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

Protests, hunger strikes mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day

Palestinians gather to commemorate Prisoners' Day in Nablus on April 17, 2013. Palestinians across the territories are attending marches and rallies as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities, whose numbers according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem reach 4,713. (Photo: AFP - Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

[Palestinians gather to commemorate Prisoners’ Day in Nablus on April 17, 2013. Palestinians across the territories are attending marches and rallies as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities, whose numbers according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem reach 4,713. (Photo: AFP – Jaafar Ashtiyeh)]
 Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Palestinians across the territories attended marches and rallies Wednesday as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities.

Some 3,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails on Wednesday refused breakfast as part of a one-day hunger strike to mark Prisoners’ Day, an Israeli prison official said.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem estimates some 4,713 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.
Activists reached the Ofer prison perimeter on Wednesday morning, and tore down 50 meters of the prison fence, mounting a Palestinian flag on prison grounds.

“After around four minutes of being at the fence, Israeli soldiers showed up. They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at the protesters,” Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, spokesman of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, told Al-Akhbar.

“It is necessary to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers,” he added. 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

The campaign to boycott apartheid’s sports teams — then (South African) and now (Israeli)

Israel Dropped the Ball on Human Rights, but We Won’t!

by Anna Baltzer, National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

October 18th, 2012

Israel Dropped the Ball on Human RightsLast week, more than 100 organizations worldwide — including dozens of US Campaign coalition members — signed onto a letter of support for the first Israeli sports team boycott campaign in the United States, organized by member group Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC). The Israeli basketball team Maccabi-Haifa has been in the United States playing U.S. teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Stop Playin’ with Apartheid”

When the Timberwolves refused to cancel their game with the Maccabi, almost two dozen activists protested inside the stadium calling on the team to “Stop Playing with Apartheid!” The protestors were ejected from the game for “disruptive and inappropriate messages” (meanwhile, counter-protestors waving Israeli flags were allowed to stay). According to a press release on the MN BBC website, a legal observer and civil rights attorney was assaulted and temporarily arrested by local security and police.

A boycott of Apartheid South Africa’s sports teams proved to be a particularly effective tool in the struggle to end oppression there. At the time, South African teams that had not taken a public stance against apartheid would not be invited by any self-respecting tournament or venue. It should be no different with Apartheid Israel today.

In the same way that South African teams were, almost all Israeli sports teams are cynically used as ambassadors of an apartheid state. Additionally, Maccabi is sponsored by Ya’akov Shahar, chairman of Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Ltd., the official importer to Israel of Volvo. Both companies are heavily involved in the Israeli occupation, as documented by Who Profits?, an Israeli research project. Israeli sports teams like Maccabi are also notorious for racism and racial discrimination against Palestinians.

As the activists in Minnesota stated: “Love Basketball; Hate Apartheid.”

The Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) first made its way into U.S. basketball discourse when the US Campaign learned that legendary player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar canceled participation in an Israeli film festival following Israel’s killing of twelve unarmed Palestinian refugees attempting to exercise their internationally-recognized right of return.

It’s time to slam dunk Israeli Apartheid!

For more information on this and related campaigns, see:  http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3293

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For background on the international boycott of South African apartheid’s sports, see this video documentary clip, and the articles which follow: Continue reading