israeli palestine conflict,


Jewish And Arab People Posing Together Online, ‘Refusing To Be Enemies’

In the midst of news about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some people are posting photos online for an international social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag, #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies. 

Gal Gadot/Wonder Woman: Intersectionnal feminism, antisemitism & the israeli-palestinian conflict

Lately, I’ve been reading many posts criticizing and calling for the boycott of Wonder Woman, because of Gal Gadot’s ethnicity, and political views. As a queer jewish woman, whose family comes from Algeria and Israel, I’d like to address those 2 particular points in this post.

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BTW I’m rethinking my two state stance, due to both actually being here now and having spoken with multiple people on the subject whilst here.
We spoke with a very right wing, settler, Bennett supporting lady, and right after we spoke with a very leftwing Christian Palestinian man who grew up going to Israeli Zionist schools, and the morning prior we spoke with a man who wasn’t really on the left/right divide, and was a secular Israeli Jew.

This has been pretty intense, to say the least, but one point was consistent: one way or another, a two state solution isn’t practical and just doesn’t have the population supporting it, and if it was forcibly implemented it would likely only worsen the conflict and hatred.

The Palestinian man suggested something like the “Swiss system”, where the Jews would have control of Jewish areas, Palestinians/Arabs would control their areas, possibly other larger sections could get separate control over their areas, and a larger government would connect these groups through joint control over military, food, water, roads, electricity, etc.

In his words, he said both Israeli and Palestinian populations due to their histories have developed a severe victim complex and thus both are reacting to a threat that they are creating BY reacting in the first place, in a two way fashion. Think if it like a causation loop, but it’s two circles stuck together.

I actually like this idea a lot, because it gives each group local autonomy and room for intra-politics, and then it gives another layer for national politics between the groups. It doesn’t stamp out Palestinian national aspirations, it doesn’t push the Israelis into the sea, it doesn’t murder this group or that group, and even opens the door for other groups to get a stronger voice, if they want it. The goal of this idea is to remove the stigma and slowly reduce the hatred, without there being a loser. Jews can still have law of return and Jewish culture protected, Palestinians can build up their infrastructure and resources without worry, the land itself stops getting blown up, the people are not stuck in constant anxiety with rockets overhead, and the Old City is jointly protected.

I think this is a more nuanced version of the “binational one state solution”, that rather that inspiring competing nationalisms and reactionary IntraPolitik, would instead foster brotherhood and autonomous respect.

To sum him up, he said “this land is a holy land to all of us, religiously and culturally. Dividing it, that wouldn’t help. It’s like the baby brought before king Solomon, cutting it in half would only kill the land and no one who really cares about the land would want that, only those who hate would want such a thing. The people of this land, regardless of ethnicity, have dealt with terrible governments and deadly conditions, and there is now a larger culture of hatred. The thing about hatred is that it is drinking poison and expecting the other to die from it. No, what actually happens is the reactionary hatred and religious fanaticism will swallow the people’s culture and destroy it from within. Look no further than Hamas or militant Charedim as my evidence. When all the focus, all the spending, and all the conversations are focused on hatred, revenge, separatism, and murder, then who is feeding the people, planting the trees, building the communities, or educating the children? Who is helping the poor, the needy? Who is watching and checking the culture? No one. With that route, there is no future, not because it isn’t possible to implement, but because it means death. I do not mean hold hands, sing, and everything will be fine, no, there is still negotiations to be had, repercussions and justice, apologies and learning, but it is this other path that can redeem the people.”

He also spoke briefly about BDS, in a manner that I adored. It was yo the effect of “the minority that is seeking change and has a nuanced conversation going, they are exploring, good for them. The majority, however, is antisemitic, actually exasperate the issues and fanaticism, and are not working with the Palestinians best interests in mind, rather they are imposing their British, American, Canadian etc ideological niche on a nuanced middle eastern context that they cannot relate to. I don’t believe in boycotts, they stop conversation, they stop thought, and they put walls where we should make bridges.”

So yeah. He was a very powerful speaker. I find this idea preserves Zionist goals, Palestinian liberation and justice, the will of the average person regardless of affiliation, and would (hopefully) satisfy the international community. This conflict is a true test of humanities maturity, I think. If this can be sorted out, then the rest of our issues can be also. If not, we are doomed to eternal wars and suffering for profit.

anonymous asked:

the campus at the college i may go to has an anti-israel day that is actually filled with not only false but anti-semitic sentiment. do you have any tips on how you would stay positive in this situation- especially when the people on the other side are unwilling to even talk about the validity of their statements?

My favorite tactic is to ask them if they boycott China because of the whole Tibet situation. It’s pretty telling that nobody has ever given me a straight answer about this. In fact, I have been outright blocked with zero commentary over it. Call them out on any hypocrisy they display and watch them squirm.


This is a really beautiful visual representation of what 00:15 seconds means to hundreds of thousands of Israeli people every day: the difference between life and death.

While Israel sends leaflets, text messages, phone calls, to the people of Gaza before an air strike, Israelis get no such warning and for the elderly, the differently abled, and those outside, this can mean that their life will be in danger.

Air raid sirens in Israel go off when a rocket approaches, not a mortar, not a terrorist. We are lucky to have the Iron Dome, but even that doesn’t truly defend us. 

These sirens are terrifying. For a child like myself, I grew up in the safety of the years between the Intifadas, after the Gulf War, I wasn’t in Israel during The Second Lebanon War, Gaza (2009). These sounds only burned into my conscious when I was 18 years old, a student in one of the most bustling, lively cities in the world. I had a minute to get to the shelter, and I was only subjected to this sound a few times. For the people of Sderot, they have no such luxury.

I remember standing on the street with my friend, having just gone grocery shopping, and hearing the siren (for the first time, for a real attack, not in memorium). The whole street stopped, confused, before panicked we ran to the nearest shelters. No child of the South is a foreigner to this concept. Some kids can even tell what kind of rocket hit by the sound they make.

No one deserves to live like that.

pinchoetorbust  asked:

Do you agree or disagree with Zionism and why?

@pinchoetorbust, I apologize for the delay in response time, I wanted to write a detailed, thought out post, and I haven’t had the time.

Ah, this is complicated, gear up for a long post. TW in advance for sensitive discussion, Israel/Palestine topic, genocides, and other such things relating.

In the traditional, historical sense of the term? I’m an ardent Zionist.

In the way that it was been redefined, and how it is understood by much the world? Absolutely not.

To dissect what I mean by that, let me preface this with a statement that this is a complicated and nuanced subject, which is weighs very hard on my heart and my identities, as a Jew, an activist, a socialist, ect.

Allow me define how Zionism is viewed by most today:

Zionism, to most of you I’d suspect, is either a saving grace from which the Jews have been able to retake the homeland, or Zionism is the evil plague, the oppression of the Palestinians, and potentially a colonial state.

Both of these narratives have some truth, both make assumptions, both are somewhat wrong, and both can lead to serious damage.

I take the more historical idea of Zionism, perhaps adding a slight religious bent for my own personal beliefs, but largely not. That is to say, I support Zionism as THE Jewish liberation movement, in seeking Jewish autonomy/statehood within the Jewish homeland. Ideally, this Jewish area would be structured as a socialist society, which may or may not mean no state, depending on what flavor of socialism/communism (some are stateless). I see Hertzl’s vision as a radical Jewish one, an answer to the Jewish Question which arose in Europe during the enlightenment. This debate was over the identity of the Jew, now allowed into society at large. This is also the same debate which tore Ashkenazic Judaism into sectarian movements of reform and orthodoxy, and later conservative, reconstructionist, and humanist (among others). Regardless of where Jews had lived, before the the enlightenment they were completely barred from society, not even allowed to be peasants. They had to live in separate, isolated communities, which were ransacked periodically. With the new age dawning, they were no longer confined. However, in order to cope with Christian-dominant society, they might have to abandon some traditions, aka assimilation/acculturation. Some said no, we are not “French Jews“, the French have never concidered us one of them before, why should we give up our culture? We are Jews, who happen to live in France, screw the french society. For other Jews, they saw this as emancipation, no longer were the kept in isolation. However, despite claims of toleration, it soon became clear that German, Dutch, and French societies still had ethnic objects to Jews, citing bloodlibels against even totally secularized Jews who were part of the state military! So, what would become the early Zionists arose and said look, the non-Jews won’t let us integrate, but we have our own history, language, faith, and culture. If the French, who are bound together by common language, history, faith, and culture can form a nationality, there’s no reason we shouldn’t either. Thus began Zionism, the Jewish liberation movement and nation-building project. Soon, Zionists began talking to other Zionists far away, eventually meeting and having councils to debate ideas and formalize positions.

Theodore Hertzl is usually considered the father of Zionism, as he cowrote on the subject and essentially drafted the first congress’s agenda. Both he and Moses Hess, the other main author, were heavily influenced by Karl Marx, with Hess become a proclaimed communist.  This is the backbone of what is now called Labor Zionism, the form that I personally think is most similar to my ideals. This first congress was in Basle, and both Orthodox and Reform communities objected, as the Reform largely sought acculturation while Orthodox wanted total isolation, both within local nation-states. It established the Basle program, which was divided into 4 main objectives for future Zionist aspirations, all working toward the idea that Zionism must seek to publicly and legally secure the Jewish home within Palestine. 1. The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine (some translate it has the farmers, the laborers, the artisans, and the craftsmen) (Palestine referring to the geographical area, in what we would today call Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, maybe even Lebanon, it’s not quite as clear because the Ottomans ruled the whole land at the time and the modern borders for the mandates came decades later). 2.  The federation of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries. (The entire Jewish world needs to be in contact, we have the technology!). 3. The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness (as any liberation movement would advocate). 4.  Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose (Jewish autonomy and liberation).

Now, during WW1, the British made a few promises, none of which were really kept.There was, most famously, the Balfour declaration, where the British tell the Zionistss that they will recognize Palestine as the Jewish homeland, and do everything in there power to secure the Jewish national home and autonomy (note: did not specify a STATE). However, in the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, the British ALSO tell the Arabs that they will support a pan-Arab state or confederation of Arab states within certain borders, IF AND ONLY IF the Arabs help fight the Ottomans (which they do). The British ALSO made the Sykes-Picot agreement with France, saying that the two nations would divide the land gained from the Ottomans into spheres of influence. Eventually, all three of these happened to one extend, and didn’t really to another. They lied, essentially, to everyone. They did start off supporting a Pan-Arab state, but quickly stopped once the Arabs made it clear that they wanted control over the Suez, and once British imperial/colonial ideas started to kick around for what would become the mandates. They did somewhat support the formation of Saudi Arabia, and massively screwed with Iran, both major factors in current Middle East politics. They split the land with France, but gave France the more difficult land, and all the territory was in the form of Mandates anyway. As for the Zionists, after the British controlled the Mandate of Palestine, they started to limit Jewish immigration, divided the populace (largely lumped sephardi/mizrachim in with the Arabs as “Arab Jews”, which might of been somewhat true, they were still primarily Jews and that move caused a lot of later ethnic cleansing of mizrachi/sephardim), and otherwise ignored the Jews.

I’d like to point out some articles of the mandate itself. Remember, the function of all the mandates was to prepare nations and/or land deemed unprepared for independent statehood. In the premise, it says “whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917……. in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and [affirming recognition of Palestine as Jew’s historical homeland]”. Article 2 states “[the mandate is responsible for things] as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home…and also for safeguarding in the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion”. Article 3 promotes local autonomy. Article 4: “An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine… The Zionist Organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency…”. Article 6: “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of the other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and wastelands not required for public purposes.” Article 7: “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up permanent residence in Palestine”. Article 9: “The Mandatory shall be responsible [for making a court system in Palestine that] shall assure to foreigners, as well as to natives,a complete guarantee of their rights. Respect for the personal status of the various peoples and communities and for their religious interests shall be fully guaranteed…. ” (it particularly names Waqfs, a Muslim religious function of endowment towards a cause).

However, in what is called the White Papers, specifically the MacDonald White Paper, some tensions were discussed, with some backtracking, and limits on immigration. In response, The Jewish Agency for Palestine released a statement in 1939. It essential boils down to concerns that the new policies are/will put(ting) the Arab majority in charge of the Jewish minority, which would prove harmful and unstable in that current set up because the Arabs were already attacking Jews over immigration as it was. They argued that the police effectively turned the Jewish areas into Ghettos, no different that the ones the Jews had been placed into in Europe and the Middle East for hundreds of years. They also saw this a move of complacency with Arab terrorism, undermining cooperation efforts, and going against the terms of the Articles of the Mandate. These new rules would not be followed peacefully, and could only be done by force, and thus were oppressive in nature, especially as they only applied to Jews, which further violated the Articles. Finally, these changes are made during the darkest of hours of living Jewish memory, when the Nazis [were] at their full height, such timing is abominable.

It was that strife that made the Jewish community loose its faith that the British were going to fulfill the promises it made, and THAT sparked a rapid increase in Jewish terrorist and counter-terrorist organizations. The British were now tense with both Jews and Arabs, and the Jews and Arabs were tense with each other.

Eventually tensions rose to the point where Britain wanted to bail, and handed the mandate to the UN. Its worth noting that during this time there were waves of Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and France, as well as the Hebrew language being revived. At the end of this part, German Jews were trying to immigrate and flee the Nazis, but the British refused to allow most entrance, due to fears of raising Arab tension and feeding an already ongoing cycle of back and forth violence.

The UN then decided to divide the mandate into two states, one for Ethnic Jews, one for Ethnic ‘Arabs‘. I say ethnic here because religious Zionism was still the lesser factor at this point, with most religious Jews utterly opposing any Jewish state OR autonomy without a messiah or temple.  A partition plan was drawn, and resolution 181 was put to a vote. Interesting, both the United States and the USSR voted yes, because both thought that BOTH nations could be brought into their spheres of influence. Due to Zionism’s marx-influenced roots and the Kibbutzim, the USSR was slightly more drawn to Jewish Palestine, and due to western involvement the USA thought that maybe Muslim Palestine could be a friend, however both expected both halves of the mandate to fall into their pockets. Decades later, the US would wind up with close ties to Israel, but primary because Iran hated Israel and had become USSR’s ally after the US+British botched a coup in Iran/Persia. (Interesting, nowadays, some of the Israeli rightwing seek realignment and want to become Russia+Turkey’s buddy, sometimes even praising Assad. While the vast majority of them wouldn’t stomach any warmth towards Iran, they also hate Saudi Arabia, who is also a US strategic regional ally.) However, the entire Muslim world (that was independent at the time) (I’m actually unsure about indonesia’s status at the time…), as well as India (which, today, actually has a rather warm relationship with Israel). Resolution 181 passed on November 29th, 1947, with more that 2/3 of the votes in favor of partition. Now, I must interject slightly and note the demographics here. The “Muslim Palestine“ half was comprised almost fully of Muslims, with a small Christian minority, and very few Jews. “Jewish Palestine“, however, had a larger amount of Christians, a Jewish majority, and large Muslim minority of about 40%. Those demographics are relatively the same today. There was a slight calm before the storm for a while. Then, on May 14th, 1948, the Israelis declared independence, sovereignty over the land of “Jewish Palestine“. Immediately, the Arab League wrote a letter to the UN, saying that they would declare war if this was allowed to continue. It was, and they did, and they also simultaneous deported almost the entire Jewish population of the Middle East and North Africa, except where they outright murdered us. The Israeli War of Independence, aka The Nakba, aka the First Israeli-Palestinian/Arab War, ect happened in two phases. The first phase was an internal conflict, where many Arabs formally accepted Israeli citizenship, some fled, and many decided to wait and see. The second phase, however, was much bloodier. As the incoming armies began invading, they told the Arabs to evacuate, that they would win and their belongings would be safely returned. Some where forced off so their land could be used as a base. The Israeli military also made bases and forcibly removed, or sometimes killed people.

I’d like to mention some outside sources, writings and such. In my class, we read some of My Promised Land by Ari Shavit (since then, sexual assault allegations were made public and we changed our course, not because it effected the topic at hand, but because we could find other sources), particularly the part about the orange growing Sabra who lived near Rehovot, most of his workers are Muslim Arabs. It provides some perspective on how the Sabras and Arabs had familiarity, and how the Sabras were torn in half by the conflict between Arabs and Jews, since Sabras (Jews whose family lines hadn’t left the land or had returned very long ago) were distinctly Jewish but had been alongside the Arab Muslims for many generations, some back to when the Muslims first arrived in the land. Another bit from the same source discussed Lydda, what Ari calls “the dark secret of Zionism“. As a class, we felt that any Zionist who was to be taken serious must acknowledge the horror Lydda. Some would say denial is stronger, we argue no. We must recognize that mistakes of the past, accept that they happened, accept the reality, or else our ideas are meaningless, much like how American denialism of Native American genocide creates a rift in American Idealism. For those unaware, Lydda was very a much an Arab cultural center, right in the middle of the land.In 1948, the city was destroyed. Ari talked to the military governor and soldiers from the 3rd regiment in order to reveal the secrets. He also went there, and he recalls “Unlike other cities where Israel overcame Palestine, here Palestine is still felt…Like the commander, I am faced with something too immense to deal with.“ He also bluntly states the struggled that I and others like me face, the black-and-white, “Either reject Zionism because of Lydda, or accept Zionism along with Lydda,“ a chilling decision. For me, I accept Zionism at its core, but Lydda and other events like it must never, never EVER be forgotten, and Israel has no excuse for those actions, Israel should not be allowed to get off scott free from those horrors. We also read the English translation of Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar, which was once (in Hebrew) mandatory reading in all Israeli schools. It is a semi-novelized telling of Yizhar’s own experiences as an Israeli soldier in the 1948 war, his issues with his fellows soldiers attitudes, and the stark, morbid realizations of what is happening. His brigade members are disgusted by the disabled Arabs, left behind by those who had fled. They all start bickering in egocentrical ways, about what to do, what they wished to do, what would happen to these people if they were sent over the line to the other Arabs, ect. He recalls that a woman walks by, with other woman, and she is holding a child. “There was something special about her. She seemed stern, self-controlled austere in her sorrow. Tears, which hardly seemed to be her own, rolled down her cheeks. And the child too was sobbing a kind of stiff-lipped “what have you done to us”. It suddenly seemed as if she were the only one who knew exactly what was happening…Something struck me like lightning. All at once everything seemed to mean something different, more precisely: exile. This was exile. This was what exile was like. This is what exile looked like. I couldn’t stay where I was. The place couldn’t bear me…. I had never been in diaspora (he was born in the land), -I said to myself- I had never known what it was like… but people had spoken to me, told me, taught me, repeated recited to me, from every direction…:exile….I went down and mingled with them like someone looking for something“. My class was a rowdy one full of rowdy students, but when we read this piece, all of us were silent, some teary eyed, some letting small sobs out (self included). This was once mandatory reading in Israel, so that regardless of how the individual wanted to hope the future should be like, none, not left or right, would ever forget the past. Yet, now barely any Israelis know this book, left or right, because it has faded from collective memory. That, and other changes like it, is (I believe) why Israeli society has become so polarized and shifted rightwing, they’ve forgot the past, delegitimatized the evidence and first hand accounts.

I could continue, but I think you get the point.

I continue to identify myself in these regards and a Leftwing Zionist, or perhaps as a Labor Zionist. I continue to uphold my ideals of Jewish Liberation, my connection to my people’s homeland, the right of the State of Israel to exist. HOWEVER, that is no excuse for the horrors that have been perpetrated, and certainly not the denialism thereof. There is much valid claims against Israel. There is also differences between being a Zionist and being pro-Israel, or being anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. (I feel mostly antizionism by non-Jews, almost certainly by non-Palestinian goyim, is inherently antisemitic, as it is denialism of Jewish Liberation.) (Note: not all Jews are Zionists, and there is valid critic of Israel without 1. being against Zionism itself or 2. without wanting to destroy Israel or 3. being antisemitic, though it usually bleeds into that quickly.) I’ve got beef with modern Israel’s internal issues between Jews and Arabs, I’ve got beef with the history of abuse against Sephardim and Mizrachim, I’ve got beef with the Israeli-Right, Certainly the Religious-Right. I’m anti-settlement (though my sister lives in one and I’ll be staying there soon for two nights, which will give me firsthand observation)  and I’m a Two State Solution kind of person. Also, Hamas is a terrorist organization, Abbas and Bibi both suck and profit from the conflict, and the way that Israel has slowly grown more capitalist with time literally sickens me and makes me sad.

I hope that at least gives some insight? My feelings are very complex in this subject, and they shift around a bit with time. I try to remain critical and nuanced, and I’m always looking to expand my knowledge in this regard, and on the Middle East as a whole. My MES class this year was quite a resource, I’m sad that its over.