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Brooklyn-Jenin: Thoughts on the occasion of Land Day

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Praise the youth

This article is dedicated to the Huthwa group, ‘huthwa‘ meaning a step or a stair in Arabic. Huthwa is a volunteer citizen organization, started by the finest of Ramle and Lydda/Lod’s young people, who have done well in their private lives. These young people have chosen to devote their free time to the community in which they had grown up, until a new generation takes the next step, and takes the torch of the revolution from their hands. Indeed, Huthwa has the potential to light the fire of non-violent revolution for equality, solidarity and the joy of living, in the spirit of Tahrir Square, and disseminate it to all the mixed cities in Israel, and in fact to all of Israel-Palestine. That is why I am calling on, and asking all Jewish and Palestinian citizens of the state who wish to go on living here, to join the Lydda demonstration on March 29th. The demonstration will commence the events of Land Day, and it is aimed at stopping the ongoing demolition of hundreds homes belonging to the city’s Arab population.

And a thank you to the Israeli Knesset

After the Nakba law and the apartheid law, allowing small (Jewish affluent) communities to screen out Palestinians (and other minorities), were approved by the Knesset, and with a third proposed law against supporters of boycott coming up next, it seems to me that this will be one of the last articles which I will be entitled to write in the State of Israel (until the revolution comes, of course). I must admit that in the present circumstances, there is no better victory for the Palestinian-Jewish left than the approval of the anti-democratic laws at the Knesset, which tear the enlightened mask from the face of the Jewish-democratic dictatorship. On the day this law takes effect, the call to boycott all the settlement products, a call supported by tens of thousands in Israel and many more abroad, will be re-validated. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Critique of the Zionist left

When Amos Oz sent Marwan Barghouti a copy of his book A Tale of Love and Darkness, he wrote the dedication: “This story is our story, and I hope you read it and come to understand us better”. One wonders whether Amos Oz will ever be able to understand this elementary insight: Only when the Palestinian people are free, and only when they enjoy all the same rights as Israeli Jews, will there be any justification for such a dedication, which explains the occupier’s exciting romantic narrative, as viewed by the occupier itself, to the occupied.

Even though I read A Tale of Love and Darkness with great zeal, I think that Amos Oz, in his words to Barghouti, continues the intolerable tradition of “shooting and crying”, and the futile attempt to exchange narratives of “sacred otherness”. It’s time for Oz, in the name of the Jewish left, to dedicate the book to Barghouti with the words “With you in your just struggle for freedom and equality”.

Just as we do not ask a rape victim to understand the rapist’s narrative simply because he is a relative of ours, or the president of our state, it is time for the Zionist left to detach itself from the oppressive Jewish-Israeli collective, and stand by the Palestinians. Only by doing so, will the nationalist left stop behaving like the members of the ex-president’s entourage. No wonder that the Rabbis for Greater Israel support Moshe Katzav. They share the same rapacious intentions and the same rapacious actions. An appropriate dedication could have been: “To Marwan Barghouti, please forgive me for standing idly by and collaborating, while my people were enslaving your people, robbing your land and turning your people into a people who are ‘proud and generous and cruel’, as envisioned by Zionist revisionist Zeev Jabotinsky for…the Jewish people.”

Proposing the new basic law: Good citizenship

In our state, many of whose new inhabitants were once the victims of racially motivated persecution, the new immigrants (Jews) will establish an annual day for remembrance and the pursuit of forgiveness, for past crimes committed against the indigenous people of the land (the Palestinians).

The Jews of Israel must find a way to return what has been robbed in the past to its rightful Palestinian owners, and rectify the wrongdoings of past and present through legislation and good deeds. Prompt action must be taken for the fulfillment of a binational, multicultural, gender-equal vision, based on equality, solidarity and the love of life.

Therefore:

  1. Stemming from the recognition of the national catastrophe (Nakba) which struck the natives of the land, due to the new immigration of Jews who had been persecuted in their countries of origin, every citizen and every person who acts with the intention of denying the Palestinian people a sense of belonging, home, happiness, ownership and full equality, will be held accountable for a flagrant offense.
  2. The state’s parliament and authorities will harshly condemn denial of the Nakba as a true, historical and constitutive catastrophe of the Palestinian people.
  3. All those who wish to be naturalized as Israeli citizens will be required to fully recognize the egalitarian, binational, multicultural and gender-equal nature of our state.
  4. Any person with a Palestinian or Jewish linkage, and any other person who has made this land his home and accepts the aforementioned principles – will be received with love by our common state.

Until this law is enacted, we should all remember: Everything is contaminated; the culture, the economy, the language.

Translated by Ofer Neiman. This article is from Udi Aloni’s Brooklyn-Jenin column he is writing for the Israeli website Ynet about his experience living between New York City and the Jenin refugee camp, where he is teaching a film production class. You can read the entire Brooklyn-Jenin series here.

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