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Abulhawa: Delegitimization? We are merely drawing back the curtain on child arrests and confiscation of water

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Nothing scares supporters of Israel so much as the delegitimization issue, which boils down to this fear: writers/activists are successfully changing the image of Israel in the eyes of the world, and officials are sure to take note. Yes, we are. We are showing what Israel is. Susan Abulhawa has been offensively labeled as anti-Semitic by Bernard-Henri Levy for her novel, Mornings in Jenin. She responds at Huffpo:

He simply slaps on the word “antisemitism” to discredit any negative portrayal of Israel. This word — with its profound gravity of marginalization, humiliation, dispossession, oppression, and ultimately, genocide of human beings for no other reason but their religion — is so irresponsibly used by the likes of Levy that it truly besmirches the memory of those who were murdered in death camps solely for being Jewish. …

Nowhere in Levy’s essay does he identify anything truly antisemitic in any of the three elements to which he refers. Because he cannot. If he could, I think he would. In fact, the people who today are being marginalized, humiliated, dispossessed, and oppressed for the sole reason of their religion are Palestinian Christians and Muslims. That is the real antisemitism of today.

Israel has been wiping Palestine off the map, expelling us and stealing everything we have. All that remains to us is less than 11 percent of our historic homeland, now in the form of isolated Bantustans, surrounded by menacing walls, snipers, checkpoints, settler-only roads and the ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements built on confiscated Palestinian property. We have no control over our own natural resources. The amount of water one receives is based on one’s religion, such that Palestinians must share bathing water, while their Jewish neighbors water their lawns and enjoy private swimming pools. According to Defence for Children International, in Jerusalem alone, Israel has imprisoned 1,200 Palestinian children this year, who are routinely abused and forced to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they do not understand. Israel routinely targets Palestinian schools and has created a full generation of lost souls in Gaza, who are growing up knowing only fear, insecurity, and hunger…

Equally outrageous is Mr. Levy’s wholesale labeling of anyone who criticizes Israel as “antisemitic”. For exposing Israel’s extensive crimes, we must face the defamation that we are immoral, racist, and hateful. In the case of Vibeke Lokkeberg, Levy makes it a point to inform the reader that she is a former model, ignoring her accomplishments as an experienced filmmaker and author. Apparently, in addition to suggesting she is racist, he perhaps wants readers to think she is also not intellectually qualified to create anything of merit. This tactic of attacking and trying to discredit the messenger rather than address the actual message is an age-old propaganda method.

Mr. Levy accuses us of “demonizing Israel”, when in fact, all we do is pull back the curtain, however slightly, to show a dark truth he wishes to keep hidden. I suspect that Mr Levy feels, as most Jewish supporters of Israel do, that he is more entitled to my grandfather’s farms than I am. After all, that is really the foundation of Israel, isn’t it? The question that should be asked is “why?” and “how?” Why should Jews from all over the world be entitled to enjoy dual citizenship, both in their own homeland and in mine, while we, the natives of Palestine, languish in refugee camps, a diaspora, or patrolled ghettos and bantustans?

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