Olives for Hope

If the world is ever going to come to peace,
humanity can no longer be recognized 
on a case by case basis.

Reflections

The Israeli Left?

Posted on November 2, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Since the Peace Builders Conference I have been contemplating the nature of the Israeli “left” – many activists will say aloud  that there is no Israeli Peace Camp. I don’t want to believe that. I have always said that even if they (the left) do not go as far as I would hope – that we need to take them where they are and hope they move forward with time.

 

However, at the conference I was struck by the patronizing tone of the Israelis and it was interesting to see the way the Palestinians behaved in that environment. I have never known a Palestinian to be without something to say, but here, at least in the group discussions, they remained mostly silent. I can’t say that I blame them. The Israeli discourse is very patronizing, laced with things like “We will give”, “We allow”, “We will teach”. I loose my cool and tell one young man – “It is not your place to teach them anything – if they want your help, they will ask for it!!."

 

There are exceptions however. An American Jewish couple doing research seem to have a clear understanding of the reality here. My roommate is a Quaker also and is full of passion. Although an Israeli, she is as anti-zionist as they come. I admire her chutzpah – she is undeterred by the others that strongly disagree with her. There is also a young woman that I did not get enough time to speak with – she spends time working against the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

 

But then this morning I see on Facebook that the organization which sponsored the conference is being criticized for publishing an unauthorized Hebrew translation of an Egyptian novel. The author is observing the cultural boycott of Israel and the Director of the organization calls the boycott “immoral”. Again I am struck by the condescension. Boycott is not only a legitimate form of opposition, but it is about the only non-violent one with any impact left to the Palestinians. What tool would the “Peace Camp” suggest the Palestinians use to resist the oppression that they continue to live under? Waiting for Godot has not worked so well.

 


Categories: Olive Harvest 2010