Edward Said and the ‘rendezvous of victory’

Edward Said
Edward Said
Palestinians find inspiration in the first anti-apartheid movement and other struggles against settler colonialism in their call for BDS and secular democracy in historic Palestine.

By Haidar Eid | Mondoweiss | July 15, 2020

I was inspired by Edward Said because I belong to a generation that did not witness the Nakba. I am part of a generation that was thought to be resigned to more than 50 years of military occupation, and more than 70 years of dispossession and apartheid.

Since the beginning of the formation of his political consciousness in 1967, Edward Said emerged as the world’s most significant moral intellectual since Jean Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russel. As professor of literature and literary criticism and spiritual figurehead of the Palestinian cultural landscape, together with Ghassan Kanafani, Mahmoud Darwish, and countless others, he was instrumental in making Palestine one of the predominant moral causes of our time. His dedication to fundamental Palestinian human rights elevated him to a status of icon and inspiration.

After the official leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the infamous Oslo Accords in 1993, Said began to argue that it was high time that the Palestinian people moved away from the illusion of the two-state solution and advocate a democratic approach, one that could guarantee their basic rights, namely freedom, equality, and justice.

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We’re fighting the same battle everywhere

A man paints a mural on a wall in Gaza
Ayman al-Hasari paints a mural of George Floyd on a wall in Gaza City in a message against racist discrimination and police brutality. (photo: Ahmad Hasaballah / IMAGESLIVE)
Systemic discrimination, settler-colonialism and inequality lie at the heart of a global struggle.

By Adam Mahoney | The Electronic Intifada |  July 15, 2020

Then, a 17-year-old student asked me: Is it really as hard being Black in America, as they make it seem?

It took less than a week for me to become accustomed to daily interactions with Israeli soldiers carrying guns. It scared me. So did the number of Make America Great Again hats on people walking the streets of the Holy Land.

I had been traveling throughout occupied Palestine for several days on a student reporting trip facilitated by my school, Northwestern University, when a student’s question led to weeks of reflection.

This particular day, I was sitting in a high school classroom in the Ein Mahel local council in northern Israel. The day was focused on understanding the experience of Israel’s indigenous Palestinian minority. I was just excited for the chance to speak with young folks about their experiences growing up in the most heavily contested region in the world.

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The U.S. struggle for justice for Palestine begins a new chapter

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, July 1 - Several thousand Palestinians and supporters rallied in the Palestinian-American neighborhood of Bay Ridge, then marched four miles north to the Barclays Center, to oppose threats by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. (Photo by Joe Catron)
Brooklyn, NY, July 1 – Several thousand Palestinians and supporters rallied in the Palestinian-American neighborhood of Bay Ridge, then marched four miles north to the Barclays Center, to oppose threats by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. (photo by Joe Catron)
The progress and victories of recent years absolutely are a cause for celebration. But it is important to keep in mind that the fight is far from over.

By Ariel Gold and Mary Miller  | Mondoweiss | July 14, 2020

…we must recognize that the change happening now cannot be credited to any one action, individual, or organization. Rather, it is the culmination of countless efforts and the work of several groups.

2020 has indisputably been a chaotic year. From the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent disruption of daily life, to the killing of George Floyd and the passionate resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that followed, to the looming general election: there has been plenty occupying the minds and newsfeeds of Americans. But in between all the headline-grabbing stories, another movement has been gaining traction: the effort to end the United States’ support for Israeli apartheid and finally bring peace and justice to the Palestinian people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to announce plans to annex parts of the West Bank on July 1. That date has come and gone, and still no formal announcement has been made. But what is perhaps most noteworthy about this incident isn’t that Netanyahu almost moved from de facto to de jour annexation of the West Bank, but that the response from influential members of Congress made it clear that, should Israel plan to move forward with annexation, it would not go without consequence.

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Palestinian perspectives on the future

(photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Shutterstock.com)
A collaboration between The Elders and The Carter Center highlight the plight of youth who were born after Oslo Accords and who have seen three Gaza wars and no change in leadership since being born.

By Jane Kinninmont | The Elders | July 1, 2020

Policymakers working on this area need to be aware of the significant generational change that has taken place since the Oslo paradigm was established.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, traditionally seen as the central conflict in the Middle East, had dropped down the international policy agenda in recent years as progress seemed impossible and as other regional conflicts became far more violent. This year, however, the US president’s “vision for peace”, which largely adopts Israeli positions on the core conflict issues, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s related announcement that he would annex large parts of the occupied West Bank from July this year, have refocused international attention on the conflict and occupation.

In recent weeks there has been worldwide mobilization against annexation, uniting a disparate set of Jewish diaspora groups and scholars, former Israeli security officials, church leaders, US Democrats, European policymakers, and current and former world leaders, including Arab countries who want peace with Israel and see this as a potential dealbreaker. Trump’s rival in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, has said that annexation would “choke off” any hopes of peace. The international community is throwing its weight behind the idea of the two-state solution with an energy and commitment not seen for years. But can it find a constructive and realistic path to deliver two states?

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The great Palestinian silence

Palestinians look down on the destroyed house of a Hamas militant after an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, 2 January 2009
Palestinians look down on the destroyed house of a Hamas militant in the Gaza Strip. Israel lobbied Australia to argue the ICC should not investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine. (photo: Hatem Moussa / AP)
Palestinian Australian activists put out a statement expressing collective solidarity with Palestinians and are met with censoring by silence from mainstream Australian media.

By Randa Abdel-Fattah |  MeanJin Quarterly | July 10, 2020

What does anti-racism as practice—not a timeline of online platitudes and curated bursts of outrage—actually mean to the many academics, artists and public figures who are vocal about fighting settler colonial and racist violence, but scatter in the dust when anyone mentions Palestine?

It seems everyone is tweeting about freedom of speech. So let me tell you a story about freedom of speech and the exceptional case of Palestine.

In the days leading up to Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank, and in the shadow of Australia being one of only two countries to vote against a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning the illegal annexation of significant parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank by Israel, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed. I wondered why those who profess to care about racism, oppression and injustice rarely dare to tether their politics to Palestine. I can name countless public figures, public intellectuals, academics, artists and activists who have been rightly vocal about a long list of global human rights violations and social and racial justice struggles but have never once spoken up in defence of the rights of Palestinians.

In his ground-breaking book Silencing the Past, Michel-Rolph Trouillot argues that the West’s failure to acknowledge the Haitian Revolution—the most successful slave revolt in history—‘shows us that history is not simply the recording of facts and events, but a process of actively enforced silences, some unconscious, others quite deliberate’.

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Nonviolence International Statement on Annexation

Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrated Wednesday against Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrated against Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank. (photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA, via Shutterstock)
A pledge to relentlessly push for equal rights and dignity and a call for the world to say no to oppression and injustice.

By Mubarak Awad, Jonathan Kuttab, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, and Peter Weinberger | Nonviolence International | July 2, 2020

‘For the rest of the world, the annexation, large or small is a wakeup call to recognize the illegal actions of Israel in the occupied territories and the need to take active, not just verbal steps to address it. Israeli impunity only encourages further illegalities.’
—Mohammed Abu-Nimer, NVI Board Member

Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank by Israel is a path of oppression and injustice. The whole world must say no.

There are two major arguments against annexation from the Jordan Valley or near Jerusalem:

The first is that it basically violates the bedrock of international law, which holds that you cannot annex territory that comes into your possession as a result of war.  After WWII, with the creation of the United Nations, 75 years ago, the international community cannot tolerate “border adjustments” taken unilaterally no matter what the justification.  There are 194 countries in the world, and most of them have historical, tribal, economic, or security interests in taking portions of land from their neighbours.  If that is allowed, there would be chaos in the international community.  That is why the few attempts made (Turkey in Cyprus, Morocco in Western Sahara, Iraq in Kuwait, and Russia in Georgia, and Ukraine; and now Israel in Jerusalem, the Golan and the West Bank) have been roundly condemned.  It is unfortunate that the current US administration is so contemptuous of international law and the international community that it would allow such an outrage.

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Senate Dems introduce amendment that would block Israel from using U.S. funds for annexation

US Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, with Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Wisconsin Democrat, right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, with Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Wisconsin Democrat, right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2020, in Washington. (photo / AP/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)
U.S. legislative efforts continue to discourage annexation while still showing support for Israel.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | July 6, 2020

‘I do not think American dollars should be aiding and abetting the unilateral annexation of territory.’
—Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD)

12 Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. military aid to annex portions of the West Bank.

S. 4049 was filed an amendment to 2021’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020, this Act, or any other Act enacted before the date of the enactment of this Act, or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense, may be obligated or expended to deploy, or support the deployment of, United States defense articles, services, or training to territories in the West Bank unilaterally annexed by Israel after July 1, 2020, or to facilitate the unilateral annexation of such territories,” it reads.

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Yavne: A Jewish case for equality in Israel-Palestine

Separation wall between Israel and the West Bank near Jerusalem. (photo: Mazur Travel via Shutterstock)
A liberal Zionist questions if the price of a state that favors Jews over Palestinians is too high and what would it really mean to build a Jewish home that is equally a Palestinian home.

By Peter Beinart | Jewish Currents | July 7, 2020

It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish–Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish–Palestinian equality.

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A JEW—not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing—today? In Haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftist Jewish spaces, it means championing progressive causes. But these environments are the exceptions. In the broad center of Jewish life—where power and respectability lie—being a Jew means, above all, supporting the existence of a Jewish state. In most Jewish communities on earth, rejecting Israel is a greater heresy than rejecting God.

The reason is rarely spelled out, mostly because it’s considered obvious: Opposing a Jewish state means risking a second Holocaust. It puts the Jewish people in existential danger. In previous eras, excommunicated Jews were called apikorsim, unbelievers. Today, they are called kapos, Nazi collaborators. Through a historical sleight of hand that turns Palestinians into Nazis, fear of annihilation has come to define what it means to be an authentic Jew.

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Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action

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Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, a broad network of allies including Palestinian Christians and international friends of Kairos Palestine, issue Cry for Hope, an urgent call to end the oppression of the Palestinian people.

By Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice | Cry for Hope | July 1, 2020

We declare that support for the oppression of the Palestinian people, whether passive or active, through silence, word or deed, is a sin.

We, Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, a worldwide coalition born in response to the Kairos Palestine “Moment of Truth: a word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” issue this urgent call to Christians, churches and ecumenical institutions. We do this together with committed Christians in Palestine and around the world. This is a call for decisive action on a matter that we believe relates to the integrity of our Christian faith.

We have arrived at a critical point in the struggle to end the oppression of the Palestinian people. The State of Israel’s adoption of the Nation State Law in 2018 legalized institutional discrimination in Israel and the Palestinian territories, officially depriving Palestinians of their rights to life, livelihood, and a future in their homeland. Recent acts of the U.S. administration have supported Israel’s ongoing project of land taking and attaining control over the entire territory of Palestine. These include the 2018 move of its embassy to Jerusalem, its announcement in 2019 that the U.S. government no longer deems West Bank settlements to be “inconsistent with international law,” and the 2020 “Peace to Prosperity” plan. Fueled by U.S. support and emboldened by the ineffectual response of the international community, Israel’s newly-formed coalition government has cleared the way for outright annexation of around one third of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. These developments make it all the more clear that we have come to the end of the illusion that Israel and the world powers intend to honor and defend the rights of the Palestinian people to dignity, self-determination, and the fundamental human rights guaranteed under international law, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees. It is time for the international community, in light of these events, to recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law.

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Annexation, apartheid, and me

 

An Israeli settlement in the West Bank on 19 November 2019 [Mosab Shawer/Apaimages]
An Israeli settlement in the West Bank on 19 November 2019. (photo: Mosab Shawer / Apaimages)
I ran away from institutional racism; I cannot watch while my adopted country moves toward it now.

By Hirsh Goodman | The Atlantic  | July 3, 2020

But what has broken my heart is watching what’s happening to my country under the decade-long leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu: The erosion of democracy; the institutionalized greed…

If Israel annexes part of the West Bank in early July and denies the Palestinians who come with it equal rights, I will confront one of the deepest dilemmas I have had to face since 1965, when I migrated to Israel from apartheid South Africa.

I fought as an Israeli paratrooper in the Six Day War; was stationed in Sinai during the War of Attrition; spent nine months on the Golan Heights after fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; and performed an average of 60 days of active reserve duty annually for about 15 years.

I have lived with my family through Intifadas and suicide bombers, a succession of unnecessary wars, missile attacks from Iraq, and sporadic but persistent rocket and mortar barrages from over the border with Gaza. My wife walked our four-year old to a birthday party shortly after a suicide bomber detonated himself. His head had landed on a balcony near the kindergarten and a grenade was found in the playground not far from the birthday cake.

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