[sixties-l] Re: Free Speech? Not Where Israel's Concerned

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: 01/11/01

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    >From: Mazin Qumsiyeh <mbq2@email.med.yale.edu>
    >Reply-To: mazin.qumsiyeh@yale.edu
    >To: mazin@al-awda.org
    >Subject: Free speech?
    >Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 19:51:58 -0500
    >This article was sent to Debbie Ducro, a American-Jewish journalist with
    >the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. She published it, and was fired the
    >next day!
    >Quest for Justice", By Judith Stone
    >I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to
    >Palestine. It was the right thing to do.
    >I've heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a
    >small child. I've visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem
    >dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I've cried at the recognition to what
    >level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.
    >Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held
    >against the survivors of Hitler's holocaust. These fragments of humanity
    >were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We
    >must not
    >forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the
    >European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules
    >of humanity.
    >"Never again" as a motto, rings hollow when it means "never again to us
    >alone." My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical
    >land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished
    >Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the
    >sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to
    >these desert dwellers. Golda Mier even assured us that there "is no
    >Palestinian problem."
    >We know now this picture wasn't as it was painted. Palestine was a land
    >filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and
    >villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and
    >In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere 7 percent of
    >the population and owned 3 percent of the land.
    >Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity
    >perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to
    >the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be
    >ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night
    >to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who
    >displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your
    >home in flames, to surrender
    >everything dear to your heart at a moment's notice. Bulldozers leveled
    >hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants,
    >the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world.
    >Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final
    >resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from
    >the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe
    >there is a leveled parking lot. Under this parking lot is what's left of
    >a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children
    >whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously.
    >This particular burial marker reads: "Public Parking".
    >I've talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who
    >hasn't lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a
    >Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under
    >inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is
    >cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to
    >Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have
    >waited 52 years in these 'temporary' camps to go home. Every Palestinian
    >grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and
    >where the olive trees were planted. Their grandchildren may never have
    >been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies
    >buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the
    >portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But, the victims who rose up
    >against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those
    >who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a
    >rock in desperation is a terrorist.
    >Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler
    >systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new
    >condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the
    >midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to
    >drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University
    >professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (April 30,
    >1995), "The [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitler's youth."
    >We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes,
    >land, slave labor and back wages in Europe. Am I a traitor of a Jew for
    >supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their
    >birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?
    >The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the
    >Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, "Let us not
    >ignore the truth among ourselves...politically, we are the aggressors
    >and they defend themselves...The country is theirs, because they inhabit
    >it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we
    >want to take away from them their country..."
    >Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people.
    >It's cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced
    >by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing
    >eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has
    >been all but eradicated as though they never existed. And all this has
    >been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of G-d. We must recognize
    >that Israel's existence is not even a question of legality so much as it
    >is an illegal fait accompli realized through the use of force while
    >supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in
    >attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.
    >In Hertzl's "The Jewish State," the father of Zionism said, "...We must
    >investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of
    >every modern expedient." I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998)
    >when he said, "If I were a Palestinian, I'd also join a terror group."
    >I'd go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in
    >desperation, I'd hurtle a boulder.
    >Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that
    >this was no war; that this was not G-d's restitution of the holy land to
    >it's rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to
    >be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn't come up with the
    >arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon
    >their demise as a people.
    >We cannot continue to say, "But what were we to do?" Zionism is not
    >synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of
    >return of the Palestinian people.

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