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Like the Wind, We Will Be Free: How being detained at Ben Gurion airport during a family trip to Palestine reaffirmed my identity

Israel/Palestine
on 58 Comments

If I close my eyes, just for a moment, I can still remember the way the wind in Palestine felt when it brushed against my cheeks on one of those really breezy days — those days when I’d walk out of my family’s Beit Hanina, Jerusalem home just to feel it, even if for a brief slice of time.

I’d sit on our steps, chin resting on my hands in pure silence and breathe it in. I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. The wind — it hit my face just right. It was cool; just enough to wake me up in the brisk, dewy summer mornings, like a splash of cold water. But it embraced me tightly and lit a fire in my insides, similar to how the fresh tea brewed at the village’s nearest teahouse warmed me up.

It was soft, yet resilient. Amazing how on such scorching hot days of more than 90-degree weather, the breeze was still there. And there was life in it.

I watched our front yard fig trees sway back and forth, almost as if their roots were made of rubber. Despite the heat and dry climate, they did not die. Their life depended on something else. But the wind, it had so much power over their movement. It commanded them to move, and they did.

I often think of Palestinians and their undying strength as that wind — pushing through their pain as they live their lives under brutal occupation, and constantly wondering if they will stay safe from Israel’s relentless missiles and bombs. They are forced to bury their family members and watch Israel demolish their homes — once tall, sturdy buildings, now ashes and a floating dust of memories.

But many do not believe these tragedies occur unless they visit Palestine and witness them.

If they did, they’d see our hills and mountains – once sanctuaries where homes resided, where olive trees sprouted and served as sources of economy – swallowed up by illegal Israeli settlements, and settlers planting their own roots on Palestinian soil. They’d see how Palestinians are brought to their knees by a force that suffocates them in every aspect of their lives, as Israel controls the air, sea and ground.

The Wall is seen as my family and I wait in hours-long traffic to be checked at an Israeli checkpoint on our way to Ramallah in Beit Hanina. (Photo: Samah Assad)

The Wall is seen as my family and I wait in hours-long traffic to be checked at an Israeli checkpoint on our way to Ramallah in Beit Hanina. (Photo: Samah Assad)

Palestinians’ rights are not important to Israel, whose hands are around their necks, squeezing until the wind is ultimately gone. Daily torture, constant home raids and kidnappings, humiliation in barbed wire checkpoints are all procedures put in place by Israel for Palestinians, whether they’re on their way to the nearest market or simply attempting to travel their country, but are restricted by “The Wall.”

And they are expected to comply.

I experienced this firsthand as a Palestinian-American the summer of 2013. It took me a long time to build the courage and strength to release these words – aching memories still haunt me, chasing each sentence I string together. It’s like pins and needles. But I’ve realized this needs to be said, as the injustice I faced is still very real, and continues to happen today.

It was my first trip to my homeland in 13 years, with my first being in 2000. Within minutes of getting off my 12-hour flight and entering the Ben Gurion Airport, I felt that strong Palestine breeze on me. But it felt more like it was tying itself around my stomach and squeezing hard.

Horror stories relayed to me by family and friends locked in airport interrogation rooms and later forced back to the U.S. for “security reasons,” separated from their families and birth land, played like a skipping movie reel in my head.

And it became my reality.

Upon entering the airport, officials separated me from my parents and brother, and forced me in a room with at least 50 other Palestinians attempting to visit the country. Each of us waited our turn to be called into another room, where I was eventually interrogated for hours, questioned about my reason for coming and forced to reveal personal information. I was forced to hand over my email addresses and phone numbers, or else they would put me back on that 12-hour flight to Cleveland, Ohio without my family.

I glanced at my U.S. passport resting in my palm and peeled through its contents out of nervousness as I awaited my fate, when I stumbled upon the first page that read:

“The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.”

How ironic. And how little this “request” is valued in the State of Israel.

I peered through a slit in the door as non-Palestinians moved freely through the airport, not having to be questioned or interrogated. I wondered what it was like to feel human in that moment. The discrimination I and other Palestinians were facing  – and the foundation Israel has built itself on  – were clear, but this was hidden from those outside that room, just as Israel attempts to veil the oppression it hangs over Palestinians.

I remember looking around in that tiny, stuffy room. So vividly I recall the expressions of others awaiting their fate, solemn and sad, as they sat on their suitcases. The faces of those who were told they’d not be granted access into their country permanently burned in my memory. At that moment, my heart grew hard, black and heavy. I was livid.

Officials eventually deemed me “safe” enough to enter the country. I remember crying in the taxi on our way to our home. “I want to leave,” I told my dad, my face streaked with tears. I couldn’t wake up every day during our month-long trip and be treated this way, and watch my people get treated this way. I had dedicated my life to unveiling the truth behind the oppression Palestinians face, but actually witnessing it ignited a fire in me, a blaze I couldn’t extinguish no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t grapple with reality.

The next morning, my dad and I stood outside our home waiting for a taxi to take us to Ramallah. My heart still ached from the day before, but my dad seemed calm. I watched in confusion as he leaned against the creaking emerald gate to our home, hand in his pocket while he stared at the beaming sun. His calmness amid all of the chaos angered me. The jumbled thoughts looping in my head finally spilled out as frantic questions.

“How do you deal with this every year you travel to Palestine?” I blurted. “Doesn’t it hurt you every time they bully us, put us down, treat us as if we’re worthless? How can you continue to come?”

My dad looked at me seriously. The change in his usual light personality caught me off guard. The wind blew into his face and he winced before saying something I will never forget.

“When we return every year, that is how we fight,” he said softly. “If we keep returning, we show them that this is our home. And we’re not giving it up.”

At that moment, something changed within me. I felt my heart grow softer – stronger, even. A grin slowly replaced my somber expression, and I nodded. I understood.

Like the wind resists the tide, I resisted the oppression just by being there.

Samah Assad writes: "Nothing compares to the pops of green and fuchsia, the instant scent of sweet flowers and fruit trees, the gate creaking open as I step out into my yard in Beit Hanina. It’s the little things about this village and country — the soothing wind and the nature surrounding me — that I appreciate." (Photos: Samah Assad)

Samah Assad writes: “Nothing compares to the pops of green and fuchsia, the instant scent of sweet flowers and fruit trees, the gate creaking open as I step out into my yard in Beit Hanina. It’s the little things about this village and country — the soothing wind and the nature surrounding me — that I appreciate.” (Photos: Samah Assad)

From then on, I smiled in the faces of Israeli soldiers who stopped us at checkpoints and forced entry into our rental car, demanding our passports and rummaging through our truck. I laughed in the faces of the emotionless soldiers who lined us up like animals and forced us to wait in caged checkpoints on our way home from Ramallah. We were closed off from the outside world by barbed walls made of sharp daggers – a pure intent to make us feel like barbarians. But I looked them right in the eyes and gleamed as they checked all our bags.

As my family walked down the Old City’s streets, the Jewish-only, Jim Crow-esque segregated buses passed us, seemingly mocking us. But I smirked, because what Israel seems to forget is, we are like the wind. And nobody can break the wind.

It is easy for non-Palestinians to deem Israel’s “regulations” as “security measures.” But what they fail to mention is only Palestinians are subject to them – even Palestinian-Americans, who were born in America, like myself, cannot move freely in the homeland where their ancestors once roamed without borders.

These are merely – and in brevity – my experiences while visiting my homeland, but it is not nearly as horrifying as the struggles Palestinians living there encounter daily.

I can use this space to relay countless facts proving war crimes committed by Israel, including the more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians – mostly women, children and elderly people – killed in Israel’s most recent onslaught and brutalization on the Gaza Strip in July. I can discuss the 520,000 who may have been displaced, and of those, 485,000 in need of emergency food assistance, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In October the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) assessed an estimated 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, affecting more than 600,000 people and driving the homelessness rate.

In a perfect world, these facts would be sufficient evidence to garner an overwhelming amount of Palestinian support, end the billions of dollars in aid the U.S. provides to Israel every year, and, subsequently, end the occupation.

But this is not a perfect world. And these Palestinians who have lost their lives are not statistics that can be tallied and forgotten. And despite a ceasefire declared on Aug. 26, and simply because the media has halted their reporting on it, does not mean Israel’s war on Palestine has ended. Palestinians are still occupied and living under overt oppression.

In Israel, the lives of Palestinians are valued to nothing.

After my family home was built in Beit Hanina in 1963, the first thing my father (top right) and grandparents did was plant fig and olive trees in the yard — their roots are still growing, large branches towering over our home and supplying us with fresh green figs and olives today. Also pictured (bottom right): my mother, Summaya; and my younger brother, Hamza. (Photo: Samah Assad)

After my family home was built in Beit Hanina in 1963, the first thing my father (top right) and grandparents did was plant fig and olive trees in the yard — their roots are still growing, large branches towering over our home and supplying us with fresh green figs and olives today. Also pictured (bottom right): my mother, Summaya; and my younger brother, Hamza. (Photo: Samah Assad)

Yet we are resilient, and we are something. We are human despite Israel’s constant attempts to make the world believe otherwise. Our presence – our identity – is alive because like the wind, we do not budge; we do not accept anything less than human rights. With each innocent Palestinian that dies at the hands of Israel’s occupation, that is every one of us – Palestinian or not – who has ever felt their human rights were besieged.

And that is why we still exist. That is why we do not falter. We cannot allow those who look down upon us with condescending eyes to tell us we are not real or that our blood does not matter.

There are moments where we may feel defeated by those attempting to break us, similar to how I felt during my last trip to Palestine. Each time those thoughts arise, I remember the strength of my people under siege, and the smiles they flashed me as I walked by ailing refugee camps or rows of Israeli settlements that were once their land.

Our worth screams volumes.

That summer, I briefly witnessed my soul lose faith in humanity and the moral good believed to be embedded in every person by birth. What helped me regain conviction was knowing the breeze of freedom will be ours again. But we must not allow it to be stolen. It is ours by nature, by history. It is ours by fate, and nothing, nothing can touch fate.

Sometimes, I sit on the steps of my home in Cleveland, Ohio and I feel a gust of wind come through; I am transported to Palestine. I remember how it felt to forget the chaos that surrounded, swallowed me. The strong grip of painful memories, which tug on my heart strings in an attempt to devalue me, lets go.

As the breeze blows strands of hair from my face, my head is clear. I grin, because as poet Rafeef Ziadah echoed, Palestinians teach life every day. And we mustn’t forget that we are the wind. And if we know anything about the wind, we know its freedom can never be stolen.

Samah Assad on her last day in Beit Hanina.

Samah Assad on her last day in Beit Hanina.

Samah Assad
About Samah Assad

Samah Assad is a journalist based in Cleveland, Ohio. She blogs at rediscoveringroots.tumblr.com and tweets at @SamahAssad.

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58 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    January 24, 2015, 12:17 pm

    we are like the wind. And nobody can break the wind. …Our presence – our identity – is alive

    beautiful and strong. thank you!

    ;)

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba
      January 24, 2015, 1:17 pm

      The strong Palestinian woman in all her dignified , resilient , superb glory !!
      Samah Assad … like the lioness of your name…. you are magnificent !!

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra
      January 25, 2015, 5:13 am

      Greetings MW,
      It is very heart warming & moving of you to bring out the perspectives of individuals of Falesteeni origin or of those within the compound.
      Is it possible for MW to print the opinions of Falesteeni Politicians , Professionals & Intellectuals as well?
      We see how much of a Forum & Spotlight the Zionists receive weekly on any show of news or chutzpah. Bibi & co are always in our face.
      Thank you,
      ziusudra

      • annie
        annie
        January 25, 2015, 9:15 am

        allison interviewed Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Negotiation Affairs Department Spokesperson Ashraf Khatib a few days ago. also referenced Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, and others here: – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/palestinians-another-resolution#sthash.rEAE3WFY.dpuf

        you might review other of her articles here: http://mondoweiss.net/author/allison-deger

        also, we’ve published lots of palestinian professionals and intellectuals.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        January 26, 2015, 4:21 am

        Greetings Annie,
        Me thanks, Dear.
        At 75 my eyes miss a lot of info.
        Thanks for talking to me.
        ziusudra

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        January 26, 2015, 4:56 am

        Re.: Ms. Annie,
        read up on your links, tks.
        Sad to see Jim Clancy go.
        Even though i admired his Output , i thought he being on CNN made it prerecquite to be in cohoots with Wolfy Blitzer!
        At least i now know that he , like the old Lebanese Lady who took her pink slip was not involved.
        He has had his carreer, he’ll find enough employment, if he wants to, maybe Dean, Duff & Cunningham will put him on at the Veterans’ Forum .
        ziusudra
        PS W/o laboring my point too much, i meant to suggest to MW that they simply show snapshots & opinions of, he said, she said in Palestine.

      • annie
        annie
        January 26, 2015, 10:46 am

        sorry the he saids she saids we publish don’t stand out for you. here’s some current he said she saids by palestinian intellectuals, albeit not all in palestine at the moment.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/security-personal-reflection
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/palestine-islamic-issue
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/palestinian-refugees-yarmouk
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/letter-editors-times

        i don’t think you have commented on any of these posts, all recent. perhaps it is because when you hear their voices they are not immediately recognizable, necessarily, as palestinian. anyway, not sure what else to say.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      January 25, 2015, 8:57 am

      I dont get the guest Thai workers as settlers

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        January 25, 2015, 2:43 pm

        @Bilal a

        Thanks for posting this video. It seems that there is now a new Thai worker slave class who are also treated like sub humans. Mind you they do have quite dark skin… Oh.. And they’re not Jewish either. Not a good combination in israel if you are just a poor farm worker.

  2. Kris
    Kris
    January 24, 2015, 12:27 pm

    “How do you deal with this every year you travel to Palestine?” I blurted. “Doesn’t it hurt you every time they bully us, put us down, treat us as if we’re worthless? How can you continue to come?”

    “My dad looked at me seriously. The change in his usual light personality caught me off guard. The wind blew into his face and he winced before saying something I will never forget.

    ““When we return every year, that is how we fight,” he said softly. “If we keep returning, we show them that this is our home. And we’re not giving it up.”

    This is a beautiful essay, thank you. And thank you for reminding me of the great Rafeef Ziadah. Here she is, reading her poem, “We Teach Life, Sir.”

  3. just
    just
    January 24, 2015, 12:33 pm

    You have learned well from your intrepid father, Samah, and embody the steadfastness and resilience of being Palestinian and of Palestine.

    “I grin, because as poet Rafeef Ziadah echoed, Palestinians teach life every day. And we mustn’t forget that we are the wind. And if we know anything about the wind, we know its freedom can never be stolen.”

    Many stand with you in solidarity, and our numbers are steadily growing.

    “It took me a long time to build the courage and strength to release these words – aching memories still haunt me, chasing each sentence I string together. It’s like pins and needles. But I’ve realized this needs to be said, as the injustice I faced is still very real, and continues to happen today. ”

    I am grateful that you have chronicled this important testimony. It’s part of the living history that needs to be known and never forgotten~ not for one minute.

    Your words are profound and lyrical. Your photos are gorgeous, as are your smiles…….

  4. Felipe
    Felipe
    January 24, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Wow. What an eloquent, moving story Samah. Voices like yours bring alive the sense of struggle, steadfastness and hope against apparently insurmountable odds in the face of oppression that is the daily reality of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Paraphrasing what your father so wisely said; in the face of such dire circumstances, existence itself is the ultimate form of resistance.

    I hope many more people read your powerful words and allow their hearts to be moved by such a magnificent display of dignity and humanity. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your beautiful spirit!!!!

  5. Pixel
    Pixel
    January 24, 2015, 3:31 pm

    Samah,

    It’s not fast enough and it’s not soon enough but, ike the wind, you WILL be free!

    I’m ABSOLUTELY stunned by how much has changed in the US and globally in the past 10 years.
    In truth, much has changed while so much has stayed the same. Yet, if the past 10 years are any measure, great and good changes are afoot.

    Having your identity reaffirmed is a gentle, warm breeze in the winds of change,

    We are with you.

    • DavidDaoud
      DavidDaoud
      January 26, 2015, 9:30 am

      Tell us about your hope after Bibi Netanyahu has spoken to a joint session of Congress in March, against the wishes of the President of the United States Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.

      I’d say the last 10 years have seen Zionist Jewish Israel firsters infiltrate the U.S. government more than ever before.

  6. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail
    January 24, 2015, 5:35 pm

    Thankyou, Samah. No human being should be treated as Palestinians are by Israel. The enforced humiliation and indignity should be abhorred by every country around the world, who should reject any relations with Israel until it grants the same human rights to everybody under its control.
    Your spirit and defiance is heartwarming and reminds me of the civil rights struggle, I hope this is an inspiration for you:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esePJ6yEmps&w=560&h=315%5D

  7. Walid
    Walid
    January 24, 2015, 6:05 pm

    Both a happy and a sad piece by Samah that made me look up her blog. There I found an ending to her story of her latest trip to her Palestine with her picture as if standing on top of the world and her promise to return soon:

    “Ma’a Salama, Goodbye – View of our village Beit Hanina behind our home in East Jerusalem right as the skies begin to dim to night. Unfortunately, tonight is my last night in this breathtaking country — my home. And as much as it hurts me to say goodbye, I’ve promised myself it’s only for now, which makes it a bit easier to leave this place.

    One month is not enough time to capture Palestine’s beauty, and one thing is for sure — I will never again let 13 years pass before my next visit. Inshallah I will be back within the year to continue rediscovering my roots and take you all through my journey once again.

    Although I will be settled back into the U.S. by Monday night, I will continue to post photos from my trip afterward as there are hundreds I have yet to share. Within the next few days I also plan on writing up a reflection of my trip — how the country’s changed since my last visit, people/places/events I’ve witnessed, what I’ve learned and what my vacation has confirmed for me.

    I wanted to thank everyone who has reblogged, liked, or shared my work so far in any way, as well as followed me on my trip! Al-hamdullah I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and support, which I greatly appreciate from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to continuing this blog…peace! :)”

    http://rediscoveringroots.tumblr.com/

  8. ivri
    ivri
    January 24, 2015, 6:43 pm

    I hate to be the guy with the cold water but I came to believe long time ago that the limitless Palestinian capacity for rhetoric-based self-empowerment is not a virtue but perhaps the greatest problem of all – without a minimal sense of realism you only make your situation worse. It would have been far better, since 1948, to try to come to terms with the Jews in Israel rather than keep fighting them with fantasies in the head.

    • annie
      annie
      January 25, 2015, 9:27 am

      speaking of limitless capacity for rhetoric-based self-empowerment …. remember that israeli ethnic cleanser – can’t recall which one- said about palestinians that the old would die off and the young would forget? sorry to be the gal with the cold water but, he was sure wrong wasn’t he?

    • just
      just
      January 25, 2015, 9:39 am

      HA! This from a true believer in the fables of 2000+ years ago!!!

      Palestinians live with reality every.single.day.

      If Jews in the 20th century and in Israel had treated the indigenous people and land of Palestine with any respect at all, things could have been much different. Unfortunately, they murdered, terrorized, stole, and Occupied~ and still do.

      Ironically, they pretty much broke/break every rule on Moses’ tablets.

    • DavidDaoud
      DavidDaoud
      January 26, 2015, 9:37 am

      Ivri, I’d say you have it exactly backwards. If Jews from Europe had adapted to living among Palestinian Arabs as equals, as brothers, as fellow human beings instead of trying to eliminate them in one way or another, the present I/P conflict would not exist.

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        January 26, 2015, 9:44 am

        +1 David!

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 26, 2015, 9:53 am

      >> ivreee: … It would have been far better, since 1948, to try to come to terms with the Jews in Israel rather than keep fighting them with fantasies in the head.

      The “Jews in Israel” aren’t the problem. The problem is with:
      – Zio-supremacists and Zio-supremacism;
      – Israel as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”, a state that has a problem with non-Jews within its / Partition borders and in the territory it illegally occupies and colonizes;
      – Israel’s past and ON-GOING (war) crimes;
      – Israel’s expansionism and colonialism;
      – Israel’s refusal to honour its obligations under international law;
      – Israel’s refusal to accept responsibility and accountability for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; and
      – Israel’s refusal to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      There is no reason the rapist’s victims should ever have to “just lie back and enjoy” their captivity and abuse.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 26, 2015, 6:09 pm

      “I hate …/…in the head.”

      Oy, the big macher speaks. Shlog zich kop in vant.

    • Froggy
      Froggy
      January 30, 2015, 11:47 pm

      Ivri – “It would have been far better, since 1948, to try to come to terms with the Jews in Israel rather than keep fighting them with fantasies in the head.”

      That’s what the occupying Nazis told my French grandparents and the other people in our village back in the 1940s.

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    January 24, 2015, 11:23 pm

    Samah, I have always been impressed by the attitude of the Palestinians. They are indeed a very resilient people, who have withstood the occupation, blockades, precision bombs, theft of lands, control of water, destruction of their lands and olive trees, and the on going human rights abuses, so bravely, and seem to be still standing as strong as they ever were. This must make the zionist criminals frustrated, because they have tried every ugly damn thing in their book, to make life as miserable as possible, to get rid of the Palestinians.

    “Palestinians’ rights are not important to Israel, whose hands are around their necks, squeezing until the wind is ultimately gone. Daily torture, constant home raids and kidnappings, humiliation in barbed wire checkpoints are all procedures put in place by Israel for Palestinians, whether they’re on their way to the nearest market or simply attempting to travel their country, but are restricted by “The Wall.”

    If you change the players, one would think this is during the time of the nazis.

  10. Robert in Israel
    Robert in Israel
    January 25, 2015, 3:41 am

    The article is beautifully written, and the YouTube poem posted here is beautiful as well. Passionate and sincere, both about the Land and the oppression. This type of poetic passion for the Homeland reminds me of perhaps the greatest Palestinian poet ever, and what he wrote about Palestine. Here are two famous examples from his works:
    http://www.zionismontheweb.org/yehudalevi.htm

    The passion for the land is palpable, as well as the pain caused by the oppressors.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 26, 2015, 6:16 pm

      Gosh “Robert in Israel”, looking at those poems by a guy born in Spain, I could get mixed up about who the “oppressor” is.

      “How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet
      Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?”

      Those fetters of Edom and chains of Arabia binding pretty hard on you?

      Yes, this Zionism on the Web site is very interesting.

  11. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    January 25, 2015, 2:39 pm

    Beautifully written and inspiring, can feel the strength, resilience and dignity in your words. Thank you Samah

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 26, 2015, 1:31 pm

      >> jon seee: Here’s a different experience:

      She certainly sounds like she was tripping. I wonder what she would have written had her trip not been and “educational tour” hosted by and paid for by The David Project.

      • jon s
        jon s
        January 27, 2015, 1:05 am

        It’s good to see a young woman, a Muslim American, visiting the country and refusing to see it in black-and-white terms. An impressive essay.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 27, 2015, 7:28 am

        >> jon seee: It’s good to see a young woman, a Muslim American, visiting the country and refusing to see it in black-and-white terms. An impressive essay.

        It’s impressive in its whitewashing of Israel’s:
        – past and on-going (war) crimes;
        – past and on-going land theft, occupation and colonization of Palestine;
        – past and on-going oppression, torture and murder of Palestinians;
        – existence as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” (rather than as a secular and democratic state for all Israelis);
        – refusal to honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees);
        – refusal to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        It’s impressive in the sense that it’s the sort of thing a “liberal Zionist” Zio-supremacist would write. I can see why you approve of it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 27, 2015, 7:28 pm

        “It’s good to see a young woman, a Muslim American, visiting the country and refusing to see it in black-and-white terms.”

        And would you like to point us to all those “black-and-white terms” essays this is better than?

        You just can’t ever resist casting one of your mealworm-mouthed aspersions, can you? But than, no doubt the fact that the author of the essay was a young woman endowed you with Zionist courage.

  12. seafoid
    seafoid
    January 26, 2015, 8:31 pm

    ” It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa.”
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/eugeneione165225.html

    the bots can try to turn Palestine off but they’d have more success trying to make a perpetual motion machine

    Zionism is such naïve ideology

    • Robert in Israel
      Robert in Israel
      January 27, 2015, 5:05 am

      I love it! “Zionism is naive”. After 2,000 years of foreign occupation, we finally liberated our land SUCCESSFULLY, and have built a state recognized as a leader in science, technology and humanitarian aid, not to mention having one of the best armies in the world, and you conclude that Zionism is naive?

      Ya know, I think we can have a lot of fun applying your definition of naive to other foolish ventures. Like Bill Gates; he’ll never get that Microsoft idea going, will he? So naive.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 27, 2015, 12:59 pm

        >> Robert in Israeleee: … we finally liberated our land …

        Except that it wasn’t your land, and you didn’t liberate it.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 27, 2015, 5:40 pm

        Not our land, eh? OK, here’s a little quiz for you. Who wrote the following to Theodore Herzl?:

        “Who can deny the rights of the Jews to Palestine? My God, historically it is your country!”

        Was it: A) the Pope; B) Lord Balfour; or C) the Arab mayor of Jerusalem.

        Hint: https://books.google.co.il/books?id=MLMJ2CQ3te4C&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118&dq=%22Mon+Dieu,+historiquement+c%27est+bien+Votre+pays+!%22&source=bl&ots=h2bUFtyMay&sig=SffkzCT7D7r547DgUAgdTv8rNz0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rPLHVLL5Fo3ePfbRgcgO&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Mon%20Dieu%2C%20historiquement%20c'est%20bien%20Votre%20pays%20!%22&f=false

        (Hope your French is up to snuff. If not, stick the text into Google Translate. Close enough. Here it is: “Qui peut contester les droits des Juifs sur la Palestine? Mon Dieu, historiquement c’est bien votre pays!”

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        January 27, 2015, 2:18 pm

        @Robert in israel
        “After 2,000 years of foreign occupation, we finally liberated our land SUCCESSFULLY, and have built a state recognized as a leader in science, technology and humanitarian aid, not to mention having one of the best armies in the world, and you conclude that Zionism is naive?”

        Your gloating about your illegal occupation is a bit much, without a thought for all of those you killed, stole from and displaced. And the crime goes on and on. But why mention a race of people who you believe are racially inferior to you and who you have already dehumanised? When you use the words “liberated our land” I have to reach for the sick bucket because your statement is sick on so many levels

        Your triumphant racialism is only possible because you are protected by a the world’s big bully which allows you to believe that you are somehow invincible and God has to be on your side. But it’s built on nothing except the biggest bully protecting his little rogue bully. That is the foundation of what your so called security is built on. Sorry to burst your bubble Robert, but it’s not because of God or because you think that you are his chosen people. It’s about empire and superior military power. But nothing lasts forever.

        And that’s why in the final analysis, Zionism is indeed naive.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 27, 2015, 5:52 pm

        See my quiz for Eljay. Would you say that the late 19th-century Arab mayor of Jerusalem was also “sick” and that he “dehumanized” himself and other local Arabs by acknowledging the national connection between the Jews and Palestine?

        What is sick is the way anti-Zionists spit on the Jews and dehumanize us with their evil words and intentions. That’s what’s really sick.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 27, 2015, 6:55 pm

        “we finally liberated our land”

        Indeed you did. In the traditional soldier’s manner.

        “Definition of liberate in English:
        VERB

        [WITH OBJECT]

        3 informal Steal (something):

        ‘the drummer’s wearing a beret he’s liberated from Lord knows where’ ‘

        http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/liberate

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 28, 2015, 3:29 am

        So if you’re consistent, RoHa, you’ll agree with me that “PLO” stands for the Palestinian Land-theft Organization, right? ;-)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 27, 2015, 7:23 pm

        “we finally liberated our land”

        And who, Robert, is “we”? The various Zionist agencies and organizations formed for the purpose represented nobody but them selves and their own interests.

        Unless God made an announcement I didn’t hear, or was there a vote among Jews and I lost my ballot. And “liberated”? ROTFLMSJAO.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 28, 2015, 3:14 am

        “We” are the vast majority of the Jewish Nation who supported Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, the homeland of the Jewish Nation.

        You can ignore the facts, but Jews around the world voted for their support in three main ways:
        1. Literally voting in the elections for the Zionist Congresses;
        2. Rebuilding Jewish towns and villages in Palestine;
        3. Donating to the JNF

        The latter of the three is the one that most Jews did. There would be no State of Israel today if the vast majority of Jews had not actively supported the Zionist cause. And I know you know that.

        You are free to hate Zionism, but don’t you pretend to not know that the vast majority of Jews always supported Zionism just because you don’t like the will of the Jewish Nation.

      • just
        just
        January 27, 2015, 7:32 pm

        +1 Bornajoo!

        “After 2,000 years of foreign occupation, we finally liberated our land SUCCESSFULLY, and have built a state recognized as a leader in science, technology and humanitarian aid, not to mention having one of the best armies in the world”

        What “humanitarian aid” ? Israel has Holocaust survivors living in poverty, you know. You pack poor African refugees in icy prisons. You Occupy, with extreme and criminal cruelty, the indigenous people of Palestine. What aid are you giving to anyone? Your IOF are cowards and crybabies, and are armed to the teeth with US taxpayers money and weapons. The land was not yours, nor was it ours (the West’s) to give. You destroyed Gaza for a third time in less than a decade, and allow people to freeze and die in abject misery. YOU should pay for the reconstruction!

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/palestine-premieres-columbus

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/exhibit-photos-journey

        My “sick bucket” overfloweth.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 28, 2015, 3:22 am

        You don’t know about how much humanitarian aid Israel gives/performs? Seriously? Has your unjustified hatred blinded you that much that you can’t even admit that Israel does really good things in the world?

        See for example http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/aid/pages/default.aspx
        and http://israaid.co.il/ and http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/idfhumtoc.html

        Shame on you and your willful ignorance!

        And about that pathetic “the land was not yours”, explain this one:
        “Who can deny the rights of the Jews to Palestine? My God, historically it is your country!”
        –Yousef al-Khalidi, the Arab mayor of Jerusalem in an 1899 letter to Theodore Herzl

      • straightline
        straightline
        January 27, 2015, 9:51 pm

        @RoHa

        +1

        @Robert: Who were these ‘foreigners’? And where did they come from?

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 28, 2015, 3:33 am

        Is there some kind of unspoken rule amongst anti-Zionists that you’re not supposed to read any history books or original documents that contradict your beliefs? I mean, you don’t have to accept any given claim, but at least be aware of them. Do you really need me to detail all the foreign nations that invaded the Holy Land during the last 3,000 years?

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 28, 2015, 7:33 am

        >> Robert in Israeleee: Not our land, eh?

        That’s correct. Palestine did not belong to “the Jews” or to the Arab mayor of Jerusalem. Jews had no right to “liberate” (i.e., steal, occupy and colonize) it, and the mayor had no right to give it away.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 29, 2015, 3:59 pm

        “Is there some kind of unspoken rule amongst anti-Zionists that you’re not supposed to read any history books or original documents that contradict your beliefs?”

        You mean original documents like Israel’s own proclamation of its territory when it declared statehood? The territory outside of which it was already operating in, taking and colonizing?

        Yes, you can find a lot of quotes from people who liked the idea of Zionism. But you don’t want to go near the operative documents, the ones in force now, the ones under which Israel was granted statehood.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 29, 2015, 4:54 pm

        Cheap debating tactic there. Rather than address my point, you change the topic and then claim my supporting evidence is irrelevant. Well, it wasn’t irrelevant to the point I was making, which is not whether or not there were people who liked Zionism, but rather that even amongst the Arabs of Palestine, it was commonly recognized that the Jewish claim to Palestine (which Zionism sought to act upon) was itself legitimate. Al-Khalidi for practical reasons opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, but he acknowledged that Palestine itself was historically Jewish, not Arab. That’s the point you need to deal with. Up until the Jews won the 1947-1949 war, the arguments against Zionism focused on the practicality of Palestine supporting millions of inhabitants. It was only after Israel was created that large numbers of Arabs started claiming that the Jews are not a nation, and, in tandem with that false claim, the equally false claim that the Arabs of Palestine constituted a long-existing nation unto itself.

        As for claims you made that were not germane to the discussion of the fundamental legitimacy of the Jewish claim to Palestine, they can be discussed if you still want, for I am more than comfortable “going near the operative documents”.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 29, 2015, 4:01 pm

        “Do you really need me to detail all the foreign nations that invaded the Holy Land during the last 3,000 years?”

        And now it’s the Zionist’s turn to sack the place? Robert, you should really go read the interview with Norm Finklestein. It’ll help you a lot.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        January 29, 2015, 5:01 pm

        It’s as much “the Zionists’ turn to sack” Zion as it is the Arabs turn to sack Arabia.

        Re Finkelstein, he’s a total loser and irrelevant to any thoughtful discussion of Zionism and the history of Palestine. Hmm, I guess that explains why Mondoweiss is posting his garbage. You can read my post there, though I don’t even bother with Finkelstein, and instead focus on someone who actually made a positive contribution to the study of 19th-century Palestine: Joan Peters.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 2, 2015, 12:13 pm

        I see, “Robert in Israel”, we Jews just took a long vacation from the place, Palestine, but now, we’re back, and ready to renovate and redecorate the old ancestral manse! Don’t forget the rose garden and white-pebble drive shaded by ancient elms!

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        February 2, 2015, 1:23 pm

        “I see, “Robert in Israel”, we Jews just took a long vacation from the place, Palestine, but now, we’re back, and ready to renovate and redecorate the old ancestral manse! Don’t forget the rose garden and white-pebble drive shaded by ancient elms!”

        That’s too funny Mooser.

        Terrible isn’t it? You go on a long holiday and when you get back your house has been taken over by squatters! What a nightmare. But it’s okay, these poor zionists managed to “liberate” their land from those illegal squatters after all those years!

        Keep it up Robert in Israel, you are doing wonders for the anti zionist cause. Great to have your input here, for all to read.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 2, 2015, 7:27 pm

        I must admit that I am really impressed by the fact that all these Jews in Israel can show not only direct descent from some pre-Bar Kokhba resident of Palestine, but also title deeds to house and land that distant ancestor owned.

        By comparison, a relative of mine has been tracking down the RoHa family tree, but she can’t seem to find ancestors much earlier than the Eighteenth century, and most of those owned nothing more than three farthings and half a bottle of gin.

      • Robert in Israel
        Robert in Israel
        February 3, 2015, 5:00 am

        RoHa, you really don’t get me. Simple question: Does anyone claim that you do not belong to a nation that predates the 18th century?

  13. seafoid
    seafoid
    January 28, 2015, 8:46 pm

    A wonderful piece. Just being there, speaking arabic, is enough.
    Israel will tear itself apart eventually.

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