Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Separation Barrier

Over at Liberally Mirth's place, a heated discussion took place about the Israel/Palestinian Conflict, specific to the so-called "Separation Barrier" which Israel is building between itself and the West Bank. Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens from attacks. However, the building of the Separation Barrier as a means to prevent attacks inside Israel is the most extreme solution that causes the greatest harm to the local population.

B'tselem, The Israeli Information Center For Human Rights In The Occupied Territories, is an organization that was created in 1989 "to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel."

This wall is a shonda - a shame - upon Israel, and construction must be stopped. It creates a Ghetto - something Jews are all too familiar with - and construction must be stopped. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights." This doesn't mean that some human beings are a little more equal than others. This means that ALL human beings are born equal in dignity and rights. We have our own version going up between the US/Mexican border. DBK at Blanton & Ashton's has a powerful post on Bush's fence, called "Fight The Fence", from May 22. Shame, shame on what we've become.

I tend to get very defensive when I hear (or read) non-Jews criticizing Israel; I am very much pro-Israel, but let me explain what that means. To me, and to many Jews living in, and outside, of Israel, this means that Israel above all MUST stand for human rights and dignity. Our history has been filled with being persecuted for being Jewish, and we above all must stand for human rights. Somehow, the Israeli government has taken a terrible turn and become what we should abhor, and this is not the land I lived in when I was on Kibbutz. But I want Israel to survive, to remain as a country for Jews, and to be a safe haven for Jews. The ONLY way for this to happen is to make Israel open for Palestinians, and a safe haven for Palestinians as well. To share this homeland, and to make it bloom.

How? Restore power in Gaza. Provide health and human services in Gaza and the West Bank. Establish funds for schools. Give Palestinians citizenship. Open the borders. Speak peace, be peaceful, put down the hatred and break bread.

The Israel/Palestinian Center for Research and Information's June 5th Initinative marks the 40th anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The initiative is based on the understanding that both Jews and Palestinians understand that we have no other national home; that neither side is going to leave their homes and it is past time to find a peaceful resolution to end the conflict. They refer to it as "two states, two peoples," but I would even say "ONE state, two peoples."

There are partners for peace on both sides. June 5th, 2007, will send a loud and clear message to the peoples and leaders of the region and around that world that the silent majorities of Israelis and Palestinians accept a peaceful compromise based on the 1967 borders.

The reason I become defensive, and quite hot under the collar, when I read or hear my fellow leftists criticize Israel is that I hear them call for an end of Israel as a sovereign nation. I hear the absolute pro-Palestinian stance without any reference to the illegal and unspeakable acts of terrorism the Palestinians have taken. Or, at best, acknowledging those acts but justifying them as acts of desperation.

Terrorism is never justified. Murder is never justified. Acts of civil disobedience I understand and support. But blowing up a school, absolutely not. And dissolving Israel is not a solution either. Bombing Gaza over and over is not a solution, either. The solution is in the hands of the people - Israel and Palestine - rather than in the hands of their leaders.


robin andrea said...

Thank you for writing this. I feel the same way and have been silent. Let the people decide, and let the leaders be silent.

proudprogressive said...

I second that, thank you diva Jood for writing this. My heart breaks with shame as well when Israel goes off the hook with violence in response to violence. And as you say there are many on each side that fight daily with hearts and souls for PEACE, but the MSM does not cover that. Instead we get a highly filtered version of what is going on.It is regretable that Israel is going to be used in some way to justify what could end up being WW3. There is an old simple addage i use : two wrongs never make a right. When Irael went into overdrive and overkill in Lebonon a few monthes ago, i watched on Democracy Now and i cried. I cried because that violence only gave more of the bigots of old, a real excuse to feed their hate. It was a shonda.

Jimmy Carter is true leader and has done more for peace and truth and reconciliation than most people. Its seems that there is a force of Kleptocrats of every stripe that do not want peace.( who benefits from this perpetual unrest?) We know who loses, all the peaceful people who just want to live, work and feed their families in the Middle East.

It will continue to be a heart break for all concerned.The relationship between the Israeli government and our own Neo/lib cons is troubling. We can only hope that all of us who love all humanity regardless or race or creed will BE the peace we want to see and not excuse violence or social injustice ever. A wall is not an answer. Starving people is not an answer.

Hopefully something will shift towards peace and sanity. I am not holding my breath but i am hoping as hard as a person can. And we must be able to have objective discussions about this forever controversial topic. Thanks for raising the issue - it is the 400 lbs gorilla in the room.

Lulu Maude said...

Walls in the US, walls in Israel--two really bad ideas.

WeezieLou said...

great job, dija. as a Jewish-American, i also feel put off by the opinions blared by non-Jews, especially the politicians who claim to "understand". But, these days, I often feel ashamed by the actions of the Israeli's. They have made the all-too-common leap from persecuted to persecutor. Walls, second/third hand citizenship, or no citizenship. barriers to work, to getting food. Those who ignore history are condemned to re-live it.
I don't think there is a Jewish word for this, but there should be: The Great Forgetting.

And the two growing-up generations will also have hate in their herts bcs of what they are already living through.

DivaJood said...

Robin, this was a very difficult post to write because I get so fucking angry at people on the left who only blame Israel. The wrong here is in the leadership of BOTH sides; not the people.

ProudProgressive, as much as I love Jimmy Carter, his book on the Middle East was filled with misinformation and added fuel to the fire. But still - building a wall is as bad as strapping bombs to your waist and blowing up school kids. It is not justified on either side.

Lulu, no kidding. And the cost of these walls is more than monetary - it is a loss of potential dialogue, it is a loss of energy, it is a loss of dignity.

DivaJood said...

Weezie, the Jewish word - shonda - means shame, but really more than shame. I lived in Israel for a year, and this is not the country I lived in anymore. But I believe that we, as American Jews, have an obligation to demand better of the Israeli government.

proudprogressive said...

hmm well actually i cannot fully discuss the book by Carter because i have not read it. I am concerned though about Zionism vs. Judism. I am not a practicing jew, though i am born into an American Jewish family. My views may be juandiced or overly objective. I see a fearsom Military Power, who is beating up on a little guy. Thats what i see. I see a lobby that has gained strength in the USA since at least 1948. Israel was founded in voilence and in hate. I have watched documentaries. I can only say though this may be stupid, its too bad Israel wasn't founded in a less controversial area..guess its a little late for that. I see Arms deals. I see the motives of USA when it comes it Isreal as less than Altruistic. All i DO know is i abhor the violence and see it only garentring generations of perpetual hatred. Should the Zionists turn the other cheek - well sooner or later one side has to stop the cycle of violence. The weaker side is not likely to be the one to do that. Clearly there is no easy answer. However this admins. lack of leadership in reigning the Isreali Military in was an awful harbinger of more violence to come. I am curious about Carter's book. I need to research and see for myself IF it as inaccurate as people say - i tend to like the writing of Norman Finklestein. so that is where my head is at.

Peace and rememberance to us all


proudprogressive said...

One thing i will be doing is a lot of research, but from all sides and through the lens i use regarding fascism and inherently wrong oppression of any people by any other...and so far what is under these stones that do need turning over , to get the full picture...lies some very startling facts. This is all for the sake of PEACE,that i want to understand. There is so much of the stories , we need to really dig for..and not be defensive about...this topic is extra hard..people shut down so quickly - and SOOOO many historical events get short shrift and analysis....but we must shine the light of truth, its our destiny as curious, peace loving human beings.