If you can understand how Muslims have been racialized through the way North Americans see race but you refuse to admit that Jews are an ethnoreligious group and not just a religion that people of different racial backgrounds adhere to, your problem isn’t just that you don’t understand how to perform a basic google search, but that you have internalized western anti-Semitism, and your social justice is bullshit.
If you erase the historical and ethnic roots of a marginalized group to fit your wild prejudices about them and think that it’s okay because instead of using their name, you use other names that only hint at them (Jew vs Zionist, Zio, Rothschild, etc.) you are an anti-Semite and your social justice is bullshit.
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.
An Israeli Centurion tank plows through the Sinai Peninsula during the Six-Day War in 1967. Taking various provocations from the Arab states to be acts of war - the blockade of the Straits of Tiran being the last straw, Israel launched air attacks on all fronts, crippling much of their enemies air forces on the ground before the first day was over. Following up the air assault with ground offensives, the Six-Day War was a total success for the IDF, with Israel taking the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the entire Sinai Peninsula from their Arab neighbors.
PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES. West Bank. Near Nablus. Kfar Qaddum. November 11, 2016. A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel.
Photograph: Nedal Eshtayah/APA Images via ZUMA Wire
I am from a country of conservative Christians (and, especially, a school full of them), and almost every one of them has the same position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That position is to support every action Israel ever takes and condemn every action that any Palestinian group takes. In fact, Israel is only ever wrong when it’s too conciliatory.
I, being the degenerate heathen I was, never thought this made much sense. I was always as willing as anyone to be upset when Hamas launched a rocket, but was the only person to say anything when Israel bulldosed houses. I got into lots of arguments. I was consistently branded as a “Palestinian sympathiser”. And y’know what? I was OK with owning that. Everyone deserves sympathy.
But that’s just the thing. My interlocutors weren’tIsraeli sympathisers. They were no-one sympathisers. You could tell from the way they spoke that they didn’t really think of Israelis or Palestinians, Jews or Arabs, as actual people. They were props. There was a great dramatic conflict in heaven between the forces of good and evil, and Israel and Palestine were just set pieces. There was a story - a narrative - and it was up to Good and Righteous people to ensure that it had a satisfying conclusion.
And, for most of my life, I thought this was what most people believed. I thought that most people everywhere held the same position and supported Israel for Teh Narrative.
And then 14 year old me visited a Radical Leftist forum (as one does) and came across a thread asking for people’s opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one had replied yet, so I went first. I wrote a summary of my position - the one that usually got me called an offensive Palestinian sympathiser.
Needless to say, I was a little confused when the first reply I got was “die zionist colonial scum!!!”
Actually, most of them were like that. The ones that weren’t tried to explain to me why my opinions were Evil and Oppressive. I was particularly intrigued by how they could include exhortations to the Israeli government to be less racist along side angry claims that all Jews were bastards. Younger me found it quite strange and disconcerting.
But I noticed one thing that was familiar. I could tell, from that way they talked about the people they hated and the people they claimed to support, that they didn’t see any of them as people. Once again, they were props. There was a conflict between the forces of good and evil - the oppressed and their oppressors - and every Israeli or Palestinian who killed or was killed was a set piece. There was a story - a narrative - and it was up to Good and Righteous people to ensure that it had a satisfying conclusion.
the zionist idea: a historical analysis and reader by arthur hertzberg, the founding myths of israel: nationalism, socialism, and the making of the jewish state by zeev sternhell, comrades and enemies: arab and jewish workers in palestine, 1906–1948 by zachary lockman, land, labor and the origins of the israeli-palestinian conflict, 1881–1914 by gershon shafir, the formative years of the israeli labour party: the organization of power, 1919–1930 by yonathan shapiro, zionism and the creation of a new society by ben halpern and jehuda reinharz, the invention and decline of israeliness: state, society, and the military by baruch kimmerling, land and desire in early zionism by boaz neumann, eros and tragedy: jewish male fantasies and the masculine revolution of zionism by ofer nur, soviet and kosher: jewish popular culture in the soviet union, 1923–1939 by anna shternshis, farming the red land: jewish agricultural colonization and local soviet power, 1924–1941 by jonathan dekel-chen, becoming soviet jews: the bolshevik experiment in minsk by elissa bemporad, and jewish renaissance in the russian revolution by kenneth b moss
i also read the zionism chapters from eros and the jews: from biblical israel to contemporary america by david biale and unheroic conduct: the rise of hetereosexuality and the invention of the jewish man by daniel boyarin
i also read some articles worth mentioning, like “a study in red: jewish scholarship in the 1920s soviet union” by david shneer, “language of propaganda: the histadrut, hebrew labor, and the palestinian worker” and “picketing for hebrew labor: a window of histadrut tactics and strategy” by steven glazer, and “railway workers and relational history: arabs and jews in british ruled palestine” by zachary lockman
It is unfortunate that most people who are very vocal about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do not take a balanced approach. Sadly, most tend to adamantly support one side, and have nothing but disdain for the other. People who actually try and understand both sides are definitely in the minority. Most fail to see or show where each side is right, and where each was wrong. They do not want to or cannot see why both sides feel the way they do. They almost never talk about how it was non-Jewish and non-Muslim powers that initiated much of this and how they are also at fault. As far as I am concerned the lives and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians matter, they should all be taken into consideration, and if more people took a balanced approach to be more understanding of both sides, we would be living in a much different world.
JORDAN. Near Amman. 1969. Young Fatah recruits train by the refugee camp of Baka.
All these young people come from Palestinian refugee camps - most of them are orphans, their fathers having been killed in fighting. Many come from Karame, a bombed village near the Jordan River, victim of March 1968 fighting. They go to school in the morning and usually train in the afternoon. They start their training between the ages of 10 to 13, but they are only allowed to go into combat at the age of 16.
Jerusalem. June 9, 1967. In this iconic picture, several Israeli soldiers stand close together in front of the Western, or Wailing, Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, following its capture from Jordanian rule in the Six-Day War.
David Rubinger/Hulton Archive/Getty Images