One can be a Zionist and believe that the Jews constitute a people with the right to self-determination without believing that such self-determination must be implemented in an exclusivist religio-ethnic state like the one founded hastily by Russian Jewish Zionists in 1948. One can believe that the Jewish people’s right to self-determination cannot be implemented in Palestine at the expense of a Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and to live as a free people in their native land. And, of course, one can believe, as do many anti-Zionists, that Jews do not constitute a people with any right to national self-determination, but are rather a religio-ethnic community. All of these viewpoints are kosher. It is preposterous to label them “anti-Semitic.”
In a Middle East overwhelmed by war, politics, destruction, and conflict, it is easy to forget that it is, like any other, just a place where life goes on; people live, people grow, people die. Communities flourish and decline. People come and people go. Mired in the hellfire of media and politics, it is easy to overlook the simple truths about life in the Middle East.
My intention was to head to Boston today to Occupy our fair city of tea parties and revolution, but it is dreary and raining and I know, I know, I am lame and so not hardcore. I’ll embrace my role as an armchair activist.
Until I get off my tuchas (sp?), look what’s lacking at Occupies Maine and Baltimore.
Overcast and chilly, it was a real New England fall day. The crowd was small but dedicated, and more than willing to talk. We talked about Obama and Ron Paul, about minarchism and anarchism and socialism and capitalism. It was the most intimate Occupation I’ve attended, and though not particularly inspiring as far as the scale of participation it was meaningful to see familiar faces.
I love being in Philadelphia. I love everything about it. I love that it smells like pee and beer and dirty city grime. I love that it is so diverse, so proud, so hard-working.
Philadelphia was pretty much everything I think an occupation should be. Sprawling out from the west side of Philadelphia’s majestic city hall is a city of tents, a network of pop-up alleys and fabricated quiet corners. There is a family section, where children are welcome not just to protest during the day but to join in the full-time occupation. There is an arts section that occupies a whole row of benches in the square, and the entire northern end of the square is dedicated to the “cafe”: the 24/7 access to food and drink donated by insiders and outsiders. They’ve located themselves in just such a way so when you emerge from the City Hall subway station, you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the largest people’s movement in this country since the 1960s or ’70s.
A slideshow based
on this weekend’s rebuilding and solidarity events in Al Araqib.
By Shimrit Lee
Shimrit is also the creator, interviewer, and writer behind <a href="http://womens-voices.ne
t/”>Women’s Voices: An Oral History of Israeli & Palestinian Women
Wednesday, July 27th will mark a year since the first mass demolition of Al Araqib. This past weekend, volunteers from around the region and the
world gathered in the village to build shelters, plant olive trees, and spend time with the people of A
ask: why build homes and plant trees when we know they will be destroyed? The construction was a symbolic gesture meant to show the Israeli government and the world that the villagers will not give up their struggle for their ancestral land. It was meant to show that they are not alone: that people of all nationalities, ethnicities, and religions stand in solidarity with them. It was an act of sumud (صمود), or steadfastness.
This morning, after a funeral took place in the village, the bulldozers returned and razed the newly-built shacks and newly-planted olive trees. This was the 28th demolition since last July.
So says a Jordanian about my own age quoted in today’s New York Times.
When I was studying abroad in Jordan several years ago, we were so indoctrinated that the security forces and secret police (mukhabarrat) were all-powerful and would immediately toss us in jail and we’d never see the light of day if we even so much thought something critical of the king or the government. I was probably paranoid, led to being overly cautious, but the argument that as foreigners and for some of us, as girls we would be easy targets was too compelling to permit disobedience.
Consider the following (it is a tweet):
“Israel’s Public Dplmcy Min has written Apple asking them to remove Iphone app called ThirdIntifada – says it’s “anti-Israel & anti-Zionist”"
*Non-Americans need not apply.
I spent the last hour listening intently to the Fresh Air broadcast on NPR, during which host Terry Gross interviewed Jose Antonio Vargas, the journalist who recently outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine and the brains behind the Define American project. As her counterpoint, the second interview was with Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of a think tank styling itself the Center for Immigration Studies whose mission is not just anti-illegal immigrant but severe restrictions immigration of all legal varieties, including refugee migration.