June 04, 2005

Fair comment

Every so often I think a comment is worth a post in its own right. Tonight it's one from a fellow blogger in response to a zionist troll who uses several IDs to post comments to tie people down in sterile debate. Pabs, however, is made of better stuff. See this. For this post our seeker after truth (ie zionist troll) uses the name "Stuck"
Asking questions is the best way to find out what people REALLY believe, do they have an idea? an ideal? or are they just shouting a slogan?

it is a tradition going back to the Greeks :)

I have found that people with reasoned beliefs are normally happy to articulate them, in a clear structured form, but clearly people with irrational or ill formed ideas might find it taxing to put a reasoned the case, we shall see?

therefore I ask again (accepting for the sake of the argument that a single state solution is desirable, etc and we should all try to get on well together):

HOW to bring it about? Meaders says with a 'mass' movement?

the next obvious question, logically speaking, is on what basis is such a mass movement based? what programme ? what demands?

if my questions are too demanding please let me know :)

PS: I'd lay off the coffee for a while, people seem a bit tense here
This is a call for open and honest debate from someone who uses various IDs and who doesn't state his or her own position. Anyway, here's an articulate response
where to start? well neither violent struggle nor some kind of vanguard take-over of the state are ideas that anyone should consider, just in case 'stuck' is fearful of that. so that leaves, as i said, breaking down the idea that religious or ethnic identity are appropriate criteria for the foundations of either moral or political community. There is no grand scheme for bringing about such a critical consciousness. It can come from writing columns or books or articles to the educated middle classes challenging ideas of racial or religious superiority/exclusion. It can also be, and is already being, put in place by acts like setting up mixed communities where Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims/Jews live and work together and so grow to see each other as complex individuals rather than simply embodiments of a cultural or racial grouping. It can take place when jews go and do work among Palestinians through ISM or Rabbis For Peace or B'Tselem or ICAHD. It can take place when Palestinians speak out in their own community about the need to understand the Jewish perspective and experience. Edward Said, for all those accusations of being a supported of terror, did this regularly. It can occur through ventures like the one Said set up with Daniel Barenboim, the East-West Divan Orchestra in which young Arabs and Israelis came together to play music and learnt to see each other not as some enemy who must be prevented from gaining statehood or returning to stolen property because then he might wipe out judaism but as real people.

This is no small task but it is a beginning. At some stage such understanding will be broad enough to begin some kind of political programme. This is not pie-in-the-sky. The Israeli peace movement was non-existent before Lebanon but Israeli society was first shocked and then changed by what it saw. The narrative of 'purity of arms' was discredited and the corpses of children in the street did something to dispel the notion that Palestinians did not exist or were all terrorists. Mass civil disobedience in the first intifada achieved similar effects. These are the strategies we must focus on.

Once collaboration and inter-community contact is at a sufficient level the dominant order can be challenged by setting up more and more Palestinian/Israeli communities, more collaborative projects. A focus on the plight of Israeli Arabs and a campaign to recognise their particular oppression and denial of services by the state should be part of this. The electoral system should be used as more and more Palesraelis or Israstinians emerge, individuals of mixed race or origin who see themselves as neither Israelis or Palestinians but as citizens. Gush Emunim and Hamas will, I am sure, hate this but so what. The achievements of collaboration and understanding will outweigh those of fear and suspicion. Borders will be destroyed.

The programme would be based on democracy and secularism as its core characteristics rather than on religious identity. There is no reason why religion should not be provided for within this framework if significant religious communities continue to exist at present levels. Communities will still be able to apply Jewish law or Islamic custom but the State will enshrine secular laws banning encitement to religious hatred etc. It will do this because the majority of citizens from both communities will recognise that this is the correct way. They already do.

If you're fearful that communities will be oppressed by the tyranny of the majority and if large groups of people still choose to live isolated from others in an exclusive community we can look at other contexts where self-determination exists for a group within a state, maybe through some degree of regional government or through a set of safe-guards built into the constitution preserving, for example, the right of orthodox jews not to work on the Sabbath.

There's no final blueprint because it allows for evolution and a little thing called democracy. But its an argument for change seeking to convince people not a blueprint for enforced revolution.
This was from Pablo K, owner of the Human Tide blog.

Me, I haven't a clue about how to overcome zionism or what will replace it. I just have this abiding feeling that a state based on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, apartheid laws and relentless aggression has no right to exist. That's it, that's all.

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