“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” – a note for the coming AJDS workshop on this subject

“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” This is the subject of a workshop that the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) is holding in Melbourne on Sunday 30 April. The announcement says the following topics will be covered: the two state versus one state solution; the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign; and the right of return of Palestine refugees.
I would have loved to attend, but my health condition prevents me from traveling to Melbourne. So I’m posting this note on how I see this subject, in the hope that some of those attending may read it & may want, in the course of the workshop, to relate to points made here.

palestine hor bottomup

Talking about a just solution may seem utopian in the present circumstances.

Yet making this the subject of our contemplation is surely a most important moral choice: it is, first of all, taking a clear stand: What we seek, above all, is a just solution.

& articulating what is necessary for a just solution is surely a precondition for achieving as much of it as is achievable at any given stage.

If the goal is a just solution, it must be just to all concerned, no matter what their racial, ethnic, religious, national, or gender identity.

It seems to me that of “the topics to be covered” only the third, the right of return, really touches on the main subject. The second, BDS, is a question of strategy, not of a solution. The first, one state or two states, addresses the question of a just and equitable arrangement for the future harmonious co-existence of Palestinians & Israelis. But a just solution must surely also address past & present injustices. Not only for moral reasons, because otherwise the solution cannot be just, but also for pragmatic reasons: for people to believe in the possibility of a just future co-existence, they must also feel that justice will be done with regard to the past.

Thus any just solution must first of all acknowledge & attempt to redress the injustices that have been done and are still being done by Zionism and the Zionist State to the Palestinians whose homeland they have colonized.

Injustices perpetrated by people dispossessed or oppressed by colonization, in acts of resistance or revenge, cannot be justly considered as equally unconscionable as the acts of dispossession or oppression that prompted those responses.

The dispossessors & oppressors will need to acknowledge that
• The Zionist colonization, oriented to turn Palestine into “the Jewish State”, was from the outset unjust.
• The Balfour Declaration was unjust.
• The ethnic cleansing begun after the UN GA’s November 1947 recommendation for partition, & extended with the implementation of “Plan Dalet” on 1 April 1948, was unjust.
• The establishment in 1948 of the Zionist “Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel” was unjust.
• The continuing existence of the Zionist State ethnocracy in Palestine within the “Green Line” is unjust.
• The continuing military occupation, since 1967, of the West Bank and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip are unjust.

Each & all of these general injustices entails countless particular injustices to individual people: to non-Jewish Palestinians, obviously – but also, if less obviously, to “Israeli” Jewish Palestinians who have grown up in a regime that indoctrinates them to Zionist nationalism & forces them to serve in &/or be complicit in the continuing unjust occupation &/or exclusion from residence &/or full citizenship rights of non-Jewish Palestinians in their homeland.

Responsibility for all these injustices rests firstly on the Zionist movement & all its agencies & supporters, but also on the powers that have made the Zionist colonizing enterprise possible – from the Ottoman Sultanate, through Great Britain, the League of Nations, the United Nations, all the countries that have recognized, accepted &/or supported the Zionist State as a legitimate entity in Palestine, &above all the USA, & the multinational corporations that profit from the status quo….

All these injustices must be acknowledged before a viable solution can even be considered.

What must be guaranteed in a just solution?
• People who were exiled must be allowed to return to their homeland, & together with people now living in Palestine who were dispossessed &/or unjustly oppressed by the Zionist state &/or its “Israeli” settlers, must be allowed to repossess their homes or be adequately compensated.
• People who have no moral right to become residents of the country must no longer be granted automatic citizenship on their arrival there. The Zionist “Law of Return” which allows all Jews automatic citizenship must be revoked.
• The country, named Falastin in Arabic, & Eretz Yisrael in Hebrew, is by now the homeland of people who identify with two distinct nations & speak two different (if related) languages. In any just solution it can no longer be the state of only one of these nations. It can no longer be called Israel – a name that the present “State of Israel” was never entitled to, since the name “Israel” has for millennia been a name for all Jewry, all Jews in the world.
• In any just solution each of these nations must have equal rights to cultural autonomy, with educational & cultural institutions in the country’s two equal official languages.

re the two-state vs one-state solution:
Two states may then be an option, if majorities on both sides still want that. But that would be a kind of Grand Apartheid, & an anachronistic enhancing of conflicting nationalisms. It seems much more just & advanced to advocate for a binational state that grants full cultural autonomy to both nations.

re BDS: in terms of strategy, I think Ran Greenstein (Facebook, March 29 at 4:01pm) nails it:
‘Yes, a boycott definitely will help. But no, in South Africa boycott helped because it was triggered by and in turn amplified the mass struggle of millions on a daily basis, in the streets, factories, communities, schools, churches. Boycott without mass struggle is good, but let’s not delude ourselves that it could force change without an internal uprising.’
This doesn’t answer whether BDS is a just strategy.
But whether it is or isn’t, it will continue as long as the unjust Zionism regime continues to rule Palestine.
& Ran is right, it alone cannot bring about change: there needs to be an internal uprising.
But not of the non-Jewish Palestinians alone.

Without a change of heart among the “Israeli”-Jewish populace, a just solution cannot come about. There needs to be an internal uprising of this populace’s conscience, & it is towards this that the advocacy of Diaspora Jewry needs to be oriented: ‘Pursue justice, justice!’: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof!צֶדֶק צֶדֶק, תִּרְדֹּף

Raising the visibility of this issue at this time (1)

Posting this first “Raising the visibility” meme today. Featured is the cover of the report.
The entire report can be read here.

ESCWAr cover meme

The other day I posted a “Shame the UN” meme on my Facebook page:

shame un meme

My ‘desired fate/solution for half of the Jews living on earth today – those who live in Israel?’?*

My ‘desired fate/solution for half of the Jews living on earth today – those who live in Israel?’?*

Desired fate: I wish them peace, I wish them life, I wish them freedom from being oppressors, exilers, occupiers, besiegers & dispossessors of another people in their homeland.

Desired solution: a free, secular, democratic Palestine (Israeland), as I described it in lines I wrote about a year and a half ago & am now publishing here as a meme:

i-want-to-call-out-meme

That’s my desired solution, still, but of course it depends on enough people wanting it, on both sides.
& if they don’t, well then, each individual “Israeli” Jew in Palestine will make their own decision: whether or not to continue living as a citizen of the colonialist Zionist State whose very existence depends on the continuing dispossession & oppression etc of the country’s native population; whether or not to continue living in false consciousness, bad faith, denial that there is an occupation, that there are Palestinians, that there is a Palestine that for non-Jewish Palestinians is not “Israel”…

I’m not religious, but I’m with the rabbi who said that when there is persecution we should be on the side of the persecuted, not on the side of the persecutors. Or, to bring that down to basics: if your privileged life depended on your having to abuse and oppress someone else every day, would you choose to continue with that, or give up your privileged position?

You may think that because I’m a Jew my solidarity should be with the state where ‘half of the Jews living on earth today’ live. Well, it isn’t, not as long as that state continues to be an oppressor. My solidarity is with the oppressed & their struggle. Palestine must be free. & when the Arab Palestinians are freed from the Zionist oppression, the Hebrew Palestinians too will be freed from having to be the agents of that Zionist oppression.

___________________
* I was asked this question in a comment to a comment I  made to another post: ‘The Zionist State that occupies Palestine is based not on dignity & compassion but on Israeli-Jewish (& still primarily Ashkenazi) supremacy & privilege. & it can have no “democratically elected leader” when around half of the population of the country does not have the right to vote.’

Mahmoud Darwish محمود درويش מחמוד דרוויש: Two strophes آيتين שני בתים

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-2-59-07-pm

English, Arabic, Hebrew below:

O you who pass between fleeting words
From you the sword — from us the blood
From you steel and fire — from us our flesh
From you yet another tank — from us stones
From you tear gas — from us rain
Above us, as above you, are sky and air
So take your share of our blood — and be gone
Go to a dance party — and be gone
As for us, we have to water the martyrs’ flowers
As for us, we have to live as we see fit.

O you who pass between fleeting words
As bitter dust, go where you wish, but
Do not pass between us like flying insects
For we have work to do in our land:
We have wheat to grow which we water with our bodies’ dew
We have that which does not please you here:
Stones… or shame
So take the past, if you wish, to the antiquities market
And return the skeleton to the hoopoe, if you wish,
On a clay platter
We have that which does not please you: we have the future
And we have things to do in our land.

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
منكم السيف – ومنّا دمنا
منكم الفولاذ والنار- ومنّا لحمنا
منكم دبابة أخرى- ومنّا حجر
منكم قنبلة الغاز – ومنّا المطر
وعلينا ما عليكم من سماءٍ وهواء
فخذوا حصتكم من دمنا وانصرفوا
وادخلوا حفل عشاء راقص.. وانصرفوا
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحرس ورد الشهداء
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحيا كما نحن نشاء

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
كالغبار المرِّ مُرّوا أينما شئتم ولكن
لا تمرّوا بيننا
كالحشرات الطائرة
فلنا في أرضنا ما نعمل
ولنا قمحٌ نربيه ونسقيه ندى أجسادنا
ولنا ما ليس يرضيكم هنا
حجرٌ.. أو خجل
فخذوا الماضي، إذا شئتم إلى سوق التحف
وأعيدوا الهيكل العظمي للهدهد، إن شئتم
على صحن خزف
لنا ما ليس يرضيكم، لنا المستقبل
ولنا في أرضنا ما نعمل

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
מכם החרב – ומאתנו הדם,
מכם פלדה ואש – ומאיתנו בשרנו,
מכם עוד טנק – ומאיתנו אבנים
מכם גז מדמיע – מאיתנו גשם
מעלינו, כמעליכם, שמים ואויר
אז קחו לכם את חלקכם של דמנו –
והסתלקו !
לכו למסיבת ריקודים – והסתלקו !
ואנו, עלינו להשקות את פרחי נרצחינו.
ואנו, עלינו לחיות כפי שנראה לנו.

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
כאבק מר, לכו לאן שתרצו, אך
אל תעברו בינינו כחרקים מתעופפים
כי לנו יש עבודה לעשות בארצנו:
לנו חיטה לגדל ולהשקות עם טל גופינו
לנו מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת פה:
אבנים… או בושה
אז קחו את העבר, אם תרצו, לשוק העתיקות
והחזירו לבולבול את השלד, אם תרצו,
על מגש של חימר
לנו יש מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת: את העתיד
ולנו יש מה לעשות בארצנו.

[I’ve edited  here English & Hebrew translations I found online, using the knowledge & tools available to me. Any informed suggestions for changes or corrections will be welcomed.]