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On ‘incitement’

Israel/Palestine
on 22 Comments

As Palestine takes center stage and as we continue to gain ground on the international solidarity front, with BDS and by other means, more punitive measures to silence and disrupt the justice for Palestine camp is to be expected. Case in point, is the recent passing of the bipartisan resolution in the House of Foreign Affairs Committee, entitled, “Words Have Consequences: Palestinian Authority Incitement to Violence.”   Once again, the US government demonstrates its appalling hypocrisy on Israel/Palestine.

In the meantime, Israelis would like to see more incitement from their government. According to political analyst Yousef Munnayer, opinion polls overwhelmingly show that Israelis think that Netanyahu is too soft on Palestinians. This week’s ‘most-read’ article in the Washington Post by Israeli novelist Assaf Gavron similarly sounds the alarm bells.  He warns:  “We Israelis are in a fast and alarming downward swirl into a savage, unrepairable society.”

To magnify the urgency of the present situation, the writer, who served in the Israeli army, throws the Palestinians under the bus and whitewashes the first intifada. Those were “the good old days”, the writer reminisces.  The words crafted to sound whimsical, almost endearing, with ‘a boys will be boys’ sentiment, fell heavily on my ears.

Those were not good days for the Palestinian people under Israeli military occupation. Thousands were imprisoned. Collective punishment in the form of curfews was imposed on whole villages and towns for weeks on end. Schools and universities were closed by military order, so education became illegal; classes were held underground and at homes, if at all. Olive trees and other crops; mainstay of Palestinian agricultural economy were destroyed. Homes were arbitrarily and routinely demolished.  And the late defense Minister Rabin’s infamous ‘strategy of might and force’ through breaking bones, torture and mass imprisonment is well documented.

Belittling Palestinian suffering is commonplace in Israeli society – as his article would attest; therein lies the irony – even among the so-called ‘enlightened’, it seems.

Moving forward, the writer is clear that today, he wants to see an end to the occupation, but to save the Israeli soul, albeit, he does acknowledge Palestinian suffering [under occupation]. Nevertheless, Gavron sites ample evidence of Israeli incitement and violence, admitting, “the internal discussion in Israel is more militant, threatening and intolerant than it has ever been.” On social media, “any sentiment not aligned with the supposed consensus is met with a barrage of racist vitriol.”

The irony is that some of the most extreme cases of racist incitement to violence in Israel have collapsed binaries as viciously as they had been constructed. Most people who inhabit that spot of land are largely indistinguishable and Arab and Jew are not mutually exclusive categories.  From his platform in Washington, among friends and allies, Gavron’s plea for the ‘soul of a nation’ falls on deaf ears.

One must wonder then, to what extent is the enabling of Israeli society, on the part of some ‘friends’ and ‘allies’, rooted in anti-Semitism? A bi-national Israel/Palestine could potentially be a viable solution for both people[s]; some believe it is already in the making.

About Aida Qasim

Aida Qasim is a Palestinian American social worker.

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22 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    October 29, 2015, 12:05 pm

    Aida Qasim writes: “And the late defense Minister Rabin’s infamous ‘strategy of might and force’ through breaking bones, torture and mass imprisonment is well documented.”

    Well, that’s the problem. Americans, broadly speaking, do not know these things. They do not see the documentation you refer to. If an Israeli fells a tree in a forest onto the head of a Palestinian and nobody reads the AI report, was anyone actually injured?

    The Palestinian movement needs two tracks of its own propaganda — not false propaganda but the truth. Speaking truth to power, in fact. And the target audience is the people, everywhere in the world they can be reached. Governments have shown themselves to be (willing) prisoners of Zion.

    First track is a comprehensive history, perhaps from 1947, of Israel’s human rights violations, of Palestinian suffering, of the world’s abstention from its duties (as some see it) to intervene. Updated monthly. Chanted as a perpetual dirge, but an informative dirge. Maybe with little time-line-setting bells and whistles referring to “peace process” and “Oslo” and so forth.

    Second track is the objectives, perhaps the objectives of the BDS movement, set in a historical matrix showing how the very opposite of these objectives has been visited upon Palestinians by Israel and, through refusal to act, by most governments.

    If the propaganda is propounded loudly and widely enough, perhaps it will become true that Israel’s horrible policies will become well and widely known.

    • kalithea
      October 29, 2015, 12:20 pm

      Please stop using the word propaganda when referring to facts regarding the injustice experienced by Palestinians since Zionism staked claim to Palestine. Look up the word propaganda; you’re misusing it in this context.

      • pabelmont
        October 29, 2015, 9:26 pm

        kalithea: Sorry to offend. Your unhappiness with my use of “propaganda” may be widespread. Anyway, I checked and found this, suggesting I used it “right” even if it sometimes offends, Maybe “message” would be better!

        PROPAGANDA:
        1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
        2.
        the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
        3.
        the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

      • kalithea
        October 30, 2015, 2:29 am

        @pabelmont

        Do you not understand that propaganda has negative connotations as being something that is exaggerated or even fabricated to sway public opinion?

        You should have written something like: If the truth about Israel’s practices or reality that Palestinians are suffering are exposed, as you say, loudly and widely then this will become well known and reach a wider public. But I really don’t like the word propaganda used in regards to the Palestinian experience because it cheapens and diminishes it.

        Propaganda is how I would define Zionist hasbara, actually they’re almost synonymous in my opinion. So again, it’s not a good idea to reference the Palestinian experience as being propaganda. I don’t think I can explain it better than this except to say that it sounds awful and does Palestinians a disservice.

    • amigo
      October 29, 2015, 1:36 pm

      I agree , Pabelmont.Flood the MSM with the message .

      I am not sure if it has been tried but a good start would be a worldwide annual “Naqba Day” . Celebration would not be the appropriate term but “Remembrance ” would fit the bill , although it could be both.People pay much more attention to parades .Just look at how widespread the St Patrick,s day parades are.I know, the drink factor (much to the chagrin of many Irish people ) plays a large part .

      It would take time to build and should avoid signs that over state the concept of protest but rather should include those that celebrate Palestinian culture such as it,s food .Lots of images of pre zionist Palestine , which would help to debunk the myths that claim there was no Palestine and making the desert bloom and all that zionist propaganda.

      You are correct , the message has to be delivered , wide and often.

  2. kalithea
    October 29, 2015, 12:50 pm

    Here’s how I see it: there is no binational state in the works and it’s dangerous to imagine or delude oneself that such a plan exists. I’m not saying it’s not possible but our society needs to work very hard to make that possible and unfortunately our society is moving backwards as our own rights are being diminished and we are doing very little or nothing to reverse this trend.

    Zionists are way too greedy for land and power to want to share any of this with Palestinians, unless it is forced on them by a society that recognizes that there is no other option except maybe for moving all the settlers out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the interest of real justice.

    What is happening here is very serious: our rights are now inextricably linked to Palestinian rights. In order for Zionism which is inherently unjust to be implemented our self-expression and our right to support the Palestinian movement for justice must be condemned and subsequently sabotaged by our leaders and legislative representatives who already refuse to represent us on this issue and are starting to take this further with Zionist influence and pressure.

    The problem is that we see this happening and we’re doing absolutely nothing about it. We must flood our representatives with emails and let them know that our freedom of expression is sacred and non-negotiable and that we will use it to condemn injustice wherever and whenever we witness it, even in Israel!

    There is only one way that Zionism can be permanently implemented and that is if the occupation and therefore Apartheid in Israel are legitimized in some way. This is why Israel is moving to incitement of violent resistance by Palestinians, because Zionists need to prove to the world that there is no other way to secure Zionism except through Apartheid and military occupation and they need our legislators to shut down all societal opposition to this plan.

    We must not let this happen; we must not allow our right to condemn what is really in the works to be suppressed through resolutions and legislation that sanctions our efforts to seek justice and limits our ability to derail this injustice. This is what is happening behind the scenes; our rights are in peril alongside Palestinian rights, and we must fight for them before it’s too late.

    If our own rights are diminished then the Palestinians don’t stand a chance. If sites that are raising awareness, movements that are trying to enforce justice and words that are condemning Zionist injustice are shut down then Zionists will have achieved the ultimate goal.

    Our rights and Palestinians’ rights have both become a threat to Zionism. Zionism cannot survive without injustice and without suppressing our right to condemn that injustice and this is where we are really heading. A binational state is not in the works unless we stop what is really in the works.

    • pabelmont
      October 29, 2015, 9:37 pm

      kalithea: You have been trying to imagine outcomes. It is also a good idea to imagine mechanisms foir change. Without outside pressure Israel will pursue apartheid (as now) or further ethnic cleansing (as 1948). what about WITH outside pressure? Well, there is none just now. If there were to be outside pressure I suppose it would grow gradually as “the people” in various countries persuaded (pressured) their leaders to oppose Zionism. It would all be gradual and slow. But it would grow (IMO) because Israel would get worse and worse in response to the pressure. If — a big if — there were ever enough outside pressure from USA, from EU, from UN, whatever, what would that pressure be imposed in roder to achieve?

      [a] Might be imposition of an I/P peace and land-redistribution, sort of 1947 but with force. [b] Might be pressure on Israel to remove all settlers adn dismantle the wall and lift the siege on Gaza.
      [c] Maybe something else.

      But since the pressure would grow amorphously it seems likely that its “demand” would likewise be formed amorphously, without a clear driving principle. Maybe the BDS principles? Something for us all to think about!

      • kalithea
        October 30, 2015, 2:09 am

        Sure and I assumed such solutions in my comment, but I’m warning that nothing will be possible if we don’t stop our Western leaders and legislators right now from trying to use unconstitutional measures like resolutions with contrived arguments to obstruct our ability to promote justice for Palestinians and condemn and sanction Israel’s actions and believe me it’s already happening in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Britain and France. If our leaders are trying to undermine our rights to stop us from mobilizing in different ways to help Palestinians then we need to attack their strategy as being unconstitutional or hypocritical and discriminatory right now or we will soon be rendered powerless to help. This is a situation that is much worse than South Africa was. South Africa didn’t have the powerful network of lobbies, hasbara and Western government and media gatekeepers that Zionism has. Again I’m warning of how governments in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Britain and France are going to derail our efforts by trying to make it a crime to condemn Zionism.

    • MHughes976
      October 30, 2015, 6:17 am

      What is in the works surely is the Grand Final Transfer of Population, though I think that the problem of lack of money for what would be one of the most expensive operations in history is nowhere near being overcome. However, people recall that where there’s a will there’s a way. The softening-up process, the intolerable and humiliating ‘occupation’ which isn’t anything like an occupation but is a creeping conquest, can continue for as long as it takes. I still can’t believe that the plan will work but that the works and the machinery are surely grinding away I’m sure.

    • brent
      October 30, 2015, 12:05 pm

      Kalithea is articulating a perspective that should resonate to the Palestinian intellectual class.

      Is it not clear the murder of random Israelis must be condemned vociferously for the well being of all Palestinians… indeed all humanity.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    October 29, 2015, 1:30 pm

    RE: “We Israelis are in a fast and alarming downward swirl into a savage, unrepairable society.” ~ Aida Qasim

    MY COMMENT:
    Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.

    • inbound39
      October 29, 2015, 7:01 pm

      Precisely….and on the excursion downward,America with Israel around its neck, I have often thought…..this is the incident that will wake Americans up….nup,nada,zero,zip…..not a peep…not a whisper. Seems to me America has lost itsa spine and its freedom loving character. It prefers the paranoid,delusional and grandiose shared values of Israel.

  4. Citizen
    October 29, 2015, 1:37 pm

    So who’s gonna do that on cable TV News & Infotainment shows? On public TV, on regular network TV? In the major newspapers like NYT & WaPo? And regularly yet? Six mega corporations own & control 90% of all the news accessible to Americans. So far, they are pretty much straight hasbara, everyday.

  5. gracie fr
    October 29, 2015, 4:25 pm

    The insitement claim has become the new “trojan horse” of LAWFARE !!

    The French government has made it “official” policy….

    https://theintercept.com/2015/10/27/criminalization-of-anti-israel-activism-escalates-this-time-in-the-land-of-the-charlie-hebdo-free-speech-march/

    Will the United States follow suite????

    http://ccrjustice.org/the-palestine-exception

    Thankfully there are some exceding knowledgable and “sane” voices in America that are taking up the gauntlet in an intelligent manner…

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14999

  6. Kay24
    October 29, 2015, 5:38 pm

    Gerald Kauffman, MP in Britain, seems to be having a hard time because he used the term “Jewish money”. He was one of the great British MP’s who gave a wonderful speech against Israel, and most probably is not very popular with their minions in the UK.

    “A veteran British parliamentarian has caused a storm by saying that the ruling Conservative Party is influenced by “Jewish money” and that the Israeli government made up the recent spate of violent attacks in order to allow it to “execute Palestinians”.
    Sir Gerald Kaufman, a long-time Labor member of parliament, was speaking at an event in Parliament hosted by the Palestine Return Centre, a group that is reportedly aligned with Hamas. His comments were recorded by blogger David Collier and published in the Jewish Chronicle.

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.683156

    He is right, there is no other way to describe it. Strange, they get so offended and are SO sensitive to words that put them in a negative light, while calling Arabs snakes and calling for Gaza to be bombed back to the stone ages are FINE. Most probably Mr. Kauffmann was called a “self hater” sometime ago. There is no doubt it is Jewish money, through Israeli lobbies are funding campaigns in the US and UK.

    • inbound39
      October 29, 2015, 7:05 pm

      One thing is a given….Zionists hate being confronted by their truth……their excessive ,heavy handed responses to it is proof.

    • pabelmont
      October 29, 2015, 9:42 pm

      “Jewish money” is not exactly right. It is “Zionist money” even if Jews are spending it. Because many Jews oppose Zionism and many Zionists are not Jews. OTOH, most of the Zionist political money comes from what I call a very, very few very, very rich Jews.

      • Kay24
        October 30, 2015, 5:11 am

        I understand your point. However, Sir Kauffman has earned the right to say whatever he likes, and I think people should not be hypocrites and try to silence him for every thing he has the right to say, like they do. There are far more important matters to object to, like the treatment of the Palestinians, which these groups who object do not seem to care about.

      • MHughes976
        October 30, 2015, 5:48 am

        I think that very, very rich people. Jewish or not, who are major political donors are always still very, very rich after the donations have been made. just as before. Which suggests that it’s less of a set of private donations, more a manipulation of the tax and public spending system which Zionists, Jewish and other. have skilfully set up. But I’m sure that they think of it is as good and holy work and that these thoughts spring from the forms of culture that are sadly dominant in the Jewish world these days.
        Kay has a right to be impatient with our feudal terminology, so deep in my brain that ‘Sir Kauffman’, rather than ‘Sir Gerald’, feels all wrong to me.

      • Kay24
        October 30, 2015, 6:26 am

        MHughes, sorry if I messed up Gerald Kauffman title. I guess he must be known as Sir Gerald to the public. I just remembered when responding he was a “Sir” and simply added it.

    • inbound39
      October 30, 2015, 4:25 am

      Kay….I have been reading over the past week about the agreements made by Kerry,Netanyahu,Hussein of Jordan and the Palestinians re Al Aqsa. From my understanding it was agreed after Jordan stated to Israel the Al Aqsa mosque was under Jordanian control,that it was their right to instal cameras and not Israel. We now see on Maan and Haaretz Netanyahu claiming he is going to instal the cameras and a day ago Israeli police pulled the cameras by the Moroccan Gate instaleed by Jordan. Seems to me Netanyahu is pushing for the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel to be ended by Jordan.

      I asked myself what would be in it for Netanyahu to do so. He could then invade Jordan and take that over and transfer Palestinians to Jordan as they have always hinted at wanting to do. If I am correct this move may just be Netanyahu and Israel’s undoing because I doubt America would or could go along with it. The Qatar Foreign Minister stated due to Israel’s infractions at Al Aqsa compound they nor anyone else in the Arab League had any intention of closer ties or being supportive of Israel as Israels infractions were an insult to the entire population of Muslims in the Middle East. I am interested to see what pans out here.

      • Kay24
        October 30, 2015, 10:51 am

        Unfortunately, I do not have any confidence that the US would NOT go along with what the Israel does. They pretend to be outrage, but with a wink and a nod, Israel gets what it wants.

        All this because supposedly Israel does our dirty work.

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