Palestinian and Jew– one humanity

Israel/Palestine
on 8 Comments

For a moment, when I knew there were two ships with 27 activists nearing the waters that would bring them to the shores of Gaza, I imagined no war ships would come to drag them to Ashdod, to abort the messages of solidarity and hope for Palestinians who suffer profoundly the indignities of living in the cage of Gaza . I can only speak of Gaza because I no longer visit Nablus or Ramallah or Jenin, places I had travelled to before I was banned from Israel, another human being who happens to be a Jew who condemns the dehumanization of an entire population of Palestinians. How long must we wait before the US decides to liberate the Palestinians and condemn Israel for it’s totalitarian practices under the guise of “security?” 

I am afraid of the military capacity and actions by the US and its UN surrogates as well as the military capacities of Israel and the US to make wars. Palestinians have not done to Israelis what has been done to them, they have never demolished houses nor created a ghetto for Israelis. I am not afraid of Palestinians. Many do not understand me and insist that Palestinians and indeed all Muslims must be feared and reviled. I am taken aback at the denial of history and the enormous resistance to having an open dialogue on the subject. It is not difficult to observe how Israel, in order to direct attention away from the plight of the Palestinians would prefer to demonize and attack Iran, an action supported by American Jews who have been manipulated to believe that Iran must be smashed before they smash Israel. From an Israeli perspective, Iran can easily be demonized in the form of “Iran’s wish to destroy Israel.” The enemy (Muslims) are not granted peoplehood so as to incur fear into the hearts of many in Israel, in the American Jewish community and throughout many parts of Europe.

To create “fear” is a potent form of terrorism which renders people powerless. Fear obscures reality and blinds reason and empathy. If we are blind to our common humanity, the” other “is reduced to non personhood, monster, terrorist or without a heart. This is a form of racism whereby propaganda and terrorism become active components to maintain the status quo. It also provides a so-called “legitimate” reason to deprive Palestinians of all legal status, a home and a state. What the rest of the world sees is a most radical breakdown of morality and justice in a society that claims to be a democracy.

Hannah Arendt wrote during my early youth. I deeply admire her as a political thinker a writer who forces us to think albeit not necessarily to agree. She too was a refugee from Nazi Germany and she was at ease with her identification as a Jew in the diaspora. She respected the idealism of the early Zionist organizations in Germany. In Paris Arendt worked for Youth Aliyah, a Zionist organization that rescued Jewish young people from Europe, preparing them to emigrate as agricultural workers to Palestine. As early as the 1940’s however, Arendt advocated for a bi-national state that would encompass Jews and Arabs as equal citizens. How many of us are aware of the little known story that tells us how Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, and other German intellectuals bitterly fought against the founding of Israel as a “Jewish State.” They predicted through their humanism and liberalism the growing hatred that would be incurred not only among Arabs in the Middle East but also among progressive intellectuals who predicted a new form of racism and war that would create enormous strife and tension between Israel, it’s protectors and those who fought for the equality and dignity for all peoples. In those early days, Hebrew University became a base for disposing of David Ben Gurion as well as to discredit the conception of Israel as a Jewish State. 

Throughout her career, Arendt argued for the importance of deep thinking, dialogue, and the democratic state’s requirement for free discourse. Politics to her was” the gathering of citizens for expressions of genuine freedom and action.” (Jessica Kraft, “Hannah Arendt.”) 

Tragically, dissent created fear in Israel, evident as we observe and live through the intolerance and muzzling of those dissenters who refuse to accept the paradigm created within the Zionist state concerning Israel’s path to security and behavior towards their Palestinian neighbors. Zero tolerance for dissent and dialogue creates deeper intolerance and racial inequality. As Israel continues to believe in the morality of it’s society and it’s actions, we who dissent must push deeper to understand the political and moral causes of Israel’s path of dehumanization with it’s ongoing agenda to discredit the humanity of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims through racist hate and fear. 

As we witness Israel’s disturbing and hard held belief that security brings peace, it seems that nothing is farther from the truth for it is only peace and tolerance that brings security! 

Readers, stand with me to rage against the crimes committed year after year against Palestinians who continue their brave struggle for a homeland and dignity. Not in my name shall the open- air obscene prisons and the continuous debasement of human rights be allowed to exist.

Lillian Rosengarten, a refugee from Nazi Germany, is a Buddhist practitioner, poet, writer and a pacifist. This piece first appeared on PalestineChronicle.com. Contact her at:[email protected]

About Lillian Rosengarten

Lillian Rosengarten is author of the book “Survival and Conscience: From The Shadow Of Nazi Germany To The Jewish Boat To Gaza."(October 2015, Just World Books) It has been published in German as: “ Ein bewegtes Leben: Von den Schatten Nazi-Deutschlands zum judischen Boot nach Gaza” (Zambon 7/14). Her website is lillianrosengarten.com

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8 Responses

  1. eljay
    November 8, 2011, 10:35 am

    I continue to admire Ms. Rosengarten.

  2. DICKERSON3870
    November 8, 2011, 10:54 am

    RE: “Many do not understand me and insist that Palestinians and indeed all Muslims must be feared and reviled.” ~ Rosengarten

    MY COMMENT: I consider racists to essentially be “crippled inside”.

    “…You can shine your shoes and wear a suit.
    You can comb your hair and look quite cute
    You can hide your face behind a smile
    One thing you can’t hide
    Is when you’re crippled inside…”
    ~~ John Lennon, “Crippled Inside”

    John Lennon: “Crippled Inside” (VIDEO, 03:56) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYETxkU3WdY

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 8, 2011, 11:15 am

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      • libra
        November 8, 2011, 7:53 pm

        “Anglo-Saxon Have A Foothold In Israel “

        I’m sure they’ve just confused them with the Jutes.

  3. Richard Witty
    November 8, 2011, 1:40 pm

    “Palestinians have not done to Israelis what has been done to them, they have never demolished houses nor created a ghetto for Israelis. ”

    That is a false statement. You need to read some history.

    “How many of us are aware of the little known story that tells us how Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, and other German intellectuals bitterly fought against the founding of Israel as a “Jewish State.””

    From late 1947, at the ratification vote in the UN, and the onset of the civil war, until the declaration of independence, and following the Arab League invasions, Buber, Einstein, even Arendt, shifted their views to support of the Jewish state, rather than annihilated (which was the choice at the time).

    Their views remained critical and hopeful for different approaches to reconciliation, but none described the existence of a state of Jewish self-governance as an evil.

    They sought co-existence, a wonderful goal.

    How do you think that could be pursued in fact? Not a guess please.

    Please hold a higher standard of scrutiny.

    • James North
      November 8, 2011, 2:25 pm

      Richard Witty said, ‘Look how my manner of addressing Ms. Rosengarten once more shows my lack of social skills and my tin ear:

      You need to read some history.

      ‘I monotonously lecture other Mondoweiss visitors that they have to “humanize the other” and courteously “build bridges.” But here I speak to an elderly Jewish woman (who had the courage to join the peace flotilla last year) as if she were a dim-witted child.
      ‘The truth is that I pose as an elderly ex-hippie, but when my dream castle view of Israel is threatened, my nasty streak emerges.’

    • Donald
      November 8, 2011, 2:32 pm

      “How do you think that could be pursued in fact? Not a guess please.”

      Richard will grade your response and take points off for guessing.

      ” none described the existence of a state of Jewish self-governance as an evil.”

      What did they have to say about the expulsion of the Palestinians, which you would have supported?

  4. eljay
    November 8, 2011, 1:56 pm

    >> They sought co-existence, a wonderful goal.

    Perhaps they did. As for Israel, well, nothing says “we seek co-existence” like terrorism, ethnic cleansing (“currently not necessary”), the establishment of a religion-supremacist state and a 60+ years, ON-GOING campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

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