Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anti-Semitism and the pro-Palestinian movement

I saw this article posed on the page of a friend on Facebook, and I wrote this response:
Here are the reasons (why the article should not be posted): 1) the author claims that he is an activist for Palestine: I asked activists for Palestine in the UK, most did not know him, and some knew him but not as an activist for Palestine. I went on a tour of British universities a few years ago--from the south to Scotland to speak against Israel--and met with pro-Palestinian activists everywhere and never heard his name. 2) If he is addressing the pro-Palestinian groups and individuals, why is he addressing them in Haaretz, a Zionist racist paper with a record of hostility to the Palestinian question (yeah, yeah, I know they have two token critics of Israel there). 3) what is his evidence of anti-Semitism in the movement? That one Arab guy said: we can't be anti-Semites because Arabs are Semites themselves? Well, this is a dumb statement that some Arabs say but it is dumb and not anti-Semitic, and he should know the difference. And he strains to stigmatize the whole movement by claiming that he surveyed the room (with his Superman vision) to read their minds and did not see disapproval. OK, so the author may not be a pro-palestinian supporter but he is a mind reader. I am impressed. 4) he wants to educate us that there are good Zionists and bad Zionists, that there are different strands of Zionism. Yes, that is true: there are different strands of Zionism but all of them are racist who believe that the native Palestinian population deserves to be uprooted and their rights trampled on. To suggest that there are good brands of Zionism is like saying that there are some moderate strands of racism and bigotry and settler colonialism. 5) he at the end calls on Palestinians and their supporters to support what he calls "Jewish Israeli rights". No, to jump for abhorring anti-Semitism (which we in the real pro-Palestinian movement all abhor) to calling for supporting Israeli rights (he added the label "Jewish" so that if we disagree with him he would call us anti-Semites) is a clear indication of where he stands. What are Israeli rights? Israeli rights can only be recognized at the expense of Palestinian rights. He wants us to recognize the right of Israelis to be superior and to occupy lands that belong to Palestinians and to have a state on parts of Palestine occupied in 1948, and maybe even after. 6) he lambasts the Palestinian movement because some draw analogies between Zionism and Nazism: and while I am no fan of such practice, it is Zionists who are far more casual in drawling analogies to Nazism and to exploit the horrors of the holocaust for cheap political ends. The Zionists of Labor and Likud and in between have over the decades called every enemy of Israel a Nazi and described every single resistance movement as Nazi--and any regime that they didn't like: from Hajj Amin to PLO to Ahmad Shuqayri to Nasser to Qadhdhafi to Iranian leaders to Hamas to Hizbullah, all have been described in Zionist ("moderate" and non moderate) propaganda as Nazi and anti-Semitic. His message should be better addressed to them (and Haaretz would have been the best platform for that). Furthermore, to describe Israeli massacres as Nazi may not be something he likes but it is not in itself anti-Semitic, unless he is using the definitions of Amos Oz or Elie Wiesel. Look it is true that we in the Palestinian community in the world (and this author does not speak in our name) need to root out all or any anti-Semites. And we have done just that over the years, and we don't need lessons from him or from other Zionists on the evil of anti-Semitism. But we also need to exclude from our movement imposters and poseurs--and Zionists.