Tent 1948

Israel/Palestine
on 51 Comments

If you are Palestinian, it will be difficult to find anything to identify with in Tel Aviv’s tents’ city on Rothschild Boulevard, until you reach Tent 1948. My first tour there was a few days ago, when I decided to join Tent 1948. Tent 1948′s main message is that social justice should be for all. It brings together Jewish and Palestinian citizens who believe in shared sovereignty in the state of all its citizens.

For me, as a Palestinian, I don’t feel part of the July 14 movement, and I’m not there because I feel part. Almost every corner of this encampment reminds me that this place does not want me. My first tour there was pretty depressing, I found lots of Israeli flags, a man giving a lecture to youth about his memories from ’48 war’ from a Zionist perspective, another group marching with signs calling for the release of Gilad Shalit, another singing Zionist songs. This is certainly not a place that the 20% of the population would feel they belong to. The second day I found Ronen Shuval, from Im Tirtzu, the extreme right wing organization, giving a talk full of incitement and hatred to the left and human rights organizations. Settlers already set a tent and were dancing with joy.

The existence of Tent 1948 in the encampment constitutes a challenge to people taking part in the July 14 movement. In the first few days, the tent was attacked by group of rightwing activists, who beat activists in the tent and broke down the Palestinian flag of the tent. Some of the leaders of the July 14 movement have said clearly that raising core issues related to Palestinian community in Israel or the occupation will make the struggle “lose momentum”. They often said the struggle is social, not political, as if there was a difference. They are afraid of losing supporters if they make Palestinian issues bold. 

The truth is that this is the truth. 

The truth is, this is exactly what might help Netanyahu, if he presses the button of fear, recreates the ‘enemy’ and reproduce the ‘security threat’, he might be able to silence this movement. The problem is not with Netanyahu, he is not the first Israeli leader to rely on this. The main problem is that Israelis are not ready yet to see beyond the walls surrounding them. 

Yet, one has to admit, something is happening, Israelis are awakening. There is a process; people are coming together, discussing issues. The General Assembly of the encampment decided on Friday that it will not accept any racist messages among its participants. Even to Tent 1948 many Israelis arrived, read the flyers, listened to what Tent 1948 represent and discussed calmly. Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli I will be proud of the July 14 movement. But, I am not a Jew, I am not Zionist, I am Palestinian. 

I don’t want to beatify the reality, or hide anything for the sake of ‘tactics’ and I will not accept crumbs. I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation, I want to speak about discrimination and racism, I want to put everything on the table, and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Social justice can’t be divided or categorized. If it is not justice to all including all Palestinians, then it is a fake justice, elite justice or “Justice for Jews only” exactly as the Israeli democracy functions “for Jews only”. July 14 is a great opportunity for Israelis to refuse to allow their state to continue to drown into an apartheid regime.

Abir Kopty blogs here. Follow her twitter feed @abirkopty. A media analyst and consultant and political activist, she is a former city council member in Nazareth & former spokeswoman for Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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51 Responses

  1. annie
    August 6, 2011, 11:52 am

    massive score for mondoweiss getting to post this awesome article. massive.

    Abir, my hat goes off to you, your wisdom, integrity and honesty. thank you.

  2. Taxi
    August 6, 2011, 1:12 pm

    Palestinians are such a hopeful people: they will take the time to describe a single wild flower growing in the middle of a minefield.

    • annie
      August 6, 2011, 1:33 pm

      they will take the time to describe a single wild flower growing in the middle of a minefield.

      wow, beautiful and true.

    • Michael W.
      August 6, 2011, 2:16 pm

      I like some of Mahmoud Darwish’s poems even though I’m Israeli. He can say a lot with very few words.

      • Pamela Olson
        August 6, 2011, 3:22 pm

        Strange wording. I wouldn’t say, “I like some of Pablo Neruda’s poems even though I’m American.” I’m human. Good poetry is good poetry.

      • Michael W.
        August 6, 2011, 7:04 pm

        Pamela, Darwish was a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, in direct conflict with Zionism.

      • Shingo
        August 6, 2011, 10:30 pm

        Are you suggesting that Zionism is ideologically opposed to Palestinian self determination, Palestinian freedom and equality Michael? Becasue if you are, then you would have to conceed that Zionism is racism and colonialism.

        In which case, you should be aknowledged for comming cleand and admitting you’re a racist supremacist.

      • Michael W.
        August 7, 2011, 12:49 am

        There is no need to talk about ideology. Just look at history. If Zionism is racism and colonialism, so is Palestinian nationalism. They are in a struggle for power on the same land. Both can exist peacefully, but not at the current circumstances.

        Shingo, how about talking/writing like an adult?

        Just out of curiosity, are you Palestinian? Muslim? Israeli? If not, how many Palestinians and Muslims are you friends with?

      • annie
        August 7, 2011, 1:34 am

        shingo, do not answer his last 4 questions..please.

        yo michael, please explain to me how palestinian nationalism could possibly be conceived as colonialism? juxtapose it any which way you want.

      • Shingo
        August 7, 2011, 3:04 am

        Michael,

        I’ll write like an adult when I believe I’m addressing one. So long as you post like an infantile ignoramus, I’ll continue to address you accordingly. I figure it’s the only thing you’ll understand.

        Just look at history. If Zionism is racism and colonialism, so is Palestinian nationalism.  

        Look dumbass, if you’d bothered to look up the definition of colonialism, you might find that it is implicitly defined by immigrant conquest. By definition, the Palestinians, who were the indigenous population, could not possibly exercise any form of colonialism. How does one colonize their own land? 

        Secondly,as Ben Gurion observed and Palestinian nationalism did not exclude Jews, but that Palestinian  nationalism arose 

        Read history much junior?

        And FYI. I am neither Israeli or Palestinian, and have some wonderful Israeli, Muslim and Jewish friends.

      • CigarGod
        August 7, 2011, 8:37 am

        Hey man, I hate to see you getting beat to a pulp all the time.
        Some simple skills will free you from that.
        Learn how to test the things you believe and say.
        Trust me, the world will not end and you will not go insane if you question and test your most deeply held beliefs…it is just an exercise…you can go back to dumb dumb land when you are done.
        Practice, practice, practice.
        Free your mind and you’ll stop getting your ass beat.

      • Rechavia Berman
        August 7, 2011, 9:29 am

        Not to defend Michael’s general world view necessarily, but Darwish is the man who told us Jews living in Israel to “take your dead and leave”, so the Neruda comparison is not quite apt. It does take some getting over for an Israeli to appreciate Darwish (which isn’t the case, for instance, with Samih al-Qassem).

      • Chaos4700
        August 7, 2011, 11:05 am

        Would be nice if Michael could listen to Darwish’s poetry, instead of merely hearing it.

      • Michael W.
        August 7, 2011, 12:13 pm

        Shingo, have I ever called you any names? Have I shown you disrespect? If you treat all your political opponents like this, it is immature. You are only hurting your case by using names.

        BTW, how many Jews are there in the Palestinian parliament? And please, Jewish converts to Islam don’t count. How many Jews vote in Palestinian elections? If the Palestinians wanted to gain legitimacy for the one state solution, they should allow Israelis, Jew and Arab, to vote in the Palestinian territory for the general Palestinian elections. If they get a good turnout, it would delegitimize the Israeli government and then you’ll convince me that the one state solution has merit.

      • lyn117
        August 7, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Israel claimed all the Jewish Palestinians as its citizens, and as zionists are so fond of pointing out, there is no Palestinian state for the Jewish Palestinians to be citizens of anyway. The Jewish Palestinians have full privilege in the Israeli parliament. So why does it matter how many Jews there are in the Palestinian parliament? This is just zionist diversionary propaganda.

        And of historical note, the PLO had a couple of Jews in ministerial positions long before there were any Palestinian Israelis in Israeli ministerial positions.

      • Pamela Olson
        August 14, 2011, 1:03 pm

        Just because you’re Israeli doesn’t necessarily mean you support ethnic cleansing, oppression, and apartheid. I could just as easily say I love Native American poetry and stories. I was born a citizen of a nation that treated Native Americans abominably. That says very little about my own personal views. I am human first.

    • CigarGod
      August 7, 2011, 8:28 am

      Hats off to you for your own awareness. It is inspirational.

      • Taxi
        August 7, 2011, 12:04 pm

        Thank you very much sir CigarGod for your kind words. I was a fan of yours back when I used to post on the (sell-out) Huffington Post, and I’m STILL a fan.

        Hey I gotta tell you too that I’m a big lover of Wyoming’s Big Sky Country. I’ve stayed at Breteche Creek Ranch (near Cody) quite a few times – usually in mid autumn. Unbelievable. Utterly. Mindblowingly. Beautiful! …And so very humbling.

        The smell of sweetgrass and sage that thousands of autumnal acres effuse is still in my nose – I can kinda read the history of the land in that scent, know wadamean?

      • CigarGod
        August 7, 2011, 10:01 pm

        Hey Taxi: Nice to meet old friends over here. Yes, HP is pointless. I learn a lot more here…but I notice the zionists don’t…no matter where they are found. I got back a bit ago from a M.E. tour with my daughter. Graduation gift. Decided to try to be a bit more productive, so came to Mondo. I live on the Upper Green in Wyoming. Yes, Cody area is amazing! I do know what you mean about the scent of history, but had never been able to verbalize it until your post.
        You are in touch, my friend.
        Got to go turn over my fish on the grill.

  3. Miura
    August 6, 2011, 2:17 pm

    If it is not justice to all including all Palestinians, then it is a fake justice, elite justice or “Justice for Jews only” exactly as the Israeli democracy functions “for Jews only”.

    There have been many salient critiques of the two-tier approach to justice–as exemplified by its poor cousin “human rights”–in the last few years, as for instance noted here:

    What, then, happens to human rights when they are the rights of homo sacer, of those excluded from the political community; that is, when they are of no use, since they are the rights of those who, precisely, have no rights, and are treated as inhuman? Jacques Rancière proposes a salient dialectical reversal: ‘When they are of no use, one does the same as charitable persons do with their old clothes. One gives them to the poor.’

    and here:

    Even among the well-intentioned, the magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of “human rights”. This is an alarming shift. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity, have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It’s a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aborigines and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

    • CigarGod
      August 7, 2011, 8:45 am

      “The difference is that notions of equality, of parity, have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It’s a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor.”

      Profound. Thanks.
      One could do quite an essay on just the way people think about themselves and how it imprisons them and their minds.

  4. NickJOCW
    August 6, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I am logging in to say, Goodbye. I came here a while back when Zionist pressure forced Goldstone to leave a small sample in the Washington Post. What this site is doing is admirable, but those who comment far too often enter the fray to win points with individual nut case Zionists rather than recount how they have managed to promote the message in this place or that, or suggest practical ideas about what to do next. Dedicated though they doubtless are, many seem content to contend with fellow members of the audience or engage in mutual compliments and then retire with warm feelings of having won their point. What is going on is not an entertainment, it is grotesquely real and we are not spectators, we are facing a virus dangerous to our species. Zionists have access to enough fire power to ignite a conflagration that will take us all to the martyrdom of Masada.

    Thanks, come visit my cloud one day.

    • Taxi
      August 6, 2011, 9:32 pm

      Please don’t go NickJOCW. At least keep and open mind and re-visit us here again. Your contributions are appreciated by me – the war ain’t over yet and you’re still needed.

    • Exiled At Home
      August 7, 2011, 1:57 am

      Dedicated though they doubtless are, many seem content to contend with fellow members of the audience or engage in mutual compliments and then retire with warm feelings of having won their point. What is going on is not an entertainment, it is grotesquely real and we are not spectators…

      This bears repeating.

    • CigarGod
      August 7, 2011, 8:50 am

      I agree that trying to teach a zionist to reason is like trying to teach a cat to fly. But, we have to practice on someone, right?

    • Mooser
      August 7, 2011, 12:12 pm

      NickJOCW, I am not going to stand still for this. I have been commenting less and less. The circumcisiion thread was an exception, and it won’t happen again.
      I would feel terribly guilty if I stopped you from commenting.

      “Zionists have access to enough fire power to ignite a conflagration that will take us all to the martyrdom of Masada. “

      In that case, why not razz them and have a couple of yuks along the way?

      • Mooser
        August 7, 2011, 12:16 pm

        “Zionists have access to enough fire power to ignite a conflagration that will take us all to the martyrdom of Masada. “

        Wait a minute, I’m not clear on this. Are you saying that is good for the Jews, or bad for the Jews?

    • Walid
      August 7, 2011, 4:40 pm

      This site, as Nick said, is admirable despite its incessant anti-Zionist bashing by contributors and commentators; there seems to be just as much interest especially by non-Zionist Jews in disparaging Zionism than in justice for the Palestinians. Maybe it’s their polite way of objecting to Israel’s actions. But blaming most of the Palestinians’ woes on the Zionists is letting non-Zionist Israelis off the hook. Everyone in Israel, Zionist or not, is partly responsible in one way or another for what happened and continues happening to the Palestinians and that includes avowed sympathisers of Palestinians. Everyone that supports Israel is in the same ugly boat. The Palestinians were dispossessed by Jews that wanted the land and water even if it had to be stolen and not because of Jewish nationalistic or political orientations. Constantly throwing stones at the Zionists is monotonous, futile and diversionary.

      • CigarGod
        August 7, 2011, 10:05 pm

        Thanks. I’ll spend more time thinking about your advice.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      August 7, 2011, 5:54 pm

      Another way of interpreting what Nick is saying is that each of us who has both a computer and a printer has the ability to produce a leaflet that deals with how US policy is shaped by the pro-Israel lobby and what effect that has had on the daily lives of most Americans who have no vested interest or for that matter, no real interest in what is happening between Israelis and Palestinians, but who might be concerned when they are informed how the current policy impacts negatively on their lives. e.g., by pointing out that in the ongoing debate about budget cuts, military aid to Israel, which comes directly out of their pockets, has been declared sacrosanct and removed by both parties from the chopping block.

      One of the problems that seems inherent in the internet is that time that was previously spent on reaching out directly to the public has been replaced by often endlessly arguing with our opponents on the internet, an activity in which I have also been guilty.

      There is important information that is posted on Mondoweiss every day that is available on no other website. What those of us who care about justice in Palestine need to be doing is taking that information and, using our imagination, circulating it to the public in every way that we can.

      • CigarGod
        August 7, 2011, 10:06 pm

        Great, constructive post.

  5. CTuttle
    August 6, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Dayam, I finally was able to log in… *gah*

    My latest FDL offering… ‘Over a quarter million, and Israel STILL isn’t a story’…

    Fancy that, eh…?

    • Bumblebye
      August 6, 2011, 9:18 pm

      I think Ami wants instant gratification in the MSM! I know that by 11pm here there was a headline on the bbc news website, and the Guardian has had a frontpage video splash for hours now! But we’ve got riots going on in London, so it’s not going to top the news in any way.
      Edit – Guardian’s Israel story has moved down a bit now, but is still there,

      • CTuttle
        August 6, 2011, 9:25 pm

        *ouch* No kidding, eh…? 8-(

      • Bumblebye
        August 6, 2011, 9:56 pm

        His impatience in the first article made me laugh, and here he goes again! I do hope something significant can grow out of these protests, as I’m sure he does, but if this is how patient he can(not) be, oh boy!

    • PissedOffAmerican
      August 6, 2011, 11:44 pm

      OMG.

      Tuttle.

      Not again.

      • CTuttle
        August 7, 2011, 12:31 am

        And a hearty Aloha to you too…! ;-)

  6. Nevada Ned
    August 6, 2011, 9:11 pm

    The longtime dream of the left is to have a coalition including Palestinians and poor Israeli Jews. Unfortunately it hasn’t ever happened, because the Israeli ruling class has been able to control the working class and poor Israeli Jews by flattering their sense of racial superiority. Class differences among Jews were kept under ruling-class control.

    That may be starting to change. If leaders of the Palestinian movement can reach out successfully to at last some Israeli Jews, and if (big IF) there is a significant favorable response from some segment of Israeli Jews, then it’s a very very big story.
    Israeli Jews are a diverse lot, including secular Ashkenazi, Jews from Arab countries, the orthodox settlers, and recent Russian immigrants. Israeli Jews could potentially fracture among a number of these different fault lines. The Palestinians’ predicament (apart from their own internal divisions) is that they have faced a largely united Jewish opposition.

    I hope MondoWeiss continues to cover this important story.

  7. Richard Witty
    August 6, 2011, 10:37 pm

    “Among the speakers that addressed the rally in Tel Aviv was Palestinian author Uda Basharat. ”It’s about time this protest will be become the protest for all those exploited, Jews and Arabs,” Basharat said.”

    link to 972mag.com

    • Shingo
      August 6, 2011, 11:21 pm

      What better argument for a single state. I am pretty sure Basharat was also referrign to the refugees.

      Well spotted Witty.

    • CTuttle
      August 6, 2011, 11:43 pm

      *gasp* Real ‘Social Justice’ there Richard…? ;-)

      • Chaos4700
        August 7, 2011, 11:10 am

        No, he’s just pulling a “And this is my black friend!” dodge. Do you think Witty actually cares about the message in Basharat’s message? That Israel shouldn’t be a nation JUST for Jews and Jews alone?

  8. kapok
    August 6, 2011, 11:00 pm

    When activists get beaten by the wingies they have to give tit for tat. Don’t expect the police to come to your aid.

  9. Exiled At Home
    August 7, 2011, 12:07 am

    I don’t want to beatify the reality, or hide anything for the sake of ‘tactics’ and I will not accept crumbs. I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation, I want to speak about discrimination and racism, I want to put everything on the table, and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.

    I sincerely hope that the crumbs of which you speak refers to the Two-State Solution, because ‘crumbs’ is an adequate depiction of what that fractured, geographically isolated, demilitarized Bantustan state on a fraction of Palestinian land would amount to. It is a mistake to assume that because the Israeli government so fiercely opposes the Palestinian bid for statehood that such a state would actually benefit the Palestinian people. For decades Israel has pursued economic, political, and military policies aimed at rupturing the collective Palestinian will to continue their struggle for retention of their homeland. It is a subtle form of ethnic cleansing. The declaration of a Palestinian state recognized by the United Nations is a clear obstacle in the path of Israel’s goal of absorbing Judea, Samaria, and essentially all of historic Palestine. But, such a state would not benefit Palestinians nor ultimately rebuff Israeli encroachment. Settlements will continue to grow, ebbing ever further into the newly recognized Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza will still remain vastly divided geographically. Israel has time and time again shown its contempt for national sovereignty of its neighbors, so statehood would be no buffer against Israeli military intrusions. All this, plus the ills of decades of military occupation that have corroded every facet of Palestinian society would now be a purely Palestinian problem; Israel would be absolved of the mess it has created. Israel’s chronic pursuit of occupation, subjugation, and annexation will not be cured by international recognition of a feckless, disconsolate Palestinian state. There is growing frustration among Palestinians with their representative leadership. If the United States is successful in scuttling the bid for mythical statehood, the Palestinians would do well to demand more than this mirage from their leaders. Ali Abunimah is correct. Sam Bahour is correct. It is time for one state.

  10. gamal
    August 7, 2011, 8:21 am

    i made this point to Smaddar Levy, an arab jewish social scientist of israeli nationality, the one thing, other than fear/arrogance that unites israeli’s (all of them but the mizrahi in particular) is the parlous political position of the masses in arab countries, the kleptocratic comprador despotism etc, if any of them successfully liberate themselves and are able to offer a politics of social justice and independence as a model to the israeli masses the elite of the zionist state will find their populations far harder to herd into the hopeless colonial project that is modern israel. so its the arabs masses up to the plate, the political class in the arab world are well integrated in the global system they are useless.

  11. CigarGod
    August 7, 2011, 8:26 am

    I don’t understand how so many Palestinians can be so graceful, thoughtful, well rounded and articulate…in their situation.

    • Walid
      August 7, 2011, 5:43 pm

      CigarGod, you are having problems understanding this because you have been force-fed by Israelis that Palestinians are something between cockroaches or some other parasite that relish living on the UN dole and terrorists that spend most of their time plotting to kill Jews. Discard everything you have been told about them and you’d easily see that they are a beautiful and proud people and why they take all the shit thrown at them gracefully.

      • CigarGod
        August 7, 2011, 10:16 pm

        Walid: I know you are correct. I was raised in a large, militantly zionist/racist family. The family is the same, but I’m not. I did a semester in the M.E. my sophmore year and that started the change. I have taken several other M.E. trips over the years and still maintain friendships with some of those M.E. students I went to college with. In fact, I recently took my daughter who just graduated, to the M.E. to meet many of these friends. I’m 59 now, so it has been a long time since college and I’ve learned a lot since then, but as with any indoctrination from birth, one always struggles to be free from all of it.
        I really appreciate your comments.
        They strike a chord in me.

  12. Nevada Ned
    August 7, 2011, 10:15 am

    Jeff Halper is a courageous Israeli Jew who has fought for years for the rights of the oppressed Palestinians. Here’s his take on the Israeli tent uprising:

    link to mrzine.monthlyreview.org

    • Walid
      August 7, 2011, 5:26 pm

      Ned, the best way Dr. Halper can help the Palestinians is by moving back to his native USA in protest to what Israel is doing and working at helping the Palestinians from there at getting rid of their oppressors. Before he became an Israeli Jew, he was a courageous American one.

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