Sunday, September 5, 2010

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Conjoined Forces in the War Against Arab Sovereignty

image of Samira, a Iraqi-Palestinian Muslim woman with her partner Edit, an Argentinian-Israeli Jewish woman is from here. They appear in the documentary film Zero Degrees of Separation
A few facts get muddied in many discussions about what is generally termed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Here are some of those facts: one can be Jewish and Arab. The Mizrahim are Arab Jews. Their language is often a combination of Hebrew and Arabic, as the language of the Sephardim is often a combination of Spanish and Hebrew, as the language of the Ashkenazim is often a combination of German and Hebrew, or Yiddish.

There are Palestinian Jews. There are Palestinian Arabs who have been forcibly removed from Israel, but who are, in fact, just as Israeli as any other Israeli citizen. To be Muslim doesn't tell us much about whether one is Arab or not Arab. Being Arab is not synonymous with being Muslim, nor is being Palestinian.

The people of the land of Palestine and the people of the land of Israel are of the same people, historically. This was the case, generally, until the Middle Eastern people of the region were invaded by a displaced and terrorised people, likely to die if not let in: European Jews in the era of WWII. The problem with accepting into the land so many Europeans was two-fold.

1. It made the population whiter, and brought with it an ideology of white supremacy, which has since taken root producing a deeply racist state called Israel.

2. To bring into a land mass so many non-Arab people means many non-Jewish Arab people had to be displaced, forcibly, out of Israel. This is what happened to non-Jewish Palestinians.

The current conflict is not mutually terroristic. Israel has resources Palestine does not have. Israel occupies Palestine, not the other way around. Palestinians, generally, are poorer people than Israelis. And given that so many white Jews have moved to Israel in the last sixty years, class, race, and ethnic hierarchies are now infused into the political landscape, along with misogyny and heterosexism.

For some perspective, see the documentary, Zero Degrees of Separation.

If it were possible, a far less violent solution would have been to find land--I don't know where; in Switzerland, perhaps?--to make a safe zone for the persecuted Jews of Europe. The land of Israel has significant meaning for Jews, but so too does it have religious meaning for Muslims and Christians.

The issue at hand is not what could have happened, but what is happening now and how best to resolve it without pursuing on-going bloodshed and occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government's military forces. At issue, now, is liberating Palestine and Palestinians from Israeli occupation and terroristic activities.

Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, are, in fact, often part of the same families. Jews and Muslims who are Arab are involved in intimate relationship and always have been. "Whiteness" does not belong to the region, and has no place in the region. How to transform Israel into an anti-Apartheid, anti-racist, pro-Muslim, pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, pro-Jewish State is one challenge before us.

U.S. radical feminist Flo Kennedy coined the term "horizontal hostility" to describe the phenomenon of oppressed groups continually fighting each other rather that addressing those who oppress them all. U.S.-Caribbean radical feminist Audre Lorde spoke eloquently of the Master's Tools, and how they will not likely construct anything other than a Master's House.

I offer the above as a preface to what follows.

What follows is from *here* @ Muzzlewatch.

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