“One should be concerned that the peacemaking in the Korean peninsula may be coming at the expense of Iran and the Middle East. If peace really comes to the Koreas then the US war machine and weapons manufacturers will need a place of tension and conflict to which they can turn and Iran and the Middle East are the perfect target.”
Zionist righteous indignation would be a lot more convincing if it wasn’t covered with so much crap. In response to an upcoming lecture planned in London where Dr. Azzam Tamimi and I are to speak at University College of London, UCL, the Jewish Chronicle came out with an article titled: “Jewish UCL students ‘horrified by anti-israeli event.” They never seem to be horrified by the reality Israel imposes on Palestinians. They are not horrified by the racist laws, the slow death by lack of water and medical care imposed on people in Gaza, they are not horrified by the bombing and killing of innocents, nor are they horrified by thousands of political prisoners tortured by Israeli secret police. What horrifies them is, apparently Dr. Tamimi and I pointing these things out. Well, they ought to brace themselves because the truth can be horrifying.
I recently returned from Palestine where as always I left my Palestinians friends behind and personally I cannot help but feel a combination of anger, sadness a sense of disgust by a world that seems to care very little for Palestinian lives. Palestinian mothers and fathers may at any moment be arrested or shot, may at any day and any moment see their children arrested or shot, may at any moment have their home demolished; Palestinian kids are being pulled over, beaten and harassed by police and soldiers who are motivated by racism and hate and armed to the teeth with the finest weapons. Being in Palestine one is never more than an hour or two drive from the concentration camp which is the Gaza Strip where two million people are caged in and dying a slow death. This is horrifying to people of conscience but apparently not to the writers and editors of the the Jewish Chronicle.
What is even more horrifying is the often cold, measured and academic attitude people take toward Palestine. It is like seeing people trapped under the rubble of a demolished building, unable to get out while the rest of us debate their fate. We are free to walk away while they must take very shallow breaths, trying not to inhale the dust and the fumes and the smell of death all around; they have to negotiate with the large pieces of concrete and stone that threaten to squeeze them and their children, and with pieces of metal that threaten to impale them if they make a wrong move and we are free to leave them there without access to food or water, and what makes it worse is that we engage in academic debates and walk freely in the country that was once theirs.
The dignity with which Palestinians cary themselves and their burden should not give way to thinking it is a bearable burden. Palestinian resolve to exist and to live and to raise children who have faith in the future should be seen in the context of a horrible impending holocaust. Palestinians face a powerful enemy, the State of Israel, which is determined to destroy them to the point of extinction. It is not merely oppression, it is attempted genocide. Israel does this by using bombs, denying Palestinians water and medical care, destroying crops and demolishing homes; Israeli authorities use deportation and denial of the right to return home, denying Palestinians to marry other Palestinians because of where in Palestine they reside, limiting or denying the the right to travel, and the list goes on and on. It is a well planned and well thought out campaign of genocide that must not be taken lightly.
Palestine stands, and Palestinians survive but only by the grace of their resolve to exist, and not through any help. We on the outside must follow the Palestinian call to impose boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel. It is a campaign which merely demands the end of the military occupation of 1967, equal rights and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and lands. But we must go further – Israel must unconditionally end the siege on Gaza, release all Palestinian prisoners and give Palestinians unlimited access to water and medical care.
Israel and its supporters will pretend to be horrified and blame the entire world for being anti-Semitic. But we who are not under the rubble are duty bound to do all that is humanly possible to expose Israeli crimes and to pull Palestinians out of this impending death. We must speak up and expose the reality in which Palestinians live and whic Israel and its cronies try to hide. We must insist on the truth, interrupt any debate the legitimizes Israel, boycott, isolate and fight relentlessly until Palestine is free and its children are free.
Repressing free speech is undemocratic, that was established in the First Amendment a long time ago, and the right to boycott is enshrined within that amendment, including the right to boycott Israeli products. It was also established long ago that all men and women, including Palestinians, are created equal and are deserving of the same rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For many decades now, Jews around the world, including staunch Zionist Jews like the late Dr. Nahum Goldman and Professor Yishayahu Leibovitch had opposed the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and building Jewish settlements there – as have Israeli generals, former Mossad chiefs and countless lesser known Jewish people. But over the last fifty years consecutive Israeli governments of all parties have built Jewish settlements in the West Bank and no amount of talking and negotiating has made the slightest difference.
Israel claims that it has a small Arab minority sometimes called “The Arabs of Israel” and that they enjoy full citizenship rights. However, these are Palestinian Arabs and although they hold Israeli citizenship they do not enjoy the same rights as Israeli Jewish citizens. They live in separate cities and separate communities, go to different schools are given far less opportunities and poverty levels are considerably higher among them. From laws that limit who they may marry and where they may live to laws that limit their right to commemorate the “Naqba,” the catastrophe that befell Palestinians when Israel was established, Palestinian citizens of Israel face discrimination at every stage of their lives, and still Israeli law makers continue to pass laws that discriminate against them at an alarming speed.
The Right of Return of Palestinians who were displaced in 1948 has been enshrined in article 11 of UN resolution 194. Furthermore, according to a report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia the Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country.” This was correctly referred to as a policy of “demographic engineering meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.”
BDS have arguably become the three most controversial letters in the alphabet. Representing the call by Palestinian civil society to impose boycott, to divest and to impose sanctions on the State of Israel and companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. This call seeks to remedy the three conditions described above without harming or depriving anyone of their rights. BDS is controversial mostly because the call has been widely misrepresented. But the demands of the BDS movement neither express or intend any racism or violence towards anyone, they are as follows:
- Ending the occupation.
- Equal rights to all Palestinians.
- Return of the Palestinian refugees.
According to a letter submitted by the ACLU to members of the US Senate, “S. 720 Israel Anti-Boycott Act is a bill that seeks to criminalize the call for BDS.” It states that it “would punish businesses and individuals based solely on their political point of view” and “Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment.” The letter ends by urging senators to oppose the bill.
In speech made by Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the co-sponsors of this bill, regarding BDS at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum on June 5, 2017, the Senator from New York said, “There is no greater example than this insidious effort to harm the Jewish state than through the boycotts, divestment and sanctions.” However, in reading the demands of the BDS call, it is clear that its goals are to improve the conditions which Israel has imposed on Palestinians and to repair inequities which Israeli governments are unwilling to address. There is no question that all efforts to get Israel to repair the inequities without pressure, had been exhausted.
Schumer refers to BDS as “a modern form of anti-Semitism.” Indeed, a modern form which does not incite against Jews, does not call for the killing of or discrimination against Jews but instead demands that all people who reside in Palestine/Israel enjoy the same rights and privileges.
Miko Peled is an Israeli human rights activist living in Washington DC. He is the author of “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” and the forthcoming book, “Injustice, The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five” expected to be available in the fall on 2017. To request a lecture please go to mikopeled.com