Interview with Rela Mazali: The Israeli left, BDS, and the ‘habit of hope’

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

Rela Mazali is one of the founders of the Israeli feminist organization New Profile, Movement for the Demilitarization of Israeli Society.  Founded in 1988, the activist organization is committed to educating the Israeli public about the centrality of war culture within Israeli society, to advancing demilitarization, and to supporting Israeli youth who refuse their compulsory service in the Israeli army.  In Mazali’s words: “We’ve become an army with a state, instead of a state with an army. We need to reduce the hold of the military, and of militarized thinking, on the moves of our country and the courses of our lives.”  Rebecca L. Stein recently spoke to Mazali in Tel Aviv.

Rebecca L. Stein:  You were in Israel during last summer’s brutal Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.  On the occasion of its one-year anniversary, and in light of your long-term activism, can you reflect on what you witnessed from the vantage of Jewish Israeli society?

Rela Mazali: I’ve been an activist for over thirty years against the occupation, against racism, militarization and the oppression of Palestinians inside Israel — the whole spectrum of what it means to be a radical feminist activist on the left.  The attacks of last summer were so outrageously disproportionate – an attack against a largely helpless million-and-a half human beings.  I felt real ambivalence about demonstrating against this attack because I felt that I was again playing the scripted role that I have played for decades: standing at the same sites where we had always protested, with many of the same people.  It didn’t feel like an expression of opposition or resistance.  It felt like I was playing my prearranged role on the national stage. Something about that felt deeply wrong to me, and for a while I couldn’t do it.

But meanwhile a different structure of protest emerged and that changed my feelings somewhat.  It was a local protest, initiated by two neighboring towns: Tira, a whose residents are Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Kfar Saba, a neighboring Jewish town that happens to be near the my home.  Together, we protested against both Israel’s military violence against Palestinians under occupation and Jewish Israeli civilian violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

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You and other veteran Israeli activists have referred to last summer’s military assault as unprecedented – not only in terms of the wanton devastation within the Gaza Strip, but also the levels of extreme militarization within the Jewish mainstream public.  As the civilian toll mounted in Gaza, Jewish gangs in Israel hunted Palestinians in the streets, and Jewish Israeli users mobilized in large numbers on social media to call for violent revenge against Palestinians and Israeli leftists – a phenomenon that Adi Kuntsman and I have documented.  Given that Israeli society has a long history of popular militarism, what was different about the political tenor last summer?  What, precisely, had changed?

Within Israel, during the course of the attack, there was no lip service paid to any kind of democracy, equality, human or civil rights. The breakdown of that set of mechanisms became very clear and pronounced.  And it’s debatable whether that’s a bad thing because — in a sense– now it’s clearer what we’re really up against within Israeli society.  Prior to last summer, there was something of a façade or a patina of something else – the patina of democracy and respect for rights — but what was really going on was no less ruthless and no less murderous.  It wasn’t the first time there had been violence against left wing activists or against Palestinian citizens of Israel inside Israel.  But last summer, there were far fewer social checks and balances in place. There was no institutional machinery acting to identify this anti-democratic phenomenon for what it was. In fact, this political mood was openly encouraged by some politicians and glaringly unchallenged by others.  It verged on a hunting season – with a popular sense that Palestinians and, to a lesser degree, Jewish leftists were fair game.  Of course, the events last summer were linked to a long history of demonizing and criminalizing dissent in Israel – a process at work within the government and the courts, and among right-wing groups.

For me personally, last summer was also a turning point in another sense.  As any pretense to democracy eroded and as I registered the enormity of the destruction in Gaza, I felt that language become useless. That is, I sensed a total breakdown of the capacity of language to adequately address the shift in the scale of state violence – such that I felt I could hardly talk or write about it.  No text or talk seemed appropriate to the split between the reality in Israel — which was really not under threat — and the reality in Gaza. Israel was not seriously damaged although people were scared due to an intensive and intentional government-driven panic. In fact, there was only real danger to Israel and Israelis at the very periphery of the Gaza Strip. There was frequent shelling there, though nothing comparable to what went on inside the Strip. People had been living there for years with intermittent, low intensity, low damage shelling. And it definitely did hurt, kill and damage people.

What happens when Israeli anti-occupation language breaks down — particularly in the context of an Israeli left that has, historically, been so vocal about its political stance?

I think it was the first time that I haven’t had any hope. You know, it comes and goes. There is a habit of hope, I guess, for activists. You work, you do what you can, however meager it may seem.  And there’s this sense that a different future is possible, whenever it may come. But now, I don’t see it. And during the summer, I couldn’t find anything – any form of activism — that seemed generative of possible futures.  Maybe that’s good. Maybe it’s an important realization. Nothing felt politically relevant, and it still doesn’t. I’m still an activist but today I lack a vision of a fitting activist strategy. Or a solution. I’m not even talking about one state or two states — that’s all beside the point. I’m talking about an alternative to Israel’s practices of repetitive violence, racism, ethnocentrism, nationalism. Today, I don’t see it. Or perhaps more precisely, I don’t feel it.

Does your pessimistic vision of activism include BDS strategies – strategies you have openly supported?  And how is it possible to support the boycott movement as an Israeli in light of the numerous legal obstacles and punitive measures installed by the state?

Where activism is concerned, I’ve been describing a sense of ritual repetitiveness, bordering on a dead-end, inside Jewish Israeli society. But BDS is a global movement, directed to civil society worldwide, in support of the Palestinian call.  My own past statements of support for this call are on public record, as is the support of many individual citizens of Israel and activist organizations. The movement claims globalized responsibility for the limited price that most mainstream Israelis are paying for Israel’s rampant militarization and fingers international culpability for decades of oppression and occupation. BDS is about exposing and opposing the interests served by Israel’s policies, far beyond its own territorial limits.

A law was recently approved by the Israeli High Court of Justice making expressions of support for the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel liable to prohibitive fines. “Offenders” are punishable through civil suits. This significantly lightens the burden of proof usually borne by plaintiffs. So Israeli activists who openly support BDS are actually threatened with financial ruin for their families. This is a very watered down but analogous and potent version of the kind of financial violence practiced regularly against Palestinian families under occupation. It suppresses, or at least reduces, political debate about what some see as the only viable strategy of resistance today and turns some of the tools of occupation against its opposition inside Israel.

In the Western media, many have been speaking to the physical separation of the two peoples – Israelis and Palestinians – as a way to explain the current breakdown in political processes and possible political futures.  From my reading, it seems that this story of separation installs a kind of political nostalgia: as if these societies were living well together before the separation barrier and the current infrastructure of the military occupation. Can you talk about this?

Separation — I’d prefer to use the historically apt term, segregation — exists inside Israel as well, but in a different form. It’s softer and less tangible, and is policed by different means. But it’s very much present.  The vast majority of Jewish Israelis don’t know Palestinian citizens of Israel. They have no Palestinian friends, no experiences with Palestinian individuals or society, and they don’t speak their language. This is an important context to keep in mind because separation from the West Bank and Gaza is just the tip of a very deep structure undergirding Israeli society – structuring the ways that Jewish Israelis move around, think, act, identify, etc. This becomes very obvious for us when you, as an Israeli Jew, want to study Arabic. If you are not at university, and you are making an effort to study Arabic.  You have to go to weekly classes but you don’t have Arabic around you, because Arabic in Israel is confined within particular locales – namely, in Palestinian towns and communities within Israel.  The language itself is  spatially enclosed. As a result, in order to get experience of speaking Arabic on a day-to-day basis, you have to leave Jewish Hebrew-speaking areas inside this tiny country.

This reveals the degree to which prior forms of proximity between Israeli Jews and Palestinians living under occupation was to some extent illusionary.  Okay, Israeli and Palestinian activists were going back and forth – as were international tourists and Israeli consumers, who used the West Bank as a market for cheap goods. And I remember Palestinian friends from the West Bank saying that, as the wall was closing in, they were suffocating. In this sense, it worked. It’s succeeded in suffocating communications across the lines. It has crippled the small segment of Israeli society that has invested in making a joint society. It has gone a long ways towards shutting this down.  And its not only suffocating Palestinians, but also Jewish-Israelis. And at least some of us in Israel still recognize the need to build a place where collective rights can bring us together in an attempt at equality and freedom.

But how does one try to build something else?  Needless to say, the coexistence paradigm of the 1980s and 1990s is no longer relevant.

For many years, I have opted less for joint work and more for work within the society with which I’m identified – that is, Jewish Israeli society. I accept that identity to the extent that I accept any identity. I have felt that there was a piece of work in this society that wasn’t being done. In the last decade-and-a-half, I started working on demilitarizing Israel society and demilitarizing people’s view of reality, trying to question what it was, who was feeding and sustaining it, and why. I can’t claim that we accomplished major changes, but there has been a movement in place for almost seventeen years now and there’s now a consciousness of these issues where before it was absent. Today, there’s at least a discourse in Israel critiquing militarization. This still hasn’t caused meaningful change in Israeli reality though.

Today, militarization and repressive state violence against Palestinians are so ubiquitous and frequent as to have become almost invisible to most Israelis — a process by which, as Adi Kuntsman and I have argued, the repressive violence of military occupation functions as a kind of public secret within Israeli society, at once widely supported and relegated to secrecy.  In your estimation, how does this invisibility work? And what are the challenges of struggling against militarization in such a climate?

What is most unseen by Israelis is the mechanism for the production of conflict and enmity. Sixty-seven years of warfare against a series of interchanging enemies are, necessarily, an Israeli policy choice – one serving specific groups of people.  Keeping them in power, enriching them both materially and symbolically, maintaining their authority. Sixty-seven years of warfare are the doing of many successive governments and many successive military commands. Obviously, this requires the consent and the active participation of the Israeli citizenry. Maintaining this state of affairs, the continuous consent to war, to conscription, to prioritizing military spending and national security, to de-prioritizing social security, all of this is what we call militarization. It’s a social-political process that is constantly fed, reproduced, and kept in place. As part of this process, enmity and conflict are perceived by most citizens as simply ‘out there,’ threatening them independently of Israel’s policies and deeds. When these limited capacity rockets came down on Israel last summer, people said, “they’re threatening us, they’re trying to destroy Israel.” It was almost laughable. We are living in a box that people can’t see out of — for fear. That’s the challenge and the key to this work: trying to give people a glimpse of what lies beyond their unquestioned belief that there’s no other choice, that the alternative is annihilation. Trying to convey the understanding that militarization serves something and someone which has little or even nothing to do with “our” security and existence.

About Rebecca L. Stein

Rebecca L. Stein is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and the author of (most recently) 'Digital Militarism: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age' (Stanford University Press, 2015) with Adi Kuntsman.

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20 Responses

  1. just
    July 1, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Thanks to Rebecca & Rela for this explicative, albeit depressing, piece.

    I need to mull it over.

    • just
      July 2, 2015, 8:34 am

      You’re a very brave lady, Rela, and the kind of human that Israel needs many more of.

      I was on the outside looking in last summer, and what I saw and heard was horrifying to me as a human being. What I heard emanating from Israel was a complete and total lack of empathy and care for any innocent that was in Gaza coupled with incessant and frenzied urging from the representatives of the state and their allies that “Israel has the right to defend itself” while wreaking hellish devastation on the Palestinians. It was crystal clear that Israel was engaged in an offensive war that they had deliberately provoked and incited for! Sadly and horribly, 95% of the population supported the terrible slaughter. As we saw, some even picnicked to it, cheering the bombs as they fell on the trapped people of Gaza.

      It wasn’t self- defense.

      I really appreciate your efforts, and appreciate the difficult and frustrating position that the brave folks who support the demilitarization of Israel are in.

      The only bright spot that I see is that millions all over the world witnessed last summer, and real information flew fast and furious. So, you’re not so alone anymore.

      Anyway, many thanks for this interview.

      • just
        July 2, 2015, 8:51 am

        I wanted to thank you for the profound ending of your piece:

        “It’s a social-political process that is constantly fed, reproduced, and kept in place. As part of this process, enmity and conflict are perceived by most citizens as simply ‘out there,’ threatening them independently of Israel’s policies and deeds. When these limited capacity rockets came down on Israel last summer, people said, “they’re threatening us, they’re trying to destroy Israel.” It was almost laughable. We are living in a box that people can’t see out of — for fear. That’s the challenge and the key to this work: trying to give people a glimpse of what lies beyond their unquestioned belief that there’s no other choice, that the alternative is annihilation. Trying to convey the understanding that militarization serves something and someone which has little or even nothing to do with “our” security and existence.”

        Well, more and more folks are working to end this miserable state of affairs.

        It will be up to the individual and the group to find some way to heal themselves, and break loose from their fears. I think that will take Herculean effort and a genuine willingness.

        The best of luck to both of you!

      • jon s
        July 3, 2015, 4:05 am

        Just,

        “As we saw, some even picnicked to it, cheering the bombs as they fell on the trapped people of Gaza” .

        When did this happen? How many participated in such picnics? How frequently?

      • oldgeezer
        July 3, 2015, 4:31 am

        @jon s
        Totally irrelevant questions jon. You can spend your time picking your nose and splittings hairs over exact counts but the world saw depravity on display.

      • Sibiriak
        July 3, 2015, 5:20 am

        oldgeezer: @jon s Totally irrelevant questions jon.

        —————-

        Well, the number of incidents and people involved is certainly relevant to determining how representative the actions were and deciding what kind of conclusions we might draw from them.

  2. LA PLAYA
    July 2, 2015, 5:05 am

    Excellent, thought-provoking Q&A. I greatly admire the courage of Jewish activists who oppose the status quo in Israel. I’m an American citizen; I deeply loathe my US taxes bankrolling the Israeli regime’s military horrors unleashed against their captive Palestinians.

    For me, personally, the Gaza massacre of last summer was the last straw.
    I’ve gone from years of watching the Israel/Palestine situation from the sidelines, thinking ‘this situation is wrong,’ to becoming more involved.

    I see a parallel with the 19th century US abolitionists who confronted the American slaveowners (religious slaveowners who claimed “slavery is God’s will – it’s in the Bible,” slaveowners who controlled the US Congress, and slaveowners who warped the US legal system to bolster their claims to do as they wished with another human being).

    Viva Mondoweiss – the liberating internet “Underground Railroad” channelling the right to change!

    • jon s
      July 3, 2015, 6:23 am

      oldgeezer,
      Nevertheless, may I have an answer?

      • just
        July 3, 2015, 7:48 am

        “Zionist “tourists” watch bombs drop on Gaza”


        ———
        “Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats

        Last Wednesday night, as he stood on a hilltop outside the Israeli town of Sderot and watched the bombardment of Gaza on the plain below, a Danish newspaper reporter snapped an iPhone photo of about a dozen locals who cheered on their military from plastic chairs while eating popcorn.

        Allan Sorensen, a veteran Middle East correspondent for Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad, then uploaded the image to Twitter with a sardonic caption that described the macabre scene as “Sderot cinema.”

        The image of the Israeli spectators was taken after 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the reporter said, about the same time that what was intended to be a “precision strike” from Israel’s military killed at least eight of their Palestinian neighbors, seated in similar plastic chairs at a beachside cafe in Gaza, waiting to watch the World Cup semifinal between Argentina and the Netherlands.

        As his image reverberated around the social network, where it was shared more than 10,000 times, the reporter was surprised by the response. It was, he said in a telephone interview from Israel, “nothing new.” Similar scenes, of Israeli spectators gathered on the high ground above Gaza to view the destruction below, were documented in a Times of London article and a video report from Denmark’s TV2 during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. …

        …While some partisans of Israel on Twitter accused the Danish reporter of fabrication, the same scene, captured in photographs by several other journalists in recent days, was also witnessed by Mr. Sorensen’s colleague Nikolaj Krak, who wrote: “The hill has been transformed into something that most closely resembles the front row of a reality war theater. It offers a direct view of the densely populated Gaza Strip. People have dragged camping chairs and sofas to the top of the hill. Several sit with crackling bags of popcorn, while others smoke hookahs and talk cheerfully. …

        An Israeli blogger, David Sheen, reported that a far-right rally in Jerusalem on Monday was marked by calls to kill Arabs and send Jews opposed to the bombardment to Gaza…”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/israelis-watch-bombs-drop-on-gaza-from-front-row-seats.html?_r=0
        ———–
        “Bombing of Gaza children gives me “orgasm”: Israelis celebrate slaughter on Facebook

        …“Gaza, Gaza a graveyard!”

        … On 11 June, a picture was posted on LEAVA’s page of a young man standing next to an Israeli flag at a protest and wearing a shirt with the group’s emblem. Written above the photo is the following: “Citizens of Ashdod are also standing with LEAVA. Waiting for Gaza to be turned into a big blaze!” It received more than 2,300 “likes” in just two days.

        …Many Israeli Facebook users have posted violent and disturbing content on their personal accounts. Talya Shilok Edry, who has more than one thousand followers, posted the following “status”: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”

        …Edry’s Facebook timeline shows a pattern of calls for bloodshed against Palestinians. Writing about the murdered sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair, who was kidnapped and burned alive by Israeli youth, she stated: “Sweet settlers, next time you kidnap an Arab boy, call me and let me torture him!! Why do you get to have all the fun?”

        …Journalist David Sheen reported for Mondoweiss last week about the “terrifying tweets of pre-army Israeli teens.” After searching on Twitter using the Hebrew word for “Arabs,” Sheen found dozens upon dozens of Israeli youths “proclaiming their desire for all Arabs to die and in some cases be tortured to death.””

        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/bombing-gaza-children-gives-me-orgasm-israelis-celebrate-slaughter-facebook

        (There’s many links available to you in that article)

        You ask “When did this happen? How many participated in such picnics? How frequently?” You can google it yourself, jon s. Or you can ask your neighbors. This is nothing new. 95% of Israelis supported the massacre!!! What is “new” is that it got out. Diana Magnay was banished to Moscow.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/18/cnn-diana-magnay-israel-gaza_n_5598866.html

        From the article: “The removal of Magnay comes a day after NBC News pulled Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza.

        NBC’s decision to remove the widely praised Mohyeldin, and unwillingness to explain why, has been met with anger and frustration from journalists inside and outside the network.

        A source with knowledge of the decision told The Huffington Post that NBC executives cited security concerns. But at the same time Moyheldin was pulled, NBC assigned chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel to Gaza.”

        ——-
        “Israelis gather on hillsides to watch and cheer as military drops bombs on Gaza
        People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing

  3. Naftush
    July 2, 2015, 6:12 am

    The author protests the “scripting” of her appeals yet scripts herself into a telling contradiction. The “open season” on Palestinians and leftists (“murderous,” “ruthless”), she writes, coincided with “a local protest, initiated by two neighboring towns [one Palestinian-Israeli and one Jewish-Israeli]. Together, we protested against both Israel’s military violence against Palestinians under occupation and Jewish Israeli civilian violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel.” The contradiction is easily resolved: the “open season” remark is wildly and tendentiously overstated. As for the rest, the incredible notion that the violence emanating from Gaza cannot be checked until it crosses an undefined damage threshold. Etc., but my lunch break is over.

    • Mooser
      July 2, 2015, 3:49 pm

      “As for the rest, the incredible notion that the violence emanating from Gaza cannot”

      “Emanating from”? Sure, okay.

    • jon s
      July 3, 2015, 10:17 am

      Just, thanks.
      Ugly and despicable behavior.

  4. Citizen
    July 2, 2015, 7:31 am

    Everything she says about the militarization of Israeli society and economy is also applicable to USA, except there’s no conscription. 9/11, of course, provided “the new Pearl Harbor” aka “the new Reichstag fire.” As the former POTUS gate keeper and IDF support service man Rahm Immanuel told us, “Never lose the opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity.”

    • Citizen
      July 2, 2015, 7:44 am

      Back in November of 2012 the NYT had a mild OP-Ed about the permanent militarization of the USA. I bet Bernie Sanders could add lots more meat to it; of course Ron Paul has long done so.

      • Keith
        July 2, 2015, 6:14 pm

        CITIZEN- “I bet Bernie Sanders could add lots more meat to it….”

        Actions speak louder than words. Over at CounterPunch, Joshua Frank has reviewed some of Bernie Sanders dismal record in regards to militarism.

        “Even so, while Bernie may come across as sincere about class politics, make no mistake, he’s is a militarist that isn’t about to challenge U.S. supremacy. He supported the ugly war on Kosovo, the invasion of Afghanistan, funding for the endless Iraq disaster as well as the losing and misguided War on Terror. He voted in favor of Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which expanded the federal death penalty and acted as the precursor to the PATRIOT Act.

        As for Israel, Bernie has been a hawkish advocate that would never halt the $3 billion the U.S. government sends to the country every year. Last summer he backed Israel’s murderous bombing of Gaza. He’s even had some nasty words about Palestine’s right to resist. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that several former members of Bernie’s staff have also been employed by AIPAC, including Israel apologists David Sirota and Joel Barkin. His is a disgusting record. Want to change in the U.S.’s meddling in the Middle East? Bernie isn’t your guy.” (Joshua Frank) http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/03/why-bernie-sanders-is-a-dead-end/

      • just
        July 3, 2015, 9:55 am

        I really like Sander’s pov on America. He’s PEP though, and I cannot forget that awful aspect after last summer when he did this:

        “Ten days ago Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yelled at constituents to “shut up” and threatened to call the police (below) when they got angry at him over his stance in support of Israeli massacres. Well, at least Sanders abstained on the vote to give Israel another $225 million during the Gaza onslaught.”

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/elizabeth-palestinian-civilians#sthash.yWoNeZmF.dpuf

        in contrast with this:

        “In 1988, Bernie Sanders Condemned Israeli Attacks On Palestinians As “Reprehensible”
        Sanders was once a strong critic of the Israeli policies towards Palestinians.”

        http://www.alternet.org/1988-bernie-sanders-condemned-israeli-attacks-palestinians-reprehensible

  5. Elan
    July 3, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Can someone explain to me how steadily firing nonstop rockets at Israel and building tunnels from which to threaten and terrorize Israel is not considered militarization from the Palestinian side? I get that Israel used a sledgehammer to squash an ant so to speak approach, but to excuse the use of violence and force by one side and not the other, seems to me to be a huge bias. As well, to suggest that Hamas and the Palestinian side in this conflict is peace-loving and only a victim in all of this, seems also one-sided. BOTH sides in this conflict must adjust their policies and their approaches to each other…but on this site I am seeing only Israel being vilified. Nobody is addressing the fact that what happened in Gaza was partly a consequence of constant threats and attacks on Israel. No matter how disproportionate some might feel the power balance may be…violence cannot and must not be condoned on either side… An end to violence means an end to violence on both sides.

    • Kris
      July 3, 2015, 9:30 pm

      @Elan: “…violence cannot and must not be condoned on either side… An end to violence means an end to violence on both sides.”

      Obviously not true, since Israel routinely uses lethal force against peaceful, nonviolent Palestinian protestors as well as against peaceful, nonviolent international peace activists. You could start by googling “Bilin” and “Rachel Corrie,” as examples. Or just read through a few weeks’ of Kate’s column here on mondoweiss. http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/palestinian-qalandiya-checkpoint

      Do you condemn all resistance, or only resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine? Do you also condemn those who resisted the Nazis at the Warsaw Ghetto and in occupied Europe?

      According to Israeli human rights lawyer, Lynda Brayer:

      Above and beyond the basic right of all human beings to resist their being killed and harmed, and a society to take armed actions to protect itself, this document legitimizes also national liberation struggles, including, at this time in history, most particularly, the Palestinian people’s struggle for its own freedom. It is this right which legitimizes all Palestinian attempts to lift the yoke of Israeli oppression from Palestine, including all the actions taken by the Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead.

      And is not the right to resist oppression universal? Does this right not justify the American Revolution and then the French Revolution and the wars of liberation in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Nelson Mandela is a hero because of his resistance to, not because of his subservience to apartheid repression. And the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the Jewish population against the Nazi repression is a beacon of pride in modern Jewish history. it is also a fact that Jews who joined the resistance, say in Poland or other places under Nazi occupation, are heroes for the Jewish people. I would contend that one cannot deny that right of resistance to Palestinians which the Jews appropriated to themselves, and which is the right of all peoples living under military occupation and/or colonialist regimes. http://972mag.com/on-the-palestinians-legal-right-to-fight-the-occupation/30855/

    • talknic
      July 4, 2015, 12:23 am

      @ Elan

      “Can someone explain to me how steadily firing nonstop rockets at Israel and building tunnels from which to threaten and terrorize Israel is not considered militarization from the Palestinian side? “

      Nope. It’s definitely militarization and it’s what people are legally allowed to do when their territory is being colonized, they are under occupation, being dispossessed. Jews should not have resisted the Nazis? WOW!!

      ” to excuse the use of violence and force by one side and not the other, seems to me to be a huge bias”

      One has legal justification for resisting colonization and occupation. The colonizer and “Occupying Power” has no legal justification http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

      “As well, to suggest that Hamas and the Palestinian side in this conflict is peace-loving and only a victim in all of this, seems also one-sided “

      The Palestinians didn’t invite the Zionist Federation to colonize Palestine. Israel is not being colonized or under occupation.
      The Palestinians/Hamas do not have military control over (occupy) any Israeli territory.
      Israel, after having been given completely gratis the territory for the Jewish state, has been illegally acquiring non-Israeli territory for the past 67 years.

      Hamas (1987) was formed in response to 90 years of Zionist colonization (since 1897 http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8632-jewish-colonial-trust-the-judische-colonialbank ) , in response to 39 years of Israeli occupation ( since 1948 http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk#googlemap ) . Resisting today (2015) in response to more than a century of Palestine being colonized

      “Nobody is addressing the fact that what happened in Gaza was partly a consequence of constant threats and attacks on Israel

      The occupied are allowed armed resistance and civilian collateral is always a possibility

      “An end to violence means an end to violence on both sides”

      So Israel could withdraw from ALL non-Israei territories, nothing is stopping it and it has never been tried…..

      You’re whining at the wrong people pal. Go whine to the stupid Zionist Federation, they decided to colonize Palestine. They demanded a separate state, now Israelis are prohibited from illegally settling in non-Israeli territories.

  6. jon s
    July 3, 2015, 4:55 pm

    Elan,
    Nice debut on this blog, kol hakavod.
    May I suggest that you write something in your profile.

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