Posted by: r.m. | January 20, 2009

sustain the outrage

Youssef Abdullah wrote in a piece entitled ‘a free Palestine has never been closer.’

“in the current Palestinian resistance against Zionist fascism, the only outcome for the Palestinians is to approach victory and the only option for the Zionists is to sustain cumulative defeat.  There will come a point when there will be enough quantitative change in the geopolitical spectrum that a qualitative change will occur.  This will occur when the Palestinian steadfast, supported by an Arab populist movement within an international sea of solidarity, crosses the threshold where the losses for the colonial axis are more than the gains.  We are at that point.”

Ali Abunimah further provided an excellent analysis entitled ‘Why Israel won’t survive.’ He wrote:

If there was ever a moment when the peoples of the region would accept Israel as a Zionist state in their midst, that has passed forever.

But anyone surveying the catastrophe in Gaza — the mass destruction, the death toll of more than 100 Palestinians for every Israeli, the thousands of sadistic injuries — would surely conclude that Palestinians could never overcome Israel and resistance is a delusion at best.

True, in terms of ability to murder and destroy, Israel is unmatched. But Israel’s problem is not, as its propaganda insists, “terrorism” to be defeated by sufficient application of high explosives. Its problem is legitimacy, or rather a profound and irreversible lack of it. Israel simply cannot bomb its way to legitimacy.


What choice will Israel make? In the absence of any political and moral legitimacy the only arguments it has left are bullets and bombs. Left to its own devices Israel will certainly keep trying — as it has for sixty years — to massacre Palestinians into submission. Israel’s achievement has been to make South Africa’s apartheid leaders look wise, restrained and humane by comparison.

But what prevented South Africa’s white supremacist government from escalating their own violence to Israeli levels of cruelty and audacity was not that they had greater scruples than the Zionist regime. It was recognition that they alone could not stand against a global anti-apartheid movement that was in solidarity with the internal resistance.

Israel’s “military deterrent” has now been repeatedly discredited as a means to force Palestinians and other Arabs to accept Zionist supremacy as inevitable and permanent. Now, the other pillar of Israeli power — Western support and complicity — is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over.”

Push it over. Break the crack of Western support and complicity.  Empower the anti-apartheid, boycott/divestment/sanctions movement. And see the links.

Kevin Alexander Gray, a civil rights organizer in South Carolina, asks where should our moral stance be

First, we must see Israel with the same eyes as we saw South Africa in the apartheid years – as a racist nation deserving of international isolation and sanctions. Second, we must demand that the United States end its $30 billion a year military support to the country. Third, we should organize, confront and demand that public bodies such as universities, local and state governments divest their portfolios from companies that do business in or with Israel. Fourth, we should identify and boycott those companies that do business with and in Israel. Fifth, we should call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and boycott those artists who perform in the country.”

Beware though.

Slowly (or perhaps not so slowly), Gaza will slip out of the front page of the newspapers. Slowly, the arabic TV news will highlight other atrocities.  And, perhaps, slowly – or quickly – our lives will be filled with other pressing matters.


Sami Hermez (a doctoral student in anthropology and a social-justice “activist” in Lebanon) said, when I shared with him Youssef’s article:

“We witnessed a similar sense of hope during or in the aftermath of the Lebanon war.
“It is good for people to hope and to talk in this way.  But it is all for nothing if all the pressure ceases after the physical warfare in Gaza is over.  We experience periods of hope and then the people return to silence.  I remember my brother was boycotting in 2006 but then obviously he stopped.  What is important is not to talk of hope but to continue to put pressure of the kind that we have seen in the last few weeks. Israel could not survive 2-3 years of this kind of vocal pressure, but more importantly I don’t know if the international community could keep it up.

“So yes, agreed, it is a good analysis.  But then, we have felt this before and I prefer not to leave it in God’s hands.  So we must keep pressure on.”

Sustain the outrage.

Empower the language. (example: Israel is not having a ‘ceasefire’ – but merely another form of violence: through siege, and through regular detentions, killings, demolitions, and theft.)


and Believe in the viability of a change, a positive, beautiful change.

At yesterday’s talk at the AUB, a student asked me during the Q&A what we would do when, after it all, we have the traumatized children of these wars against the Palestinians — how do we take care of the children?

I told her that her question was the most hopeful statement I had heard — since she had, in essence, asked: what will we do after the liberation of Palestine…

How brilliant.

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