By Samah Sabwai
(Watch a video recording of the article below).
Leading Liberal Zionists have come out in impressive numbers calling for the boycott of settlements. But I have to warn you there is something to dread; they want you to buy Israeli products instead. They say they want to save Israel from a dangerous extremist threat. Namely: the Israeli gov’t and the BDS! Yes, they’ve lumped us together as two extreme versions calling for one state. Both? Extreme?
In other words, liberal Zionists are telling us that Palestinian resistance, boycott sanctions and divestments that calls for equality between Palestinians and Jews is as extreme as Netanyahu’s plan for erasing the green line and colonizing all of historic Palestine.
In such deranged twisted views, Palestinians demanding to be equal to Jews are perceived to be as extreme as the Jews who uproot olive trees, scorch Palestinian fields and demolish Palestinian homes forcing entire families to live in fear of being exiled.
In this absurd reality BDS’s call for equality is apparently as extreme as ethnic cleansing. In what world is this convincing?
They demand we, the Palestinians support a two state solution. Too little! Too late! Where were they for 45 years as their democratically elected governments destroyed any prospects of a Palestinian state? Where are they today as Palestinian prisoners fight for their lives as they try to end the policy of Administrative detention? Is it beyond their comprehension? They have never taken any decisive action because ending this dichotomy between oppressed and oppressor does not fall within their agenda of fulfilling their aspiration for a Jewish nation. This is their priority.
In their grand hypocrisy they want us to fortify the Green line that supposedly separates a Jewish state from a future Palestine but without ever supporting Palestinian resistance. Is it then a matter of a state of mind? If we think it, the settlements will go? What tools can we use and where are these liberal Zionists when nonviolent protestors are shot in the face with gas canisters? They want us to be as delusional as they are. They want us to be docile. They want us to exonerate Israel of all its past crime or God forbid, we would be accused of clinging to victimhood.
They want us to march alongside the spin doctors and bleeding hearts and to chant ‘The settlers are to blame for the erosion of Israel’s democracy. The settlers are to blame! The settlers are to blame for the erosion of Israel’s democracy. ‘The settlers are to blame’ for the destruction of a Zionist fantasy! As if settlers exist in a vacuum. As if settlers have come from some far away planet, landed on a hill in the West Bank and without any help from congress, the Knesset or the senate, they began to build their colonies on our land.
‘The settlers are to blame’ as if Israel was not built on the ruins of Palestinian villages long before the settlers came to the West Bank. Long before the checkpoints and the wall, long before it all, long before there was an occupation, there was a total devastation, a ruthless destruction of an entire nation.
‘The settlers are to blame’ but as far back as 1948 villages were erased, Palestinians were massacred, to make way for the establishment of this state.
‘The settlers are to blame’ but go on and ask this soil you tread, whose ancestral flesh has fed this earth for centuries? Whose blood runs in the sap of the olive trees? Whose stories are written between the cracks of these old stones?
‘The settlers are to blame’. Close your eyes and search your soul. Dig deep. Those nightmares in your sleep are the voices that once filled this Arab home you have occupied with laughter. Look beneath your bed. Did they leave their slippers when they ran barefoot down the street and into exile? Did they leave behind the tea-kettle warm on the kitchen table before they wore an eternal label ‘refugees’?
‘The settlers are to blame’ but who shoots the gas canisters and live bullets at the protestors in the West Bank? Who enables these settlers to steal Palestinian land?
‘The settlers are to blame’. Who is responsible for the death of thousands in Gaza?
Was it settlers riding on their F16 fighter jets who dropped the phosphorus bombs on schools, houses and mosques? Or was it a state army, your army, wearing a uniform that supposedly represents all of Israel that killed and maimed at will?
The best part is when Liberal Zionists like Beinart suggest calling the West Bank ‘undemocratic Israel’. ‘Undemocratic’ as opposed to what? The democratic Israel on the other side of the Green line where Palestinians who survived the Nakba and hold Israeli citizenships have dozens of laws that single them out and discriminate against them?
‘The settlers are to blame’ but how are the settlers alone responsible for the systematic racism of a state that defines all non-Jews as second-class citizens? And pray tell, who set the Eritrean migrants’ house on fire in Jerusalem and demanded the deportation of Africans seeking asylum? If we boycott settlements and buy Israeli goods will the Jews in Israel become more accepting of non-Jews in their neighborhoods?
Let’s put an end to this grand deviation. Settlers wouldn’t exist if not for the support of an ethnocentric nation, dedicated by any means necessary to driving out the indigenous population.
Yes, Boycott the settlements, but don’t stop at the green line because they did not. Boycott the settlements but also boycott ethnic superiority. Boycott discrimination against Palestinians who are second-class citizens in their own country. Boycott Israel’s academic institutions for their complicity. Boycott Israel’s culture for its duplicity.
Boycott Israeli industries. Boycott Israeli institutions for supporting war crimes. Boycott Israel’s apartheid policies on both sides of the green line until all of this changes and we are all free, living together Palestinians and Jews in equality.
Boycott Israel and I promise you, this day will come.
– Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.