“Refusing to be Enemies”, an exclusive video interview with Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta at the Peoples Social Forum 2014

Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation is an interview-based study that presents the voices of over 100 practitioners and theorists of nonviolence, the vast majority either Palestinian or Israeli. In their own words, these activists share examples of effective nonviolent campaigns and discuss obstacles encountered in their pursuit of a just peace. Attention is also devoted to the special challenges of joint struggle and to hopes and visions for a shared future in the region. [OFFICIAL WORDPRESS BLOG]


by Eduardo Carli de Moraes / Awestruck Wanderer

While the People’s Social Forum was taking place in Ottawa, between August 21 and 24, the bloodbath in Gaza was still raging. Even mass demonstrations and rallies, held in several cities all around the world (London, Cape Town, New York, Toronto, and many others), couldn’t stop Zionism’s genocidal machine, which once again bombed Palestine with total disregard for basic human rights. Many protests were voiced during the Forum against Israel’s regime, which  is backed-up in North America not only by the United States but also by Stephen Harper’s regime in Canada (watch Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines with Avi Lewis).

According to the latest report from UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), dated September 11, 2014, at least “503 Palestinian children are confirmed killed” and  “the cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,150, including 260 women. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom 66 were soldiers and one civilian fatality was a child.”

The huge disparity between the two sides of this “conflict” makes it almost obscene to call it anything but genocide. Let’s drop the euphemisms: Israel has obviously attacked once again not only military targets or Hamas militants; it has engaged in mass killings of Palestine’s civil population. Gaza, once again, looks like Guernica, but with no Picasso to paint it. Its infrastructure has been blown to smithereens, including hospitals, schools, power plants, universities and thousands of houses. The excuse for all this is, of course, The War On Terror, which seems to permit acts of unspeakable terror as means to attain victory over terrorists…

Anyone who deems justifiable the murder of more than 500 children and 260 women is nothing but a dangerous psychopath, and the doctrine of “collateral damage” is but the lunacy of serial killers which unfortunately hold State power. To put it plainly: these were monstruous war crimes and repeated violations of Human Rights, which the state of Israel can only get away with because of its Western allies:

“Israel’s staunchest political and military ally is and always has been the US government. The US government has blocked, along with Israel, almost every UN resolution that sought a peaceful, equitable solution to the conflict. It has supported almost every war that Israel has fought. When Israel attacks Palestine, it is American missiles that smash through Palestinian homes. And every year Israel receives several billion dollars from the US.

What lessons should we draw from this tragic conflict? Is it really impossible for Jewish people who suffered so cruelly themselves — more cruelly perhaps than any other people in history — to understand the vulnerability and the yearning of those whom they have displaced? Does extreme suffering always kindle cruelty? What hope does this leave the human race with?” – ARUNDHATI ROY [Read the full post, including 3 documentaries]

During the Peoples Social Forum, I’ve listened carefully to a highly captivating lecture by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, author of Refusing to Be Enemies, and afterwards she was kind enough to grant this blog an exclusive interview (watch at the end of this post). She is “a Quaker Jew who lived in Jerusalem for seven years and has written widely on Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activism and related topics”.

Israel’s Vision for a Palestinian StateWhat’s fascinating about Maxine’s work is how devoted she is to the discovery of paths to peaceful coexistence among Palestinians and Israelis. More than one hundred people were interviewed by her about the whys and hows of their choice for nonviolent resistance. Veronica Cohen, for example, states: “Violence begets more violence. I’m morally and tactically opposed to violence.”

This is a common thread of non-violent activists: they refuse to add more fuel to the fire of violence both because they deem it morally wrong (killing people in order to reach peace: isn’t this a sick interpretation of the doctrine of “the end justifies the means”?) and because it doesn’t work pragmatically (it provides the enemy an excuse for violent retaliation). Nuri el-Okbi, a Bedouin Israeli activist, sums it up beautifully: “One who is right does not need to use violence. Every drop of blood that is spilt is a sad waste.” Similarly, Jean Zaru, Palestinian Quaker, argues: “Violence dehumanizes the powerful and the powerless. Nonviolent resistance is the only way to bring transformation.”

Nonviolent resistance has many faces: civil disobedience, boycotts, demonstrations, hunger strikes, and so on and so forth. Mass media in the West usually depicts Palestinian resistance as relying heavily on terrorism and violence, but Maxine argues that we shouldn’t believe that Hamas-way is the only way: the bulk of the resistance against the systemic Zionist violence and military occupation is a non-violent resistance, including simply refusing to leave. She mentions, for instance, the movements in Gaza and the West Bank who oppose Israel’s invasive policy which aims to grab Palestinian territories, demolish Palestinian homes and build Jewish settlements, in explicit violation of International Law.

During the Second Intifada, in 2000, Maxine jokes that she was “a little bit older to be blocking bulldozers”. She is not alone in feeling that throwing rocks and molotovs against the Israeli’s war tanks will hardly serve the purpose of building lasting peaceful relations in the area. Refusing to Be Enemies attempts to provide various nonviolent ways to fight against Israel’s policies, including non-cooperation with institutions of the occupation and attacks made not against the living bodies of Israelis, but on the separating walls and barbed-wire fences that stink like Apartheid.

While discussing the “rockets” fired by Hamas militants into Israeli territory, which serves as a justification for Israel’s war of aggression against Gaza, Maxine suggested quite a radical approach: “I like the idea of firing rockets at the wall instead of over the wall.” If I understood her well, she means that the walls of Apartheid needs to be brought down and that dialogue and co-existence are the way to go.

As long as Israel isolates itself behind the walls of a bunker state, and refuses to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians to lead normal lives, without being crushed by military occupation and genocidal aggression, the cycle of violence won’t stop. An attitude of openness is needed, then; an ability to respect otherness, to relate healthly with difference. My doubt is, however, if this is possible in a context of religious creeds dogmatically believed in. Perhaps the path to peace lies only in moving away from fundamentalism and fanaticism, and into the realm of a secular democracy which respects and protects multi-culturalism?

Huwaida Arraf (ISM), from the Free Gaza Movement, argues: “If you want to fight Mike Tyson, you’re not going to do it in the boxing ring.” The military power of Israel, with all the aid it receives both in cash and weaponry from the U.S., makes it a Mike Tyson, unbeatable on the boxing ring, and that’s one of the reasons why nonviolent resistance is the chosen path by many activists, who inspire themselves on the examples, practices and theories of Gandhi, Thoreau or Gene Sharp.

Among the Israelis, there are many who refuse to serve the Army, even though they can be jailed for that. Peretz Kidron, one of this refuseniks, explains his choice of refusing to follow the orders of the military authorities: “I will not obey a law who is part of a broader policy and exemplifies it in a nutshell. It’s like Gandhi going down to beach to make his own salt. It was illegal. It wasn’t violent but it was deliberately flouting the law and inviting prosecution.”

A significant number of both Israelis and Palestinians are involved in nonviolent resistance, argues Maxine, and they use their criativity to come up with innovative ways to act, including writing protest songs with satyrical lyrics, refusing to engage in battle (and accepting disagreements to be dealt with through dialogue discussion), or wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag as a sign of solidarity with the independence struggle. The international community can also join this struggle by boycotting corporations whose cumplicity with Israel’s war crimes are proved: a large movement calling for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has gained momentum in 2014 as Gaza was under attack, and mass demonstrations have erupted all around the world, as the streets screamed out their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Global civil society is also a player in this nonviolent resistance movement and we must voice our outrage with all global powers who have blood in their hands.

It’s possible that the World Wide Web is truly helping out in the job of re-shaping international solidarity: while people were been slaughtered in Gaza by the hundreds, the Internet was flooding with reactions. Quickly, protest movements have come to life whose efficacy and immediacy would be unthinkable without the use of social media as tools. Sadly, 2014 is another tragic year for Mankind (we still haven’t managed to give peace a chance), but maybe there’s reason to be hopeful that Marshall McLuhan prophecy about the Global Village is becoming flesh: Gaza doesn’t stand alone. Its suffering is not being ignored. War crimes and Human Rights violations won’t be forgotten. It’s our collective duty to struggle to find paths to peace amidst these endless turmoils of violence. However, the question remains: will those who refuse to be enemies one day outnumber or overpower those who refuse to be friends?

In the following video, Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta provides some of her insights about these matters and how could we built another world by refusing to be enemies:



sunshineandsadness said:

I need to point out to you that Israel are and have been illegally evicting and displacing the Palestinian people for over half a century. Thousands have been murdered, women and children alike. So how, if Hamas is terrorist state, is Israel not?

"Israel are and have been illegally evicting and displacing the Palestinian people for over half a century."

  1. It’s not illegal to evict people from land you own.
  2. It’s not wrong to evict people who want to kill you, it’s common sense.
  3. A few thousand accidental civilian deaths isn’t evil. It’s tragic, but Israel isn’t trying to terrorise and murder them. If they stopped supporting people who set up rocket launchers around their homes and businesses, maybe they wouldn’t be dying so much!

And don’t even say “they want to kill them because of Israel’s injustice!!!” They wanted to kill the Jews decades before 1948 the establishment of the state of Israel.


Poll: Half of Palestinians support armed intifada against Israel

A public opinion poll published on Tuesday showed that half of the Palestinian public supports an armed intifada against Israel.
The poll, published by the Nablus-based An-Najah University, included 1,360 Palestinians (860 from the West Bank and 500 from the Gaza Strip) above the age of 18, was conducted during the period from 11-13 September. It has a margin of error of three percent.
The poll showed that 49% of respondents favored an armed intifada against Israel as opposed to 44% who said they were against it.
Still, 56% said they supported an unarmed and non-violent resistance against Israel, while 35% expressed their opposition.
The poll found that 57% of respondents expected the eruption of a third intifada in the West Bank. Only 32% said they did not expect such a thing to happen.
According to the results, more than 70% of the respondents believe there will be another military encounter with Israel in the Gaza Strip. Another 84% said they supported the Palestinian Authority effort to join the International Criminal Court.
The poll also confirmed the results of a previous survey that indicated increased support for Hamas following Operation Protective Edge.
The An-Najah poll showed that if presidential elections were held today, 22% would vote for a Hamas candidate as opposed to 21% who would cast their ballots for a Fatah nominee. More than 17% of respondents said they would not participate in the elections.
The poll also found that Hamas would receive more votes in a parliamentary election - 23% for Hamas as opposed to 21% for Fatah.
Asked about the role of the US in the Middle East peace process, an overwhelming majority of 90% of respondents said they viewed the US as being biased in favor of Israel.
The poll showed that 54% of respondents still supported the two-state solution, while 42% are opposed to a one-state solution.

A Palestinian boy stands next to mural graffiti with Arabic writing on the drawing of a tank reading: “Boycott! 16% of the cost of their (Israeli) products goes into the killing of children in Gaza” in the al-Azzeh refugee camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem on September 17, 2014. There have been growing calls for an economic, academic and cultural boycott of Israel over alleged human rights violations, including in Gaza, where a recent 50-day conflict has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians. (Photograph credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

anonymous said:

Don't believe in God, but believe he promised you some land... Wat...

I personally don’t believe in God, and his promise to the Israelites and their descendants has nothing to do with secular zionism. The Jews have an incredibly strong claim to the land because:

  1. The archaeological evidence. They built Jerusalem. They used to live there. History supports it.
  2. They have maintained a continuous presence in the area for 2,000 years. Though many Jews were part of the Diaspora, there were still some communities in the area, especially Jerusalem, where they were the majority.
  3. The British promised to give them a homeland. Since they had sovereignty over the land, they had the right to do that.
  4. The Jews legally captured territory during the 1947 Civil War in Palestine.
  5. They Jews successfully and decisively defended their communities and established the state of Israel in 1948 despite Arab invasion.
  6. Israel legally captured more territory during the Six Day War, including the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

All of those together give them the strongest and most legally sound claim to the land compared to anyone else. Some people believe in God and add in that seventh reason, but until I believe in God, I’ll omit that :)

Thanks for the message!


Assalamu Alaykum,

this msg is from sister to me to share with world :

Will he see his mother again ?

Yes if you will help..! Please don;t forget to reblog this post,i hope atleast this much you can do for him.may be your some friend can help…please re-blog…

her message :

//brother and sisters,

Im collecting fund for eye surgery of my sister son Bardar,he is victim of Israel bombing in recent Gaza war,family lost everything when Israeli tank bombed house,bardar lost his father also,last week 1 eye surgery was successful,2nd surgery end of this week.we still need 1650 usd is left for 2nd eye surgery.my campaign will end in 34 hrs.please help us…

please help us and remember us in your duas..


thank you.


May Allah swt bless the supporters of sister’s campaign.

Gaza 'closer than ever' to splitting from 'Palestinian Authority'

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


In a Tuesday speech, PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed-Rabbo whined that Gaza is ‘closer than ever’ to splitting from the ‘Palestinian Authority’ and of course he blamed Israel

Referring to the ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the “danger of the split between the Gaza Strip and West Bank has increased in light of failure to end the dispute.”

Speaking at a seminar in Ramallah organized by the Palestinian Peace Coalition group, Abed Rabbo claimed that Israel has for many years been seeking to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip “by sowing seeds of division” among Palestinians.

“Israel is today close to achieving its goal,” Abed Rabbo said.

And I thought they split in 2007 when Hamas kicked Fatah and the ‘Palestinian Authority’ out of Gaza…. Silly me….

Two dozen Palestinians from Gaza remain in Israeli detention; captors have threatened to rape the men’s wives.

Israel tortures prisoners captured in Gaza invasion 
Two dozen Palestinians captured during Israel’s invasion of Gaza this summer remain in detention more than three weeks after the 51-day offensive ended. 
While the men have had limited contact with their families, the legal team representing most of them says several have been tortured. 
"They testified in front of our lawyer that they were subjected to torture by the Israeli interrogators," Issam Younis, director of Gaza’s Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, told The Electronic Intifada on Monday.