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Anti-normalization shuts down Israeli-Palestinian event

Last week, I received an invitation from the Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ) to attend an event on the impact of the Arab Spring on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, a couple of days later I was notified that the event was canceled due to threats by anti-normalization activists against the hotel hosting the event. Below is an letter of explanation I received from the co-editors of PIJ, Ziad Abu Zayyad and Hillel Schenker:

We regret being unable to convene the Meeting which was planned for today, December 20, 2011, focusing on the Impact of the Arab Spring on the Palestinian Israeli Conflict. We invested a tremendous effort in preparations, to guarantee appropriate speakers and audience, and to promote the new issue of the Palestine Israel Journal (PIJ) devoted to The Arab Spring.

Many of you wrote to us, or called asking what happened. And we believe that we owe you an explanation.

On the evening of Dec. 18 someone called Ziad AbuZayyad and drew his attention to a campaign on the Facebook against the meeting accusing it of being part of normalization with the occupation. Ziad spent more than five hours on the Facebook sending messages and posts and responding to what was written or posted and trying to explain the nature and importance of the event.

On Dec. 19 we were called by the Legacy Hotel and informed by its Manager that he decided to cancel our reservation and they will not host the Conference. Later we received a fax from the Hotel confirming the decision of its administration. At the same time Ziad checked with the Hotel why they canceled the meeting and urged them to change their decision but they said that they were threatened by telephone calls and asked not to host the meeting. The owner said that he cares about his business and does not want any political involvement.

Ziad met with some of those who were campaigning against the meeting but others refused to come and meet him and continued inciting against the meeting. The message was clear that they are willing to continue their protest and will come to the Hotel to prevent the convening of the meeting.

From my contacts and conversations with the protesters I can say that the protest is not specifically against the PIJ but stems from the overall situation in the city. There are a number of burning spots in the city as a result of continued settlements activities and attacks by settlers against the Palestinians mainly in Silwan and Ras el Amood. There are increasing activities of house demolitions and the imposing fines on “illegal building”, and recently the activation of Shu’fat passage which excluded the whole neighborhood of Shu’fat refugee camp from Jerusalem and as such making their access to their work, schools, relatives and other interests in the city subjected to restrictions and humiliation on the passage.

There is a strong and increasing political, emotional and militant congestion in the city against the Israeli practices accompanied by a bitter feeling that no one cares for the sufferings of Arabs in Jerusalem, including the PA which is also held responsible for letting down the Palestinians of Jerusalem.

In this congestion, frustration and despair, extremism reigns and logic disappears.

We are unhappy with this situation and will keep going on the path that we believe in and have chosen for our selves. And we’ll continue our efforts to resolve this problem which threatens all joint activities in Jerusalem by all of the civil society organizations. We will continue our efforts to speak with relevant Palestinian parties to change this situation,

BUT no one should ignore the suffering and frustration of the Palestinians in Jerusalem as a result of the Israeli policy and settlers. This policy must come to an end, settlement activities in Jerusalem should stop, and attacks and provocations against Palestinians in the city must be ended to help to change the general climate in the city.

We hope that this explanation will be up to your satisfaction, and thanks for your understanding.

 

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    COMMENTS

    1. AYLA

      🙁

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      It looks like Israeli incitement is working.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Sinjim

      OK, so that’s the viewpoint of the organizers and alleged normalizers. What do the opponents have to say? Insulting them as “illogical extremists,” as the fourth-to-last paragraph does, is the tried and true way of dismissing Palestinians with a strong and independent point of view. On a website that ostensibly aims to give Palestinians an equal voice, one would hope that they would make an effort to present this point of view.
      .
      For example, where was this supposed to take place? Who else was on the panel? Has this panel or the journal that organized it received funds from the Israeli government or any Israeli municipality? Does it have any other connections to official and unofficial Israeli governmental bodies? What were the reasons put forth by the anti-normalization activists for their opposition? Can we get a link to the Facebook page as well as AbuZayyad’s arguments with them? Was violence involved? If not, then what was the nature of the “threats”?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Hannah

      It’s sad. The first time it happend to me I was shocked. After putting so much effort in organizing a certain event just to find out that anti-normalization groups were doing everything they can to stop it from being- there was nothing I could do but cry like a child. Today, a few years later, I know that there is no way for me as an Israeli to cooperate with Palestinians anymore. Not until there is a final agreement.
      So, I don’t invite Palestinians to events anymore despite the fact that many of my friends are Palestinains and we share common beliefs. Yes, it’s sad but it’s the reality we live in.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jieriomka

      “Can we get a link to the Facebook page as well as AbuZayyad’s arguments with them?”
      I concur. Can’t find a link. This is all very mysterious…

      Reply to Comment
    6. Danny Demiculo

      @sinjim : you heard what the opposers had to “say” – they threatend the hotel owners.

      Violence is still par for the course in Arab politics.

      Reply to Comment
    7. aristeides

      Danny – you make assumptions. Threats do not always equate to threats of violence. You don’t know what these threats were.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Jieriomka

      “you heard what the opposers had to “say” – they threatend the hotel owners. ”
      Correction: that’s what the hotel owners say.

      Reply to Comment
    9. @danny – that’s about as racist a statement as they come.
      .
      Oh, and I suppose Israeli politics is non-violent and all about hugging trees. (unless you mean hugging trees until they’re uprooted). Demiculu is such an apt name…

      Reply to Comment
    10. Danny Demiculo

      As palestinians do not stay in the legacy (200$ per night is something 972 reports can pay, not east jerusalmites), the threats to the business are of the violent kind.

      Arab politidcs are violent, Israeli politics much less so – When was the last time someone threatend a hotel hosting a political meeting in Israel ? Of course, the Gaza version of politics – “The winner takes it all, the loser takes a fall (from a high building).” – if hardly unique in the arab world.

      Who pays for all these useless meetings in expensive hotels anyway ?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Miki

      @Hannah, that is not true – there are many way you as an Israeli can cooperate with Palestinians. Palestinians are simply demanding that you and other Israelis don’t support or encourage normalisation of the Israeli state’s occupation and apartheid policies.

      I am sorry to say, but if your event event was actually encouraging normalisation then it deserved to cancelled.

      There are several ways you can cooperate with Palestinians. For example, if you want to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians you can organise events that don’t encourage normalisation and instead support the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation and Israel’s apartheid practices.

      You can also support Palestinians by standing in solidarity with at demonstrations in both Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied west bank.

      And there are also global campaigns being run by Palestinian civil society, which are anti-normalisation, which you and anyone else who support Palestinian rights can choose to support.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Miki

      @Danny Demiculo what a load of garbage. You have absolutely no proof that threats were made. Second hand claims, without any actual proof to back them up – except your racist prejudices – should be taken with a grain of salt.

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      @Ami–“hugging trees until they’re uprooted”. I’m stealing that.

      Reply to Comment
    14. AYLA

      @Sinjim–I can understand your response, since this letter was clearly intended for an audience of would-be participants and is insulting to opponents. One question, though, about your question re: whether any participants (panelists or journals) had Israeli funding. I never understand this. I have a friend who’s a Palestinian alumni of the Arava Institute–(palestinians, diaspora jews, jewish israelis, palestinian-israelis, jordanians…. studying the environment together. many of my friends here in the negev come through this program who says that when he realized that the funding for his studies was coming from Jewish organizations and Jewish individuals in the diaspora, he wished he hadn’t come (though he also stayed). I don’t get it. Isn’t it good that government and individual funds from Israel-interested donors or groups goes to programs that further dialogue and/or support Palestinians? There seems to be a kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face form of resistance among Palestinians. I don’t blame anyone for their anger; I just think it’s hurting the common cause. What can we do about that?

      Reply to Comment
    15. AYLA

      sorry that’s hard to read: end parenthesis after “through this program”)–who says…

      Reply to Comment
    16. sh

      A few days before the Legacy Hotel incident, the anti-normalization people visited an event being set up at East Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel where they vandalized equipment and other property. Does this qualify as non-violent protest? No idea, but the event was cancelled and whoever showed up found a notice on the door.
      .
      I think that constant progressive hardening of positions on Israel’s side shrinks the space for non-violent protest by Palestinians and forces well-meant activity on both sides into a question of collaboration. It’s an inescapable fact that Israel points to the existence of such events and initiatives as proof that it is a democracy, thereby diverting attention from the iniquities that continue to be visited on Palestinian residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and to a lesser extent inside pre-1967 Israel.
      .
      What to do? I believe brainstorming about different options and drafting actual blueprints for solutions must continue take place, but perhaps without the brouhaha that permits them to be misappropriated.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Sinjim

      @Ayla: Well, I specifically asked about funding from the Israeli government, Israeli municipalities, and other Israeli governmental bodies. That’s not at all the same as funding from Jewish individuals or Jewish organizations, since Israel =/= Jews. If some people want to boycott events or institutions because Jews donate to them, that’s their issue. I cannot and will not answer for an opinion or a political position that I do not hold.
      .
      Opposing association with the government of Israel or its money is not cutting off my nose to spite my face simply because as a Palestinian the government of Israel is my enemy. All the kumbaya rhetoric in the world will never erase the facts of what Israel has done and continues to do to my people in exile and under occupation.
      .
      And I am not so stupid nor so pathetically, snivelingly naive as to quickly forget this as soon as someone dangles a couple of pennies in front of my face or to believe that Israeli funding of so-called “coexistence” efforts will change any of it. You bring up the Arava Institute as if to prove my point for me. The distinguished institute receives much of its funding from the JNF (source and source). That’s the same JNF that stole Palestinian property in 1948 and that refuses to sell or lease this stolen land to Palestinian citizens of Israel today. That racist, Jewish supremacist organization then turns around and facilitates funding for this so-called conflict resolution exercise. How generous, how kind, how exactly like the state of Israel to do this!
      .
      The bottom line for me is anti-racism and anti-occupation. If one supports either of those things, then one must oppose normalization with the Israeli government and its affiliated institutions. If not, then at best one is providing tacit support for racism and occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Ben Israel

      Sinjim-
      I don’t know how old you are but prior to 1993 we Israelis were told “the Palestinian Liberation Organization is the SOLE LEGITIMATE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE”. Israeli attempts to negotate with other groups of Palestinians or the Jordanians or other people were described as illegitimate.
      Well, I have news for you. The Israeli government is the SOLE LEGITIMATE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL-the large majority of whom a Jews. So if you want to talk to Israelis about “official” things like the peace process, you have to talk to the Israeli gov’t. You don’t like what they are doing?…well we didn’t like the terrorism the PLO and the terrible things it had been doing to my people, but you insisted we have to talk to them and Rabin and Peres finally capitulated to your demands. Same with you. You don’t like the Israeli gov’t….tough! That is our sole legitimate representative.

      Reply to Comment
    19. @sinjim – question: are you against talks with enemies? Is this a general rule that should be applied in every conflict? Or solely in the Is/Pal one?
      .
      I ask sincerely, because I feel that while anti-normalization on the institutional level seems like a legitimate standpoint (I don’t agree, but it’s legit) – just as those in Israel who refuse to speak with Hamas – its seems like it won’t get people very far.
      .
      In short – how are conflicts to be solved, here and around the world, without talking?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Danny Demiculo

      @miki – read SH post about the “anti normalization”, read about the political violence in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain in the last WEEK.

      I’m sorry that the truth offends you. Attacking the messenger won’t hide the truth.

      Reply to Comment
    21. AYLA

      @Sinjim–yeah, I know about the JNF and about the Arava’s association with them; many people within the AI community are fighting this, as we type. But *you* bring this up as if to prove *my* point: should we close down one of our better organizations (the Arava), or pressure them into severing ties with the JNF?
      *
      Sorry I didn’t take more care in my initial note to you to explain that some of the Jewish money came from Jewish organizations and donors who also support organizations or activities such as, say, the JNF (for example). These are people and orgs who are doing their personal best to donate within Israel to organizations they believe contribute to a better future here, and they are often misguided. I learn so much every day here that I spend half my time retracting statements I made an hour ago; it’s a lot to learn. I’m grateful to people who educate me, and if they don’t talk to me, how can they do so? And if this sounds like I just expect Palestinians, on top of being so oppressed by Israel, to take their time to explain it to me, that’s not what I’m saying. I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other.

      Reply to Comment
    22. AYLA

      @Danny, don’t cherry-pick, out of context, from SH’s post.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Danny Demiculo

      @Ayla: SH gave an example of Anti Normal(ization) violence – which fits very well with their threats to the Legacy hotel.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Ben Israel

      What has become clear is that for both the official Palestinian Authority and public opinion as expressed in places like this and by Jews who advocate the Palestinian position is that the time of a “negotiated settlement” is past, if it ever indeed existed. Instead we keep hearing of insistence on non-negotiable “rights” of the Palestinians, which includes withdrawal to the pre-67 lines, removal of all Jews living over those lines, and, most important, the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees. There may be room to negotiate the rate of repatriation and the amount of reparations to be paid by Israel but there is no room for negotiations on borders or the basic RoR.
      Thus, the position of the “anti-normalizers” comes down to this…it makes no difference what the Israeli gov’t or Israeli population think….the world will eventually IMPOSE the demands of the Palestinians on Israel and Israel will have no choice but to accept the demands, which as I stated, are not open to discussion.
      That is where the “peace process” stands today.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Hannah

      @Miki- nice try, I know this speech by hart and no, I do not accept it. You see I am Israeli, I am Jewish, I speak Hebrew- I embody the Zionist state I AM THE ZIONIST STATE. There is no way to avoid this. When I get healthcare from the Israeli governmant, when I drink water from the Israeli sponsored water company- I am “normalizaing”. You see, for me this whole “normalization” talk is crap and absurd. I believe in a final agreement, in a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel and I do not see how demonstrations in East Jerusalem or other places are going to get us there. It is really time to move ahead.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Mikesailor

      Ben Israel: Your title of ‘hasbarista’ is secure. I particularly enjoy your statement that “…there is no room for nefgotiations on borders or the basic RoR.” Therefore, all of this talk of negotiations is pure BS from the Israeli standpoint. It was the position that all negotiations over borders would be based on the ’67 lines with some adjustments. Yet it appears your view that there is no basis to even begin the parody now well know as the Israeli negotiating position. So, where do you go? Straught apartheid? Transfer of the Palestinians? A one-state solution? Your logic escapes reality and belief.
      As to Hannah, so you are Jewish and speak Hebrew. Congratulations on that feat. So, what is your view of moving ahead? Dispossessing more Palestinians? Allowing titles to land owned by Israelis before ’67 to be enforced while denying the rights of Palestinians the same redress? What does the phrase “I AM THE ZIONIST STATE” really entail? Perhaps redefining who is, and who is not, worthy of legal protection? Such as who is, or is not, a human being worthy of respect, rights or justice? Remember, the boundaries of Jerusalem were redefined by Israel to encompass Palestinian villages and lands which were never previously considered part of the municipality. Where and when do you stop and say ‘ENOUGH”?

      Reply to Comment
    27. Sinjim

      @Ami: No, I’m not categorically against talks with enemies if the point is a serious and just resolution to conflict rather than just PR optics to make one or both sides look good. If the point of talks in the context of this conflict is to end the impasse in a manner that recognizes Israel’s full responsibility for the destruction of Palestinian lives and livelihoods and aims to rectify that, then I’m all for it. However, normalization with Israel just to make it feel good about itself or welcome in the region is legitimization of occupation and that must be avoided at all costs.
      .
      @Ayla: Once again, you’re reading more into my words than I am writing. I am not advocating for refusing to associate with Israelis simply because they’re Israelis or Jews because they’re Jews. I am not saying that all Israelis regardless of their political positions should be disassociated with. So I’m not saying that Arabs should stop talking to you or to someone like Dimi Reider, or even Zionists such as Ami or Lisa. I’m saying that where cooperation or participation with the Israeli government and all its associated institution can be avoided, it must be so long as its oppression of the Palestinian people continues unabated and unanswered for.
      .
      That includes things like the JNF, that racist and Jewish supremacist governmental organization. Whether you want to shut down Arava or pressure them to find a different source of funding is your business. I’m not interested in its fate. What I care about is that it markets itself as some sort of co-existence project while taking anti-Arab racist money. The fact that Arava is proud of its association with the JNF and touts it as a good thing demonstrates exactly how this is a hasbara front, first and foremost. The Arabs who participate in it are dupes and tools of occupation and should be ashamed of themselves.

      Reply to Comment
    28. @sinjim – thanks for that response.
      .
      And, I totally agree with what you say is Israel’s responsibility.
      .
      May I ask, do you feel the other side has a responsibility of any sort as well (and if you do, could you tell us what it is?), or is it all on Israel?
      .
      P.S. I’m not a Zionist. And I don’t particularly approve of people categorizing me before they’ve even had a beer with me 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    29. Jalal

      I admire Sinjim’s ability to eloquently explain his position which I fully agree with.
      If you have noticed, Aziz’s other piece on Qatar was complete white-washing of Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians and their freedom of travel. Aziz celebrated that Israelis are welcome in Qatar and he sees the future of the Middle East to be a good future when Israelis are welcome normally in Qatar. This whole Israel-Qatar thing does not relate to the reality in Israel at all.
      When Aziz replied to my comment, he attacked me for an “Anti-normalization” position and didn’t even address the point I tried to bring out in my comment. He basically considered my position of opposing that naive post on Qatar to be complete and outright radical anti-normalization position where I want to trap myself in a bubble and not communicate with my enemy.
      As I’ve said earlier, “Normalization” is a term to be nuanced, not everything is considered outright normalization. But the term itself is a negative term. Normalization means that you are trying to simplify/normalize/equalize a conflict that is neither simple, normal, or equal.
      Normalization is not the mean to solve a conflict. You would solve a conflict when you admit the conflict, not try to hide its truth or beautify the face of the aggressor.
      Reading SINJIM’s comments on this, I don’t think I could describe my thoughts any better!!

      Reply to Comment
    30. Sinjim – I don’t know what gave you the idea that I am a Zionist. I’ve certainly never said I was; and that is because I am not. Also? I am beyond sick of people who hide behind pseudonyms having the chutzpah to label me.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Sinjim

      @Ami: Hmm, tbh, I don’t really know what you’re asking. Of course, Palestinian so-called leaders have responsibilities. Are you asking me about those responsibilities in general, or as they relate to talks? My answer to your first question was in reference to Israel’s most glaring failure as it relates to negotiations, which has been and continues to be its lack of commitment to ending the conflict in a just solution. If you’re asking me what Palestinian negotiators’ most glaring failure is then I would say it’s representation.
      .
      The first and foremost responsibility for those who call themselves our leaders, given their long and sordid history of soul-selling to all buyers, is to make sure that they are representing Palestinians — specifically those who live under the yoke of occupation and those who are forced to live in the squalor of the refugee camps. For the past 20 years and more, these most vulnerable among our people have been neglected in one way or another. Their needs and their concerns should be at the forefront of any and all policy decisions made by our people’s so-called leaders.
      .
      If on the other hand, you’re asking me about responsibilities of the Palestinians and Israelis in general, I really don’t see how I could set out my opinion in its entirety on this topic in this thread. There’s more to it than just seriousness in negotiation and honesty in representation, which definitely aren’t at the top of the list.
      .
      Apologies for incorrectly categorizing you. Although I’ll just add, the beer you drink is almost as important as your political ideology. Some brands are an abomination unto God. 🙂
      .
      @Jalal: Right back at ya! I hope you do write that response to normalization efforts when you have the time.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Bosko

      Ami: “P.S. I’m not a Zionist. And I don’t particularly approve of people categorizing me before they’ve even had a beer with me 🙂
      .
      Sorry to interrupt your very interesting interchange with Sinjim. I can’t wait to hear his REAL response to your good question that you put to him:
      .
      Ami’s question to Sinjim: “May I ask, do you feel the other side has a responsibility of any sort as well (and if you do, could you tell us what it is?), or is it all on Israel?”
      .
      While he thinks about it further, may I ask you a question of my own? You say you are not a Zionist. Could you please take the trouble and define to me what Zionism is, in your opinion? In the meanwhile, I’ll define my understanding of it:
      .
      Zionism to me is the belief that the Jewish people have the right for self determination and to have a country of their own. No more no less.
      .
      PS
      As far as I am concerned, a Zionist can be secular, atheist, religious, extreme right wing, extreme left wing and all the shades in between. And there are many disagreements between the various categories of Zionists above. However, we all agree about the ONE thing. The definition of Zionism that I presented above. Do yo agree with me about this, Ami, or not?
      .
      Your answer would be appreciated because I don’t want to categorize you since we didn’t have a beer. Nor are we likely to have one unless you will be heading down under 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    33. AYLA

      @Sinjim et al. There is so much I could say, and I am of many minds on all this (and pretty much everything; fiction writing condition…). I am, though, of one heart. so mostly, I want to get back to the heart of this matter.
      *
      To me, the heart is: we need to shine a light on the good–and to stop labeling everyone and everything, already–NOT for PR for Israel (please!)–for ourselves. There is a lot of good in individuals on both sides of this artificially drawn line, and a lot of good in organizations with bad/misguided elements, and people whose views you may mostly agree with but not entirely, and etc. Very few things on this land are all good or all bad.
      *
      @SH said it more eloquently and thoroughly (and presumably from more experience) than I will when she said that we need to find a way to continue the cooperative dialogue and activities without all the bruhaha, which to me means while not allowing those events (or organizations) to be co-opted with a photo of Bibi’s face the next day, or to get so much politicized attention of any kind (including from the anti-normalizers). There will always be some diaspora, pro-israel org that points to some cooperative event and says: Look! Cooperation! So what? So, we don’t want to give them the satisfaction, so we’re not going to talk to each other (at events that have some technically normalized element)? The government is up the a** of everything here; let’s do our best to reduce any affiliation while moving forward.
      *
      This isn’t an either / or. The means–cooperation–is not just the means, but the thing itself. The government has built walls, fences, inflicted travel restrictions (to put it lightly), imprisoned and gassed protestors, killed protestors… So to spite them, we won’t cross those lines? climb those walls? I know, I know, yes, I’m invited to protest in the West Bank. But that’s not enough. We need to be talking, and planning, together. We need to be fighting for, not against, our right to do so. What will come out of such talking and planning will certainly be against the Israeli government.
      *
      Closing these events down based on technicalities is, to me, much more cynical than the cynicism those actions claim to resist, and is the result of a very misguided form of resistance. It is, in fact the truest kind of resistance we humans have: the fear-based kind that makes us believe we are Right while keeping us from what we all really want; from loving and being loved.
      *
      As I said in another post, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from the Desert is that you can’t draw lines in the sand: there is always wind.

      Reply to Comment
    34. @sinjim – Alas, I was hoping for a different answer. 🙂
      .
      Our dear friend Jalal touched on something at the end of his last comment. He says: “You would solve a conflict when you admit the conflict”.
      .
      As I said to you earlier, I agreed with what you defined were Israel’s responsibilities. And I believe this can – and must – go both ways. I was hoping not to only hear about your grievances with the Palestinian leadership towards your people (I have problems, of course, with our leadership).
      .
      I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I believe the Palestinians, and the Arab countries around (for this is not only about the Is/Pal conflict, it’s everything) have responsibilities towards Israelis as well.
      .
      There are things that we need to hear, too. Yes, we are the guilty party. But the other side has made mistakes, and has been far from “perfect”, to say the least. And I specifically don’t make a list of these things, not only because they are dwarfed by the crime of 44 years of occupation, but simply because I wanted to hear it from you 😉
      .
      In this 100 year conflict, there are things we need to hear. And if I may slightly twist Jalal’s words, “it takes two to admit a conflict”.
      .
      P.S. as for the beer, I promise you I keep the highest of standards 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    35. @bosko – I don’t think you’ll like my answer, but here goes: I don’t know what Zionism is really. What I do know, is that it has set out to make a homeland for one people at the expense of another. That’s why I can no longer call myself that, even though I proudly did for most of my adult life.
      .
      P.S. If I do head down under, I’ll give you a heads up 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    36. Bosko

      Ami
      You are right, I don’t think I like your answer because it seems to me that you no longer accept the right of the Jewish people to have their own state and therefore self determination.
      .
      You say: “What I do know, is that it has set out make a homeland for one people at the expense of another”
      .
      I don’t agree. I don’t agree because most Zionists, even many right wing Zionists accepted and still accept the two state solution.
      .
      Ami: “If I do head down under, I’ll give you a heads up :)”
      .
      Please do. The local beer is the best.

      Reply to Comment
    37. AYLA

      @Bosko–you see things in such black and white terms that you hear others (in this case, Ami) doing so as well; we can only see and hear others as reflections of ourselves. I wish for you, in 2012: greyness.
      *
      @Sinjim–I have to agree with Ami. Speaking for myself, I see this conflict as the quintessential family conflict. Israel is the oppressor now, and has been–let’s say for 44 years (to simplify what cannot be simplified). On top of that, a large portion of Israelis and Israel-supporting diaspora Jews are in deep denial — locked at *best* in a dangerously one-sided narrative. We, Jews and Israelis who have had the veil lifted, need to fight that. That is, in part, the role I see 972 Mag playing, which does not mean that they are always your Dream Mouthpiece; that’s what each of our own mouths are for.
      *
      I can tell you though, from knowing these Israel supporters, that painting Israel as 100% wrong and Palestinians as 100% victim, and all palestinian resistance as justified even if its violent against civilians (not that you do this, Sinjim–I’m speaking largely)–is exactly what enables those Israel supporters to stay locked down.
      *
      And–Israelis who grew up here have been personally hurt and scarred by this conflict as well. I know it’s considered an evil to compare one side to the other, as if they are comparable, but here goes: we create each other. Israelis, too, need to hear Palestinians acknowledging, owning, apologizing. That is not the same as liking. That is not the same as being wrong, or not being wronged. And I think it’s unfair to expect Palestinians to do this in any big or public way before Israel does (!). But as individuals, at the events that are continuously closed down by anti-normalization, and between people who are lucky enough to know each other well enough to be friends, there needs to be more accountability on all sides. It always takes two. (or, as many humans as there are on earth, because really, these sides are a fiction).

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    38. @bosko – had the Jewish people created their state and self determination without taking those same rights from others – I would have been all for it. But that’s not how things went down. And I believe most Zionists, as I once did, put their heads in the sands when it comes to this issue.
      .
      As for the two state solution, I’ve said it’s no longer relevant. That option died in September, as I’ve written in my channel.

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    39. Bosko

      Ami: “But that’s not how things went down. And I believe most Zionists, as I once did, put their heads in the sands when it comes to this issue”
      .
      With respect, Ami, I believe you are confusing what Zionism is and the actions of some Zionists with whom you disagree. To me, Zionism is no more and no less than the definition that I presented above.
      .
      As for the rest, some Zionists believe that Eretz Israel is all the land between the river Jordan and the sea. Some believe in a pragmatic solution which involves a viable Israel, based on a negotiated solution, on some of that land. Some believe in an Israel within the 1967 boundaries (the 1949 armistice lines). Personally, I place myself in the middle group. There are probably various other shades of Zionists but we all believe in self determination for the Jewish people.
      .
      By your own words, it seems that you don’t believe in any of the above because we, Zionists “want a state at the expense of another people”. Then let me ask you these two questions …
      .
      1. If you had your way all over again, how would you have solved this 100 year old conflict?
      .
      2. How would you solve it now?

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    40. AYLA

      @Jalal–I agree, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, and Israel’s government just keeps pushing Israel in the opposite direction; I can only hope that they’re pushing us so far that the truth will quake us in our faultlines. I also agree that Sinjim is a wonderful speaker. And I also hope for your post. If only we could sit together, in person, in Palestine, over delicious beer that does not profit any enemy governments, or hurt the environment. Please, tell me: what beer should I be drinking? And where on earth can we toast, together?

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    41. @bosko – with respect to your definition of Zionism, it doesn’t mean it’s correct. Yet, it’s yours.
      .
      And I don’t believe I am confusing anything. In fact – I see things much clearer these days.
      .
      The questions you ask are very good, for two reasons: 1) I could answer them at much much lenght; 2) I don’t have very well thought through answers to them.
      .
      1. I’m afraid this question is just too big, and very theoretical, to answer here. Though I might write a post about it one day. 🙂
      .
      2. As I said before, the TSS is dead, and we are left with the one-state solution. I was all for TSS, it’s a shame both sides squandered that one. Yet, it was ultimately killed by Bibi and Obama. They have brought the death to the Zionist dream, essentially.
      .
      And, I’m not even sure the OSS will work as well. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other viable solutions.

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    42. AYLA

      Here’s something I believe about viable solutions: we need an environmental fire for regrowth. We need to let go of so, so much we take for granted as Truth, about ourselves as individuals, a people, a country (all of us). I do not believe this is impossible, and I believe this is the age of revolution; it has to come from us, not against something, not one side against another, but together toward a common vision. to make that possible (as it is), we have to let go of our need to be more right, to make the other side more wrong; we need to move beyond that way of thinking. Aziz is someone who is doing this, and he is met with so much resistance. It may seem easier to Palestinians for Israelis to do this kind of work, but it isn’t. It is equally brave, and difficult. I have more respect and awe for all of you born on this land, fighting this fight together, releasing your own sense of rightness and wronged-ness, than I can possibly express here. So much gratitude to you all. Every day, I try to find my place in contributing to the dream you are making possible, just by stepping out of the way of your self.

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    43. Bosko

      Ami: “@bosko – with respect to your definition of Zionism, it doesn’t mean it’s correct. Yet, it’s yours”
      .
      I don’t think it is just my definition. Here are a couple of quotes about it from Herzl. All Zionists agree with the sentiments in those quotes. The rest is about how to make that vision happen. And on that score, I do agree with you, there are many opinions.
      .
      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Judenstaat
      .
      “Der Judenstaat (German, “The State of the Jews”, also sometimes translated as “The Jewish State”) is a book written by Theodor Herzl and published in 1896 in Leipzig and Vienna”
      .
      “It is considered one of the most important texts of early Zionism. As expressed in this book, Herzl envisioned the founding of a future independent Jewish state during the 20th century. He argued that the best way to avoid anti-Semitism in Europe was to create this independent Jewish state”
      .
      But since you now profess to believe in the OSS, I agree with you when you describe yourself as no longer Zionist. Having said that, I give you kudos for recognizing that it may not work well by saying: “And, I’m not even sure the OSS will work as well” …
      .
      I on the other hand am convinced that it won’t work at all, at least for the Jewish people. Let me justify that belief very briefly …
      .
      In a OSS, there would no longer be an IDF. At best, it would end up being a mixed army of Arabs and Jews. I am also convinced that sooner or later the extremists of both sides will bring about clashes and riots, maybe pogroms too. One of those riots will end up being a trigger point for the Arab league or neibouring Arab countri/es to intervene, ostensibly to protect the Arab population or as they might term it as peace keepers. But in reality, who do you think they would side with? The Jewish population? – “Fat Chance!” – or the Arab population? That’s my bet. And voila, we will see unfolding in front of our eyes, the 23rd Arab state and not even one Jewish state. Do you think that would be more fair than the current situation?

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    44. Mitchell Cohen

      “And, I’m not even sure the OSS will work as well. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other viable solutions.”

      Ami, so (from your perspective) where do we go from here? I like your blog (Levantine-Anglo) BTW 🙂

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    45. Mitchell Cohen

      “Sinjim – I don’t know what gave you the idea that I am a Zionist. I’ve certainly never said I was; and that is because I am not.”

      Lisa, I don’t know if you are here as a tourist, but if you became a citizen of Israel, you did so under the Law of Return, courtesy of, cough, cough, Zionists/sm. Whether or not you label yourself a “Zionist”, one thing is for sure, unless you are still a tourist here, you took advantage of Zionism to become a citizen here….

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    46. @bosko – let me say again, just because it’s your definition, or that of 100 million others, does not mean it’s correct. In fact, I find the whole issue of defining Zionism quite futile – it doesn’t help solve the conflict on the ground.
      .
      In your last graph you raise fears that I also have as well. But your last sentence is the epitome of the problem I have with your argument: the fact that a future situation may not be fair, or worse, does not allow you to be unfair to others in the present.
      .
      That’s the way I see it, at least…
      .
      P.S. It’s interesting, I gather from your tone (which I may have misinterpreted) that as I am no longer a Zionist, this is a bad thing. I, on the other hand, think it’s actually quite good 🙂

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    47. @mitchell – good question. In fact, it’s actually quite personal. And I’ll tell you why: As someone who has supported TSS for so long, I feel I’m now in what may be called a “mourning period”, with all that entails. Meaning, I’m first coming to grips with the loss of the first solution, and must now figure what to do now, where to go from here. It’s a process. OSS seems like the only option left, but I fear, as Bosko does, that it will be quite bloody.

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    48. Mitchell Cohen

      Ami, thanks for your answer and thanks for your honesty. One thing is for sure, TSS, OSS, SOS, Zionist, non-Zionist, post-Zionist, anti-Zionist, you and I are both living in this complicated place called “Israel”, at least for now (I don’t have any intentions of leaving, but I can’t speak for you)….

      שבת שלום וכל טוב

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    49. AYLA

      @Mitchell–I read what you wrote to Lisa. I am a citizen here, and very much against the current state of the State. That is absolutely paradoxical, and problematic. Aristeides says “obscenely hypocritical” though our old friend, Deir Yassin, forgave me for it, which meant a lot to me. One thing I can say about my choice is this: God forbid the only Jewish people choosing to live here today be those in favor of the occupation, the daily underminings of democracy, the human rights violations, etc. And God forbid people like myself recognize those realities and still call themselves “zionists”, because if they do so, they are obscuring anything important they have to say to help people (including themselves) see more clearly. Do you live your life without paradox? I hope not, given what I do know about your life choices! I hope there are many inconsistencies! Oh, to live a non-paradoxical life; what life would that be? I aim to be consistent only in my heart, and to make my actions speak for my heart whenever possible, from how I treat my neighbor and loved ones and self and dog, to which beer I buy, though it would be exhausting to know too much, when every day, the sun rises, the moon rises; there is too much beauty to make a religion of consumer choices. Do you know how much water it takes to grow a bag of rice? how much fuel, to fly it here? I do. I wish I didn’t. The more you know, the more obscenely hypocritical you become.

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    50. Mitchell Cohen

      @Ayla, yes I am very much aware of your “paradoxical” situation (from your own admission in your posts, not from my judgement of you), but the difference is you don’t have an axe to grind towards others (as opposed to other columnists/posters on this site) and take into account that there might be different reasons for people being in the current situation that they are in (including living in certain areas that render one not the most popular person in the world, specifically on this site). That is the difference between you versus others who paintbrush and that is why I can digest/respect your posts for the most part.

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