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Don’t condemn Palestinians for resisting the occupation of their land, condemn the occupation itself

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Wonder of wonders! The U.S. State Department has condemned, “in the strongest possible terms,” the stabbing death of American-citizen-turned-Israeli-soldier Tuvya Weisman in a West Bank supermarket.

Let us not underestimate the significance of this pronouncement: now we know that the State Department is capable of condemning violence in the West Bank – when it chooses to.

It’s just the choices it makes that defy understanding.

So – to the American statesmen who have now found their collective voice and discovered the evil of violence, I say this: you have learned to condemn what is repellent in today’s West Bank; that is a good start. Now try condemning a few of the right things.

For instance:

While deploring Tuvya Weisman’s death, condemn also the illegal colony in which he lived on occupied Palestinian land.

While expressing shock at the violence used against him, condemn the IDF brigade in which he fought, notorious for its role in Israel’s West Bank terror campaign in the summer of 2014 that left some 13 Palestinian children dead, nearly 600 West Bank buildings demolished and hundreds of Palestinians detained (largely under false pretenses) during that year alone.

While shedding so many tears over the killing of an IDF soldier, take a moment to mourn the bullets pumped into the bodies of the two young boys, both 14 years old, who stabbed him – stabbed him on their land, please note, which remains illegally occupied by Israeli forces – that left one of them dead and the other badly injured. And maybe, while you’re at it, you could find a reason to mention some of the other Palestinians, many of them children, executed by Israeli forces since October.

Don’t try to tell me the cases are different. You know yourself that they aren’t. Are you so exercised about Tuvya Weisman’s death because he was an American citizen? Then where was your voice when Rachel Corrie, also an American citizen, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect the home of a Gaza doctor from illegal demolition?

Are you genuinely disturbed over the killing of one IDF fighter in a West Bank supermarket? Then why did you justify stocking the Israeli military with still more armaments in the summer of 2014, at the very moment it was pounding Gaza with made-in-America gunships and explosives that killed over 500 children?

Perhaps it troubles you that Palestinian youngsters have grown so desperate that they have begun to fight Israeli warriors with the only weapons they have – knives, stones, scissors? Well, it should. But then, for heaven’s sake don’t condemn the children, who have never known life apart from occupation; condemn the Israeli government for so poisoning the tormented soil of Palestine that it can no longer nurture anything but despair and rage.

Maybe you’re worried that as resistance intensifies more Palestinians will begin to sympathize with such violent measures, making a political settlement more difficult. But if that’s so, why don’t you express the same concern about Israelis and their Jewish apologists, who have overwhelmingly supported the government’s brutal tactics against Palestinians? Where is your voice about the majority of Israeli Jewish respondents in a recent poll who endorsed the on-the-spot assassination of any Palestinian who has attacked an Israeli?

Perhaps you object even to legitimate resistance when it takes the form of violence. Yes, I know: a legal justification of violence renders it no less ugly. But if your concern is driven by compassion and not by hypocrisy, there’s only one honest course: you must turn your anger on the occupier, whose massive military force and lethal intransigence set the terms of every confrontation between Palestinians and the IDF. Only when the bully stops choking and bludgeoning his victim can the victim justly be asked not to use his fingernails in self-defense.

And amid all the expressions of dismay one hears about Americans going to the Mideast to join militias like ISIS, you might consider a similar outcry against Americans like Tuvya Weisman who fight for an illegal army of occupation in the same region – one that kills children, attacks hospitals and medical personnel, systematically violates human rights, and enforces the dominance of one religious group over all others.

Your obligation isn’t complicated. You need only free yourself from hypocrisy. Stop condemning Palestinians for resisting the occupation of their land. Instead, condemn the occupation itself. Stop throwing up your hands at desperate Palestinian violence; start recognizing your own complicity in Israeli crimes. Stop lecturing Palestinians not to fight back, and start supporting the unarmed Palestinian resistance that has been growing for years all over the West Bank (which Western governments and mainstream Western media assiduously ignore).

Stop making victims out of the oppressors. Name the true victims. Call the occupiers by their right names.

And then maybe we can take you seriously when you deplore the next violent death in the West Bank.

Michael Lesher

Michael Lesher, an author and lawyer, has published numerous articles dealing with child sexual abuse and other topics, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is the author of the recent book Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., Inc.), which focuses on cover-ups of abuse cases among Orthodox Jews. He lives in Passaic, New Jersey. More information about his work can be found on his web site

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13 Responses

  1. Atlantaiconoclast on February 24, 2016, 10:39 am

    The very people who are most condemnatory toward Palestinian resistance are the same ones pushing hardest for violent rebellion against Syria. And the mainstream media NEVER calls them out on their hypocrisy.

    • scribejohn on February 28, 2016, 8:07 am

      Never ceases to amaze me that when we see this catalogue of incursions and faults on the Israeli side, the terrible 12 year suicide bombing campaign (1994-2006) by Hamas and Fatah – two bombings a week blowing apart women and kids in cafes, shopping malls and on buses – and not a word from Mondoweiss. One-way journalism at its worst. In fact through its one-way agenda, it becomes no more than a left-wing-progressive version of an Islamic propaganda sheet. Hardly any difference between the two these days.

      • bryan on March 3, 2016, 10:06 am

        You perhaps read a different article from the one I read – which argued that the White House spokesperson should even-handedly condemn all acts of violence resulting from the illegal Israeli occupation. Do you have a problem with that?

        You don’t help yourself in contributing to a site which attracts many very well-informed people by blatant exaggeration. Far from two bombings a week blowing apart women and kids over a twelve year period, which would be some twelve hundred successful bombings (if my maths is correct) Wikipedia can cite only 171 successful bombings over the 26 year period from 1989 to 2015, with only the four year period 2001-2004, producing annual successful attacks in double figures. The peak year was 2002, with 47 bombings – less than one a week, and all other years saw far less than one a month. (see A significant number of these bombings targeted the illegal occupation, as for instance the Netzarim Junction bombing at a military check-point in the Gaza Strip, killing three soldiers and wounding six soldiers.

        My guess would be that a vast majority of readers of this site would condemn suicide bombings, whilst also being aware of the following points: (1) the bombings were often a reaction to acts of Israeli terror (e.g. the 1994 Afula Bus bombing was a response to the slaughter of 29 worshippers, and the injuring of a further 125 by settler Baruch Goldstein at the Ibrahimi Mosque); (2) many of the perpetrators had seen close family members killed by the occupation forces; (3) the peak period of suicide bombings was during the Al Aqsa Intifada, when Palestinian frustration at the failure of peace negotiations led to a wave of protests that was brutally met with attacks by Israeli gunships and orders from the government to break the bones of the protesters.

        If you deplore violence directed at civilians then I am sure you will join the MW readership in condemning settler “price-tag” violence and applaud the growing influence of the entirely non-violent BDS movement.

  2. amigo on February 24, 2016, 3:05 pm

    I don,t understand why so many people are so critical of the White House spokespersons.These folks are just the messengers delivering what has been handed to them by Israel,s Foreign office chief from his/her office just across from the Pres. Time was when the WH Press office wrote their own briefings but the Israelis complained that terms like “Occupied Palestine” and “Illegal Settlers” had been creeping into the briefings so they withdrew that privilege .

  3. AdenBettie7 on February 24, 2016, 5:21 pm

    The spokespersons have a mind and if they do not agree with what’s being said they shouldn’t deliver the speech. I would NEVER put my name and face to something I don’t agree with. The problem with Israel occupying is we Americans for the most part have no clue that we support Israel and Israelis. Ask your everyday person how much money and weaponry is sent to Israel. They have no clue. We as Americans must show people what is happening so we can put a stop to it. If we don’t want or force a change, it’s like burying our heads in the sand. The Zionists are evil people who have hijacked the Jewish religion, much like the “terrorists” have hijacked Islam. As a co very from Christianity to Islam, all Christians should know that the true orthodoxed Jews do not believe Christ has come and therefore were kicked out of the Holy land, never to return until they accepted Jesus (pbuh) as their savior. Well we all know what happened there. People need to educate others on what actually happens over in Israel, the biggest terrorist group around

    • scribejohn on February 28, 2016, 8:15 am

      I think you unintentionally hit a vein of gold when you said ‘have no clue.’ There has been a steady brainwashing perpetrated by the ‘progressive’ left the past few decades which is now taking its toll. I’ve been covering this debate now for 35 years and have many Palestinian friends and contacts — some of these, such as Bassem Eid, leading Palestinian human rights activists. And they see as much blame, if not more, amongst the Palestinian leaders of Hamas and Fatah as they do Israel.

      Have a look at these two blog articles, ‘Suffer the Children’ and ‘I used to be left-wing.’ They are long and well-considered articles, but I think you’ll find them enlightening – particularly as they quote as much from the Palestinian-people perspective. Which is very different to the Palestinian leadership or Pan Arab POV constantly pumped out.

  4. Talkback on February 25, 2016, 7:57 am

    The US departement condems the killing of an occupation soldier. What else has changed since 1945?

  5. Kay24 on February 25, 2016, 8:15 am

    Did the US State Department condemn in strong terms the deaths of Rachel Corrie or Furqan Dogan, the young man aboard the Gaza bound flotilla, which was stormed by mask wearing commandos, who massacred many unarmed civilians?

    It is only predictable that in the US the outrage is always slanted to one side. The side of the brutal occupier, who keeps killing Palestinians, even kids, and who treat Palestinian lives so cheaply. This bias is what is making us more enemies, and it shows that we are not neutral in this conflict. Palestinian kids are arrested or killed regularly, including Tarek Khdeir’s poor cousin, who was brutally murdered, I have yet to hear any strong words of condemnation for these heinous acts of murder by Israelis, and when the goons in Israeli uniforms got away with assaulting him, the US simply shrugged and said it was “disappointed”.

    Shame on us.

  6. Ossinev on February 25, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I wonder how many of these apprentice Jewish-American Fascists who make the dream trip to the Land of Creation actually return to the US after they have done their little Zionist Jihadi stint in the most moral etc.What is the average length of stay of these cuties. Is there any obligatory form of debriefing on their return to the US – they have after all served in the army of a foreign country without the authorisation of their own country. They should at least be detained and questioned about the nature of their visit and “service”..
    Over and above this shouldn`t they be viewed as potential “fifth column” or even as possible trained “spies” for a foreign government. NB By “return” I mean both permanent or temporary – poor things must get terribly homesick after all.

    The US, for so many years bought and bent by the Zionist Elders , is of course not surprisingly ambiguous in its attitude and ongoing policy with regard to Isreal`s breach of the 4th Geneva Convention in terms of illegal settlements and the ongoing war crimes being committed by the occupying forces in assisting and defending illegal settlements.

    However it is to be hoped that the younger generation of American Jews and young Americans in general will increasingly question and challenge this blatant dual loyalty and the implicit risks to America`s homeland security.

  7. James Canning on February 25, 2016, 6:33 pm

    Of course the State Dept. should have underlined the illegality of the Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank. Not that I expect any such thing.

    • rosross on February 26, 2016, 6:10 pm

      The correct name is Occupied Palestine. ‘West Bank’ is an Israeli euphemism to pretend that Palestine does not exist.

      Beyond the UN mandate it is all occupied Palestine.

      • echinococcus on February 26, 2016, 11:14 pm

        The UN mandate is in crass violation of the UN Charter. All of Palestine is occupied by a pirate state.

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