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Combatants for Peace responds to Memorial Day report

Israel/Palestine
on 10 Comments

Combatants for Peace sent in the following response to Dan Cohen’s April 23, 2015 report “Marking Memorial Day in Tel Aviv with Kahanists and Combatants for Peace“:

Dear Dan Cohen,

We are glad you had the chance to participate in our Memorial Day ceremony last Tuesday.  However –  We claim our right to comment as following in the name of our movement, since our words were strongly misrepresented in the post you published on 22.5.14. Here is the response we ask you add to your post:

“All CFP members interviewed for this story feel their words have been distorted and manipulated beyond recognition. In sharp contrast to the portrayal of the movement in the report, CFP is not all about “dialogue”. It is a joint activist movement that opposes the occupation on the ground all around the West Bank for more than 10 years now, under joint Palestinian-Israeli leadership, together with Palestinian communities. The movement was established by Palestinians and Israelis and is based on partnership between Palestinians and Israelis. The insinuation that CFP is an Israeli movement that cynically uses Palestinians assumes that Palestinians cannot be equal partners in a joint non-violent struggle against the occupation. The Palestinian members of CFP had served years in Israeli prisons before turning to non-violence and they need no lectures about resistance. Co-resistance is our way of challenging the unequal power relations between Israelis and Palestinians, something no member in the movement, including the interviewees, would ever deny.

Regarding the final agreement, CFP is not a think tank but a grass-root movement. We do not see it our role to draft the future agreement between the two sides. Indeed, the right of return, just like water and borders are all details that have to be agreed upon by both sides. That does not mean they are insignificant. CFP will endorse any agreement that will be accepted on the legitimate leaderships of both people. We will oppose unilateral, imposed measures.

Finally, regarding BDS, “Combatants for Peace” (CFP) does not hold an official position on BDS. Our members hold different and diverse approaches toward the BDS movement, which we respect. As a non-violent movement, CFP does not oppose any non-violent mode of resistance. However, as ajoint activist movement we see it as our main role to work together within our own societies to promote the end of occupation and all forms of violence. Supporting BDS will undermine our efforts especially in the Israeli side, and in different circles around the world.”

We expect that you will respect our right to comment, since we consider your blog to be committed to the basic rules of journalism ethics.

Mondoweiss Editors
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10 Responses

  1. smithgp
    smithgp
    April 24, 2015, 3:33 pm

    “Regarding the final agreement, CFP is not a think tank but a grass-root movement. We do not see it our role to draft the future agreement between the TWO SIDES. Indeed, the right of return, just like water and borders are all details that have to be agreed upon by BOTH SIDES.” — Combatants for Peace response to Dan Cohen; my emphasis

    It’s not dialogue itself that’s wrong-headed about CFP and allied peace initiatives. It’s the futile “two-sides” framing of the dialogue. Dialogue that starts there, ends with continued oppression and dispossession. The two “sides” in this conflict are equal human rights on the one hand versus their denial on the other. The conflict can end only with victory for the former. Such an outcome could be considered a victory for the indigenous people of Palestine, but it wouldn’t be a victory for their ethnic community over the Israeli Jews’ ethnic community. The human rights of both communities, non-Jewish and Jewish alike, would be affirmed.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 25, 2015, 7:37 pm

      trying to take away a “two sides” narrative is absurd. people-no matter how wrong-headed some people think they may be can not be forced to dis-acknowledge their narrative, history and personal stories. Anymore then Israelis could force the Palestinians to divest themselves of their nakba and their experience of the north of Israel. This attitude is as useful as saying “well, then lets just fight it out and winner takes all” Ridiculous. If the US were ever to promote its role in the ME ignoring that there are at ;least two (and probably more then 2 narratives) it would no longer have a role. Israel has already learned the lesson that a peoples narrative-ie, ‘the other side’ can not be assuaged, ignored or wished away. Suggesting that-on the other hand- this should now apply to Israel is an absurd idea born of outrageous fantasy and an extremely left-wing and tyrannical ideology couched as ‘concern for human rights’ (the biggest meaningless catchphrase for the left since ‘free love’ or no justice-no peace)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 4, 2015, 9:41 pm

        ” Israel is an absurd idea born of outrageous fantasy and an extremely left-wing and tyrannical ideology” DaBakr

        Good old DaBakr! I knew he would see the light. And yes, DaBakr they started out “left” and went right.

  2. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    April 24, 2015, 5:11 pm

    The letter by CFP says that the original interviewer misunderstood their positions, and that their actual position is that:
    “Supporting BDS will undermine our efforts especially in the Israeli side, and in different circles around the world.”

    However, did the original interview actually say that this was the opinion he got from CFP, and then state that he disagreed with this CFP position, which CFP has just reiterated here?

    Secondly, I assume that BDS will undermine any of CFP’s efforts bringing in Israelis who support the occupation, since those Israelis don’t want to be sanctioned for the occupation. However, is that really a reason to avoid supporting BDS? If you are in South Africa and you actually believe that your society is discriminatory and your goal is to reconcile ex-SA police and ex-ANC rebels, then why would you oppose or be lukewarm about the international community pressuring your country to follow international law?

    As for “different circles around the world”, the only ones I can think of that would be seriously hurt by your message as a result of BDS would be conservative pro-Israeli ones like CUFI, AIPAC, etc.

    Now, I suppose if you are the Red Cross it makes sense that you don’t want to take a position on BDS or other political issues because you have a vital job to do about being totally apolitical to cross borders and give humanitarian aid. But CFP is not the neutral Red Cross, it’s a self-proclaimed organization of those who are against the occupation – unless I am mistaken and CFP doesn’t even have a position on that.

  3. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    April 24, 2015, 5:29 pm

    I appreciate CFP for at least writing here a response. But here is another thing I don’t understand the original interview about the CFP event says:

    Retired Israeli police officer Haim Blair, 60, from Gan Yavne criticized the Israeli Jews in Combatants for Peace as naive and that the presence of Palestinians at the event was inappropriate. Wearing a white muscle shirt that read “I ♥ Israel,” he explained, “Today is meant to remember IDF soldiers and the warriors of the underground groups (a reference to pre-state Zionist militias Lehi and Haganah) … and everyone who lost their lives here and elsewhere by the terrorist groups, who they [the attendees] are now backing.”

    Isn’t the police officer correct about the definition of the Israeli memorial day, in that it’s for Israeli soldiers, not Palestinians?

    If so, I am confused what the purpose is of bringing Palestinian attendance for the holiday. It seems like bringing Amerindians to a holiday occasion memorializing US soldiers fallen in the battle against Indian tribes, war parties, raiders, etc.

    I think that the holiday is one of the main events for CFP? Or is there a holiday for Palestinian fighters (eg. who fell in the 1948 and 1967 wars) that CFP gives equal attention to?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 25, 2015, 5:29 pm

      It seems like bringing Amerindians to a holiday occasion memorializing US soldiers fallen in the battle against Indian tribes, war parties, raiders, etc.

      More than “like” it. The same.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 25, 2015, 6:08 pm

        No, because armed conflict with Palestinians, blockades of Palestinians like in Gaza, serious yearly casualties, etc. are ongoing. Can Palestinians get tax free status for being deprived of their homeland? And at least conservative pro-Americans today realize Amerindians “exist” as an ethnic group. I would definitely rather be an Amerindian at a memorial for US soldiers from the Indian wars, and find ways like “military honor” or modern “romanticizing” of Amerindians to make it more palatable.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 25, 2015, 7:44 pm

      Do you know how many non Jewish Israeli citizens died in service of the nation? Do you really think that only Jewish Israelis have died? Do you know there are non Jewish Generals, Colonels,majors, Medics, doctors ,etc that serve in the IDF. Do you not know that there are non Jewish Supreme court justices, non-Jewish police, non-Jewish directors of major Hospitals that treat IDF wounded? Palestinian, Druze, Bedouin.
      Also-the Palestinians have seen fit to celebrate their nakba on Israeli independence day, their ‘celebrate Palestinian prisoners’ on Shoah remembrance day and they can easily figure out how to celebrate the deaths of their martyrs without any help from Israel.

  4. eusebio
    eusebio
    April 25, 2015, 8:58 am

    strong agreements for peace and stability in Palestine and Israel

  5. JLWarner
    JLWarner
    April 26, 2015, 1:58 am

    What am I missing? The positions expressed in CHPs correction are quite similar to the original article. Is there a back story?

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