Pigeon-holes for political stands
leads to prejudices
How simple would be life, Hhw simple would be the analysis of events, how
simple would it to find the stand we have to take, were all
people and all facts been such, that we could clearly and unambiguously
put them in definite pigeon-holes.
But life is more complicated, and pigeon-hole classification is a sure way
to lead to confusion, and a sure way to prevent us to draw the most
successful road towards the fulfilment of the Palestinian aspirations.
Let me go back to your most obvious example: you cannot be a slave owner,
and be against slavery.
On the one hand, this example does not apply to our case, because one
can be born Israeli and have no other possible citizenship.
Still, I am ready to deal with slavery and surprise you with
THE FACT that one can be a slave owner and be against slavery.
Slavery was not only the possession of slaves. IT WAS AN INSTITUTION that
included prejudices, discrimination, absence of rights and justice. In
some places, and at some times, to free a slave was to expose that
"freed slave" to lynching. Society was not ready, at those places and
times, to tolerate a free black person. It was therefore possible
for an anti-slavery person to struggle against the slave institutions so
that blacks could be made free, and have a recognised place along the white
I know people who were socislists and were owning factories in which
workers were being exploited. Some of those people died for their socialist
principles. Still, they did believe that you cannot build a socialist
island in a sea of capitalism. They sacrificed all they had to their cause,
They even succeeded in converting to socialism the majority of their
workers and employees.
Once more, we are faced with situations not made for pigeon holes.
Now, susan, you have a pigeon hole for zionists and you put all Israelis
in that hole. When I indicate to you that some Palestinian Arabs have
an Israeli citizenship, all your pigeon-holing system falls apart.
"Maybe they are given second class citizenship in Israel on paper".
WHy "maybe" susan? DO you know or don't you? "Maybe" they vote at the
Israeli elections? "Maybe" some of them are elected to the Israeli
parlament? "Maybe" one of them is having his parlamentary immunity
taken away? Maybe?
SUsan, it is time for you to be honest. Have you tried to give a
definition of what it is to be Israeli? WHat it is to be French? What it
is to be British? The answer is simple and does not have to be
ideological. To be British is to have the British citizenship. This is
a matter of language, a matter of definition of citizenship of a country.
Similarly, to be Israeli, is to have an Israeli citizenship. ANd plenty
of Arabs in Israel have the Israeli citizenship. If the citizenship
is second class, then this Arab is a second class Israeli. This is not
what the conqueror says! This is what the English language says.
You say that
> if the US somehow invaded and conquered Canada and "generously" gave
> me American citizenship, doesn't mean I would start calling myself
> American or think of myself American.
However, if you feel like voting at the American elections, and if you
feel like being a candidate, you would certainly be American IN THE
SENSE OF having an American citizenship. Even if you become American
through an immigration process, this does not stop you from feeling
Palestinian and considering yourself Palestinian, while still being
American, AS A CITIZEN.
The word Israel is for you very irritating, and I can understand you.
But exactly like many Arabs did not chose to be conquered by Israel, and
do have nevertheless an Israeli citizenship, many Jews became Israeli
by the simple trick of being born there. IT WAS ALSO not their choice.
The difference is that it is easier for such an Israeli to be Zionist.
It is harder for such an Israeli to be antiZionist. That is why
we should not deny him a place in the anti-Zionist movement. We can even
be proud of that Israeli that in spite of many odds has become
antizionist. I do have Israeli friends who are recognised as
being antizionist by Palestinians no less radical than you.
Yourself, you did say you do not want to expell all the post-1948 Jews
from where they live.. So why do you want them to feel guilty for being
in Israel? Those friends of mine have no doubt that the Palestinian
refugees had become so as the result of ethnic cleansing. They support
the right of return of the refugees, but like many Palestinians, they
think that suicide-bombings is not the way.
Please, do not torture the English language to force any Israeli to be
NECESSARILY Zionist.. At most, you say, you would consider him a
WHat does pro-Israeli mean in this context? HOw can it have the sinister
Zionist meaning you want to force on him, when he does not wish for Israel
more than yourself are prepared to concede, be it as a concession?
WHether you like it or not, Susan, there are wondeful Israelis who are
wonderful anti-Zionists. I wish you should meet some of them. YOU WOULD
THEN NOT HAVE THE CHOICE BUT to regret having been so sectarian.
Similarly, Jews living outside Israel may bnot have the Israeli
citizenship. Many of them, without being Israeli, are zionists. Others
are non-Israeli anti-Zionist. That non-israeli Antizionist , may be
expelled from his country and may have to live in Israel. I know at least
one such case. He may physically be transferred by force to Israel. Does
he become Zionist for that if he is given the Israeli citizenship he needs
to get a job?
This example I know, is that of my father. He could not find work in Egypt
after the Suez war. He had the choice either to become a beggar ot to
emmigrate. He was no zionist and did not want to emnmigrate to Israel.
A zionist told him he can help him get a visa to France. He arrived in
France and could not get the statute of resident. The agreement between
Israel and France was that the statute would be refused if the visa to
France would be obtained through zionist groups.
Rather than to go to Israel, my father decided to remain illegally in
France, He succeeded to escape the police but could not find a job without
proper papers. For a time he was sleeping in dormitories for homeless
people. Finally he got caught and delivered to zionist authorities
in France. He finally accepted to go in Israel with the hope of leaving it
as soon as he could. While there, he was an Israeli. And he was Antizionist.
Vanu is an Israeli, he lives in Israel in an Israeli jail. DO not make
fronm him a Zionist, SUsan, pleasae.
I will go even further. One can be pro-Israeli and antizionist. The Israel
an antizionist is for, is not the same Israel a ZIonist is for.
The zionist wants Israel as a Jewish state. The antizionist pro-Israel
wants an Israeli state that be that of all its citizen EVEN IF THE MAJORITY
BECOMES ARAB. HE MAY HAVE FOR VISION THE FUSION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE WITH
ISRAEL INTO ONE STATE THAT SHOULD THEN NOT BE CALLED ISRAEL. IT COULD EVEN
BE CALLED PALESTINE, A STATE FOR ALL ITS INHABITANTS, CHRISTIANS MUSLIMS
AND JEWS. He may struggle for his vision, he may be prepared to go to
jail for it, and even to die for it. NO ZIONIST WOULD DO THAT. You
cannot pigeonhole him into the Zionist hole.
Israel is many things. It is a geographic entity. It is also a political
entity. South Africa was also a geographic entity and a political entity.
Israeli may mean belonging to the geographic entity. It also may mean
belonging to the political entity. One can speak of the wheather in Israel.
It does not make that weather a crinminal or a zionist. Most of the Israeli
live in house built after the Nekba. Most of them did not participate
in the ethnic cleansing. Most of them do not know there was an ethnic
cleansing. Those of them who discover the truth have their zionist feeling
shaken, They may become antizionist. They will then do what they can to
redress the situation. They cannot do much but they try. In what hole
would you put them, Suzan? Of course, he could emmigrate form Israel.
This would be in my view a cowardly act. The best is for him to
identify with the Palestinians, to go there and act as a shield when
possible and necessary, to potest, demonstrate and contribute to
the fall of Sharon, things he cannot do if he emmigrates.
Suzan, you should recognise a friend when you see one. You should
recognise an anti-zionist when you see one, even if he is Israeli.It takes
honesty with yourself. You have to ask yourself why is it so important
to label any Israeli with zionism. Take Shahak. He did not stop a moment
to denounce zionism and its crimes. Stil, he was Israeli, why force him,
against reason and against evidence, to make of him a Zionist. DO you know
Shahak? Have you read him? I have no doubt that in the future independent
state of Palestine, a square would be named after him, and maybe a statue
of him would stand in that square. YOU CANNOT MAKE OF HIM A ZIONIST. AND
IF YOU TRY, YOU ARE UNFAIR.
With deep respect and friendly feelings,