WATCH: ‘With Hope Nothing is Impossible’: The Palestine Chronicle Football Squad Ready for Action

‘Believe firmly, because with hope nothing is impossible’.

Watch this short clip of The Palestine Chronicle-sponsored Youth Stars Center football team in Gaza, as they receive their new cleats and feature their Palestine Chronicle shorts and jerseys. The players also now have access to a grass field for their regular training sessions. 

These are some of the statements made by the kids in the video: 

  • “I can’t believe that we have full uniforms like football players on television”
  • “Jerseys, shorts, cleats, and a field: This is a dream come true”
  • “We would like to thank everyone who has helped us make this dream a reality”
  • And the sweetest of all: “Everything is going to be just fine”.

Note: All funds allocated to sponsor the Gaza team come from personal donations from Palestine Chronicle staff. However, if you wish to help, please contact us directly and we will put you in touch with the team managers in Gaza.

GO YOUTH STARS CENTER!

(The Palestine Chronicle)

The post WATCH: ‘With Hope Nothing is Impossible’: The Palestine Chronicle Football Squad Ready for Action appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Seattle Teachers Stand with Palestine

In response to the ongoing Israeli colonization, occupation and bombardment of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, on June 14, 2021, Seattle Education Association (SEA) Representatives passed a New Business Item (NBI) in solidarity with the People of Palestine.

Rooted in the principles of justice, human rights, and equality, the recommendation endorses the Palestinian call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel, and the End the Deadly Exchange Seattle campaign. The NBI passed by a 90% yes vote of the Representative Assembly. As Palestinian and Jewish educators and members of SEA, we stand in strong support of this monumental recommendation.

Palestinians are enduring a brutal Israeli occupation that has crushed the lives of millions of Palestinians and expelled hundreds of thousands from their homes. This issue may feel far away, but it is anything but. U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Seattle Police Department, have participated in exchanges with the Israeli Defense Force, training with them on policies such as surveillance, restrictions of movement, repression of social movements, torture and violence.

We see these tactics carried out by the SPD in the horrific murders of Charleena Lyles, Terry Carver, Derek Hayden, Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Tommy Le, Eugene Nelson, Robert J. Lightfeather, and countless others who have lost their lives at the hands of the SPD.

As Palestinian and Jewish teachers, we must speak out against Israel’s calculated attack on Palestinian education.  Gazan students are unable to secure study permits to access educational opportunities in the West Bank, let alone internationally, forcing many students to drop out of school and repressing the academic output of Gaza.  Roadblocks and curfews across the occupied territories lead to school closures for months at a time.

The Israeli detention of Palestinian minors without charge and accountability disrupts Palestinian youth from accessing education and leads to deep trauma. In Seattle, we see trauma at the hands of SPD and the school-to-prison pipeline. We know BIPOC children and families are disproportionately targeted by police and incarcerated.  As an academic institution that claims educational justice for all, it is crucial that Seattle Public Schools stand with our students and families denied their right to education from Seattle to Palestine.

We understand that it is a common reflex to look at “both sides” of an issue that feels so complicated but that sentiment mirrors the call for “All Lives Matter.” This is not complicated at all. We cannot continue obscuring the power dynamics and systemic racism at play, and equating state violence with the retaliation of the powerless. Calling for justice and holding Israel accountable for its behavior, a country that has been accused of systemic apartheid by international and Israeli human rights organizations is not anti-Semitic.

In the last year, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) released two official statements in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. BLM unequivocally stands for an end to incarceration, borders, racism, ethnic cleansing and police brutality. Israel is mobilized by incarceration, borders, racism, ethnic cleansing and police brutality. To stand with the BLM movement here is to stand with the principles of the BLM movement in a global context.

The same way the United States systemically oppresses Black Lives and people of color, Israel is systematically oppressing Palestinians, Afro-Palestinians as well as Jews of color. Israel is doing this with $4 billion dollars in aid, per year from the U.S. Those who identify as Zionists cannot stand for Black Lives Matter. These two things cannot exist at the same time. Historically, some of the most iconic activists for Black Lives have irrefutably stood with Palestine and expressed the importance of Palestinian liberation.

The SEA resolution is not an isolated action.  Educators and institutions from around the world have come forward, as part of a vibrant and growing international movement in opposition to Israeli colonization and apartheid.  Weeks ago, the United Educators of San Francisco and chapter chairs of the United Teachers of Los Angeles passed similar resolutions in solidarity with Palestinians.

As SEA members and educators, we are proud to stand with Palestinian families, faculty, employees and students of Seattle Public Schools. We will work to ensure that our recommendation is upheld and we call on brave individuals and institutions like our own to join us.  With each step, our movement’s strength is growing.

This Op-Ed is written by rank-and-file members of the Seattle Education Association and has not been approved by union leadership. The article was originally published in Mondoweiss.

The post Seattle Teachers Stand with Palestine appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Two Poems in Protest for Palestine

The protest for Palestine in Manhattan this past month was one of a kind. Erected in wake of ongoing displacements, settlement expansions, and militarized upsurges in East Jerusalem, Palestinian voices have risen to the surface. Loud and clear, “Free Free Palestine, from the River to the Sea,” descendants of grandparents dispossessed of their land, freedom, and integrities are crying out against Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide. 

-The first poem delves into the refreshing experience of solidarity during an NYC protest for Palestine.

-The second poem probes introspectively into WHY we have a duty and longing to protest at all.

I.

Painting Palestine through Protest

We painted Manhattan PALESTINE this day.

Green, Black, and Red— reflected interminably

off mirrored skyscrapers. Facets of

Emerald, Onyx, and Ruby braided street wires

 

into nutritious gyres that dynamize all.

Lighting fire fractals of freedom from within,

those khaffiyeh belts, flags and headbands of protest

inspire bystanders to accessorize

 

Better. Stronger.

We are all one: Sisters and Brothers

 

Bound by the Green of olive trees, zaatar leaves.

and jasmine laden irises of newborns

from within Hebron, Gaza, Jenin—

Palestinians cry shades of labradorite.

 

Tears imbued with iridescence flash

to grandpa jido’s large fig tree whose canopy

once concealed safe memories and hill stones—

retaliation for exhuming family bones.

 

Glimpses of the glistening seaside devolve

into visions of blinding ash from buildings shot

down instantly, precisely dissolved

into remnants of a much milder dust bowl.

Estranged by the cloaked colonizers in Black,

cadavers ferment decrepitly from Gaza…

Cold stone onyx pupils narrate pain,

stories lost with rain refueled by intifada.

 

Protest tenderizes outlook and sympathies.

Ruby Red fires hint muhammarra and blood

Hearts sizzle, torpedo and eclipse

like pomegranates whose chambers hold truth in bud.

 

II.

Moonlight Pill

Most of us cannot imagine screaming from our cores—

from underneath a pile of rubble,

only to have it rain double

debris that splits your family from four

 

Most of us cannot imagine treading obstacle

On the way to buy milk…walking to school…

Lambs poisoned and trees burnt with fuel

upon returning—this is no ordinary rule.

 

Most of us cannot imagine praying for freedom

within a sacred, stone, lead and gold dome—

where your prophet once preached, his home—

only to be shot at, tear gassed, and arrested.

 

Most of us cannot imagine watching our land

seized by foreigners against our will.

They deface, drill and derive thrill

from destroying your grandma’s grave, garden and quill.

 

Well, this is the Palestine pill for you. A wall stands

protecting the eyes of Israelis

accustomed to fragrant sea breezes

and multilayered intentions to seize it all.

 

Coexist? An unforeseeable dream—tender gleams

of moonlight sneak in their arak shots,

but it is never enough. Robots

will likely roam the earth before coexisting.

Farrah is a Professor of Literature and Modern Languages, educator, and Editor-in-Chief of Fractyll Culture Magazine. Her mother grew up under occupation in the West Bank, and several members of her family continue to reside in Palestine. She has been publishing poetry since high school, and derives solace in combatting apartheid through the transmutation of memory, hopes, and tears into poem. She contributed these poems to The Palestine Chronicle

The post Two Poems in Protest for Palestine appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Meet The Palestine Chronicle-Sponsored Football Team in Gaza (Photos)

The Palestine Chronicle and the Youth Stars Center in the Gaza Strip are proud to announce the launch of the Youth Stars Center Football Club. The team, consisting of 15 players and two volunteer coaches, is already hard at work, as they began their official training camp in the Qizan Abu Rashwan area, in Southern Gaza.

“We are very excited about the launch of our football team,” Ahmad al-Laham, the head of the board of directors of the Youth Stars Center, said. “It is part of a more comprehensive program that aims at providing badly needed services in this marginalized region in Gaza,” he added.

Al-Laham also said that future projects will include sports events for women in addition to expanding the existing anti-illiteracy programs. 

“This is a humble effort, as most of the small amounts of money allocated for the project are donated by editors at The Palestine Chronicle,” Palestine Chronicle editor Ramzy Baroud said, adding “but we are determined to make it a success.” 

“The trauma created by the latest Israeli war on Gaza and by previous wars, let alone the hermetic siege, left Gaza’s children with collective anxiety, fear, and at times, hopelessness. Sports initiatives like this can challenge that feeling of despair and give children the initiative and the hope so that they may fight back,” Baroud added.

The team’s jerseys, which carry the logos of the Youth Stars Center and The Palestine Chronicle, were the first installment of other contributions to follow.

The Palestine Chronicle invites its readers to be part of this project, and to also help the Youth Stars Center in their many other critical initiatives, including their educational programs, which aim at fighting illiteracy in the Qizan Abu Rashwan and surrounding areas.

“Women particularly, whose role is absolutely essential in Palestinian society, must be given access to basic education, so that they can fully satisfy their crucial mission in life, especially during these difficult times,” said Ghada Dabor, who heads the ‘women unit’ in the center. 

To learn more about the work of the Youth Stars Center, click here or contact The Palestine Chronicle for more information: info@palestinechronicle.com

[Featured image, from right to left: Said Kawari, Tawfiq al-Aqad, Subhi al-Laham, Dia al-Aqad, Saif Abu Sarrar, Rabi al-Laham, Zaki al-Najjar, Hamad al-Najjar, Se’id al-Tarabeen, Bilal Abu Sarrar, Ahmad al-Irjani, Awad a;-Najjar, Odi al-Najjar, Yousef Zurib and Osama al-Laham.]

(The Palestine Chronicle)

The post Meet The Palestine Chronicle-Sponsored Football Team in Gaza (Photos) appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

WATCH: Thousands Gather in London to Call on G7 to Support Palestinian Rights

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters gathered in London on Saturday calling on the Group of Seven (G7) leaders to support Palestinian rights.

The protest formed part of the “Resist G7 Day of Action for International Justice” organized by a coalition of groups calling on the G7 nations to “end all military-security cooperation with Israel, and employ targeted sanctions until Israel complies with international law,” the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said.

Organizers said over 8,000 people attended the protest, and 185,000 people directly contacted MPs to “pressure the UK government to hold Israel accountable for repeatedly violating international law, via the imposition of sanctions.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the protest and called on the G7, which was meeting in southwest England, to support Palestinian refugees and recognize the rights of Palestinian people.

“At today’s Justice For Palestine demonstration in London, I also called for a halt to arms sales,” Corbyn wrote on Twitter.

“UK-made weapons are killing civilians – including children – in conflicts abroad. This must stop,” he added.

The protest came two days before Parliament was set to debate a petition to introduce sanctions against Israel, after it received more than 380,000 signatures, above the 100,000 threshold required for it to be considered.

The text of the petition reads: “The government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.”

“Its disproportionate treatment of Palestinians and settlements that are regarded by the international community as illegal are an affront to civilized society.”

It came after Israel brutally attacked Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the final days of Ramadan and went on to launch airstrikes against the besieged Gaza Strip. Almost 300 Palestinians were killed across the occupied territories as a result of Israel’s attacks.

For 11 days, Israel launched attacks on the blockaded Gaza Strip. Health officials in Gaza say over 250 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, were killed and more than 1,900 wounded in air and artillery bombardments.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

The post WATCH: Thousands Gather in London to Call on G7 to Support Palestinian Rights appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Palestine Chronicle TV: The Youth of ‘The Palestinian Voice in Italy’

Palestinian author and journalist, Dr. Ramzy Baroud, hosts three guests from Italy: activists from The Palestinian Voice of Italy Sarah al-Bukhari and Ghazi Elamry, and Italian intellectual Romana Rubeo, to discuss the Palestinian discourse in Italian politics, media and society. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

The post Palestine Chronicle TV: The Youth of ‘The Palestinian Voice in Italy’ appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Antisemitism’s Misdirection: Who Gets Hurt?

Unfounded or unconfirmed charges of antisemitism made by US pro-Israel organizations, which are then parroted by the pro-Zionist US mainstream press, always increase when Israeli actions become so hideous they shame even some of its most dedicated supporters.

With the latest Israeli shelling of Gaza, its evictions of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, and the continuing Israeli police riots, raids and terrorism in and around the al Aqsa mosque and in mixed Jewish/Palestinian cities, this is just such a time. This is a time for the expected explosion of false reports trumpeting the sudden outbreak of violence against Jews throughout the US and the alleged alarming increase in antisemitic incidents generally.

All ethnic, racial and religious minorities experience hatred and racially motivated aggression. Jews are a minority and thus are included in this, but Jews are also a very privileged ethnic group in American society. The systemic antisemitism that existed in the 50s and 60s is a thing of the past. Today Jews have the highest average income of any ethnic or religious community. They are integrated into the power structure, with overrepresentation in many professions including politics, medicine, law and the media. Recently Jews married into the families of two former presidents (Clinton’s and Trump’s).

When you add the fact that most Jews are physically indistinguishable from the white majority, it makes the purported antisemitism crisis sound very illogical, especially when contrasted with discrimination and hate crimes against other minorities. However, Jewish organizations have a long, documented history of successfully promoting the concept of an antisemitism crisis especially when there is an increase of criticism of the Jewish state.

“Documented” antisemitic crimes have included everything from waving a Palestinian flag, not mentioning the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah at Christmas time, to not recognizing the Jewish 2000-year-old claim to sovereignty over the land of Israel. Not to mention that the offense is counted as extra harmful if one states the undeniable truth that many Jews have and employ political and economic power in the US to support and defend Israel.

One recent glaring example of the manufactured antisemitism crisis, is when the New York Times, the most powerful unabashedly pro-Israeli US media outlet, ran a story by Ruth Graham about what she characterized as a violent antisemitic hate crime committed by pro-Palestinian protesters in the streets of West Los Angeles. According to Graham, a caravan of pro-Palestinian street demonstrators assaulted Jewish patrons who were sitting in an outdoor dining facility at a Los Angeles sushi restaurant.

The main source of this story was a conference call that featured a representative of the LA Police hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The latter is a pro-Israel organization that has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to defending Israel against criticism and to attacking those it considers enemies. The activities of the LA Federation include financing the Canary Mission, a website that smears young Palestinian-American activists, pro-Palestinian academics and other activists with false charges of antisemitism.

The Federation has caused many of their victims to suffer numerous indignities including losing their jobs. For Palestinian-Americans a listing on the Canary Mission website may lead to searches and hostile interrogations upon entering Israel, and for some, to being refused entry to visit family upon arrival there.

It is highly inappropriate for the LA police to be participating in a press conference about an ongoing investigation into an alleged antisemitic hate crime that is hosted by an organization like the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, one that has a long history of promoting false charges of antisemitism. It should be noted that the Los Angeles Jewish Federation donates large sums of money to many organizations and institutions which can help them with their pro-Israel agenda.

Perhaps, the LA Police Department is a natural place to invest money to finance US police trips to Israel where officers are taught to use the same repressive methods that are used against the Palestinian population in the apartheid Jewish state. And – among the numerous large monetary donations the Federation makes, one should not be surprised if a gift given to the LA police department would gain a sympathetic ear when the Federation and other pro-Israel groups direct the police to crimes they claim are motivated by hate against fellow Jews.

Max Blumenthal, editor of thegrayzone.com, has written an eye-opening article about the many dubious recent claims and videos purporting to show antisemitic violence being committed by pro-Palestinian activists, which includes a debunking of the alleged Los Angeles restaurant attack video. Blumenthal documents how the numerous reports of pro-Palestinian violence against Jews are mostly either instigated by violent Jewish pro-Israel counter-demonstrators or simply fabricated events by pro-Israel groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, or the many local Jewish Federations in US cities. The fabricated incidents are later promoted as real to the US media by these same groups.

These propaganda operations are greatly facilitated by the social networking pro-Israel community of users of the Act.IL app which is supported by Israeli government security institutions such as the Office of Strategic Affairs and Jewish organizations in the US such as The Maccabee Task Force. The app users amplify and create messages that are helpful in promoting a pro-Israel agenda. Furthering the idea of the growing problem of antisemitism in the US is now one of the top priorities of Act.IL.

Articles such as Ruth Graham’s Times piece also portray the LA restaurant incident in the New York as a continuation of the “escalating violence” in Israel (with no mention that Israel is the cause of the violence), which has “sparked” a series of violent hate crimes against Jews across the US. The inference is clearly that the clashes in the US are somehow equivalent to the horror of Israeli war crimes. Incredibly, it aims to take the news focus away from those crimes onto the imagined plight of Jews in the US. Graham continued to plough similar ground six days later in a piece titled.

US Faces Outbreak of Anti-Semitic Threats and Violence with prominent mention of the LA restaurant incident (but no further details of the investigation) and with a heavy reliance on surveys conducted by the very pro-Israel ADL, which has a long history of dirty tricks promoting Israel and attacking its critics.

This false narrative about marauding Palestinian activists terrifying innocent Jewish bystanders because they are Jewish and the creation of a myth of an antisemitism crisis in the US, is being amplified not only by the media, but also by pro-Palestinian activists like Yousef Munayyer and Rebecca Vilkomerson on Twitter.

Munayyer, a Palestinian-American and former head of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights is a moderate, even-tempered advocate for the Palestinian cause. He is articulate and widely published with the ability to ingratiate himself with Jewish progressives like the JVP who are longtime supporters of false claims of antisemitism. In this tweet by Munayyer …

Those doing this [antisemitic crimes] are not in solidarity w/ Palestinians, they are in solidarity with racism, a force we suffer from. What separates our struggle for freedom from Zionism is it is about securing our rights by not denying them to others. Anyone in solidarity with us must model that.

… he swallows the narrative of Palestinian antisemitism and violence hook, line and sinker and thus reinforces the dubious assumption that there exists a serious problem with violent antisemitic Palestinian activists. Maybe this is the price a Palestinian must pay to get his/her voice onto the New York Times opinion page.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, the former head of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), unsurprisingly amplifies the false antisemitism narrative with this tweet:

Antisemitism, by people purporting to support Palestinians or anyone else, is never ok. My Palestinian comrades have consistently spoken out against antisemitism & continue to say clearly, even as they fight for their very survival, that antisemitism is antithetical to their values.

Vilkomerson follows up by approvingly quoting the Munayyer tweet above.

The JVP under Vilkomerson progressed from a liberal Zionist organization to one with a declared position of anti-zionism. They have made productive intersectional alliances and brought attention to the training of US police in Israel among many other important activities.

However, Vilkomerson and the JVP also attacked activists as Alison Weir and the Jewish Israeli-American, Miko Peled, with unfounded claims that both had made antisemitic statements. JVP even prohibited its local chapters from hosting Weir despite her popularity with the rank and file. JVP now runs numerous webinars and devotes many tweets to the subject of antisemitism. Showing concern about alleged rising antisemitism is a signal to the greater Jewish community that one still feels loyalty to the tribe. I think that for the JVP leadership there also exists the assumption that a campaign against antisemitism will earn them credibility with their co-religionists and somewhat protect them from the wrath of pro-Israel organizations.

In the Syracuse, New York area where I live, the Jewish Federation of Central New York has conducted a campaign against a handful of pro-Palestinian activists, many in their 70s and 80s, with not only false charges of antisemitism, but with the claim that their demonstrations have caused the local Jewish community to be “concerned about their physical safety.” Pressure from the Federation has already apparently convinced a local progressive group, the Syracuse Peace Council, to consider adding combatting antisemitism, on an equal footing with their Native American and Black advocacy. The Peace Council has formed a special committee dedicated to communicating with the Federation. In an internal email communication, one prominent Jewish member of the group who is leading a campaign for Jewish rights be part of the agenda of the group, wrote that Jews suffer from “systemic oppression” [bold letters in email, ig} in the US. And this from a leader of a group that has anti-imperialism and anti-war as one of its guiding principles!

Pro-Israel lobby pressures are obviously being felt and acted upon at the highest levels. On May 27, Democratic Party spokesperson and political operative Donna Brazile, wrote a hyperbolic op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which like the New York Times is a newspaper that enthusiastically peddles Zionist propaganda.

Brazile claims her bona fides as a child of slavery and the Black struggle in the US and informs us that during the year of Black Lives Matter protests over the George Floyd and other police killings of her Black brothers and sisters, an equivalent attacks motivated by irrational hatred against American Jews also appeared across the US.

Then the Democratic Party spin queen makes the startling statement that not only is antisemitic violence “sparked” by “fighting” for which Israel, of course, bears no responsibility, but what seems to be politically motivated violence is not political at all, but just “an excuse to mount assaults against Jews.”

The latest eruption of anti-Semitism has been sparked by fighting between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip. But the perpetrators of these vile anti-Semitic attacks, in the U.S. and elsewhere, use the actions of Israel as an excuse to mount assaults against Jews. (emphasis mine, ig)

How Brazile came to this totally erroneous conclusion that what may be isolated incidents of politically motivated violence is actually a pandemic of pure racial violence against Jews is never explained. How could it be? It is insane spin. And that is what is going on here.

The Brazile op-ed presaged the heavy-handed events which happened next. Douglas Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, convened a meeting of influential representatives of the Jewish pro-Israel community to assure them that the Biden administration is “all in” for what appears to be a massive campaign to combat antisemitism.

This administration war on antisemitism will no doubt include more laws against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, more pressure from the Department of Education to restrict pro-Palestinian events at colleges and universities, more pressure to limit the freedom of speech and activism of Students for Justice in Palestine (SPJ) and more pro-Israel officials in the administration. So it goes ….

In contrast to the attitude of Vilkomerson, Munayyer, The New York Times writers, the husband of the Vice President and so many others, a recent voice of reason has garnered considerable attention on social media. That voice belongs to Amer Zahr, whose Twitter account describes him as a comedian, law professor, Palestinian and surrogate in the Bernie Sanders campaign.

A video from a recent Twitter thread demanding that pro-Palestinian activists stop condemning antisemitism because it “plays into the opponents’ game” has received almost a half a million views. He reminds his followers that false antisemitism charges have been a tactic used by Zionists for decades to divert attention from Israeli crimes. In his Twitter thread Zahr correctly points out that if a few idiots may have acted inappropriately, then people should condemn the specific acts, and not assume the Zionist narrative that antisemitism is a problem in the pro-Palestinian movement, because it simply is not and has never been.

As Shulamit Aloni, an Israeli politician quoted in Zahr’s thread, famously stated in a 2002 interview with Democracy Now, “antisemitism is a trick we [Israel] always use it” to stop people from criticizing Israel. What is now called “weaponized antisemitism” was not only by Israelis but also by pro-Israel groups in the US and Europe for years.

It is still employed to attack critics of Israel, by Israelis and its international supporters. The difference between then and the present is that the antisemitism charges are not only limited to attacks upon individual critics but are employed against groups such as activists, particularly Palestinians. Antisemitism charges are even used to characterize US society as a whole as discriminatory and violent toward Jews, at least, on a par with anti-Black or anti-Muslim discrimination.

It is obvious that the campaign to promote antisemitism as a significant social problem in the United States, serves to divert attention from the actions of the Israeli government. It also suppresses pro-Palestinian speech and activism because of the threat of a campaign of smears of antisemitism directed at the activists. But when the false charges move from being directed at individuals to being directed at groups and even the whole society, those charges serve to indemnify Israel and the massive support army of pro-Israel partisans both Jewish and non-Jewish, from facing opposition to the injustices they are promoting. In a truly Orwellian twist, the defenders of Israel become the victims and not the aggressors in the eyes of many.

The purveyors of the false narrative of antisemitic activists threatening Jews in the streets of America and the fabricated myth of the growth of antisemitism in the US (the research for which is generated by pro-Israel institutions like the Anti-Defamation League) are Americans that are predominately part of a very privileged class with much to lose by supporting positions which are considered unjustifiable. These people should be challenged not coddled or feared.

Malcolm X never pined over the possibility of innocent members of American white society being made to feel uncomfortable by the growing righteous anger of Blacks in the ghettos. Anti-apartheid activists in the 1970s and 1980s did not empathize with the pain that Afrikaners said they suffered because their way of life was being threatened. When the pro-Israel community comes to us with their ludicrous cries of discrimination and absence of physical safety in the United States, we should follow the example set by Malcolm and the anti-apartheid activists.

Do not coddle the oppressors with pledges to fight antisemitism, shame them and make them feel the guilt they deserve and the righteousness of your anger for what they are doing to help promote the destruction of Palestinian society.

Ira Glunts is a Jewish-American retired college librarian who lives in Central New York. His articles about Palestine/Israel have appeared in Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Palestine Chronicle, AntiWar and Mondoweiss. Mr. Glunts’ Twitter feed is @abushalom. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The post Antisemitism’s Misdirection: Who Gets Hurt? appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

On the Rise of Antisemitism from an Anti-Zionist Jewish Perspective

On May 25, 2021, Politico reported a rise in antisemitic attacks on the Jewish population in America. Writing in the midst of the latest escalation of violence towards Palestinians by the Israeli regime, Politico reporters Nicholas Wu, Andrew Desiderio and Melanie Zanona lost no time conflating antisemitism with Palestinian resistance.

“The recent violence in Gaza,” the three explain, “has been the backdrop for discriminatory attacks against Jews in multiple U.S. states, in addition to other cities around the world.” Deconstructing this introductory sentence offers a starter, too, into the ways that the press uses discrimination against one group in order to promote prejudice against another.

On Thursday the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shared early reports of 193 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. amid a week of conflict in the Middle East, compared with 131 during the previous week. “As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. He continues: “ADL’s Center on Extremism has documented dozens of anti-Israel protests in the U.S. since the violence in Israel began, and more are planned.”

Not only is Greenblatt erroneously melding antisemitism with support for Palestine, the ADL itself is no model of progressive activism. For example, the ADL refuses to put antisemitism within the context of rising hate crimes in this country. Instead, it not only centers antisemitism but also enables aggression against other groups of people by funding police training in Israel that then relocates those techniques back home.

Moreover, the media itself uses certain language on purpose to blame the victims for their own oppression. Accordingly, the Politico article goes on to report that,

“with more Democrats openly championing the Palestinian cause, Republicans are accusing them of abandoning the closest U.S. ally in the Middle East and playing into the hands of the terror group Hamas, which was firing thousands of rockets into Israel before a cease-fire announced Thursday.”

In the quote above, it appears that the reporters are focused only on Hamas as the sole perpetrator of violence. Its erroneous enough to label Hamas as a terror group, when indeed it was acting in response to Israel’s provocative incursion into Al Aqsa Mosque. In addition, the article leaves out Israel’s bombing of Gaza as well as the escalation of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, both of which left over 200 dead, many injured, and recent roundups of Palestinians in the West Bank in return for losing face in Gaza.

Given those omissions, all of which blame the victims for their deaths, the reporters contribute to making Israel appear to the be the innocent victim of violence. How does this relate to antisemitism? It doesn’t, but it gains clear sympathy for Israel and its supporters while labeling groups opposing that stance as terrorists.

All of this contributes to the murky situation that Israel, and indeed global Jewry, finds itself to be in. As Jonathan Cook explains, Israel’s apologists

“cannot defend Israel uncritically as it commits war crimes or seek legislative changes to assist Israel in committing those war crimes – whether it be Israel’s latest pummelling of civilians in Gaza, or its executions of unarmed Palestinians protesting 15 years of Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave – and accuse anyone who criticizes them for doing so of being an antisemite.”

As the Zionist regime attempts to justify and/or erase its latest excursion into ethnic cleansing, it is also facing an increase in worldwide support for Palestine. Indeed, in Washington DC, more than 1000 people rallied on the stops of the Lincoln Memorial to voice their solidarity.

This leaves Israel with an increasingly narrow choice of allies. There are the Christians United for Israel (CUFI), perhaps the largest Israel lobby group in the United States. Nevertheless, as Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb reports, right-wing supporters of Israel are neither friends of Jews nor Palestinians, for CUFI’s leaders spout, she says, a “toxic blend of anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and sexism.”

“While their support for Israel is supposed proof that their program is not anti-Semitic,” Gottlieb notes, “CUFI’s adherents’ interest in Israel is little more than a declaration that Jews are only useful insofar as they trigger the end of days.” In this scenario, the plight of Palestinians is not worthy of concern.

“This kind of pseudo-fundamentalist theology has long been the basis for white supremacy and colonialism,” she concludes, which leaves Israelis and their supporters in league with the very people who hate them.

For those of us who believe that “justice is indivisible,” as Professor Rabab Abdulhadi claims, antisemitism should no more be acceptable in our ranks than racism, sexism, homophobia along with all of the other discriminatory forms.

But should it should not be centered at the expense of other crimes, particularly at a time when Palestinians are suffering in their own land, Africans (Blacks) are being shot in greater numbers by racist American police, and crimes against Asian Americans are on the increase.

Antisemitism exists. I’ve felt it in my own life as have my family, but it’s taught me to fight against injustice everywhere, not place my own experiences at the center. Moreover, there have always been infiltrators in social justice movements who are ready to commit acts that discredit the entire group.

According to journalist Max Blumenthal, pro-Israel lobbyists have manufactured many of these instances in order to detract from increasing criticism of Israel’s most current war crimes. In a recent article, he carefully documents examples of edited videos and suspicious allegations designed to deflect attention away from Gaza.

It’s important, too, to be aware of the ways that the media uses language in order to whitewash the Israeli government while also tarnishing Palestinian resistance with the label “terrorist,” a racist move in itself because it seeks to reduce an entire group of people to a derogatory stereotype.

From Palestinian activist Iyad Burnat, shortly after his two sons were arrested by the Israeli police during their recent roundup: “We would have stood with the Jews against the Nazis as they had every right to resist the Nazis and defend themselves. So why do you call the Palestinian resistance “terrorism”?”

“It’s easy to repeat the common narrative,” Steven Salaita reminds his readers. “Being mindful is super-important. It’s a constant demand.”

“Understand [too],” Salaita writes,

“that Zionists in North America are setting the groundwork for a new round of punishments. They do it with every Israeli massacre (and in between). The pattern is obvious. It hasn’t changed in decades. And every time it happens, a lot of damn fine people–devoted anti-racists and compassionate activists–suffer significant personal and professional harm. Don’t be the kind of sucker who, in a misguided attempt to sound civilized, facilitates Zionist punishment by repeating their insidious talking points.”

In recent weeks, several celebrities have backtracked on their support for Palestine, as have certain Black leaders who did the same, partly because of the fear of being tarnished with the charge of anti-Semite. Again, in the words of Steven Salaita, “if you’re unwilling to face down a punishment with your principles intact, then you have nothing positive to offer the oppressed and persecuted. Better to just keep out of the way. Conciliation is more harmful than silence.”

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The post On the Rise of Antisemitism from an Anti-Zionist Jewish Perspective appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

From Karachi to Sheikh Jarrah: The Why and Why Not of Palestine Solidarity in Pakistan

As part of the ongoing Nakba, Israel has once again unleashed its latest reign of terror on Palestine over the past two weeks, in response to resistance by Palestinians against ethnic cleansing of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem (meant to eviscerate both Palestinian social and cultural life from the city). During this time, Israel has razed Gaza’s residential buildings to the ground, bombed its refugee camps and demolished its already crumbling infrastructure.

Israeli tanks and artillery also launched a ground offensive, supposedly “fighting” a civilian population in northern Gaza, which has little ammunition other than pebbles and stones to defend itself with. Within 48’ Palestine (what are now Israeli cities), armed right-wing Israeli mobs, supported by Israeli police, forced their way into Palestinian homes, terrorizing families, and lynched Palestinians on live television. Palestinian businesses have been ransacked. The infamous “administrative detentions” of Palestinians (indefinite imprisonment without a charge or a trial) also began with renewed vigor.

Mainstream Western, and surprisingly at times even Al-Jazeera, have referred to these events as “clashes”, “a conflict” and “a civil-war”. Meanwhile, Palestinians, and those in solidarity with them, have pointed out that this terminology is grotesquely false, and an attempt to create absurd equivalences between an occupied population and its occupiers. Palestinian Australian scholar Lana Tatour, for instance, has argued that the use of the term “civil war” to describe what is taking place within 48’ Palestine obfuscates the racist, settler-colonial nature of the Israeli state and Israeli “citizenship”.

For a majority of ordinary Pakistanis, Palestine has always been an issue close to their hearts. There is a buried history of Pakistanis going to fight alongside the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and of Pakistani writers and poets penning hundreds of songs of lament against Israeli occupation and its powerful supporters, and in solidarity with Palestinian freedom fighters. One of Yasser Arafat’s closest bodyguards and confidantes was a Pakistani. Large numbers of Palestinian students came to study in Pakistan. In addition, one of Pakistan’s greatest intellectuals, the late Eqbal Ahmad, was one of the closest friends of the most powerful intellectual voice of the Palestinian struggle – the late Edward W. Said. Eqbal was respected not only by Said but also by Yasser Arafat (and the entire leadership of the PLO), so much so that they actively insisted that he become one of their leading advisors, from the first Palestinian intifada onwards.

At the flip end of this coin, is the darker history of Black September. i.e. the 1970 massacre of Palestinians, in which Pakistan’s erstwhile General Zia-ul-Haq (who in 1977 launched a coup in Pakistan and become the military dictator for ten years) collaborated with the Jordanian monarchy in killing Palestinians. As Pakistanis, it is important to acknowledge and condemn this history – to see the face of significant elements of state institutions that would sell-out the oppressed the first opportunity they get, even as they wax lyrical about their commitment to the latter’s liberation.

At the same time, this incident does not undo the commitment that many ordinary Pakistanis have historically expressed, and often practiced, to the Palestinian cause. Unfortunately, the deep connections that were cultivated over decades, slowly died out as the era of third world decolonization and international solidarity withered away. Today, Pakistani ‘civil society’ and popular media have little recollection of involvement in global anti-colonial struggles.

Another important critique that has been made about Pakistan’s politics of solidarity with Palestine, is that here, much like in many other Muslim countries, the commitment to Palestine is due in large part to the issue being framed not only as something of concern for the Muslim ummah, but also as simply emanating from religious differences – or more bluntly, religious animosities. To some, this simply proves the “inherently” anti-Semitic nature of Muslim societies. The often casual anti-Semitism that characterizes public sentiment, commentary by certain analysts and politicians, as well as statements made by right-wing religious groups and parties in Pakistan, is indeed absolutely despicable. It is imperative that we combat it on every level.

Yet recent scholarship has demonstrated that the ‘religionization’ of Zionist colonization of Palestine really only picked up with an avalanche of anti-Semitic sentiments being exported to the Islamicate world from the deeply anti-Semitic Western world itself – in many ways tracing its origins to 1492. It is also worsened by the Israeli State’s own rabid racism and Islamophobia, most glaringly displayed by the military infiltration of the Al Aqsa compound during the month of Ramadan just two weeks ago (and once again at the Friday prayers right after the declaration of the ceasefire).

The scholar Gilbert Achcar, in his book The Arabs and the Holocaust, documents that the orientalist cliché of some inveterate Muslim anti-Semitism is erroneous. Indeed, it was largely in Muslim lands that Jews had felt safe to live for many centuries. It was primarily with the modern settler-colonial and secular nationalist ideology (and praxis) of ethnic cleansing of Arabs embedded in Zionism, as well as the thoroughly developed anti-Semitic ideology of Europe arriving in Muslim lands in the twentieth century; that we begin to see many Muslims join their European counterparts in anti-Jewish racism. A renewed investment in anti-colonial and decolonial struggles then is crucial for us to not only support Palestinian liberation, but also to struggle against anti-Semitism in our own communities.

To this end, it heartening to see the birth of a Palestine Solidarity campaign comprised of many progressive activists, public intellectuals, students and people from all walks of life in Pakistan. Many large and small protests for Palestine have been organized in Pakistan over the last week, and Pakistani mainstream media has reported on the bombardment of Gaza, and the larger issue of Palestinian liberation, with zeal.

Yet one cannot ignore the broader geopolitical juncture at which we stand, or forget that it was only last year that a somewhat different picture seemed to be at play within Pakistan. A number of Arab Muslim countries, most notably the United Arab Emirates (UAE), chose to normalize relations with Israel (finally revealing the open secret of the cozy relationship of the two countries), blatantly ignoring Palestinians’ call for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” of Apartheid Israel. In turn, international pressure grew from the ‘brotherly Muslim countries of the Gulf’ on Pakistan to do the same. This included insidious threats to Islamabad from Riyadh, which under Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) was very much at the forefront of the push for cementing ties with the Zionist regime.

The threats from MBS to deport Pakistani laborers, to halt oil supplies to Pakistan, to renege on its promised loans, and probably a whole bucket list of other antics that the rather sadistic Saudi Crown Prince could come up with – are in fact regurgitated every time that Islamabad does not prostrate itself completely to Saudi demands. MBS believed he could create enough wedges between Prime Minister Imran Khan who opposed normalizing relations with Israel on the one hand, and the Pakistani military high command on the other, which was keen on the idea, to achieve his goal. This back-dealing between MBS and some of his favored, pliant Pakistani generals also reignited interest on social media in Middle East Eye’s report from back in 2018 (around the same time that Israeli delegations were visiting the UAE and Jordan) of an Israeli plane (or more specifically a private plane that flew from Israel) landing in a Pakistani airbase – claims that were categorically denied by the Pakistani Government.

As the absurd theatrics intensified – obviously funded by the Zionist regimes of the Gulf – it was perhaps no surprise that out of the blue, a number of Pakistani journalists, including prominent establishment-cozy ones such as Kamran Khan of Dunya News and Mubashar Luqman of 24 News HD began discussing the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel. Kamran Khan’s tweet, for instance, declared that, “Nations don’t have permanent friends or enemies, only interests,” and therefore, “Pakistan must also revisit its Israel policy.” Similarly, Moeed Pirzada, a TV anchor and a putative ‘strategic analyst,’ stated on his Youtube channel that Pakistan’s refusal to have any relationship with Israel had depended on (i) Pakistan historically following the lead of Arab countries in order to show its solidarity with the larger Muslim world, (ii) “Israel”, “yahoodi (Jewish)” etc. were “trigger words” in Pakistan akin to Qadiani/Ahmedi and simply played on “emotions.”

Even as he explained that historically Jews and Muslims had amicable relations living side-by-side, he chose to make no distinction between Zionist and Jewish, and between a racist sentiment of Anti-Semitism and a politics of boycotting a brutal, warmongering Israeli settler-colonial state. Now that Arab countries had themselves changed their position, Pirzada argued, it was high time that Pakistan, too, makes a rational calculation and reconsiders its policy towards recognition of Israel.

Perhaps the more shocking, and least remarked upon contribution in this regard came from none other than Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa. A political scientist with a focus on security studies, and the famous author of “Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy,” Dr. Siddiqa is best known for her scathing criticism of the Pakistani military, its interference in politics, and its commercial and economic interests. Importantly, she is not just another International Relations (IR) and Security Studies academic: she identifies as a feminist and has written on the topic; and has a close relationship with many in progressive circles in Pakistan. She has no doubt earned her badge of honor for speaking against human rights abuses in Pakistan, especially where the military in involved – as in when it had engaged in wholesale internal colonization and displacement ventures such as in the Military Farms in Okara. On these matters, Dr. Siddiqa’s work has been laudable.

Yet in an article published in January 2021 on the Indian news site, The Print, Dr. Siddiqa appears to agree that it was in Pakistan’s best interests to recognize Israel. She starts by noting that Saudi Arabia wanted Pakistan to take this step, and that Pakistan’s military was willing to oblige. It was only Prime Minister Imran Khan who had refused, simply because “it would prove politically costly” for him.

The possibility that perhaps there could also be a principled reason for opposing normalizing ties with the Apartheid racist state of Israel seems to have eluded her. She then explains at length what Pakistan could gain from recognizing Israel both in terms of monetary and military aid directly from Israel; as well as diplomatic dividends vis-a-vis India (and a better ability to negotiate with the IMF) through a closer relationship with Israel and the “Jewish” (progressives are of course required to overlook our human rights-loving intellectual’s anti-Semitic language and pretend she simply meant Israeli or Zionist) lobby within the US. She elaborates that Pakistan should have taken this step when it was “more challenging,” i.e., under Trump’s regime when no reciprocal benefits for Palestinians could be negotiated and hence its significance for Israel, and therefore the diplomatic gains for Pakistan, would have been more. Instead, she laments, “Pakistan has certainly missed the moment, yet again.”

She then concludes, in an ever more direct voice, that PM Imran Khan and his party should take ownership of this policy (and ease the country into it); otherwise, if the military goes ahead with it anyway without prior warning, it would “have unpleasant consequences”. This was because Pakistanis have been “educated” that “Zionist-Jews” were Pakistan’s “worst enemies and a major source of all security threats to the country.” Not once does she speak of the lives and horrendous conditions of the Palestinians living under a brutal military occupation, but instead constantly centers the desires and wheeling and dealing of the Gulf states, Israel, the Pakistani PM and Pakistani military high command – all on the backs of the blood, suffering, and dead bodies of Palestinians whose existence she treats here as utterly irrelevant.

Anyone remotely involved in any form of solidarity with Palestinians would be appalled by such a take. The principal cover that Dr. Siddiqa wanted to employ in her defense of the article it seems, is of being an objective IR/Security Studies academic, simply analyzing things as they are. This is perhaps the last refuge of academics beholden to power but masquerading as impartial commentators. One is reminded here of the great American historian Howard Zinn, who, speaking of ostensible scholarly ‘neutrality’ and ‘objectivity,’ had this to say: “Objectivity is neither possible, nor desirable,” and that “You cannot be neutral on a moving train.”

No one should know this better than Dr. Siddiqa herself. One cannot help but wonder whether her commendable passion for exposing injustices was only reserved for the human rights abuses and excesses of the military-industrial complex within Pakistan? Now settled in an academic setting in the UK, does she feel the need to assuage the anxieties of the neoliberal, Eurocentric academy with writings that dare not challenge Zionism?

Over the last two weeks, as even a mainstream American news channel like CNN has been forced to cover the reality of Israeli occupation, it is not surprising perhaps that Dr. Siddiqa and most other analysts, journalists and Pakistani liberals (perhaps finding it untenable not to do so anymore) in addition to more principled progressives, are currently tweeting in support of Palestine. While this is a welcome move, it needs to be noted that Pakistani liberal (as well as conservative) elites failed to show solidarity with Palestine when it was needed most within a Pakistani context, i.e. when the State was close to deciding to build friendly diplomatic relations with Israel – without any commitment to the liberation of Palestine and a fair and just resolution for all Palestinians (as originally promised by Pakistan). Despite her valid penchant for critiquing Pakistan’s military, on the issue of normalizing relations with Israel, Dr. Siddiqa did not have a single word of admonishment for the institution, and instead chose to agree with it.

But why should solidarity with Palestine matter for Pakistanis? Is it simply a cause for bourgeois urbanites with some global awareness, or for the religious right? People from minority communities and those who are engaged in their own struggles of survival and liberation in Pakistan often ask: why invest our energies into solidarity with Palestine and not closer to home? Who will speak of the atrocities being wrought by a twenty-year war in Afghanistan or Waziristan, the internal colonization of Balochistan, the evictions and land theft in Karachi or the cultural and material marginalization of the Seraiki belt?

To answer this, it is imperative to recognize that the struggle for Palestinian liberation is linked to struggles for justice, self-determination and liberation across the world, from Kashmir to Waziristan to Balochistan. While there is an obvious moral imperative here, there is also a significant material reason, one Dr. Siddiqa inadvertently hints at in her article. That is, a crucial reason why certain factions within Pakistan’s military have been keen to normalize relations with Israel is to gain access to Israeli weapons and military technology! Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems for instance sells all kinds of military and surveillance equipment, “field-tested on Palestinians,” to any willing buyer.

Israeli military and police are also infamous for providing training to other militaries and police departments in “counter-terrorism” and “crowd-control” – and have already done this for the US, UK, and countries in Latin America. In plain language, the Zionist state is willing to train security personnel of all fellow repressive states in police and security tactics meant for what Israel knows best: military occupation.

If Pakistan’s military and security forces receive this additional training and equipment, on top of what they already receive from the Unites States and other European countries, where does one reckon it would be used, if not to further suppress the struggles of various communities and social movements within Pakistan itself? It is not hard to see then that the struggle of progressive and liberatory movements in Pakistan have everything to gain and nothing to lose from taking a principled stance against the racist, apartheid, settler-colonial state that is Israel.

In the latest round of the Zionist festival of slaughter in Palestine, it is appreciable that PM Imran Khan bluntly tweeted about the carnage being perpetrated against the Palestinians, especially when most world leaders, including Arab stooges, made tepid statements about de-escalation (and which led Pakistani mainstream media to hail the PM as “the voice of Palestinians internationally” in a rather self-congratulatory manner).

It is also an encouraging development that there has been a powerful display of demonstrations in various cities of Pakistan against Zionist settler colonialism. But it is vital to note that the outpouring of support for Palestine the world over this time, including in Pakistan, has everything to do with how Palestinians have refused to back down in the harshest and most vicious of circumstances, and how they have worked tirelessly to form solidarities with anti-racist movements like Black Lives Matter in the US and Aboriginal rights struggles in Australia.

As the narrative and the sentiment on the ground in a number of Western countries has shifted, and it is no longer “cool” to ignore Palestine, it has also affected opinion among the young and old, progressive and ordinary people in Pakistan. A buried sentiment that always existed, has now returned with renewed anger, disgust, and demonstrations of solidarity.

But ultimately, we must remember: the real voice of Palestine, and the real heroes of this story, are the Palestinians themselves. And we must commit to centering their voices, learning from their struggle, and showing up for them – now and always.

– Sonia Qadir is from Lahore, Pakistan and is a PhD Candidate in Law at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

– Junaid S. Ahmad teaches Religion and Global Politics and is the Director of the Center for Islam and Decoloniality in Islamabad, Pakistan. Both are on the Steering Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) – Pakistan. They contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The post From Karachi to Sheikh Jarrah: The Why and Why Not of Palestine Solidarity in Pakistan appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr

Palestine Mon Amour, You are Not Alone

An evocative French film set in a Hiroshima destroyed by the United States atomic bomb has been haunting me these dreadful days of carnage in Gaza. I refer to the 1959 anti-war masterpiece Hiroshima Mon Amour. It resonates with the ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide of the Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) in exploring issues of memory, seeing, and responsibility. Israeli bombers demolishing a TV center, inventing a Hamas presence, aimed to obstruct the exposure of their ongoing crimes, rammed this home for me.

The truth must prevail. It cannot be wished away. It must not be distorted to make the victim responsible, whitewash the perpetrator, and provide a smokescreen for its backers.

How to penetrate the fog and noise of war? Who is right? Who is wrong? Should the world not be neutral and even-handed in addressing the problem?

Ordinary mortals beyond the zone of contestation, recoil in confusion and horror. Humanity is not assisted by mainstream obfuscation and disinformation; and the diversionary strategy of Israel and its Western allies.

Understanding the source of the problem is the prerequisite to finding a lasting and just solution.

The root cause behind the 1948 Nakba and the earlier British-French deals following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, must be addressed.

The crux of the problem is the Zionist hijacking of another people’s land.

The flagrant injustice of this is clearly grasped by those who suffered under settler-colonial rule, such as Algeria, Angola, Ireland, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe. This made the anti-colonial struggles much more difficult, complex and bloody than in possessions where settler presence was insignificant. The resulting struggles for independence were characterized as liberation struggles, not designated as conflicts, as though there were two opposing sides with reasonable claims.

Once the colonial factor is understood all else is commentary. Those with a colonial mindset; former powers that divided the Middle East such as Britain and France, the later intrusion of the USA with its record of dispossession and imperial interests, can never understand the right of a people’s struggle for land and freedom. Jewish settlers conditioned by the colonialist narrative, cannot countenance Palestinian claims.

For them the natives are inferior, a threat to their welfare. They have the ‘god-given’ right to grab the land, and expunge the Palestinians from the face of the earth. The psychosis of the oppressor inculcates extremes of racism that eats the soul. Their military doctrine is to punish the Palestinians unto submission or death. The sustenance of hope must be driven from Palestinian minds.

Three decades since the Oslo Accords, has seen the situation for the Palestinians grow infinitely worse. Oslo and the two-state option, which saw Palestinian leaders settle for a state reduced to 22% of their land, has been revealed as a hoax. Those who have suffered oppression know that the only way to force the colonizers into meaningful change is through resistance. Ask Cuba and Vietnam.

Freedom unfortunately comes at a very high cost.

Images such as the injured young man flashing a victory sign as he is rescued from the rubble of a demolished Gaza building. The terrified young girl running into her mother’s arms following a nearby Israeli airstrike that shook their building, crying: “I want to be courageous, mama, but I don’t know how when death is so near?”

As though in some apocalyptic basketball game, Israel’s ruling elite, gloat as the death toll mounts – 249 to 12 in their favor in Gaza (70 children, 29 women). Entire families incinerated or crushed to death. Slam dunk! Another 27 slaughtered on the West Bank. Others were slain by police and lynch mobs in occupied East Jerusalem and within Israel.

Stormtroopers slap one another’s backs as they high-five with their blood-thirsty fans.

Hospitals, schools, clinics, the single Covid-19 center, thousands of homes, vital infrastructure reduced to rubble.

The phoenix rises from the ashes. As Omar Barghouti, a leader of the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) observes: “That’s the definition of the Palestinians…We are protesting because we want to live.”

Apartheid Israel is losing the war. Donald Trump claimed Jerusalem, where he opened the US Embassy, was off the table. Well, it is right back on thanks to the resistance in Shaik Jarrah. Slam dunk! The so-called normalisation offensive between Israel and servile Arab regimes is challenged as was predicated by the uproar from the Arab Street.

The Coloniser is frightened and perplexed. This onslaught united Palestinians as never before. Those in the fragmented parts, from Gaza to the West Bank, Jerusalem and within Israel, from the refugee camps to the diaspora, have rediscovered their national sense of unity, and have risen up to shake the resolve of the settlers.

The strategy of divide and rule is in tatters. A strike by Palestinians across Israel and Jerusalem locked down their shops and businesses – the biggest such event since 1936. Tel Aviv saw a significant peace rally of Jews and Arabs demanding peace. Massive marches in London, Paris, Berlin, New York have seen unprecedented crowds supporting the Palestinian cause, and unity between Black Lives Matter and Free Palestine Movement is of huge significance. Palestinians everywhere are celebrating.

Palestinian civil society has challenged the international community to match Palestinian courage by pressurizing Western governments to withdraw support for Israel. The USA provides Israel with $4 billion aid annually. President Biden’s response to Israel’s aggression is $750 million for improved bombing technology. How shameless.

Biden faces unprecedented protest throughout the USA to change course. That is why he pressurized Netanyahu to cease the bombing of Gaza.

We must elevate the non-violent BDS campaign to unparalleled heights. Its success has seen Israel designating the campaign as a strategic threat to its existence.

The success of the BDS campaign against apartheid South Africa reinforced the people’s resistance and contributed to the victory, and a unitary, democratic, non-racist, non-sexist, secular state.

Nelson Mandela famously declared that “South Africa’s freedom was incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. He understood what was right and what was wrong.

South Africa’s people are urging the ANC government to be faithful to Mandela’s statemen; break all ties with Apartheid Israel, and lead the world in implementing BDS action.

Hopefully, the latest statement by South African Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, is a harbinger of things to come:

“The cruel bombings and killings of the innocent we witnessed in the past two weeks are a sad testimony of the cruel impunity the world has granted to Israel. The international community must stop this impunity. South Africa should support the International Criminal Court in the planned investigation of the abuse of human rights by the Israeli Government. We hope sanctions and other measures to show the world’s offence at this brutality will soon be evident.”

As in the rest of the world, South Africa has witnessed unprecedented scenes of solidarity for Palestine led by the National BDS Coalition. Protests have taken place throughout the country, but most significantly dockworkers, trade unions and solidarity groups at Durban’s waterfront protesting the offloading of cargo from an Israeli ship. Thousands have been involved. This follows dock workers’ actions on the USDA’s West coast. An international picket of Israeli shipping could follow.

Palestine mon amour. You are not alone. We see you.

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The post Palestine Mon Amour, You are Not Alone appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

Source: chr