History will make us pay for this

Activism
on 26 Comments

“It’s like sleeping with a corpse,” Ilan Pappe said of the two-state solution, at the Israel Lobby and American Policy Conference this past Friday. “We should all attend the funeral and we can put this past us already.” Pappe’s remarks–which reflected the theme threaded throughout the day of looking directly into the dark times we are in–were in response to John Kerry’s 2014 statement that Israel must adopt the two-state solution or risk becoming an apartheid state. “It’s already dead,” Pappe said at his keynote address, given at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. For this former Zionist turned anti-Zionist, the day was a refreshing batch of unapologetic anti-Israel lobby and anti-occupation speakers.

John Mearsheimer’s keynote warned of grim times ahead, as he focused on what’s happened in the last ten years–and what he expects to happen now–since the publication of his book, The Israel Lobby, co-authored with Stephen Walt. He talked about the perpetual special connection maintained between Israel and the U.S. “Israel’s relationship with the U.S., which is unparalleled in history,” Mearsheimer said, “is almost all due to the Israel lobby.”

When I heard Mearsheimer speak many years ago at the University of Chicago, where he teaches, it was as a Zionist, enraged at what I thought was his Israel-bashing. I had my own special relationship with Israel–a love affair, really, that took precedence over other human lovers–for the first half of my life. Back then, I had gone to bear witness to this “Israel-hating-lefty,” as my family members called Mearsheimer. I yelled the whole drive home with the friend I had gone with, flabbergasted that he had the gall to criticize Israel. The change in me has been confusing for my mother. Just last week, when I told her I was going to the conference and was looking forward to hearing Mearsheimer speak, she reminded me of when I complained about his talk years ago. She also asked, “Isn’t Mearsheimer the Holocaust denier?”

At the one-day conference last Friday, when I listened to Mearsheimer speak, I remembered my inability to listen when I was a Zionist. Now my head feels more clear and open to the multiple narratives instead of the dominant Zionist one. Zionists spend so much energy refuting and defending that they have very little energy left to listen. That, plus the marriage of privilege and victimhood, makes for a toxic combination. Mearsheimer was just as unapologetic when I heard him speak years ago, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

On Friday, Mearsheimer said that hope lies in BDS. “It’s a global movement,” he said. BDS is viewed as an existential threat, he suggested, and the lobby will have a harder time fighting against BDS as apartheid becomes more obvious. “Dark times are ahead for Israel and the lobby,” he concluded. The “decades ahead promise abundant trouble for Israel and especially for the Palestinians,” he said. The Israel lobby will be working overtime, he warned, “to preserve the special relationship.”

Special relationships, if they last–and even if they don’t–are terribly unhealthy at their core. Under the guise of unconditional love, they play by their own rules and place themselves above everyone else. I’ve seen this dynamic on an interpersonal level among teachers and students, in enmeshed families between parents and children, and on this devastating global level among these two deeply destructive countries. Israel is the child who has never been held accountable and yet still receives the trust fund from its parent, the U.S. And like the child who is raised without healthy boundaries, it plays the victim when not given what it wants.

In her keynote, Hanan Ashrawi, too, talked about this “culture of enabling” perpetuated in Israel. “A soldier in uniform is considered the victim,” she said. “We are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers.” To maintain its military control, Israel must maintain Palestinian weakness, and if a Palestinian stands up, she said, “then he or she is a terrorist.” Though I hadn’t met Ashrawi before, I was sent her book, This Side of Peace: A Personal Account, when it came out in 1996, by my ex-boyfriend Tavit, an Armenian Christian I had dated while living in Jerusalem in the 1990s. His mother is good friends with Ashrawi and asked her to sign the copy he sent me. “For Liz,” she wrote. “For a true and just peace.” At that time I was just beginning to understand the myth of Israel I was fed by those closest to me. I remember the first time when Tavit drove me past Ashrawi’s home in Ramallah. Even then, as we drove through the West Bank, dropping our cigarette butts out the window, Palestinian homes dotting the landscape, I still didn’t fully understand that it was all indigenous Palestinian land occupied by Israel. Now, years later, I can hardly imagine I didn’t know. It’s getting harder to remember that I believed the Zionist rhetoric.

There is a shame in moving from Zionism to anti-Zionism, a sense of privilege to have an epiphany while the occupation grows, one that requires a sense of urgency–playing catch-up–and, for me, it means acknowledging one’s ghosts while sitting in solidarity with others at the conference of the Israel Lobby and American Policy. My brother texted me in the middle of Ashrawi’s keynote. “Are you actually believing all that anti-Israel rhetoric?” he asked, as though I’m naive to see Palestinians, and not Israelis, as the true victims in this occupation of Palestine. “We Palestinians are guilty for existing, for surviving,” Ashrawi said in her keynote, noting the true victims in this power dynamic. “Please do not accept that we are a demographic threat,” she concluded. “Unlike Israel,” she said, “We abide by international law.”

I saw Ashrawi later that day in the hallway, and I wanted to approach her and tell her how moved I was by her talk, and by her book so many years ago. There were several others going towards her as well and then there was a microphone and a light and I saw she was being interviewed. I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, and then I thought it was appropriate not to. I’m sure she didn’t need to hear how a Jew has changed.

I remembered Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb talking many years ago about this sort of thing at a Jewish congregation in Chicago. “Stop talking to Palestinians about your journey,” she said. “They’re the ones living under occupation. Save it for other Jews.” This plea is similar to the anti-racism workshops I’ve done with other white people. The deep racial identity work that whites are required to do doesn’t need to be a burden on people of color, who are already living racialized lives. There’s a time and place for interracial work, too, which I’ve facilitated, but white people having epiphanies about their power and privilege isn’t necessarily one of them.

Similar to Ashrawi’s statement that “Israel silences all criticism,” filmmaker Tom Hayes, who spoke after Ashrawi, also talked about the efforts to silence his criticism of Israel in the making of his film, Two Blue Lines. The film consists of interviews he conducted over the last 25 years, primarily of Israelis whose political views on Zionism differ from Israeli policy. “If the only voices who are considered credible are Jews,” he claimed, “then I would make a film using Jewish voices.” When it comes to Israel, Hayes suggested, “we’re supposed to keep our mouths shut and our wallets open.” Hayes recounted the threats he received for opening his mouth about Israel’s atrocities, which included bomb threats on his home. Grants he had been awarded were taken away, forcing him to take a second mortgage on his home so he could finish the film. On the eve of the premier night, he said, the theater had to be evacuated due to a bomb threat.

Hayes wasn’t telling us these stories to claim victim space about making his film. Instead, he was trying to make clear that his being threatened was all due to his criticism of Israel. He noted that when he made a film about Cambodian refugees, no one complained. Parts of his new film were shown during the conference, and I was struck by comments made by Machsom Watch activist Hannah Berg in the film, who said pointedly, “History will make us pay for this.” Hayes ended his talk on another dark note. “Israel’s abuse is a disgusting thing to witness,” he said emphatically. “The Israeli occupation couldn’t last for one month without the support of the U.S.”

Ilan Pappe argued, in the last keynote of the day, that as much as the lobbies are important in influencing U.S. policy, there’s a “fundamental misunderstanding of what the conflict is really about.” The peace process was not “born in Washington, DC, but in Tel-Aviv, as a means of creating a charade of peace, he said. Part of the problem, Pappe claimed, is that America deals with conflict in a way that implies that both sides want peace. His talk focused on the need to see Zionism as a settler-colonial structure instead of as a movement. Pappe argued that having “two-states will never appease the settler-colonial project,” and said this idea has “not been digested by the American policy makers.” Pappe noted his frustration with two-state solution rhetoric, “when it’s so far away from the reality.” He referred to John Kerry’s 2014 remarks about the need for a two-state solution or Israel will become an apartheid state, saying, guess what Kerry, it’s already apartheid! Pappe then exclaimed, “Having one state, settlers and natives living in one state–why does this have to be a doomsday scenario? Only Zionists say this!”

While Pappe was talking, I remembered a conversation I had with my mother who said she didn’t see a distinction between Judaism and Zionism. They’re completely the same thing for her. She pulled rank with me that day we argued, saying, “It’s a generational thing that you can’t understand.” Zionism is not just a thing we did when we were young: waving flags of Israel on the Walk with Israel walk-a-thons, exploring our sexuality at Zionist socialist camps, dreaming at night of the hills and valleys of each other and of Judea and Samaria. It’s a settler-colonial structure. “And it’s racist,” Pappe said, referring to the fact that Palestinians cannot live as a majority in Palestine alongside settlers and natives.

Speaking further about settler colonialism, Pappe mentioned Patrick Wolfe’s essay, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.” I read it on the flight home to Chicago. It begins, “The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism.” Pappe used the concept of “elimination” in Wolfe’s paper to explain what Israel has done with the Palestinians. There’s no need to expel them, he said: you just prevent them from leaving and Israel has the manpower to monitor them. “Liberals around the world speak as though Israel has the right to do this,” he exclaimed. “If the world believes that you will stop the oppression, you can still convince the world that you are a democracy,” Pappe concluded. “This is why we need to look at Israel as settler colonialism.”

One of my personal goals in attending the conference was to ask Ilan Pappe to sign my coffee-stained weathered copy of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, for it is his book–and Ashrawi’s–that helped undo my Zionism. Hours before his keynote, I saw Pappe walking out towards the lobby area and I followed him and when he sat down on the brown leather chair, I sat next to him, pretending that I just happened to sit in the empty seat. “Oh, you’re Professor Pappe,” I said nonchalantly, and I told him in one minute–I had practiced this at home with my husband, hoping for the opportunity–how his book was instrumental in changing the deep mythology I held about Israel and Zionism. “It took me a year to get through it,” I told him. “It painfully explained everything that was missing in my Zionist upbringing.” Pappe signed my book (Dear Liz, in solidarity and friendship.), and empathized with being raised a Zionist. My minute was over; his graduate student approached him and Pappe motioned for him to sit where I had sat. I noted the coincidence of running into him (wink, wink), thanked him, and went back to my seat in the ballroom.

Throughout the day, each speaker looked directly into the darkness of the situation. Lessons have not been learned. The occupation persists. Some might say there should have been more optimism, but I’d argue against it. Why should the conference have presented a semblance of hope, when the situation in Palestine remains so dire? It’s not the job of the left to provide a rainbow for us to sit under so we can feel good. But what made me feel hopeful was the way in which every speaker gave a hauntingly truthful and dark account of what’s really happening.

In his talk, Khalil Jahshan, Executive Director of Arab Center Washington DC, recounted the absurdity of the peace process. “Every administration since 1948 has made an attempt at the peace process,” he said. “The last one was the 76th attempt.” When Jahshan said this–it just sounded so insane–it hit hard how much power the Israel lobby continues to have on the hearts and minds of Zionists everywhere. “Lessons have not been learned,” he said. It was a refreshing amount of truth-telling, just a fifteen-minute walk from the White House. When I left the National Press Club and walked up 14th Street, I didn’t call my family to chat. Instead, I let Jahshan’s concluding words reverberte in my head. “Don’t blame me for not being optimistic,” he said.

About Liz Rose

Liz Rose is a Chicago teacher.

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26 Responses

  1. eljay
    March 28, 2017, 10:07 am

    … He referred to John Kerry’s 2014 remarks about the need for a two-state solution or Israel will become an apartheid state, saying, guess what Kerry, it’s already apartheid! Pappe then exclaimed, “Having one state, settlers and natives living in one state–why does this have to be a doomsday scenario? Only Zionists say this!” …

    That’s because only Zionists are concerned about losing religion-supremacist “Jewish State” and the entitlements it comprises.

  2. Citizen
    March 28, 2017, 2:49 pm

    Yes, as a Chicago teacher, Liz Rose knows how corrupt politics rules.

  3. Citizen
    March 28, 2017, 2:51 pm

    Trump’s signaling more of the same–on steroids.

  4. Keith
    March 28, 2017, 4:46 pm

    LIZ ROSE- “That, plus the marriage of privilege and victimhood, makes for a toxic combination.”

    Indeed it does. One consequence of gilded victimhood is the frequent antagonistic dislike of those less privileged, the basket of deplorables who don’t seem to know their place.

  5. vacyv
    March 28, 2017, 6:07 pm

    Ashrawi certainly knows all about the “culture of enabling”.. as she and her PA/PLO cohorts have been enabling Israel to crush Palestinian resistance since Oslo.

  6. gamal
    March 28, 2017, 11:40 pm

    “History will make us pay for this”

    well in Arabic Raqqa, your latest acquisition, means swamp, morass perhaps quagmire.

  7. Boris
    March 29, 2017, 12:10 am

    Sounds like her political views depend on who signs her books.

    “The Art of the Deal”?

  8. Citizen
    March 29, 2017, 7:00 am

    Those involved in an enmeshed relationship cannot see what they are doing to each other, or to others impacted by them.

  9. Stephen Shenfield
    March 29, 2017, 7:30 am

    Liz: I don’t think Ashrawi would have minded being told how much you were moved by her book and her talk or that it would have been in any way inappropriate. She might have found it encouraging to know that her efforts are not in vain. It is a pity that you held back.

    In general, Palestinians are people and as such vary widely in character, personality, and attitudes. Some make Jews the focus of their political work. For them it is helpful to know more about Jews’ journeys. Others may have a milder interest in the matter. Yet others may be indifferent or irritated. Even by surveying articles and comments by Palestinians on Mondoweiss you can find a range of attitudes. The pigeon-holes and formulas of identity politics are harmful as well as misleading because they prevent us from seeing and responding to people as individuals.

    • rhipidon
      March 29, 2017, 9:20 am

      I find it remarkable, Stephen, that Liz’s complex, nuanced account of both the political and personal scope of the Israel Lobby and American Policy Conference could be reduced to an anti-identity-politics lecture. Liz was clear that Ashrawi was being interviewed at the time: “There were several others going towards her as well and then there was a microphone and a light and I saw she was being interviewed.” I doubt that anyone would consider it appropriate for Liz to burst into the interview and interrupt with comments on how she has been personally moved by Ashrawi’s work. Of course, yes, later in the paragraph she writes, “I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, and then I thought it was appropriate not to. I’m sure she didn’t need to hear how a Jew has changed.” It seems clear to me that her decision not to speak to Ashrawi was primarily determined by the fact that Ashrawi was in the middle of being interviewed; then, the more she thought about it, she decided against speaking to Ashrawi altogether because, as a Jew–and, more specifically, as a former Zionist, as someone taking responsibility for her politically privileged position–she thought it was more appropriate to listen rather than speak. After all, the need for listening seems to be one of the primary themes of her essay: “At the one-day conference last Friday, when I listened to Mearsheimer speak, I remembered my inability to listen when I was a Zionist. Now my head feels more clear and open to the multiple narratives instead of the dominant Zionist one. Zionists spend so much energy refuting and defending that they have very little energy left to listen.” It’s convenient to respond to this essay with a glib sermon on PC culture. It takes more work, instead, to listen.

  10. Elizabeth Block
    March 29, 2017, 9:51 am

    “I still didn’t fully understand that it was all indigenous Palestinian land occupied by Israel. ”

    In Canada, at least in the circles I frequent, it is now common practice to begin a public event by acknowledging that it is taking place on the traditional land of … whichever First Nations used to live there.

    If this ever takes place in Israel, then Israel will have become a civilized nation. But it isn’t very likely, and I don’t expect it.

  11. Mooser
    March 29, 2017, 1:15 pm

    “I had my own special relationship with Israel–a love affair, really, that took precedence over other human lovers–for the first half of my life”.

    Oh yes, so did I ! I was keenly aware from the fist that Zionism wanted my body.

    • Mooser
      March 29, 2017, 1:57 pm

      Oh wow, sorry. Made a bad typo! “Fist” in the above comment should be, of course, “first”.

  12. catalan
    March 29, 2017, 4:43 pm

    “The “decades ahead promise abundant trouble for Israel and especially for the Palestinians,” he said.” -Mearsheimer
    So in the “best case” scenario – when BDS “works”, whatever that means – there is more trouble for the Palestinians than for Israel.

    • Mooser
      March 29, 2017, 6:08 pm

      “catalan” I get it. You are warning us that Israel will punish the Palestinians if BDS works.

      So, what would be different? Want to tell us what it is Israel can do or will do to the Palestinians if Israel is upset about BDS that Israel is not doing now?

      Remember, Israel is a Jewish State. So there are a lot of things Israel can’t possibly do, if those things are against Judaism. Right?

      • The JillyBeans
        April 1, 2017, 4:38 pm

        All religious states have committed atrocities for the wellbeing of the state for only that religion. The Roman CTholic church didn’t conquer the Americas by handing out flowers. They did it with steel, theft and forced conversions. Some thing in Europe too.

    • talknic
      March 29, 2017, 7:04 pm

      @ catalan March 29, 2017, 4:43 pm

      “So in the “best case” scenario – when BDS “works”, whatever that means – there is more trouble for the Palestinians than for Israel”

      Can’t find “best case” in context with the rest of your cherry pickings

      You seem bent on and definitely quite adept at showing folk how pathetic a liar you can be

      Congratulations, keep up the good work

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2017, 10:22 pm

        “Can’t find “best case” in context with the rest of your cherry pickings”

        “catalan’s” grasp of the facts is vast, nearly Panglossian.

    • oldgeezer
      March 29, 2017, 7:26 pm

      @catalan

      And the options are to be subjugated and abused?

      I’m sure the Palestinians know much better than we do how vile and mendacious zionists are.

      It is their right to struggle for their freedom from oppression. It won’t be painless but primarily because they are up against a heavily armed racist and evil society which has no compunction about mowing the grass even if only to gain votes at the polls.

      They are warming the lawnmowers once more as we post.

      • Citizen
        April 1, 2017, 12:34 pm

        Catalan just quoted Mearsheimer’s very recent prediction, which in full context from his recent speech, means there’s a lot of ugly ahead for both Israelis, and Palestinians, but especially for Palestinians, no matter what transpires, given he also stated the Israel Lobby, ultimately at present, still retains its full power; he also said it won’t be good for the USA.

      • MHughes976
        April 3, 2017, 12:15 pm

        Mearsheimer’s remarks are very interesting – glad of the opportunity to read them. I wonder if that conference could have found a venue in the U.K.

      • MHughes976
        April 3, 2017, 1:36 pm

        His endorsement of Mondoweiss was encouraging too.

  13. just
    April 1, 2017, 1:55 pm

    Check this out!!!

    “Video: Students walk out on Israeli ambassador in France

    Students at Sciences Po Rennes, a public university in northwestern France, staged a mass walk-out from a lecture by the Israeli ambassador on Thursday.

    The video above shows the students chanting “Liberté pour la Palestine” – freedom for Palestine – as the ambassador, Aliza Bin Noun, sits at the podium.

    Then, speaking in turns, students deliver an uninterrupted five-minute statement indicting Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, condemning efforts to censor the Palestine solidarity movement in France and calling for full support of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

    “We, students at Sciences Po Rennes, declare that we are firmly opposed to holding this lecture,” the statement begins. “Aliza Bin Noun was invited to our institution to represent the state of Israel, a colonial state governed by the extreme right.”

    Calling it an apartheid regime, the students list Israel’s decades of violations, including settlement building in occupied territory, home demolitions, the 10-year blockade and repeated assaults on Gaza that have left thousands of civilians dead and injured and Israel’s violent repression of Palestinians who resist.

    The students cite the landmark UN report, published this month and then quickly withdrawn under intense political pressure, that finds Israel guilty of apartheid.

    “In recent weeks, the embassy that Aliza Bin Noun runs increased the pressure on several universities in order to prevent the holding of events as part of Israeli Apartheid Week,” the students charge.

    They claim that members of a Palestine solidarity group received violent threats from far-right pro-Israel activists. …

    Hypocrisy
    The ambassador gave her talk to the remaining students, but the event ended earlier than planned, an organizer told media.

    Bin Noun later tweeted that it was “a shame that the pro-BDS students preferred to disrupt the lecture rather than stay and dialogue.”

    In a statement published on the BDS France website, the student activists dismissed her comment in light of the efforts to censor Israeli Apartheid Week.

    “We also reject the hypocrisy of making believe that this is a conflict between two entities with equal power that can be resolved by dialogue,” they added. …

    Effort to ban rally
    Meanwhile, the kind of censorship efforts the students condemn are continuing. France’s main Israel lobby group CRIF called on Paris police to prohibit a rally planned for Saturday in solidarity with Palestinians and in support of BDS.

    CRIF claims that the rally will be anti-Semitic. CRIF president Francis Kalifat wrote to the police chief demanding the “banning of this demonstration that is contrary to the laws of our country.”

    Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo also urged the police to ban the rally, claiming it could endanger “public order.”

    But the rally is set to go ahead at a location a short distance from the original venue. The local group organizing the rally – which is separate from BDS France – says that the new venue is one that the police said would be easier to secure.

    Meanwhile, BDS France, the main coalition supporting the Palestinian-led boycott campaign, has not been deterred from mounting its own nationwide campaign. …”

    more @ https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-students-walk-out-israeli-ambassador-france

    Superbe! Allons-y!

    (If only Congress, the MSM et al could manage to speak and act with the same moral grit as these students)

  14. German Lefty
    April 2, 2017, 5:51 pm

    “It’s like sleeping with a corpse. We should all attend the funeral and we can put this past us already.”
    -> OMG! I love Ilan Pappé. He is so great at finding the right words.

    “[Mearsheimer] talked about the perpetual special connection maintained between Israel and the U.S.”
    -> Same in Germany. German politicians and MSM keep talking about the special relationship between Germany and Israel. However, this special relationship only exists between the states, not between its peoples. By the way, according to a survey from 2015, 41% of Germans say that what Israel does to Palestinians is like what Nazis did to Jews.
    https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/de/publikationen/publikation/did/deutschland-und-israel-heute/

    “Israel is the child who has never been held accountable and yet still receives the trust fund from its parent, the U.S.”
    -> And from Germany.

    “A soldier in uniform is considered the victim. We are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers.”
    -> So true! Very well said!

    “I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, and then I thought it was appropriate not to. I’m sure she didn’t need to hear how a Jew has changed.”
    -> Depends on her attitude, but probably she would be happy to hear that her words managed to turn someone – whether Jew or non-Jew – into an anti-Zionist. Only if she were of the arrogant kind, she wouldn’t care that a (person who happens to be a) Jew has changed. An example regarding German history: I have heard of Jews who find it annoying when Germans tell them that they feel guilty or sorry about Nazism. (“Don’t use me as your therapist!”) Perhaps you feared that Ashrawi reacts that way too if you approach her and tell her about your feelings?

    “Stop talking to Palestinians about your journey. They’re the ones living under occupation. Save it for other Jews.”
    -> I disagree very much. I am all for equality. And this also means that everyone has the right to talk about their feelings. Nobody should be silenced. And nobody should self-censor himself because he feels unworthy to talk. Not a Jew. Not a Palestinian. Not anyone else. Stephen Shenfield is right, “The pigeon-holes and formulas of identity politics are harmful as well as misleading because they prevent us from seeing and responding to people as individuals.”

  15. German Lefty
    April 3, 2017, 4:35 am

    “I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, and then I thought it was appropriate not to. I’m sure she didn’t need to hear how a Jew has changed.”
    -> I think that your behaviour is an overcorrection. As a Zionist, you felt superior and not guilty at all. Now, as a FORMER Zionist, you feel so inferior and so guilty that you even consider yourself unworthy to talk to a Palestinian. This is NOT healthy AT ALL! Also, I think that support for anti-Zionism should come from a desire for justice/equality, not from a feeling of guilt/shame.
    Germany made an overcorrection too. During Nazism, Germany was extremely anti-Semitic (exterminating Jews). After Nazism, Germany suddenly became extremely philo-Semitic (letting Jews get away with everything, such as Zionism). As you can see, guilt and shame are bad advisors because they keep you from making rational decisions. (Sorry that I keep using Germany as an example, but that’s an example I know because I happen to be German.)

    “Stop talking to Palestinians about your journey. They’re the ones living under occupation. Save it for other Jews.”
    -> I find the rabbi’s statement really strange. What about the people who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian? Why does she ignore our existence? Or does she think that only Jews and Palestinians should discuss the conflict and everyone else should stay out? Why does she think that Jews should only talk to fellow Jews and not to non-Jews? That’s very exclusionary. Dialogue should be encouraged, not prevented.
    Also, how about we let Palestinian individuals decide for themselves what they want to hear or not? When you talk to a Palestinian, you can simply ask them if they are interested in hearing your epiphany story. A rabbi (or anyone else) has no right to make that decision on behalf of Palestinians. It’s totally patronising of the rabbi to think that she knows what kind of stories Palestinian individuals like to hear or not.
    Here’s how I see it:
    – Palestinians can tell us what exactly the injustice looks like.
    – (Former) Zionists can tell us what made them support or commit the injustice.
    BOTH kinds of information are necessary to put an end to the injustice.
    The perspective of a former Zionist is very valuable because we need to analyse the mindset of the perpetrators in order to make them stop. I remember an article that said that Palestinians in Gaza learn Hebrew. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/culture/2012/04/new-hebrew-will-be-taught-in-the.html I think that this is an incredibly smart move. Being able to speak the language of the perpetrators helps understanding how they tick and ultimately defeating them.
    Also, I can tell you this: As a bisexual person, I find it interesting to hear from a former homophobe about how he turned into an ally. When I know what argument or way of arguing made him change his mind, then I can try it out on people who are still homophobic.
    Furthermore, you need to consider that most Zionists are not evil people. Most Zionists are brainwashed people. This means that they are victims themselves. Victims of Zionist propaganda. Hearing from former victims – how they managed to overcome the brainwashing – is important. One fewer Zionist means that we are one (small) step closer to justice for Palestinians. In my opinion, that’s good news that should be shared.

  16. Sulphurdunn
    April 3, 2017, 8:06 am

    Not until the influence of private interest money is removed from American politics will anything change but for the worse.

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