I am co-director of the Al-Nakba Awareness Project based in Eugene, Oregon.
The Al-Nakba Awareness Project
Advocating Freedom, Justice and Equality in the Holy Land
We believe Middle East peace will come only through recognizing and correcting 62+ years of dispossession imposed by force upon the indigenous Muslim, Christian, and other Arabic peoples of Palestine. Peace cannot bypass justice.
We advocate a solution based upon principles of democratic equality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law which include the unequivocal right of return for over 4 million UN-registered Palestinian refugees.
As the origin of the conflict, we believe that awareness of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe, is critical for understanding and solving the problem. Israel’s original goal and its ongoing strategy of “nishul” – displacement or dispossession in Hebrew – remains unchanged since 1948 and has blocked resolution for many decades.
We learned from our own Jim Crow history, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that separate is never equal. We therefore do not support a two-state solution, which would institutionalize segregation of two peoples and allow the apartheid system within Israel to remain unchallenged. A “Jewish and democratic” state is an Orwellian oxymoron. It cannot be both. In truth, Israel is a democracy only for its Jewish citizens. Non-Jews in Israel are denied equal rights in virtually every area of life.
Instead, we support an integrated, egalitarian state with freedom and equal rights for all its citizens. The Arab population of historic Palestine, including the 20% non-Jewish citizens inside Israel, must be provided constitutional protections against the racist laws that currently exist.
Colonial Zionism is an archaic, ethnic nationalist,19th century ideology that continues to underpin a Jewish supremacist system not unlike South African apartheid and white supremacist, segregationist Jim Crow in our pre-1960s South. We challenge this and its support by our country as incompatible with American principles of government and international standards of human rights.
American knee-jerk support of Israel and its continuous human rights violations has been maintained by a relentless campaign of deception, disinformation and financial political control by the most powerful lobby in Washington affecting our foreign policy - AIPAC and some 50 other major American Jewish organizations. Israeli occupation of both Palestine and Washington, D.C. must end.
Obstruction has also come from the left, the so-called “Alternatives to AIPAC,” which promote dialogue, negotiation and compromise rather than enforcement of international law. The victim of a robbery cannot be required to negotiate or compromise with the thief over how much to return. Before dialogue or negotiation can yield resolution, external, non-violent intervention forces must be applied to equalize power, which is now grossly imbalanced. Citizens deeply disturbed by our pathological symbiosis with Israel can apply pressure through product boycotts and divestment ( www.pacbi.org and http://www.bdsmovement.net/ ) from Israeli businesses as well as U.S. companies supporting the occupation, and demand an end to U.N. Security Council vetoes by the U.S. (42 to date) that have long protected Israel from international justice.
This will simultaneously save Israel from its current path of self-destruction, which many insightful Israelis recognize. To survive, gain admission to the community of nations, and emerge from its self-imposed ghetto behind fortress walls, Israel must repudiate Zionism and transform itself into a normal, multi-ethnic, non-discriminatory constitutional democracy in the modern Western tradition.
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