Lately, opinion writers have taken to labeling everyone who supports the Palestinians, as “Palestinians”. For instance, Canada’s changing UN votes on Israel won’t “impede Canada’s ability to be the “honest broker” the Palestinian community wants our government to be”, wrote Shira Herzog in the Globe and Mail. This “sound-bite compression” ignores the many non-Palestinians, including Jews like me, who support Palestinian self-determination. As my people are apt to say, “So what are we, chopped liver?”
If we were to let them do our thinking for us – the conflict is reduced to an isolated issue between peaceful victims on one side and Palestinians on the other. This oversimplification outwits the best of us.
It is not isolated since the fallout spreads: 9-11, refugees, deportations, racism against Jews and Arabs, oil prices, and a bloody war in Iraq.
Rumors of an Israeli Knesset (parliament) block within the Martin cabinet are being confirmed by Canada’s latest UN abstentions or voting against Palestinian rights, with the excuse that the resolutions prop up ineffective bodies, or are unbalanced with respect to Israel. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Canada would likely change some of its abstentions to NO votes next year.
A broad array of Jews, Israelis, Christian fundamentalists and the U.S. and Canadian political establishment, label themselves as simply reasonable people who back Israel, support building a racialist Jewish state by slowly ethnically cleansing the Palestinians.
There is also a broad array of Jews, Israelis, Christians, and Arabs around the world that support Palestinian self-determination, the end of the violent Israeli occupation and the removal of Jewish settlements on their land. Some of us also back the Palestinians’ legal right to return to the villages they were exiled from. We believe this will help ensure the security of Jews both in Israel and around the world by diffusing an enormous injustice that has a Jewish face on it.
But that took an entire paragraph to explain. Exhausting. Deftly, the sound-bite warriors simply label my side as Palestinians , sometimes stretching it to “Palestinian terrorists”.
So let me concede defeat and propose a radical capitulation to the unfussy labels we seem to be stuck with. From now on, I agree that those who support Palestinian self-determination will be called “Palestinians” if those who support Israel’s policies will be labeled Jews. What could be more plain and simple?
This quick reinvention of our identities as either Palestinians or Jews is totally in synch with rapid change in our instant information world. Now, Jews like me become Palestinians. No big deal – we’ve been there. Jews have a long sad history of persecution, occupation, being ethnically cleansed and murdered. We can relate to the Palestinians. These odd bedfellows of new Palestinians will include the NDP, Québec, and even a majority of Canadians.
For those of you who are Anglo Saxons and Christians being converted to Jews – it’s also a natural. You have a long history of throwing your weight around as bully colonialists. You can be right at home keeping up your imperial traditions with Israel. Welcome to the changing face of the modern Jewish world!
Immediately labeled as Jews are the millions of Apocalyptic Christian fundamentalist who follow the End Of Days belief. You want Jews to occupy Israel and conquer the Arabs so the rapture unfolds, thereby wiping out all of humanity including most Jews who don’t convert to Christianity? Sorry, Ironically all you anti-Semites are Jews now.
I have no idea what this dilution of Jewish and Palestinian culture will imply, but the future of political communication about the Middle East will be much easier to understand without the complex hyphenated descriptions of who supports whom.
Now, when you take a stand on Palestine or Israel, you’re either a Palestinian or a Jew.