Monday, January 27, 2014

Everybody Hates Us!

Dear Friend,

A few weeks ago I attached a Buzzfeed January 21 article to my 47 I/Ps "on the ground in I/P".

It was about a feud between Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) one of my information sources and Ali Abunimah, another Palestinian here in the US among the Palestinian Diaspora. Ibish wants to champion the Two State solution (two states side by side in peace and security)and Abunimah wants to champion the One (pluralistic, democratic) State.

If you Google Buzzfeed, it will take you right to the article, an amazingly informative op-ed giving background few Americans are aware of. It is a microscopic glimpse into the divisions that hamper any progress in negotiations with the Israelis, who want to colonize all the land of their fore-bearers, at the expense of the natives of the land.

Two of the heavy hitters on my list got back in the discussion I invited, claiming that the ATFP was bought and paid for by the US government, implying that the One (pluralistic, democratic) State is the true goal of Palestinians.

I was prompted to compose this reply to my many friends in the I/P region where I visited in June, 2013:

Dear Friends "On the Ground",

AS you can see, only Mazin Qumsiyeh and Jonathan Cook responded to the article.
There is division among the ranks, it's true. I found great sympathy for a truly Palestinian State alongside Israel, among people I got to know on the ground (in June of last year).

This was surprising to me since there is great sympathy for one, democratic, pluralistic State among the Jews and Palestinians I have gotten to know in the US Diaspora (Miko Peled, THE GENERAL'S SON, e.g.).

Mazin and Jonathan strongly imply the "Two State" solution has been dead for a long time. It's hard to argue against that.

My sense is that one of the underlying I/P realities is that distrust of "the outside world" ("The World Will Always Hate Us and Want to Destroy Us), is part and parcel of the Israeli DNA. Some things don't change through the centuries. This is intractable, unyielding and truly disheartening to me (others?). "We are separate, different from you". The Holocaust reinforced 2,000 years of history. We will (finally) be in charge. This land fulfills "God's" promises to us from 3,500 years ago! (For example, see Genesis 21:8 - 10).

Military force, imposing my will against yours is the world's way of dealing with issues. I firmly disagree. There is a better way. Resisting unjust laws is part of it. Helping the helpless, caring for the abandoned and abused, working to heal brokenness, is the better way. Rebuilding destroyed homes (ICAHD). Working for BDS (Jewish Voices for Peace in the US).

For persons of faith (this is I), HOPE is part and parcel of our DNA. We never give up HOPE. We believe in what we do not see, cannot see. We live, act and believe against all the evidence to the contrary. We never give up, doing the right things, even though it goes against official policies. The villagers of Le Chambon in France during the Nazi era are a good example. Check it out.

In the final chapter of (Malcolm Gladwell's new book, DAVID AND GOLIATH, he tells the story of Le Chambon, France. When France fell to the Nazis in World War II, the local Huguenot pastor and his flock determined that if the Germans told them to do anything “contrary to the Gospel,” they would refuse.

The refusals included everything from signing loyalty oaths and giving fascist salutes to hiding Jews. What’s more, they told the Germans that they intended to resist.

What happened in Winnipeg (a mother named Denken offered someday, to forgive her daughter's murderer) and Le Chambon were examples of what Gladwell, borrowing a phrase from filmmaker Pierre Sauvage, whose family was protected by the people of Le Chambon, calls “weapons of the spirit.” It’s “the peculiar and inexplicable power that comes from within” (taken from Breakpoint, January 27, 2013).

Many of us are working to change the whole attitude of the US Congress toward Israeli injustices. Please keep up the nonviolent resistance to policies that violate human dignity and mutual self-respect. JRK for FPI