Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Pax Bibi, What's Next?

The Palestinian people have shown that they are central to any peace going forward. The Trump Accords, aka, Abraham Accords, were never about peace but rather ploys of domestic politics to show Bibi Netanyahu as capable of delivering peace through force without concessions. Instead of the Pax Romana, of the Roman Empire, it's a Pax Bibi: Peace through the vanquishing and encirclement of the Palestinians, ending the Palestinian cause and declaring it irrelevant


The Palestinian people have also succeeded in showing the world that they have moved past the Hamas and PA jostling
. The refusal to submit to Pax Bibi was the response from virtually all parts of the Palestinian society, across borders, across religious beliefs and political ideologies. The resistance that resonated with the world was that carried out in dignity and defiance of the ordinary unarmed Palestinians. The Israeli propaganda tried to keep the discourse focused on Hamas, this worked with governments and traditional media. Global public opinion shifted decisively and the “both sides-ism” whitewash language has been replaced with a clearer understanding of the immorality and cruelty of the discriminatory policies of Israel. 


This time, the world saw the zealots of the Israeli settler movement like never before
. While the Governments were declaring that All Lives Matter, public opinion was shouting Palestinian Lives Matter! Not because all lives don’t matter but because thus far it was only the Palestinian lives that didn’t matter or mattered a lot less. Palestinian activists walked back on the use of PLM to avoid appropriating the struggles of African Americans for a different cause. The biggest danger to the Palestinian cause now is the language of hate and Anti Semitism.  The gains made in the courts of public opinion can vanish if the voices of hate and supremacist counter supremacy become the dominant discourse.

Over the last few weeks, I have moderated and co-moderated several discussions on Clubhouse. I’ve heard many firsthand accounts of Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinians in Gaza who can’t escape the frightful sounds of Israeli attacks and in Jerusalem who are having to pay rent to the Israeli government for houses their grandparents owned. I’ve heard of stories of mistrust and discrimination faced by Israeli Arabs. I’ve heard Israeli Arabs not wanting the Israeli Arab label but identify as Palestinians in the 1948 border. 



I’ve also heard of stories of ordinary Israelis running in fear from the sounds of sirens clutching on to their kids. I heard the story of a French student afraid to go to her Synagogue and eyewitness accounts of being targeted with hatred for being Jewish. I have also heard many Israeli Jewish voices who are actively promoting peace and reconciliation in a language I have not heard before. I heard an Israeli Jewish peace activist who can trace his family thirteen generations back to Hebron and Jerusalem show genuine and total solidarity with the Palestinians. I have been active in peace dialogue for a long time and have heard many genuine peace-loving Israelis before, but the unconditionality of the language I’m hearing now is new. 


I have also listened to so many people arguing that Arabs can’t be Anti-Semitic because the Arabs are Semitic themselves, before they proceed to talk of Jewish control over media and the true meaning of the two lines on the Israeli flag! It’s important to accept that Antisemitism simply means hatred, distrust and conspiracy theories directed against Jews, regardless of the linguistic origin of the word “Semitic”. It’s important to accept that an allegation such as Jewish control over media is in its own right a symptom of antisemitism.  


Another line I’ve heard repeatedly is: “Islam teaches me to love Jews as people of the Book, I just hate Zionists and Israelis”. It’s critical to afford the Jewish people the right to define who they are!  We can’t continue to insist on imposing our definition of Judaism on the Jews themselves. “Jewish” is an identity that is born out of religion, race and culture and the vast majority of Jews identify as Zionist. Most of the Jews who are actively fighting for the rights of the Palestinians identify as Israelis and / or Zionists. 


What’s Next: The Pax Bibi or the peace through the vanquishing of the Palestinians is no longer an option; but, there is no option of the reverse either. Peace isn’t inevitable and neither is justice, it’s possible that this conflict will last for centuries. It’s also possible that peace can be achieved through the difficult process of reconciliation, reconciliation between two enemies, with two competing ideologies and narratives: Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims on one side and Israelis, Zionists and Jews on the other side. 

Ayman S. Ashour

1 comment:

Rami Saffarini said...

I agree with your statement that anti Semitism simply means anti-Jewish, and Arabs Should stop using the argument that they are themselves Semites in this context. It is simply ignorant (my word, not yours). I also accept that proclaiming Jewish control over the media reeks of antisemitism.

However, I strongly disagree with your lumping Jewishness with Zionism. I have listened to Jews who would take offense to this association.