In a World Full of Camera Phones, Your Cowboy Narrative Isn’t Gonna Fly
By Nick Cooper
If you don’t agree with us that comparative civilian death tolls of 800 to 3 indicate a slaughter instead of a war, what is there left to say? We’re not going to pretend that both sides are military or political equals, or that Israel is threatened by Hamas.
If you want to deny that Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws, fine, but why try to convince us? There are plenty of people who are also happy to deny it across the U.S., you can go talk to them. We can’t be convinced that creating a Jewish state in an area heavily populated by predominately non-Jewish people would even have been possible without ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Every year, the criteria of ethnic cleansing are met, as Israel moves Palestinians out of apartments in East Jerusalem and areas of the West Bank, and Bedouins out of the Negev.
If you are one of the Americans who like to talk about how Palestinians should renounce violence and turn to non-violent forms of resistance, but then you don’t support BDS, then what non-violent resistance are you waiting for? BDS is the non-violent Israel/Palestine justice project that requests international support, but you have nothing but critiques of it? Fine, but stop talking about your desire to see the Palestinian Gandhi emerge. It’s cool that you understand the importance of Gandhi now, but that doesn’t mean that you would have been one of the few British people who agreed with and recognized Gandhi for what he was while he was alive.
Are you still pretending that the two-state solution is viable? Why? Are you running for office or something? Anyone who can read a map can see that one state is the only remaining possibility. This two-state solution nonsense is a stalling tactic, and it’s dishonest to pretend it’s Palestine’s future.
However, if you acknowledge that Israel is a colonial project that has elements of the US Indian wars, the segregated South, and apartheid South Africa, if you acknowledge that every settlement on occupied land is a continuation of the crime of ethnic cleansing, if you acknowledge that non-violent resistance to illegal occupation is happening in Palestine and desperately needs support in the US, if you acknowledge that Israel prefers missiles to negotiations, if you acknowledge that the two-state solution and US brokered peace process are just stalling tactics, then great! We need people who are willing to call it like it is.
The joining of two distinct cultures into a multi-ethnic state happened when the segregated South fell and when South African apartheid fell. So, it’s not some foreign unknown system. It’s what the US is working towards right now, despite white supremacy still holding on and beckoning backwards against immigrants. You don’t have to be a visionary to imagine Israelis, Palestinians, Bedouins, and African immigrants all living together as citizens. Such integration is familiar to anyone who has walked around European or American cities.
Integration isn’t some rainbow candy-land, it’s still capitalism, it’s still racist and sexist, it’s still an environmental nightmare, it’s still dangerous, it’s still a war machine, it’s still unsustainable, but at least it’s not the Trail of Tears. That is the alternative — a once free indigenous people living on reservations in squalor. However, unlike with American Indians, Palestinians have cameras and connections around the world, so this time, everyone can watch it. On the Mavi Marmara, Israel confiscated every cell phone and camera, but how could they ever do that in Palestine? Unlike when European Americans could pretend they were brave cowboys, Israel is exposed. Lots of people around the world know how ugly occupation is. They will hate Israel, and sadly, many will blame all Jews for it.
There are no other destinies left for Israel / Palestine. It’s integration or reservations. We’re for integration. Unless you’re willing to step up and call out the occupation for what it is, we’re gonna have to assume you’re stalling, pretending, or otherwise putting on some sideshow while Israel continues moving directly, during war or relative peace, towards reservations.