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Fighting the Cruel Demand that Palestinians Forget Their History

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Donate to Mondoweiss As a regular reader of Mondoweiss, I’m pleased and privileged to write to you today and urge you to donate as I do, so Mondoweiss can persist in exposing injustice and spreading truth.

I began my journey to Palestinian solidarity in the late 1980s as a Jewish student in the library of Manchester University. I struggled to follow the First Intifada through the limited newspapers and magazines then available. My final break with liberal Zionism didn’t come until Israel’s 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead assault on Gaza. My journey could have progressed much faster if Mondoweiss had existed in the 90s and early 2000s.

You know as I do that every day, through its on-the-ground reporting and promotion of Palestinian voices, Mondoweiss confronts the world’s indifference and holds up the truth from Palestine. Every day, Mondoweiss exposes the hypocrisy of politicians and the media elite that dominates American debate on Israel.

But Mondoweiss does something else too—beyond just offering an “alternative narrative” on Israel/Palestine. By publishing Jewish dissent on Israel, it disrupts the dominant discourse that makes possible the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Of course, Palestinians themselves must and will be the agents of their own liberation. But there are roadblocks before them that others can help clear. And that’s where Jewish dissent becomes important.

Edward Said wrote in 1979 that Palestinians have had “the extraordinarily bad luck to have a good case in resisting colonial invasion of their homeland combined with, in terms of the international and moral sense, the most morally complex of all opponents, Jews, with a long history of victimization and terror behind them.”

He explained, “The absolute wrong of Settler-colonialism is very much diluted and perhaps even dissipated when it is a fervently-believed-in Jewish survival that uses Settler-colonialism to straighten out its own destiny.”

The Palestinian people are the true victims of Zionism. It’s their land that’s been stolen, their villages destroyed, their lives lost. But Jewish history and the seamless merger of Zionism with Judaism have become the great stumbling blocks on the road to Palestinian liberation, so a distinctly Jewish response is not just appropriate but essential for progress to take place.

Persuading other Jews that there has to be a better way than colonization, annexation and siege to “straighten out our destiny” is the reason why I started to write and speak about Israel/Palestine.

Jewish listeners and readers thank me frequently for providing the words to articulate the contradictions and injustices of Zionism without having to abandon their sense of Jewish identity. I know I must continue. Mondoweiss helps me to do that. Not only has it shared my work to a global audience, but also has shaped my thinking through access to some of the most incisive and engaging writing on the web or anywhere else for that matter.

Talking to students recently, I reflected on the Jewish insistence on remembering our history and connection to what we are told is “the land of our ancestors”—and the cruel contrast of this insistence with the demand that Palestinians forget their history and “move on.”

As the Great March of Return and its protests have shown, of course, the Palestinian people have not forgotten. They will not move on.

And during this time, Mondoweiss reporting has charted the depths to which Israel and its advocates have sunk by casting every Palestinian—woman, man or child; journalist or paramedic—as a terrorist. To refute these lies, we must invest in the truth—the words and images Mondoweiss publishes every day.

The stakes are getting ever higher and anti-Palestinian rhetoric is ratcheting up. That’s why supporting Mondoweiss’s journalism and commentary becomes ever more important. Space for voices of Jewish resistance and opposition—as well as for voices of Palestinian self-determination and resistance—will continue to be essential.

Donate to MondoweissPlease join me in contributing to Mondoweiss, a unique and vital part of the broad movement that will one day enable Palestinians to secure their liberation.

May that day come soon.

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That Said quote is superb.
Zionism is bullshit. There is no Jewish future in oppression. There will be some awful cataclysm. The only way to defeat Nazism was with total war. The only way to defeat imperial Japan was with nuclear weapons. It may be similar with Zionism.

I agree that the Zionist have won, and that fact is unlikely to change. Given that, and given the role that the U.S. played in creating this situation, I think that the U.S. should offer passage to the U.S. and citizenship here to all Palestinians who wish to avail of the offer. Of course, that is also unlikely, at least while Trump is in charge. I agree that the demand that Palestinians forget their history… Read more »

Maybe the NYT will eventually shaft Israel and abandon Zionism. But for that to happen all the truth will be required. Mr Boehm writes that “of the 11.8 million people who live in Israel and the west Bank, roughly 56% are Jewish and 40% are Arab That would imply 6.6 m Zionists and 4.7 m Palestinians. Still a Zionist majority. But Gaza was left out. Gaza has 2m Palestinians. Now it looks different. 6.6m… Read more »