Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I Support the Palestinian Cause

A comment by another blogger, Stephen M. Flatow, has led me to examine why I support the Palestinian cause in the first place. Contrary to what Flatow seems to assume, opposition to Israeli policy does not necessarily imply anti-Semitism or opposition to Israel's existence. A deeper examination of my motivations will make this evident.

Perhaps the deepest roots of my support for the Palestinian cause lie in my ethnic heritage. My roots include the Irish, the Polish, and Native Americans. All three groups share one common trait: they have faced violent struggles to free their homelands from foreign domination. To a certain extent, I recognize the Palestinian struggle as analogous to those earlier struggles, a valid effort to assert dominance over one's homeland.

Some will no doubt comment that the Israelis are essentially doing the same thing: struggling for an ancestral homeland. However, I feel it is worth noting that while the Jewish people were largely absent from Palestine for centuries, whereas the Palestinians have been displaced more recently. They have a far greater claim to the land.

Another factor is my concern for human rights in all countries. Flatow comments that he wonders why Caryl Churchill, the author of Seven Jewish Children profiled in an earlier blog post, does not give attention to Sri Lanka, Darfur, or other human rights hot spots. As anyone familiar with my blog can attest, I have a strong concern for human rights, with a particular focus on China. Israeli actions that impact civilian populations naturally draw my attention, as part of my broader concerns.

Notice that none of this translates into anti-Semitism. Flatow claims that anti-Israeli activism derives largely from hatred of Jewish people, citing one instance where an anti-Israel protest in Fort Lauderdale in which there was a pro-Nazi chant. The use of an isolated incident to claim an entire movement is anti-Semitic is simply comical. Indeed, Flatow's treatment of Seven Jewish Children suggests that he looks for anti-Semitism in any expression of opposition to Israeli policy, a trait common to many, if not all, backers of the Israeli occupation.

1 comment:

SocialDiscussion said...

I learned some time ago that one criticisms is a reflection of the self, as in "anyone who opposes Israel dislikes Jews". Turning that on its head reveals quite clearly that that person opposition of Palestine is in fact a racist view.

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