If Palestinians were black: Only connect

On October 15, 2000 in London England  the Observer ran a piece which made this prescient observation::

If Palestinians were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to  economic sanctions led by the United States,

Thi is undoubtedly true.People seeing what happened in South Africa would have quickly  understood: Only connect. Jews of  conscience who helped bring apartheid down in South Africa and Jews in America would have rallied to the cause.

As Jewish american theologian Marc ellis wrote:

Most jews have little sense of the reality of Israel…few Jews in America have actually met Palestinians or traveled in Palestinian areas.They haven’t witnessed the checkpoints, the bypass roads and tunnels, the demolished homes and olive groves, the encircling of Palestinian villages,towns and cities by Jewish settlements …Jewish leaders are willfully ignorant and maintain a silence on injustice toward Palestinians..

But Palestinians are not black and American Jews who are still enthralled by Zionism have largely failed  to: Only connect. Things are changing today as many Jews have seen through the false promises of Zionism, its brutal past and its tragic conflation with the universal values of Judaism. As Alan Brownfield noted, “The State of Israel became central to their Jewish identity, replacing God and the Jewish moral and ethical tradition. Israeli flags flew in many American synagogues; young people were sent on free Birthright Israel trips.” Many younger Jews  have now connected  Torah with  the rejection of occupation and the  second class citizenship of Palestinians.

Consider the following.

The Great March of Return March 30-May 15,2018

On Friday March 30, 2018  Palestinians gathered on the Gaza/Israel border tin a engagement entitled the Great March of Return. It was another nonviolent  attempt to demand the right enshrined in international laws, conventions and treaties   to return to their ancestors’ homes, which they were expelled from in 1948 when Zionist militias forcefully removed 750,000 Palestinians from their villages to clear the way for Israel’s creation.

The protesters also demanded an end to the 12-year-long Israeli blockade, which the UN  says amounts to collective punishment.

Every Friday until May 15 they showed up to press their logical demands.

What happened in the next two months  was extraordinary and defied the civilised behaviour of any democracy.

Israeli snipers opened fire at protesters during the demonstrations. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return, 107 Palestinians were killed, and close to 3,400 were shot with live ammunition, while almost 13,000 were injured overall.

According to the World Health Organization, 111 amputations – 20 involving children – have taken place resulting from injuries sustained during the demonstrations. Nineteen people have been paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries, and six people have permanent vision loss.

No Israelis have been killed or sustained significant injuries, beyond scratches, from the demonstrators. Israel however, still insists that the protests have been non-stop riots which have been going on for nearly a year and a half straight.

The  deadly force against unarmed protesters during those demonstrations, provoked the condemnation of UN human rights officials and an unprecedented warning from the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

On May 14,2018  Israeli forces killed at least 41 Palestinians along the Gaza border as angry protesters demonstrated at the frontier hours on the day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem, health officials said.

It was the highest Palestinian death toll in a single day since the Great March of Return” began.

The health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.

BACK IN THE USA

In the USA on May 25 another black man George Floyd was killed in plain view by a policeman. The country since then has been in virtual lockdown with cities aflame with anger not seen since the Rodney King was beaten on camera by LAPD in March, 1991.affair and the  riots after Dr King was assassinated in 1968. 

Simply look at the different response in both countries.

In the USA massive rallies in dozens of cities. One man asphyxiated by a racist policeman.

In Israel silence in “the only democracy in the Middle East “ —-no massive out cry, no rallies.Ho hum. Business as usual in a country more racist that the USA

After the first rally Gideon Levy wrote

The killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes. There’s nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood. If there were a hundred or even a thousand deaths Israel would still “salute” the IDF. This is the army whose commander, the good and moderate Gadi Eisenkot, is received with such pride by Israelis. Of course, in the holiday media interviews, no one asked him about the anticipated massacre and no one will ask him now either.

To the shock of  many Zionist defenders of Israel, American blacks have begun to make intersectional links with the plight of Palestinians. This has been gradually coming.In 2015 after the Israeli massacre in Gaza, more than 1,000 black scholars, activists and students signed The Black Solidarity with Palestine

Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint struggle have emerged between our movements.

Amnesty International recalled Sunday that U.S. police trains in Israel alongside military officers, who “have racked up documented human rights violations for years.”

The rights group reported that hundreds of law enforcement officials from Baltimore, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police all travel to Israel for training, while thousands of others received training from Israeli officials in the U.S.

The Progressive  reports

Among other objections, activists point to Israel’s clear record of human rights abuses and state violence toward Palestinians, Jews of color, and African refugees. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2018 brought a 69 percent increase over the previous year in Israeli settler violence toward Palestinians, and a rise in Palestinian deaths and injuries in Gaza.

And finally, the shooting of  an autistic man Iyad Halak, 32, in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 30, drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces.

“Only connect”