Routinization of Zionist violence against Palestinians

(11 July 2006) - I CAME HERE to the US from UK, and already I saw a difference in the press coverage. Even the Financial Times had a scathing article against Israeli killings, as did Le Monde in a leading editorial.

Here, the story is pushed to the back pages, and the New York Times had a picture today that was intended as humorous; and when editorials in even liberal pages mention Palestine, they always do so in the form of demands and expectations of the Palestinians. US media succeed in helping Israel turn its killing and occupation into routine, a daily routine: the brutal venture of occupation is now routinized.

And most displeasing has been the position of the Western Left, if I am to generalize here, and generalization is warranted because the left has been monolithic in its moral weakness and political cowardice in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its complicity in the creation and preservation of the Zionist state in Palestine. Look at Michael Harrington and Tom Hayden, and you know what I mean. I told a reporter today that I never had illusions about the American left: I was in Beirut in 1982 when it was being bombed by land, air, and sea during the savage Israeli invasion, when I read on the last page of An-Nahar that Tom Hayden and his then wife, Jane Fonda, were aboard an Israeli ship entertaining the invading troops.

What would one say when a group of liberals and some leftists even issue a statement in which they demand, yet again, that the Palestinians make compromises. Compromises? Palestinians are being killed every day-and 2/3rd of the victims of Israeli killing routine have been civilians according to the UN-and they are being asked to make concessions. This is the anomaly of the Arab-Israeli conflict. And notice the reference to "both sides."

Whenever I read the reference to "both sides" I understand that the language hides, or fails to hide, bias for one side against another. I would not claim that Palestine is the only injustice on earth; far from that. I will also not claim that there are no colonial analogies to make, or that this is a unique injustice. At some level, every injustice is unique, but at other levels they are not. But now more than ever there is a need to change the political agenda of the left in the West. And we in the pro-Palestinian community living in the West (excluding the anti-Palestinian community of Tikkhun of course because they are busy holding conferences over the "anguish of Israeli occupation troops") should demand a change from those who seek to ostensibly offer support for our cause.

We should no more accept those tepid statements about "the two-state solution" or about "the need for compromise" or about the "fears and needs of both sides," etc. This is not a right-versus-right conflict; nor is it a wrong-versus-wrong conflict. It is at its core: right-versus-wrong conflict, and the Zionist movement planted the original sin, watered it and nourished it.

I am quite outraged at the silence of the ostensible friends of the Palestinians in the West. I am quite outraged at the silence and cowardice of my colleagues in the academic community. The attacks on Joseph Massad and Juan Cole and others have worked; they have succeeded in intimidating those who are suscibtable to intimidation, and that is the majority. There are some in the academic community who are scared to speak out because they are waiting for their tenure, and then there are others who are silent because they are tenured but they have "higher" academic ambitions, and wish to go somewhere else, and don't want the affair of the Palestinians to derail their career plans. They know the rules of the game, although they are not courageous enough to articulate them.

We need to demand not a boycott of Israel, but a very rejection of its existence as a racist, violent, and settler-occupying state
The plight of the journalists in the West is quite well-known to be explained here. We need to state certain facts and certain realities about the conflict: our problem, and the problem of the Palestinians is not with some aspects or actions of this or that Israeli government, but it is with the very existence of the Israeli government. We need to demand not a boycott of Israel, but a very rejection of its existence as a racist, violent, and settler-occupying state.

We need to make the three "NOs of Khartum" as our foreign policy goals in the pro-Palestinian community. We need to state unequivocally that we don't find the two-state solution to be just or fair, and that it fails the key test of fairness and justice. We should insist on one state where Jews and Arabs can coexist in a secular state, without religious labels, and we should insist on the full return of refugees, AND--NOT OR--their compensation. There can be no peace with Zionism in the land of Palestine: in theory and in practice that is proven and is being proven. We need to speak not only against this official of Labor or Likud or their branches, but against the collective responsibility of Israeli society. We are speaking of Homos Zionisticus here.

We are talking about Israeli pilots willing, nay eager, to go on missions against the civilians of Gaza: nothing has changed form the trip by Ahad Ha`am to the land of Palestine: only the scale and method of killing and abuse have changed. In the Israeli military society, there is collective guilt and collective responsibility.

We are talking about Israeli academics, received with fanfare in the West, who may have quite killed Arabs during their glorious military service -- notice that Amos Oz still brags about his military occupation service -- and not listed that, or even bragged about that, in their c.v. This is the matter that is never discussed: the collective Israeli social, nay individual, responsibility for that evil that Zionism has inflicted on every single Palestinian. A boycott of Israel is not sufficient, and may be wrong on the long term: we need to make sure to not give legitimacy to Israel even when we seek opposition to it. (Don't get me wrong here; I am in favor of every boycott of Israel that was ever designed, but am speaking about our ultimate goals).

The very essence of the Zionist project, and its (im)moral assumptions, should be put into question. Zionism is now aiming, with US/EU/UN support at routinizing its daily violence, and Arab regimes -- all Arab regimes (I saw one officially sanctioned demonstration in Syria, and it led with pictures of Hafidh Al-Asad and his son; they forgot to carry pictures of the victims of the War of the Camps, I guess -- are enabling Israel, as they always do.

This radical position on the Palestinian question should equally insist on excluding from our ranks those Western and non-Western anti-Semites who wish to infiltrate our ranks. And I don't say this because it is bad for PR: I say it because I believe it to be the right thing, i.e. to exclude anti-Semites from pro-Palestinian activism, in the East and in the West.

You watch this affair about this one Israeli pilot -- who most likely have killed scores of Palestinian civilians -- and realize that racism and bigotry lies at the heart of the Western attitude to the Arab-Israeli conflict. That the plight of one Israeli becomes more important that the plight of a whole nation. We Arabs, after all, belong to the cheaper human beings. Israelis, fortunately for them, are the expensive human beings. But watch what cheap people can do. They already sabotaged, literally and figuratively, Zionism, every step of the way. Hamas fools are now presenting only a sideshow: I watched Haniyyah's statement: as if I was reading a past statement by `Arafat. He was calling on Israel to negotiate. Negotiate on what, I wanted to yell at him? But Hamas officials are busy saluting the "brother-president Abu Mazen". The Dahlan-Abu Mazen gang continues its execution of a plan conceived by the enemies of the Palestinians. The West can do business with Dahlan. The Palestinians will not.

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