If Children Are The Future, The Future Will Be Bloody

March 9, 2011
  • Child Arrests are the single most detrimental part of the occupation.

(videos of child arrests in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh can be found on Joseph Dana’s blog, here)

How someone with the IQ of at least an earthworm, can’t figure out on his own that arresting mass amounts of 12-16 year olds in the middle of the night, not only doesn’t deter them, but in fact forces them to actively resist the occupation, is a mystery to me.

Though in itself, the fact that the young generation engages in resistance to an illegal, oppressive and dehumanizing force is not a bad thing, it is well to remember that this engagement manifests itself in one of 2 ways: Violent, or non-Violent.

When (never-o.k-in-my-book) violent, it simply helps propagate the stereotyping of Palestinians as the terrorist enemy. It often results in these kids giving their lives for the cause and presents a convenient excuse for the vicious cycle of their arrests to continue.

When (commendably) non-violent, it’s deemed illegal by the Israeli authorities, therefore leading to more arrests and, once again, not allowing these children any way out of the vicious cycle.

For one, because it sends a message to the younger children, that chose to engage in non-violent resistance, that this is a dead end. It furthermore once again actively pushes these kids into practicing violent forms of resistance.

(I refuse to open the ‘what constitutes violence’ question. Mainly because I see no point trying to explain to racist bigots that stone-throwing is not in the same ball park as tanks, live ammunition and excessive amounts of tear gas).

  • To complete the picture is the ‘difficult-to-grasp’ Israeli ignorant-arrogance.

It is what allows a majority of Israel’s 7 million citizens to remain uneducated, unaware, racist, narrow-minded, militaristic and oppressive.

The non-violent resistant grassroots are the forefront of the optimistic belief that positive change can happen.

 

It is essential. It is commendable. It is invaluable.

Bilin, 18/02/2011 (Photo: Tahel Ilan)

 


It’s Time

February 2, 2011

It’s time to Ban from the Knesset parties that don’t allow women to run among their ranks.

The bigger these parties grow–> the smaller representation women (who make up more than 50% of the population) are legally capable of achieving through elections–> the more we sacrifice democratic principles–> the lesser value our democracy has–> the less reasons we have to call it a democracy.

It’s time to Ban from the Knesset parties that don’t recognize/act against any of the U.N Declarations to which Israel has legally committed itself.

‘The Declaration of Human Rights’ and ‘The Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ are infringed upon daily within the legal borders of Israel and within lands it illegally imposes its jurisdiction over.

It’s time to Ban from the Knesset MK’s that legislate anti-human rights, anti-democratic and anti-state laws.

Mainly- laws passed in the last 2 years, which have been termed the most racist in Israel’s Legislative history.

It’s time to Ban from the Knesset MK’s and parties that officially and actively provoke, justify and legislate violence.

We should not let militaristic, patriarchal, racist thugs implement their agendas by use of intimidation, violence and infringement on our rights which they have been put in power to protect and not abuse.

It’s time to hold accountable, those responsible.


When Vaginas Are Politicized

January 25, 2011

22 year old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem has been indicted of either rape (in the Hebrew version)  or sexual assault (in the English version)- but, as you can see, the “main” crime he was indicted for, is apparently not the main issue. Not for the media, and better yet- not for the court of law.

Thus goes the article:

According to the charge sheet, Abu Zabarg pretended to be a Jewish 19-year-old named Amir. He allegedly sexually assaulted the girl on several occasions in his car and in hotel rooms.

So, before even accusing this man of sexual assault/rape, he is accused of impersonating a Jew. Something, that in the state of Israel, apparently takes precedent over sex crimes against women.

And this is yet another case, in which Israeli women rights are shoved aside, in order to advance government policy that dictates doing anything and everything to paint anyone that is not a white Jew as an enemy of the state and of the people.

Of course, this case is reminiscent of the demonstrations held just a few weeks back in the Israeli city of Bat Yam, in which white Jewish men stood from both sides of the street and yelled at each other who they think Jewish women should be allowed to date. It’s of course ‘understandable’ why the religious guys were there, but why was the Israeli Left there? Because, once again, it was an opportunity to shove aside women and belittle them in order to make a political point.

(Let it be noted, that had those religious Jews said “Non-Jewish Italians” instead of “Arabs”, I remain skeptical as to whether the Left would have gotten off the couch for that).

Speaking of these cases, this reminds me of the the Transportation Ministry recently being taken to court, over a decision to force women to sit at the back of the bus, since religious men don’t agree for them to sit up front. What does the court do? Say that it’s technically not legal, so they can’t officially approve of this by law, but no worries! They made up for it by stating that even though it isn’t legally Kosher, they officially recommend that be the course of action, and that women should willingly sit at the back of the bus.

On some buses, not only are women sitting in the back, they are sitting behind shower curtains separating them from the men up front.

Women Rights in Israel? I think not.


When Push Comes To BDS

January 19, 2011

Macy Gray recently wrote on her official Facebook fan page:

“I’m booked for 2 shows in TelAviv. I’m getting alot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don’t want to cancel on and I…don’t know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

I am not a member of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in Israel or abroad and am not a supporter of it, generally speaking.

Here is what I replied:

“As a Jewish Israeli youth I experienced a whole lot of things my Palestinian friends never got to. This is your chance to say that there’s no reason a human should be treated any less than human just because of his race or religion.
This is an issue of the most basic morality.”

Here is a facebook message I received from someone I have never met or heard of, that according to his profile lives in London, is inspired by ‘Rabbi Leubavitch’ and ‘Love’, claims he speaks aramaic and whose interest is “inspiring the world’, less than 1 minute after my comment (Warning-obscene language):

“YOU ABSOLUTE COQ SUCKER DISGRACE TO YOUR PEOPLE I HOPE YOU GET KILLED BY A HIZBOALLA ROCKET U TRAITOR BOGED. IM GONNA SEND UR NAME AROUND AS A TRAITOR TO HIS NATION”

Interestingly enough, my comment did not in fact directly call for boycott. It was an expression of my feelings.

Also interesting is that my comment received more ‘likes’ than all the other hundreds of comments I’ve seen.

Opposing main stream ideas will always present a challenge. In Israel today we are fighting for our right to do just that.

But when opposing them means having to risk being threatened by people I have never met, though it does not deter me, in all honesty it troubles me. It troubles me that such people have voting rights and often also access to weapons.

When and where did we take such a huge wrong turn that we ended up like this?

 

UPDATE: Macy Grey has recently updated she will be performing in Tel Aviv.


Israeli Left Needs To Zoom Out, Not In

January 18, 2011

It seems Ehud Barak’s desertion of  Labor yesterday, along with 4 other members, has sent the left into a frenzy. Hold it right there!

(1) Now would be a good time for the left to realize that the one person we should want to remain in the government is Avigdor Liberman- seeing as he’s the only right-wing member of knesset, that does not need to blow up hundreds of Palestinians in order to win more votes. Unlike Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu, Liberman, by simply opening his mouth, gains a few more.

Which is why its time for the Left to realize that we may in fact want to stop concentrating on the damage he says he will do, and start focusing on the damage Barak and Bibi are doing.

(2) And though everyone on the left is all excited about going to elections because it seems everyone will get to run with their own party- Burg, Peretz, National Left (whoever is delusional enough to think they aren’t fascists) and Ha-atsmaut (‘independence’- for the other kind of delusional voters that consider that movement center or left)- hold your horses!

Focus fellow-left wingers! Remember reality? Remember that a majority of voters in Israel are center-right?

So how about instead of focusing our energy on forming our own little niches in parliament, we all put that aside for now and focus our energy on trying to change public opinion.

First we need to move some voters to the left, there will be plenty of time later to argue over who gets them.


What Ehud Barak Meant To Me

January 17, 2011

Nothing.

(OK, not nothing, he’s a war-criminal after all–> Gaza. Caution: very graphic video).

Next on the agenda: the question on my mind this Monday morning:

Is it still taboo to declare yourself a post-zionist?

I guess first we need to establish whether it was ever taboo in the first place.

I’ll give you a moment.

Good, now that we’ve concluded it was taboo, question is if it still is and if so- should i declare myself a post-zionist in public?

Seeing as I’ve just done that, case closed.

Of course, one could ask- were you ever actually a zionist?

To which my answer would be: Yes. (hopefully I get points for that!)

So, what does a post-zionist look like, you ask?

Like this:

Nah, that’s actually a pre-zionist (they’re a bit behind in the times, in case the rest of their lifestyle wasn’t a give-away).

This is what a post-zionist looks like:

At least in that neighborhood…

To the very least like this:

But wait! We’ve seen Pre and Post Zionists, what does an actual Zionist look like?

Once upon a time like this:

Today, more along this line:

Or this line:

This was rather fun!


Book Review

January 9, 2011

My thoughts on ‘Overcoming Speechlessness’ By Alice Walker

Over the past 6 months I have read the following books by Alice Walker:

Meridian, The Color Purple, Third Life of Grange Copeland, Possessing the Secret of Joy, In Love and Trouble, You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart, The Temple of my Familiar, By the Light of my Father’s Smile (my favorite of them all!)

Last night I finished reading her short and most recent publication ‘Overcoming Speechlessness“, in which she relays experiences she had while visiting Rwanda and Gaza, mostly though, from her visit to Gaza as part of a CODEPINK mission following the events that took place there 2 years ago- events some will call war and some a massacre- but that indisputably left hundreds of unarmed men, women and children dead.

Ms. Walker’s books have always been a “must read” as far as I’m concerned. You are not fully educated and can not fully and definitively shape your morals without exposing yourself to a vast volume of her writings, in my humble opinion.

Why do I feel this way? Because the beauty of her prose, to me, is the simplicity with which she is able to capture events and relay them compassionately, yet rationally, back to the reader.

But last night, as I was reading ‘Overcoming Speechlessness’ (OS) something changed and I am wondering: was it Alice or was it me? The answer is the latter.

For any Israeli-Jew, regardless of our personal take on the conflict, reading OS, I guarantee, will be a difficult task.

Accepting harsh criticism, from an outsider that doesn’t even take a moment to differentiate between me and my govt. and acknowledge that I personally may in fact be a moral human being, is something that, at least for me, isn’t always easy to accept and let slide by.

So, instead of giving up, I lay down the book many a-time and repeatedly asked myself:

  • did the events she is relating to really happen? yes.
  • is her criticism of them appropriate? yes.

I flip the page.

But, those weren’t the hard questions, the hardest questions lay a level deeper:

  • is she, at times, blowing the events out of proportion? Yes. Writing a book about Rwanda and Gaza, in which you emphasize Gaza much more and paint it in the same light, is something I’m not sure I can fully come to terms with. From my amateur-yet-vast readings on Rwandan history and the genocide and my knowledge of the conflict I grew up in, the comparison of events that took place there, to the ones occurring in Gaza, hardly seems fair to me from either side- the Palestinian and Israeli. Hundreds of thousands of people aren’t being butchered with machetes. Pregnant women aren’t being opened up with knives. Children aren’t being made to watch soldiers rape their mothers and sisters.
  • is she getting all of her facts straight? No. And whilst there’s no point going one by one and disputing them, I’ll just mention one: as mad as one can be at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian Refugee camps’ massacre in 1982 during the Lebanon War, and at Israel for it’s role in it- one, out of honesty to one’s morals, can’t solely blame Israel for it, just as one can’t blame the world as the primary murderer of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, even though we allowed for it to happen, fueled it and stood by watching.

Yet, regardless of these 2 points, when finally considering the big picture- do I recommended that others read the book? Yes.

It’s a challenge, its offensive and especially to those of us that don’t support Israel’s policy in the occupied territories, yet are still being grouped by Ms. Walker into the same unethical mob as our Racist govt. is. But, if you can get through it (her writing flows as good as always) and see the big picture, you will find yourself flipping over the last page and realizing that you are once again on Ms. Walker’s side, and you will forgive her for her trespassing into your sacred zone of dignity.