‘No Ban, No Wall’ highlights the common struggle in US and Palestine

Activism
on 20 Comments

US President Donald Trump’s first week in office far exceeded our worst fears.  The sloppiness, incompetence, and inconsistency he had demonstrated while campaigning may have suggested to some wishful thinkers that he would not act upon all or most of his claims, but the rapid fire volleys of his executive (dis)orders clearly indicate otherwise.

Nevertheless, as the orders came in, millions of Americans were ready.  By mid-January, we had gotten over the shell shock of the November election results. The post-inauguration “Women’s March on Washington,” and all sister marches across the nation, had invigorated and inspired us.  Millions felt the energy that masses of like-minded people coming together can generate.  Indeed, problematic and inappropriate as the term is, considering the impetus behind the mobilization, many participants described the Women’s Marches as “parades,” rather than rallies against the unabashed misogyny of the new administration.

When, barely a week in office, Trump issued his Muslim Ban, cities and smaller towns across the nation erupted again in rallies and marches.  Millions of Americans took to the streets, protesting Trump’s executive order, proclaiming that they will oppose the Muslim Ban, and protect its targets.  Among the more common, well-intentioned signs seen at these protests, were “We Are all Immigrants,” and “This is a Nation of Immigrants.”

But the reality is, we are not all immigrants.

When we say we are a nation of immigrants, we are glossing over way too much history.  We are glossing over the fact that this is indigenous land, which some Europeans have settled.  And when we erase the indigenous experience as we speak of the US being a nation of immigrants, we are continuing the erasure of the ongoing genocide of the original people of the land, which in turn facilitates the evasion of accountability. This is colonized land.

And as we say this is a nation of immigrants, we are glossing over the fact that the US was built with the labor of millions of enslaved Africans who did not choose to emigrate, but were kidnapped and forcibly brought here, in chains, in the dark holds of slave ships.

When we say this is nation of immigrants, we are glossing over the fact that thousands of us here are refugees who want nothing more than to go home, but that this country, where we now reside, has made our return impossible.

Palestinians cannot return because the US enables Israel to continue its occupation of our homeland, and the denial of our human rights, including the Right of Return.

Indeed, the US is a “nation of immigrants” just as much as Israel, which has dispossessed and continues to disenfranchise its indigenous population.

(Photo: Lorie Shaull)

Moral and political consistency requires that anyone who condemns the Muslim ban in the US also condemn that ban in Israel which, in its determination to be the Jewish state, denies equal rights to non-Jewish citizens, while offering privileges to all Jews, whatever their country of origin. By denying Palestinians their Right of Return, Israel has had a Muslim ban and a Christian ban for decades, thus contributing to the global refugee problem which Americans are now becoming aware of, as displaced people fleeing for their lives finally arrive here.  Many Palestinians have been refugees since 1948, living in Iraq and Syria first, before additional massacres and hardship pushed them even further from their homes, all the way across the Atlantic.  The horrific circumstances of Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus are a case in point.   Criticizing Arab countries for not being sufficiently welcoming of the Palestinians is pointing the finger at the wrong culprit:  Israel is the country that displaced the Palestinians, turning them into a predominantly-refugee people, and their misery will not be ended when they are welcome in Kuwait, or Dubai, rather, their plight will be over when they are allowed to return to their homes, their homeland.  Until very recently, one in three refugees globally was Palestinian, despite the fact that Palestine is a very small country.

And the US-Mexico wall Americans are protesting?  As Ben White noted, Israel has also had a so-called “security wall” for decades.  What White did not mention in that article, even though I suspect he is well aware of it, is the fact that it is an Israeli company, Elbit Systems, which is contracted with the surveillance of the US-Mexico wall, as it does the Israeli Apartheid Wall.  (Yes, there already is a wall, Trump would only be completing it, not starting it from scratch).

Immigrants to the US all have our stories about how we came to be here.  These stories are different, and must be addressed differently.  For Palestinians, support does not only mean opposing Islamophobia in the US, it also means addressing the reasons we are the longest standing refugee problem in modern history.  So when Americans chant “No Ban No Wall,” and declare their solidarity with refugees everywhere, they should understand that their protests are insignificant if not accompanied by a demand to end Zionism, the racist ideology behind a country that had practiced, since its very first day, the harshest discriminatory measures, the “extreme vetting” Trump is now suggesting.

But change is in the air, and it’s not all bad.  One of the chants at the protest was “From Mexico to Palestine, All Walls Will Fall.”  It is a chant that indicates an awareness of our connected struggle.  Just as the “Gaza to Ferguson” connection that surfaced during the riots against police murders of African Americans in various US cities, the chant linking the Mexico Wall to the Israeli Annexation and Apartheid wall is a sign that points in the right direction, one of global struggle, global solidarity, global alliances.  It is the sign that gives meaning, and integrity, to chants like “the people, united, will never be defeated.”  And just as “Gaza to Ferguson” has entered and taken hold of American consciousness, expanding our understanding of solidarity and intersectionality, so “No Ban No Wall” and “All Walls Will Fall” must and will become part of American resistance.

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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20 Responses

  1. gingershot
    January 31, 2017, 8:36 pm

    This is so wonderful – this confluence of the Social Revolution against Trump and the REST of the Israeli Lobby

    That poster of the woman with the American flag hijab is so iconic – it says it all for me –

    Best of all is that I think we are going to get Netanyahu on all the bribery charges BEFORE he can go on his US trip Feb 15 and visit Trump for their ‘Get Iran’ summit.

    Why would Trump bother to meet with a prison bound already indicted toppled Israeli PM? How absolutely st*pid can he be?

    The Apartheid is in a state of collapse:

    Amona Evac tomorrow morning or so – dozens of Amona is what everybody is talking about as the ‘Jewish Civil War’
    Azaria sentencing and expected pardon
    Next weeks resurgent attempt to pass the ‘Palestine Annexation Law’ straight into the teeth of UN 2334
    Bibi indicted, toppled
    Summit with Trump humiliated. Trump humiliated as side benefit.

    Fresh Emergency Israeli Elections vs centrist Lapid shadow government, supported by Diskin/CIS and CNAS
    Transition to 1P1V1S Working Group

    Diskin/CIS is going to need Ch 7 upgrade of UN 2334 – Bibi is NOT going to concede power/resign power

  2. RoHa
    January 31, 2017, 10:36 pm

    “When we say this is nation of immigrants,” you are distorting the meaning of “immigrant”.
    People who are born in the country (and most Americans are) are not immigrants. They are natives.

  3. Theo
    February 2, 2017, 1:24 pm

    President Trump did not issue a stop on moslems, but on certain countries that were already picked by Obama a year ago, he just followed up of that decision. Funny, nobody went on the streets at that time a year ago.
    We have to admit that the natives of those countries are mostly moslems. However we should not forget that in those countries either they have wars or islamist groups rule them, and americans are killed. Remember the SS Cole, that was torpedoed in a harbour in Yemen, or the killing of american soldiers in Mogadishu, who were on a UN mission. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are overrun by islamists, who is clean and who is ready to commit terror?
    I would have added Tunisia, the terror attacks in Nice and Berlin were commited by islamist coming from there and they provide the greatest number of killers to ISIS, who will eventually return home. Do we want them in the USA?
    It is time to dispose the pink coloured glasses, we are in a war that will get very ugly. Europeans let in a million migrants and since then the local population is not safe anymore. Terror attacks, beating up and robbing people on the streets, drug dealings, etc., according to the police done by “southern looking men with darker skin”, as they are forbidden to name the nationalities.
    Nobody can learn from himself, however it is smart to learn from the problems of others. This problem has been minimized to be against moslems, however it is not! It is against islamists, they hide among good and honest moslems and it takes time and great effort to find a needle in a haystack. If we don´t do it, it may kill us eventually!

    • Mooser
      February 2, 2017, 4:37 pm

      Help, help, the Moslems are coming and fascism is our only chance. Try to stop peeing on yourself, Theo.

      • Theo
        February 3, 2017, 10:27 am

        I don´t remember the USA ever being a fascist country, yet only a few days ago you complained that we did not let the jews in and consequently they perished in in nazi camps. We also had immigration stops on other nations, recently ordered by Obama, your hero of the latest days.

        You cannot have it both ways, so please tell us all, were the USA a fascist country during the 1930s and 40s? Or every time when we put a stop on certain migration?
        Mooser, you have a huge dose of narcissism, you could have a contest with Trump on who is worse. You must put your two cents in every subject, even if you don´t know what you are talking about, in certain articles there are more comments under your name than all others together! Just call yourself Trump II!

        During my life we had a few big mouthed individuals working with us, however they all failed in their duties! Just a lot of hot air, talking heads, nothing behind!

        MW always deletes my answer to you, if they allow your loud mouthed insults, then they also should allow the replies! I have a better upbringing than you have, I never use words you do in this blog.

      • Theo
        February 3, 2017, 10:37 am

        Mooser, I want to add: Millions of soldiers, policemen, FBI and other agents are working hard and long hours to keep this country safe as possible, so you can sit on your fat behind and mouth off!
        Have you ever visited an islamic country? I did many, the first time during 1969, and see the difference in aggression against the west. The islam declared war on the west, just look what is happening in Europe!

      • eljay
        February 3, 2017, 11:28 am

        || Theo: … The islam declared war on the west, just look what is happening in Europe! ||

        It’s no wonder “the islam” has declared war on the West: Just look at what the West has been doing for decades in the Middle East!

      • Mooser
        February 3, 2017, 1:43 pm

        “, so you can sit on your fat behind and mouth off!”

        “My fat behind”? “Theo”, I am svelte, elegantly slender, rapier sharp, button cute, and wafer thin.
        I possess hair like the Raven’s wing, a Body by Adonis, all supported by patrician arches you could drive a truck through! My toes are like ten perfect shrimp of graduated size, from the “U/15’s” always ready to go to town, down to little 61/70’s” which cry “wee-wee-wee” all the way home.
        I must have been a beautiful baby, cause, baby, look at me now!

        “Theo” will now render us a chorus of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”

      • gamal
        February 3, 2017, 2:48 pm

        “During my life we had a few big mouthed individuals working with us, however they all failed in their duties! Just a lot of hot air, talking heads, nothing behind”

        Willis Seward Keith to a tee, Willie to the omnicient.

        “The islam declared war on the west”

        “Mooser, you have a huge dose of narcissism”

        you feel fighting on two fronts will work out this time

        “I want to add: Millions of soldiers, policemen, FBI and other agents are working hard and long hours to keep this country safe as possible”

        Islam never sleeps

        “Have you ever visited an islamic country?” have you visited Argentina or perhaps Brazil

        “and see the difference in aggression against the west”

        rack up the J-DAMS lets roll, i am glad sanity has finally prevailed.

        Trump is political viagra, you old goat,

      • Mooser
        February 4, 2017, 5:09 pm

        “Trump is political viagra, you old goat,”

        “Theo” should have read the package insert:

        ” Caution: Political erections induced by Trumpiagra may not survive contact with the Federal Judiciary, and an epidemic of premature ejaculations has been reported.”

  4. Theo
    February 3, 2017, 10:51 am

    Nigeria ist the most populous and richest country in Africa, however they have an islamic group called Boko Haram killing and kidnapping thousands.
    Should we put an immigration stop on that country, certain groups with pink glasses on their noses would shout we are prejudiced against blacks! However all inhabitants of that country are black, so naturally they are effected. Brains should be used to think, not to keep a head in shape!

  5. catalan
    February 3, 2017, 11:07 am

    “I have a better upbringing than you have, I never use words you do in this Blog” Theo
    I have worse upbringing than both of you!

    • Mooser
      February 3, 2017, 2:29 pm

      “I have worse upbringing than both of you!”

      Believe me, it shows, “catalan”. You might make some effort to transcend it, rather than wallow in it. Up to you.

      Hey, I know; think about trying to live up to being an American Citizen. You might give that a try.

  6. Theo
    February 4, 2017, 1:19 pm

    I had a real good laugh at above comments, the watchdogs left the caves, ready to attack the unbeliever who may have other ideas. Pavlov would be proud of you. (If your education did not cover this area, look up Prof. Pavlov and his dogs in the internet).

    In Europe we can have heated political discussions, have a few glasses of wine, then go home still being friends. Americans just cannot do it, if one dares to defer, then he will be insulted or even beaten up, good old John Wayne style. The british say, it takes three generations to make a gentleman out a peasant. Or, you cannot make a racehorse out of a donkey by putting an expensive saddle on it! Take your pick, which one do you like the best.

    Mooser
    I am glad that you have such a good opinion of yourself, Trump has the same problems. Narcissism blinds you.

    eljay
    It is not decades, but since 1918, also almost a century the west subjugates the moslems in the ME, however that makes my sleep not better. WE; the USA, killed millions during the past 70 years, toppled governments, so do you think we should just lay down and take what is coming our way, because we did the same to them?

    gamal
    If that is your real name, then you must come from Egypt! That country has the worst dictator since the king went on holidays, why don´t you go and help to free your country? Or do you think we should do it for you?
    The following is more than childish, however I want to please you:
    Yes, I was in Argentina and Brasilia, more than once.
    Also in Marocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Indonasia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapur. If this is a who was in more countries, then it is your turn, in return I will informs you more of my travels.
    Look up how omniscient is written!

    catalan
    Don´t worry, the whole well educated world knows that americans have very bad manners, just look at Trump! Be proud that you are not different! I am ashamed every time Trump, McCain or any other “well educated” leader of this country gets on TV.

    • Mooser
      February 4, 2017, 2:19 pm

      Well, “Theo” your boy Donald just got (excuse the expression) “trumped” by a Federal Judge.

      You think the public will rise up and demand Trump’s order be enforced? Maybe enacted into law on a wave of popular support?

      • Theo
        February 5, 2017, 9:02 am

        My name is Theo, I don´t hide behind fictitious names!
        If your real name is Mooser, then your parents must have been shocked seeing you after birth!!
        Can you provide a picture for all of us?

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2017, 1:35 pm

        ,” then your parents must have been shocked seeing you after birth!!”

        I’m sure the hospital nurses cleaned all that up. Probably looked about the same as anybody else’s.

        Anyway, “Mooser” is my last name. My first name is “Derbig”. “Derbig Mooser”

        It is not all that uncommon for a last name.

    • eljay
      February 4, 2017, 3:16 pm

      || Theo: eljay
      It is not decades, but since 1918, also almost a century the west subjugates the moslems in the ME … ||

      “almost a century” = almost ten decades. I don’t see how that’s “not decades”.

      || … do you think we should just lay down and take what is coming our way, because we did the same to them? ||

      Are you saying the rapist should continue to brutalize his victim because she intends to harm him however she can?

      I don’t believe that any nation is entitled to defend itself by deliberately committing (war) crimes outside of its borders.

      • Theo
        February 5, 2017, 8:52 am

        eljay

        I like your reasoning, not a ton, but 2,000 pounds, after all they are both the same!
        We usually talk about decades, or kilos, or meters before we hit the higher unit of measurement!!!

        You forgot that we talk about limiting immigration and not about more wars!
        Stay with the subject.
        By the way, I was against our wars since Vietnam, how about you, smarty?
        However I am a realist, not a half blinded idealist.

      • eljay
        February 5, 2017, 9:08 am

        || Theo: eljay

        I like your reasoning, not a ton, but 2,000 pounds, after all they are both the same!
        We usually talk about decades, or kilos, or meters before we hit the higher unit of measurement!!! … ||

        Fair enough. And that’s why it made no sense for you to correct me about decades.

        || … You forgot that we talk about limiting immigration and not about more wars!
        Stay with the subject. ||

        You expressed (feigned) shock at what “the islam” was doing to the West. I pointed out that the actions of “the islam” shouldn’t come as a surprise. Stay with the subject.

        || … By the way, I was against our wars since Vietnam, how about you, smarty? … ||

        I’m against all violence.

        || … However I am a realist, not a half blinded idealist. ||

        Curious: Is being a realist something like being a hypocrite and does this allow you to be against all wars except for the ones you favour?

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