The Colonial Condescension of Those Who Ask for a “Palestinian Gandhi”

[The people of Gaza have, in their determined resistance, brought many issues to the fore among its supporters and defenders.  Central to these is the right of resistance itself — “by any means necessary” i.e., with whatever force the defenders can bring to the battlefield.  The forces of self-defense and the struggle for self-determination include moral force, political force, and military force.  Those who claim to support the victims of imperialist and settler-colonial military aggression, but argue against popular military resistance and armed liberation strategies, are denying the very means by which defense is made and by which liberation is won.  In the essay below, Ramzy Baroud of Palestine Chronicle details the background and recent history and “debate” over this issue.  (And, an important, but here secondary, difference with Baroud’s concluding paragraphs which cite ‘Gandhi’s inspiring greatness in the struggle against colonialism’ — this is disputed in India and elsewhere, as, most recently, Arundhati Roy and many others have challenged the iconization of Gandhi as a false anti-colonialist who ushered in an “independent” India without breaking the colonialist cultures and structures and laws of caste, class, and repressive state violence, and without empowering the people who, in their overwhelming majority, live today in the same same oppressive conditions that characterized the period of direct British colonial rule.  But this is a side-point here, which will be further explored separately and soon). — Frontlines ed.]

Gaza’s resistance paradigm
By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle

“Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? In Israeli prison, of course!,” was the title of an article by Jo Ehrlich published in Mondoweiss.net on December 21, 2009. That was almost exactly one year after Israel’s concluded a major war against Gaza. The so-called Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009) was, till then, the deadliest Israeli attack against the impoverished strip for many years.

Ehrlich was not in the least being belittling by raising the question about the “Palestinian Gandhi” but responding to the patronization of others. Right from the onset, he remarked: “Not that I’m in any way playing into the Palestinian Gandhi dialogue, I think it’s actually pretty diversionary/racist. But sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry.”

Indeed, the question was and remains condescending, ignorant, patronizing and utterly racist. But the question was also pervasive, including among people who classify themselves as “pro-Palestinian activists”.

Now that Israel’s latest war – so-called Operation Protective Edge – has surpassed Cast Lead in terms of duration, causalities, level of destruction, but also the targeting of civilians – the Gandhi question seems more muted than usual. To understand why, one needs to first examine the reason of why Palestinians were demanded to produce a non-violent Gandhi alternative in their struggle for freedom in the first place. Continue reading

Israel/Palestine: Where “Peace Process” is Sham by Design

“Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream”
— Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore

[The ongoing repressive Israeli settler-colonial project on the Palestinian people, facing growing exposure and international opposition, has increasingly brought Zionist ideologues (an echo of American “manifest destiny” expansionists) as well as “soft Zionist” real-politicians to resort to ever-more arrogant and hyperbolic deceptions to prevent their imperial allies from thinking they’ve outlived their usefulness.  At the same time, the collaboration of the corrupt Palestinian “leadership” with the “realities” of imperial power and Israeli settler-colonialism, has spun a very thin theatrical disguise of Palestinian identity and loyalty.  Both the Israeli colonist-settlers and the Palestinian quislings (struggling to extend their credibility in their mutually-symbiotic weakened states) depend upon blasting the mutually-reinforcing lies and deceptions of each other.  The details of this slimy and shadowy faux “opposition” are revealed in this recent article by author Jeff Blankfort.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Palestinian Collaboration Overshadows Latest Talks

“Imagine for a moment, what the reaction would have been in Northern Ireland if the IRA had taken to guarding the streets of Belfast and Derry for Her Majesty’s occupation forces.”

by Jeff Blankfort, Dissident Voice, May 7th, 2014

Shortly after the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the Jerusalem Post ran a cartoon that depicted a critical aspect of those accords which has rarely been discussed much less acknowledged. In the cartoon, a smiling Yasser Arafat was sitting upright on a stretcher giving a “V” sign. The stretcher bearers were Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Its message was clear: the Oslo agreement had come to the rescue of the PLO chairman whose reputation among his fellow Palestinians had sunk to the bottom of the barrel. The price they were to pay was dear: the legitimizing of Israel’s presence in 62% of the West Bank, what is commonly known as Area C and which Israel is quite likely to annex. Arafat’s representative at Oslo who negotiated the accords that effectively signed away West Bank land to Israel and ended the first intifada was Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas  --  Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas — Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Now, let’s jump ahead 21 years to the present where the support of West Bank Palestinians for Abbas, Arafat’s successor, has been even lower than it was for the late PLO chair and with good reason: By any definition one chooses, Abbas is a traitor, a collaborator with the enemy. His Palestinian Authority “Preventive Security” police force closely coordinates its activities with Israel’s security forces with the goal of suppressing resistance to Israel’s ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing while leaving Palestinians without a semblance of protection against Israeli raids on West Bank towns and refugee camps. For all intents and purposes, that goal has been achieved.

Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

ex-Israeli Ambassador to S. Africa counters ‘democratic Israel’ claim: ‘yes, we are apartheid…’

The Times of Israel

As long as there is no Palestinian state and Israel rules over the West Bank, Israel is a de facto apartheid state, a former top Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday, using a highly contentious term usually employed only by radical anti-Israel activists.

Alon Liel, a former Foreign Ministry director-general and ex-ambassador to South Africa, also called on President Barack Obama to stay home if he didn’t intend to warn Israelis about the dangers of an approaching “apartheid cliff.”

“In the situation that exists today, until a Palestinian state is created, we are actually one state. This joint state — in the hope that the status quo is temporary — is an apartheid state,” Liel said at a Jerusalem conference about whether Israel is or could become an apartheid state. Continue reading

For Palestinian filmmaker on his way to the Oscars, US airport detention a repeat of Israeli checkpoints

Oscars-bound Palestinian film-maker describes ‘unpleasant’ LAX detention

Emad Burnat, who made 5 Broken Cameras, said US officials doubted his credentials and threatened to send him home

, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 February 2013
Guy Davidi , Emad Burnat,

[Emad Burnat, right, with his Israeli co-director Guy Davidi. Five Broken Cameras is nominated in the documentary category. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP]

An Academy-nominated Palestinian film-maker has spoken of the “unpleasant experience” of being detained by US immigration officials when he arrived for this weekend’s Oscars ceremony.

Emad Burnat said that he was held for about an hour at Los Angeles airport on Tuesday, along with his wife and youngest son Gibreel, who plays a central role in Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras.

Burnat said that he thought that US immigration officials – who apparently doubted his credentials – would send him back to Palestine. He compared the incident to daily life for Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. Continue reading

Yet another toothless UN condemnation of Israeli crimes?

[Israel would not allow the UN team to conduct inquiries or take testimony in Israel, and has already dismissed this report, the latest of countless UN declarations, resolutions and findings of Israeli violations of international law.  Israeli impunity serves only to rubbish the credibility of the UN as a force for justice, and clarifies once again the need for people to press forward their direct, uncompromising struggle for Palestinian liberation against the always-expanding settler-colonial crimes of ethnic cleansing, Israeli apartheid, and brutal displacement. — Frontlines ed.]

Independent UN inquiry urges halt to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory

[Photo:  Members of the Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements from left: Unity Dow, Christine Chanet, Chairperson and Asma Jahangir hold press conference. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré]

United Nations News Centre, 31 January 2013 – An independent inquiry mandated by the United Nations has called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and to ensure accountability for the violations of the human rights of the Palestinians resulting from the settlements.

The report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.

“These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis,” said a news release on the report.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, dispatched the Mission in March 2012 “to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Since 1967, the Mission’s report notes, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements. Continue reading

Abbas, Zionist’s comprador Palestinian, renounces refugees’ right to return to historic lands

Palestinians march during a protest against president Mahmoud Abbas in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, northern Gaza Strip Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Gazans protested against Abbas’ remarks at an Israeli television that suggested millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants would not be able to return to the places they fled, or were forced to flee, during the fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. The posters read: “traitor – you represent nobody but yourself.”(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Israel President Welcomes Abbas’ Refugee Remarks

JERUSALEM November 3, 2012
By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press

Israel’s president on Saturday welcomed as “courageous” a strong public show of willingness by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make concessions on a core issue in peace talks — that of Palestinian refugees.

Abbas told Israeli channel 2 TV on Friday that he does not want to live in his birthplace Safed, a city in northern Israel.

His words drew anger from some Palestinians because they were viewed as relinquishing a long held Palestinian aspiration for the return of those who fled their homes during the fighting between Arab countries and Israel in the wake of the Jewish state’s 1948 independence.

Abbas’ remarks reflect a decades-old understanding among Palestinian officials that only a limited number of the refugees would ever be able to return to their original homes in Israel as part of a peace agreement. It was however the first time he has said so in public to an Israeli audience. Continue reading