Wake up John Kerry, a global intifada is erupting

3 December 2013

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John Kerry, seen with Benjamin Netanyahu, has an opportunity to help lay the ground for a just future.

(Matty Ster / US Embassy Tel Aviv)

On page 220 of My Traitor’s Heart, by South African journalist Rian Malan, there is a passage that John Kerry needs to read. In this passage Malan talks about “South Africa’s month of destiny.”

It is 12 June 1986 and South African President P.W. Botha is calling for war. Malan describes him as “wagging his authoritarian finger,” “speaking in Afrikaans to Afrikaners.”

“There comes a time,” Botha says in a statement broadcast on national television, “when a nation must choose between war and a dishonorable, fearful peace, and we have arrived at that point.”

In describing what led Botha to declare this war, Malan writes: “His policies had set the stage for a black rebellion, and his ruthless attempts to quell it had triggered a furious outcry in the outside world. He had lost the battle for world opinion, and he was losing the fight to stave off sanctions. He was even losing his right wing.

“Fractious right-wing elements were forming vigilante groups, demanding shoot-on-site curfews and throwing government supporters through plate glass windows at stormy rallies. The white right wanted their government to unglove the iron fist and put blacks in their place, once and for all.”

If we could look into a crystal ball and see five or seven years from now, we would see an older Benjamin Netanyahu still a prime minister trying to hold on. In a televised appearance, he would warn Palestinians to beware the true might of the state of Israel. He would warn them not to mess with the Jewish state, not to tempt fate and fight the descendants of the Maccabees and the Zealots of Masada.

Unaware?

By then there will be a solid Palestinian majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. A UN report from August 2012 predicts that by 2020 an additional 500,000 people will be living in Gaza alone, bringing the population of the Strip to 2.1 million people.

If US Secretary of State John Kerry had any sense he would act now to avert a looming disaster. He would lay the groundwork to a peaceful transition of power from the exclusive Jewish-Zionist regime to a democratically elected government that represents all people living in Palestine/Israel.

He would explain to the current Israeli regime that it is time to free all political prisoners, lift the siege on Gaza and plan for free and fair elections where all Palestinians and Israelis vote as equals, one person one vote. Kerry would explain that voting districts should be created, so that elected officials will be answerable to their constituents and that the entire political structure needs to be amended to accommodate the new reality of a bi-national, democratic state of Palestine/Israel.

Perhaps John Kerry doesn’t realize that a global intifada is already underway.

That the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel is growing in popularity and its successes are encouraging and bolstering its support; that pro-Palestinian student groups on campuses in the US and elsewhere are growing and becoming bolder and more influential; that churches in the US are organizing tours to the holy land, not for the sake of pilgrimage to holy sites, but rather to help the Palestinian cause; that the debate on a single democracy has gone from “if” to “how” and “how soon.”

Perhaps John Kerry isn’t aware that Palestinian youth are no longer interested in a small state in what used to be the West Bank.

Dead negotiations

Popular resistance in the West Bank and Gaza is growing in popularity and demanding a free Palestine, not just a free West Bank. Palestinians in Israel identify with the larger Palestinian cause, carry Palestinian flags and no longer refer to themselves as “Israeli Arabs” — a term coined by Israel to strip them of their identity.

Perhaps Kerry doesn’t know that “occupied Palestine” refers once again to the occupation that began in 1948 and Palestinians demand their right to live and work, study, travel and return to every part of Palestine.

Someone should tell John Kerry that a free, democratic Palestine, with equal rights will not only free Palestinians, it will also free Israelis. Their prime minster may be a Palestinian and their children will go to school with Palestinian children and everyone will be better off.

Someone ought to suggest to John Kerry that rather than beat the dead horse of negotiations between an uncompromising, brutally racist Israeli government and a defunct Palestinian Authority, he can actually do something good and bring about change. We can avoid the uncertainty, the potential for greater violence and suffering.

Rian Malan’s book ends prior to the fall of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. But we know how apartheid in South Africa ended. On 2 February 1990, F.W. De Klerk announced the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress and the South African Communist Party.

Now, as we look into our crystal ball, we may see an older and more weary Netanyahu, or perhaps a younger, fresher, though no less Zionist Israeli politician, forced to announce the release of Palestinian political prisoners and the unbanning of all Palestinian political parties in preparation for the establishment of a new democratic state in Palestine.

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in California. He is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

Comments

The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife. If Miko Peled wants to imagine the future of Israel, he should just look around where he lives in California. The west coast used to be the home for one third of the Native Americans of central North America. The land was captured by settler colonialists, by Mexicans, then by the United States. The ideology of many of the settlers was called "Manifest Destiny". The three themes of Manifest Destiny:
1. the virtue of the American people and their institutions;
2. the mission to spread these institutions, thereby redeeming and remaking the world in the image of the United States;
3. the destiny under God to do this work
Does this sound familiar? Could a state founded on racism and colonialism possibly be sustainable and survive? So, how is your home state of California doing? Are the Native Americans sharing power? Do you feel that the old wrongs have been set right?
Aboriginal peoples rarely get justice in this world. States are founded in immoral power struggles and the use of force and arms. Maybe things will change in another 5000 years.

This is such a stupid comparison. Because he lives in a state that did bad in the past he should shut up about what's happening now. What a joke. Never read something so low. Miko Peled is amazing. Even more amazing to my eyes to Mandela as Mandela was only defending his injustice done to his people. While Miko is defending the arm done to the Palestiniens while coming from a proéminent Jewish Israel family. Well done Miko. You truly a great man with great courage. May God bless you

There are those of morality and justice, certainly
not zionists

The comparison of Palestinian refugees to Native Americans does not fly. Look at Jaffa 1947 pre war, it had a radio station, libraries, school, churches, mosques, and banks. There were mansions. It had culture and a stable economy. Its export citrus industry was thriving. Jaffa wanted to surrender to Ben-Gurion without violence. But no, the Haghnab and Ergun sent truck and car bonbs, followed by heavy bombardment. The 80,000 citizens fled in boats. 4,000 remained in a concentration camp for many months. Let out. the owner of an orange orchard had to become an employee. Their homes were taken over by jews.

Nice try, Mr. Feldman, but the only hypocrisy here is yours. Why do Israel supporters insult the U.S. by bringing up the most shameful and embarrassing years in American history?

This is not the 1800s, this is the 21st century. We have learned our lesson. We have to live with our father's actions. We have to live with the stain on our national honor. We will not excuse Israel because of our mistakes 150 years ago.

Mr. Feldman seeks to justify ethnic cleansing by saying it has happened before, and the remnants of a native population are now integrated.

Wonderful, Mr. Feldman, simply wonderful.

Thank you for this comment. I believe the correct term for Mr. Feldman is 'shill'. We must expect the shills on The Electronic Intifada. I would like to see a followup article entitled, 'Wake up, Americans! You are backing the wrong team'. There is a big fat cuckoo is the American nest.

Kay,
I appreciate you standing behind your opinion with your name, like me, and not an anonymous pseudonym. I am sure we have very different opinions on the situation. I will give you the respect of assuming that you are honest and sincere. I would ask you to have the same respect in return. I find it admirable that this website sees fit to publish my opinions even though they are in opposition of many.

Thank you for your reassurance that you are not a shill. You cannot, however, deny that Israel, like the United States, suffers from 'manifest destiny' (God gave this land to us, etc.) or exceptionalism. The rest of the world has made a little, not much I grant you, progress since first contact with the Native Peoples of North America. Apart from puppy dog Harper in Canada and some client islands in the South Pacific, most of the world agrees that there has been a terrible wrong commited against the People of Palestine. Proof? Israel has indeed 'wiped' Palestine off the world map. Because Europeans crushed the Native Peoples does not mean that we cannot call out a nation that is doing the same to another people. Yes, I criticize Israel and the United States. Two wrongs don't make a right. Too many people in power are afraid to criticize Israel. Too many people run scared at the prospect of being accused of being 'anti-semitic', of being ready for another 'holocaust'. There is a huge elephant in the room and I will not be afraid to shout out as loud as I can that an injustice has and is being perpetrated against the People of Palestine.

Kay, I am here because Miko Peleg is a Jew, living in the U.S.A., like me. People might think that my views should be similar to his, or at least that I might be brought around. I want to explain how my views are different, and why I will not be convinced. We all have ideologies, paradigms based on non-rational factors that determine how we see the world. I hope we agree that certain ideologies are unacceptable. These include any ideology that would demonize or dehumanize people especially in order to justify violence. Nazism, anti-semitism, racism, Islamophobia, and South African Apartheid, are all examples. Most ideologies, as tools for making sense of the world, can be used to promote human happiness or cause terrible suffering depending on the circumstances. Socialism, libertarianism, Zionism, American exceptionalism, and Palestinian nationalism are all examples. When used to promote advancement of one group, along with toleration and helping others is fine. When used to favor one group, while dispossessing another group, can lead to oppression and war.
When I say I am a Zionist, this is what I believe:
1. There is a Jewish people. The Jewish identity is not based of race, nationality, or strictly speaking, religion. The Jewish people are a large extended family. You can be born into it, marry into it, or through the conversion process, be adopted into it. It is a family with roots that go back thousands of years, to the same Jewish people that accepted the law of the Torah and founded the Kingdom of Israel.
2. There is an unbreakable spiritual connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. Jerusalem is forever our spiritual center, and our Temple Mount is the only land on earth that is holy to us.
3. As long as there have been Jews, there has been hatred of Jews, or anti-semitism, that threatens to destroy the Jewish people. Rebuilding our homeland as a state capable of self-defense protects us from destruction.

Really. Then answer my post, and stop looking for Brownie points by playing nice with Kay.

Arguing with a zionist is a waste of time. The tide has turned. Viva the Third Intifada!
Viva Palestina!

"Why do Israel supporters insult the U.S. by bringing up the most shameful and embarrassing years in American history?"

Why would Palestine supporters object to the biggest supporter of Palestinian oppression being reminded of its "shameful and embarrassing" colonial past? If anything, understanding Israel's conquest of Palestine as a colonial project and reflecting on the legacies of colonial injustice in the United States should be helpful.

The contending theses, not "bringing up," are what matters. Feldman suggests 'might is right' -- or at least successful in seizing and holding land. Peled argues that the growing world intifada and Palestinian resistance will make Israel's colonial project untenable. Let's discuss which argument is stronger. And let's build that resistance so that justice prevails.

Eric,

I think you put the question together reasonably well, and I would be happy to discuss it. I do not think Miko Peled or others here would want to discuss the issue, because they want to assume the answer is obvious and that they are correct. People have a right to decide what they will debate, and what they will not. Others will draw there own conclusions.

I am a supporter of Israel, a Zionist, a Jew, a supporter of liberty and human rights, and an American. As an American, it is no insult to recognize our moral failures as a nation. On the whole, I believe America has been a great force for good in this world. But we owe it to ourselves and to those whom we have oppressed to recognize when we are wrong. The eradication and subjugation of many of the Native American peoples is a national tragedy. There are plenty of other shameful stories to tell. The history of enslavement of blacks, and the racist ideology that would consider them less than full human beings. The amassing of huge wealth from the distribution of addictive, toxic, tobacco products. Even today, American food conglomerates make billions of dollars producing high caloric density, low fiber foods that have led to obesity becoming the number one nutritional problem in the world. These are not just the sins of our fathers. No, CT, I see very little evidence that we have learned our lesson yet. I am not here to excuse the inexcusable or justify the unjustifiable. I have worked hard and spent a great deal of time to learn and appreciate the Palestinian narrative. The fundamental precepts, goals, and demands of the Palestinian national cause are consistent and I believe many leaders of the movement have honesty and integrity. I, however, do not believe the fundamental precepts, I do not accept the goals, I would not give into the demands. I do not accept that Zionism is racism or that the establishment of the State of Israel as the government of the homeland of the Jewish people represents ethnic cleansing.

What is there to compare? Might wins in the long run versus untenable? I'm not going to argue such a thing. Why don't we address the real point of Feldman's post, which is "don't be a hypocrite because you are also guilty".

I've already addressed it and now I'm waiting for Feldman to answer me.

Eric has it right. I am saying to Miko Peleg: don't preach that Justice will triumph because it is right, while you yourself are enjoying the fruits of injustice.

Preaching is not the issue; working for justice is. Peled is using his privileged position to support oppressed people, while Zionists use their privileges (usually lots) to sustain injustice and maintain oppression.

this article is full of emotion and emotions are blind. when one sees around them only one narrative from everyone one knows it seems one particular scenario is inevitable. That is not always the ground reality. Even in South Africa I am sure you realise things have changed only on the surface, ground realities are still v different for blacks living there. I wish the Palestinian people would get the state they want, however I feel they have not been politically astute in the way they're gone about it. While there is a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian cause in the western world, the Palestinians should've long ago realised this is getting them no where. What people think, especially statesmen and women, and what they do are two separate things. Long ago they should've thought to look elsewhere to find justice and built alliances with other countries to bolster their cause. They ignored a whole opportunity to ally with other emerging powers who have a bigger voice in the world now. While Israel has been more astute and has been quietly building bridges with the two emerging giants - china and India. Israel has probably realised it cannot always rely on American support and never did have much european support (anti-semitism still today is very strong in those countries) and to offset that it has quietly built significant political, business and crucially military alliances with India and China. In India there is massive support for Israel among the right wing Hindu party - which is set to come to power. Global realities have changed. Palestinians have not kept up. Also the Arab States, especially Saudi Arabia, have let Palestinians down badly. I do hope Israel and Palestine find peace but I have wishing this most of my life and I am 42 now. Both sides according to me are not serious about peace.

Commenters above must be blind to the realities of history both in Palestine
and in Washington. The comparrisons to the genocide of Native Americans
is clear (see Lawrence Davidson: CULTURAL GENOCIDE, Ch. 2).What an
illusion to believe that Israel and Washington which has supported Israel
should mysteriously experience changes of heart . (Don't you know about
conditions in Israel or in Washington for many generations?)
This Administration in Washington has joined its predecessors of many
years in its encouragement of the persecution of Palestinians and
(?) "Arabs". ---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

Justice doesn't matter, there is no morality, there is no forgiveness for past sins.

If you can take it, take it. Enjoy it. Tap dance around your selfishness when explaining it.

That's why the world is turning against you.