the Israeli occupation our best hope is supporting the inspiring nonviolent Palestinian movement for change, in the form of unarmed protests every Friday in places like Bil’in and Ni’lin, and the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is a movement that respects life, that is part and parcel of the nonviolent democratic people’s movements we have been inspired by throughout the Arab world, that welcomes the solidarity and support of Israeli and international believers in equality and universal human rights. This is a movement that fundamentally subverts the logic of armies, revenge and armed struggle.

Because it has been so powerful, it should come as no surprise that this nonviolent resistance itself is under attack in Israel. Human rights activists are being detained or imprisoned. Bills to criminalize the BDS movement, or harass human rights organizations, are working their way through the Knesset. Just yesterday, the very act of publicly commemorating the Nakba, a crucial nonviolent act of Palestinian remembrance, was essentially criminalized in Israel.

As the Israeli government increasingly deploys anti-democratic measures and military repression, we at JVP are redoubling our efforts to support the best hope- a nonviolent Palestinian-led resistance movement in which we all work together to nurture life, justice and equality. We invite you to join the movement.

1) http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/Index.asp
2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/23/israeli-palestinian-tensions-timeline
3) http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/11-aic-projects/3441-israels-military-escalation-in-gaza

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 32 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. pabelmont says:

    To support every possible flavor of BDS is necessary and (providentially) non-violent (and non-violence is an ideology which has much, not necessarily everything, to be said for it). Of the forms of BDS, one which we should encourage strongly is BDS at the level of governments: cities and counties, states and provinces, countries. Simple things like restrictions on some-or-all trade with Israel would be non-violent and be a real eye-opener and wakeup-call to Israel (which believes that it is safe from governmental action, and accordingly acts with anticipated immunity and impunity). Recalling of ambassadors is simple, inexpensive, and non-violent. Cessation of commercial air traffic with Israel, ditto.

    We may not immediately be able to bring about such government-level sanctions, but (among our other efforts) we should at least talk about these.

    • Citizen says:

      Most recently, Turkey, Venezuala, Eduador, and S Africa have withdrawn their ambassadors to Israel? Did I miss any more? Egypt has done so in the past, e.g., in 2000, if memory serves, but there reinstatements occur.
      I don’t imagine the new Egypt will do so because the strongest institution there is the Egyptian military and it depends on its annual US welfare, which is now an integral part of the Egyptian economy.

  2. Potsherd2 says:

    I really hope this statement is wrong, because I think the BDS movement is profoundly insufficient to bring about the necessary change.

    • Citizen says:

      I share your concern Potsherd, given the deep enmeshment of Israel in our security and defense and military-industrial-MSM complex. Not to mention the nature of the US political campaign system, and the great fear now instilled in so many bible-reading Americans of Muslim terror and Sharia Law and their conviction God is a Jewish real estate agent who plays favorites as part of the divine plan in order for such devoted Christians to eventually live in the ultimate chosen replacement happiness cum Armaggadon and their life ever after. And, how often do you see BDS discussed in the MSM news? How often do you see protests against Israeli conduct appear in the MSM news? If the tree falls in the forest but there’s no news camera to record it and put it in objective context while distributing the video, it didn’t fall after all as a common practical matter. This of course is the converse of the effectiveness of the Big Lie. Perception or lack of it really matters.

      • Citizen says:

        Sarah Palin wore a star of David necklace on her recent trip to Israel. There’s a trend for bible-reading Christian women to do so in the USA.
        Bachmann, like them, believes that God will save the USA only if the USA saves Israel–that’s how they interpret the old testament. link to washingtonpost.com

        I actually know some of those women. They don’t trust their own government cares about them at all, but they trust God, the Jewish real estate God they find in the same old testament bible.

    • Pamela Olson says:

      What would you suggest? I don’t mean this as a jab but as a genuine question. Because I’m personally at a loss. I’ll support BDS and other non-violent tactics of course, and generally I don’t support violent ones on either moral or strategic grounds. But how long are they supposed to march and be ignored while their land is destroyed and their people slaughtered?

      I’m feeling a tinge of despair today…

  3. sensa says:

    I was infuriated to hear that my Governor, Deval Patrick recently went to Israel to promote business ties between businesses in that country and businesses in Massachusetts, especially in the life sciences.

  4. eee says:

    The best hope of ending the occupation is uniting the Palestinians.

    • Scott says:

      I agree it would be an important step. I assume therefore you support ending the siege of Gaza, and allowing a free flow of people, goods etc between Gaza and West Bank, which would surely facilate that.

    • Shingo says:

      The best hope of ending the occupation is uniting the Palestinians.

      Spot on ere. This explains Nentenyahu’s warning the a unity Palesrinian government is a threat to the peace process – the peace process being a marketing gimmick to legitimize the occupation.

    • “The best hope of ending the occupation is uniting the Palestinians.”

      And that’s why Israel wants them ever so divided.

  5. clenchner says:

    So glad that JVP is unafraid to weigh in on what they think Palestinians should be doing more of.
    Seriously. Supporting nonviolent protest and limited BDS is where it’s at. Thank god they don’t run around making statements about not condemning terrorism or supporting some disturbing and generic ‘right to resistance’ like some folks.

    • tree says:

      Thank god they don’t run around making statements about not condemning terrorism or supporting some disturbing and generic ‘right to resistance’ like some folks.

      You know, for someone who bemoans people on the left bashing other people on the left, you seem to do an awful lot of it yourself. You’re really starting to sound incredibly hypocritical.

      • clenchner says:

        Perhaps you could modify that to ‘a little hypocritical.’ On the grounds that I didn’t bash anyone by name but rather an opinion. But yeah – that could have been said better.

        • tree says:

          Ok, the statement was a “little hypocritical”, but its part of a pattern to your comments. Nothing necessarily wrong with criticizing people or opinions you disagree with; its just hypocritical to be bashing others for doing the same thing that you are doing.

    • Avi says:

      So glad that JVP is unafraid to weigh in on what they think Palestinians should be doing more of.

      It’s easy to sit in an ivory tower of both privilege and comfort and lecture others who are enduring the brutality of the occupation 24/7.

      And for you to make such a statement, it shows a lack of insight and a certain level of chutzpah and obtuseness.

      It’s self-styled leftists like you that I can’t stand. Your energy is better spent bragging about founding some organization or another.

    • Avi says:

      Supporting nonviolent protest and limited BDS is where it’s at.

      Sure. Whatever you say.

      Why is it you think that your entire post boils down to controlling Palestinians and controlling their methods and their ways of protest?

      It’s not enough that Palestinians are under occupation, but you want to also control the very nature of their resistance.

      You sound like racist conquerors who contend to know ‘what’s good for the native’.

      But, you don’t see yourself. And others on this forum don’t seem to see your insidious views.

      Now go on as usual and respond with sarcasm or don’t respond at all because you can’t be bothered with looking in the mirror.

      • clenchner says:

        This is a pretty diverse website Avi. Phil made it so on purpose.
        If praising JVP’s position is ‘sounding like a racist conqueror’ to you, then I think your standards are a bit off.

        • Avi says:

          clenchner March 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

          This is a pretty diverse website Avi. Phil made it so on purpose.
          If praising JVP’s position is ‘sounding like a racist conqueror’ to you, then I think your standards are a bit off.

          Your response is a dodge and a diversion. But, as usual, one of your defense tactics is to play dumb.

          Just two days ago you were whining about this being a small tent or some such nonsense. Suddenly today it’s a “diverse” website in your view?

          Do you think you could grow up intellectually some time in the near future?

        • clenchner says:

          I never said this website was a small tent. I do think you are a small tenter. Look with what vigor you are trying to create an uncomfortable zone for someone like me! It’s like there’s a ‘welcoming committee’ and a ‘f*** off committee.’ You seem to be in the second one.

        • Avi says:

          That’s another diversion. Why can’t you explain your position instead of shifting the discussion to the person asking you the question?

          And while we’re on the subject, how do you explain your calling Hussein Ibish a “Moderate”? Ibish is the same guy who co-wrote an article with Jeff Goldberg asking Palestinians to “stop the violence” and “continue negotiating” (Not direct quotes).

          The point is that you want the Palestinians to resist the occupation on YOUR terms, not theirs.

          You also ignore the Palestinian grassroots BDS movement and appear to seek to redefine how their resistance should take place. Worse yet, you are implicitly driving Palestinian solidarity activists away from the Palestinian organic BDS movement and expect them to embrace a movement of which YOU approve.

        • clenchner says:

          That’s a lot of ‘implicit’ there. I observe that you put a lot of ideas in my mouth that I’ve not expressed. I lack the power to redefine anything for anybody else but myself, let alone for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I’m far more concerned with what Americans do than what Palestinians do. Mostly because, I don’t have too much standing to tell Palestinians what to do.
          It’s important though not to pretend that when it comes to Palestinian solidarity, one has to pick and choose which Palestinians one seeks to listen to. Since I was a member for many years of Hadash, I’m most attuned to the Palestinian leadership of that party, and their counterparts in the OT – the Palestinian People’s Party. The PPP in its former incarnation was (I think) the only part of the PLO without an armed wing, because they felt that the fetishization of the armed struggle was nonsensical and irrelevant to the kinds of strategies that would liberate Palestine.
          I was involved in protests to keep Mubarak Awad in the country when Israel was busy deporting him before the first Intifada. That’s a voice I have deep respect for. And of course I’ve had relationships with folks from the Holy Land Trust, Center for Rapproachement, Sabeel and others were quite outspoken about the importance of nonviolence.
          So while these important Palestinian voices certainly don’t need my approval – they certainly have it. I feel pretty good about broadcasting as much. It’s called being an ally.
          While I’m cautious not to put words in your mouth, it definitely seems like you owe allegiance to some other parts of the Palestinian world. But that view has not one more ounce of ‘Palestinian-ness’ than mine.
          (That said, I’m a self-interested part of the movement for Palestinian liberation, and do not pretend to be motivated by altruism. Most Palestinian activists aren’t motivated by altruism either….)

        • Avi says:

          Despite your ‘impressive’ resume, I must say that you seem to be out of touch with reality.

          Hadash — the political party in the Israeli Knesset, a party comprised of five members — exists because it plays within the parameters of mainstream Israeli political culture. To that extent, there is nothing revolutionary about the party.

          While it’s true that the party platform does not fall into the mainstream, the party and its advocacy is limited and confined by Zionist parameters imposed by its very participation in the Israeli Knesset.

          To that extent, your taking cues from a party in Israel shows that you are either unable to form your own opinion about the reality on the ground — on both sides of the Green Line — or that you conveniently adhere to these strict parameters because you see in Israel a special case, one that warrants willful ignorance of reality.

          Here’s a simple mental exercise, try to think of a policy change in which Hadash managed to effect and succeeded in bringing about equality for Palestinians in Israel.

        • clenchner says:

          First you accuse me of having my own opinions, then you critique me for being inspired by a Palestinian led political party instead of having my own?
          Who died and made you arbiter of what’s right and proper?
          Did it happen in those trenches you referred to earlier?

  6. MHughes976 says:

    A very elegant comment.
    I would think that there is a generic right of resistance but that there’s such a huge problem in giving this right specific, actionable forms that it’s perhaps better to lay the right aside. Slaves have a right to kill slave drivers – I think that even the Israelis might agree with that – but slave drivers are world-beating experts when it comes to the construction and use of human shields. So we are where we’re at. I share much of Pamela’s tinge of pessimism, though not quite of despair.

  7. seafoid says:

    The New York Review has an article about Lincoln every so often and there are big similarities between Lincoln’s coming over to sense on the slavery question and the work that needs to be done in Israel by Jewish leaders to get the head around the Palestinian issue. Gaza is like the antebellum South.

    link to nybooks.com

    “I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people,” he said at Peoria, Illinois, in 1854. “When southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery, than we; I acknowledge the fact.” Lincoln also said he could “understand and appreciate” how “very difficult” it would be “to get rid of” slavery “in any satisfactory way…. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do” about the institution where it then existed. “My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia. But a moment’s reflection would convince me” that even if such a project was feasible in the long run, “its sudden execution” was impossible. “What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition?”

    What about the abolitionist proposal to “free them, and make them politically and socially our equals?” Lincoln confessed that

    my own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question…. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, can not be safely disregarded.

    The abolitionist program of immediate freedom was therefore unrealistic. “It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the south.” Lincoln could not “blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself.”

    Proslavery Southern whites did not reciprocate Lincoln’s expressions of empathy. To many of them, especially the radical disunionists known as fire-eaters, the divergence between “antislavery” and “abolitionist” was a distinction without a difference. In their view, anyone who considered slavery a monstrous injustice and spoke of placing it in the course of ultimate extinction was as dangerous as those who demanded its immediate extinction. When the “Black Republican” Lincoln was elected president in 1860, they led their states out of the Union to prevent the feared extinction of their peculiar institution. This preemptive action put in train a course of events that by 1864 brought about precisely what they feared.

    In 1862 the President had proposed gradual emancipation during which most black people would indeed have remained as underlings for an indefinite period. But he was now moving toward a belief in immediate abolition and equal rights for all citizens. According to Foner, Lincoln “began during the last two years of the war to imagine an interracial future for the United States.”

    When he was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1865, writes Foner,

    For the first time in American history companies of black soldiers marched in the inaugural parade. According to one estimate, half the audience that heard Lincoln’s address was black, as were many of the visitors who paid their respects at the White House reception that day.

    For “Lincoln opened the White House to black guests as no president had before.” “

  8. yourstruly says:

    at a time when in the search for who planted the bomb in Jerusalem

    agent provateurs and/or false flag have to be at or near the top of the list

    tragic and horrific for sure

    a distraction too

    happening as it did at a time when these west bank friday protests + BDS. along with the strtiggle for unity in palestine were gaining momentum
    \
    but will this derail the nonviolent democratic people’s movement for a free and just palestine?

    the answer bneing no, since all us people united nonviolently in pursuit of a better world not only can never be defeated, we’re invincible too!

  9. The only Palestinian acceptable to the West and more specifically to the US public chéri is a cuddly Palestinian. Cute, inoffensive, fluent in English and preferably clean shaven. Otherwise his lands are fair game and the settlers from Brooklyn and Odessa can help themselves and no thank you..

    • Avi says:

      That is the impression I get from clenchner. But, instead of explaining himself he’s crying: Why are you picking on me?