Activism and BDS Beat 16 January 2013
One Voice, an Israeli organization that poses as a joint Palestinian-Israeli “peace” group, has laid bare its raw anti-Palestinian bigotry in a graphic posted on its Facebook page urging Jews to vote for parties supporting a “two-state solution” in Israel’s 22 January election.
Emblazoned with a Star of David at the center, the graphic is titled in Hebrew, “The Only Way to Protect a Jewish Majority – Two States for Two Peoples.”
The graphic then poses three questions, also in Hebrew, which are presumably aimed at Jewish Israelis, not Palestinian citizens of Israel:
(1) Did you know that according to demographic forecasts for the year 2050, the proportion of Jews in Israel (together with the [occupied] territories) will stand at only 33%?
(2) Did you know that since 2010 Jews constitute a minority of the population between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River?
(3) Did you know that in the framework of an agreement including a land swap the percentage of Jews in the State of Israel could rise to 84% which would guarantee real demographic stability?
At the end, the graphic urges its Jewish target audience to “vote for a Two-State Solution.”
One Voice graphic claims all of historic Palestine and part of Syria as “Israel”
Another graphic that appears on the One Voice website and on its Facebook page repeats the same message except this time with an outline map of all of historic Palestine (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and Syria’s Golan Heights.
A line leading from a Star of David points to the map and a caption says “The only way to maintain a Jewish majority in the State of Israel.”
This map labeling all of the territory as “Israel” and erasing Palestine is a bizarre choice for an organization that claims to support the partition of historic Palestine to ensure the existence of a Jewish supremacist state.
To apply the cartography standards recently set by the German Interior Minister, the map is anti-peace and sows hatred.
“Peace” language disguises racist agenda
On its English-language website, One Voice claims to be “an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.” Its modus operandi however is to manufacture consent for Israeli apartheid.
But One Voice has not escaped the notice of Palestinian civil society. A 2010 analysis by PACBI, the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, found that One Voice engages in “normalization” of Israeli occupation and that:
While paying lip service to “ending the occupation,” the overriding imperative is to serve Israel’s basic interest in remaining an apartheid state while promoting a form of a Palestinian state in order to secure that end.
That reads as a perfect summary of the message of the Facebook election graphics.
One Voice’s advisors: War crimes suspects and dedicated foes of Palestinian rights
Contrary to its claims, One Voice enjoys almost no support from Palestinians. Palestinians on One Voice’s “Honorary Board of Advisors” are functionaries of the Palestinian Authority such as “chief negotiator” Saeb Erekat and Samir Hulileh a former PA economic advisor who now heads an investment fund, a member of the Knesset and a bank manager. This isn’t grassroots, it’s astroturfing.
Other “advisors” include committed foes of Palestinian rights, especially the rights of Palestinian refugees, including former US Ambassador to Israel and Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk and Israeli army Major General Danny Rothschild.
Rothschild commanded Israeli occupation forces in Lebanon and was the military dictator of the occupied West Bank, all during periods when Israel committed serious violations of Palestinian and Lebanese human rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In 2011, Rothschild absconded from the United Kingdom after warnings that he could face arrest for his alleged crimes.
One Voice also maintains a “Trustees Advisory Council” whose members include such luminaries as:
- Yaser Abbas, the son of Mahmoud Abbas;
- Ziad Asali, head of the American Task Force on Palestine;
- Gidi Grinstein, the head of the Reut Institute, the Israeli think tank that has orchestrated an international campaign with the Israeli government to “sabotage” and “attack” the Palestinian solidarity movement.
Grinstein’s Reut Institute has also boasted of “price tag” attacks – a term coined by settlers to describe mosque burnings and other violence targeting Palestinians – against Palestine solidarity groups.
Those are just some of the characters who advise One Voice about the best way to achieve the racist separation and apartheid that it calls “peace.”
Thanks to Ben White for spotting.
Update 16 January: Chicago-area students reject work with One Voice
The following letter was sent to One Voice by the undersigned coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine groups at eight Chicago-area universities and the Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights:
Open Letter to OneVoice from Chicago Youth-led Palestinian Solidarity Organizations
We are youth-led Palestinian solidarity organizations in Chicago, many of which have been contacted by OneVoice to work together. Our response to these requests is simple: We will not work with you.
OneVoice aims to bring Palestinians and Israelis together to achieve “peace.” However, you bring them together while ignoring Palestinian history, Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinian calls for struggling against colonialism, and the power imbalance between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people. We believe that the only way to achieve a just peace is by addressing all of these issues.
OneVoice avoids the history and the roots of the “conflict.” For example, mention of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of two-thirds of the Palestinian population during the Nakba in order to create a Jewish state in 1948 is completely absent. You claim that “the idea of focusing on the future instead of clinging to the past is paramount to the philosophy of both OneVoice members and its programs.” This approach towards viewing the conflict ignores some of its most foundational elements. For Palestinians under occupation and in the diaspora, the past remains their present, and to ignore the history is to ignore and neglect the Palestinian plight today.
OneVoice also advocates for “a two-state solution to end the conflict.” However, considering Israel’s continued settlement construction and land confiscation, the two-state solution has no realistic geopolitical configuration. Additionally, among your justifications for a two-state solution, you prioritize preserving a Jewish majority in Israel. Not only is this Israel-centric, it is racist in nature. A recent advertisement posted on the OneVoice Hebrew Facebook page urges the Jewish community to vote in the Israeli elections for a two-state solution to maintain an ethnically Jewish majority. We find this position as disturbing as we would a position that advocates maintaining a white majority in the United States.
In the OneVoice mission statement, you claim to be a grassroots movement. However, your advocacy for a two-state solution is incompatible with grassroots organizing. OneVoice takes a top-down, “solution”-based approach grounded in border negotiations put forth by politicians. Your campaign for a two-state solution only serves the interests of those in power, rather than the people.
Unlike you, we come from a rights-based approach grounded in human rights, civil rights, and equality. We believe that peace and justice will come from the bottom up, not top down. As such, we support the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) issued by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005, asking the international community to implement boycotts and divestment initiatives against Israel until Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian land, recognizes the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, and respects the Palestinian refugees’ right of return as stipulated by UN resolution 194.
In regard to Palestinian citizens of Israel, OneVoice does not address their systematic discrimination, or their lack of basic civil rights within Israel. In fact, one of the only times we found any mention of Palestinian citizens of Israel on your website was in a poll, asking Israelis if “Israeli Arabs should be transferred to Palestine/the West Bank and Gaza.” We feel that your complete disregard for Palestinian citizens of Israel ignores the structural racism and discrimination that is the driving force behind the continuous occupation, colonization, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. We also believe that the two-state solution you advocate will likely perpetuate the second class status of Palestinians living in Israel.
Unfortunately, while OneVoice actively advocates Palestinian “nonviolence,” you simultaneously oppose the BDS movement. BDS is a key part of Palestinian nonviolent resistance today and we, as Palestinian solidarity organizers, are supporters and participants in the global BDS movement. Although you do not explicitly take a position on BDS, you have called campus divestment initiatives “destructive campaigns aimed at de-legitimizing Israel.”
Moreover, It is highly problematic that OneVoice is advising Palestinians on resistance without fully acknowledging the oppression faced by Palestinians. You cannot refuse to acknowledge apartheid and colonization, while at the same time dictating what type of resistance of the oppressed is “acceptable”.
OneVoice gives Israel’s violent occupation and colonialism a more pleasant face by framing the “conflict” as symmetrical without explaining the power imbalance between Israel and the Palestinian people. Israel is the military occupier and Palestinians are occupied. Presenting both sides as equals is both dishonest and harmful, and it creates the illusion that the colonizer and the colonized are equally responsible parties in this “conflict.”
We support the 2010 statement against normalization issued by Palestinian youth organizations in commemoration of the anniversary of the Nakba. The appeal mentioned OneVoice as one of the organizations that “specifically target Palestinian youth to engage them in dialogue [sic] with Israelis without recognizing the inalienable rights of Palestinians, or aiming to end Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid.” The statement reflects young Palestinian voices on the ground who are experiencing Israel’s policies firsthand. To them, your organization serves to normalize oppression and injustice.
Until you change your positions on the issues raised above, we do not have any interest in working with OneVoice, or any other similar organization, until you recognize the power imbalance and refuse to perpetuate it by denying the colonial and apartheid reality in Palestine. We hope you understand.
Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights
- Students for Justice in Palestine – Northwestern University
- Students for Justice in Palestine – DePaul University
- Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Chicago
- Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Illinois at Chicago
- Students for Justice in Palestine – Loyola University of Chicago
- Students for Justice in Palestine – Northeastern Illinois University
- Students for Justice in Palestine – Benedictine University
- Students for Justice in Palestine – St. Xavier University
- One Voice
- Jewish majority
- Danny Rothschild
- Israelis on Facebook
- Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights
- Students for Justice in Palestine
Of course they are racists, nothing new here
Permalink lidia replied on
As a matter of fact all "left" Zionists are using the same "arguments" - "2 states" or there would be no "Jewish state", i.e "Arian state". The racist "Jewish" state is the goal for them, and "2 states" just a way to it. of course, their idea of Palestinian state has nothing to do with Palestinian rights. They just want to wall off non-Jews, to save their precious colonial settler pure race "Jewish state" ANY Zionism is racism.
See copious writings by a veteran Zionist and proud colonial armed land-robber and ethnic-cleanser of 1947 aka peace activist Uri Avneri.
Don't Attack Israeli Allies!
Permalink Adam Smith replied on
This is a nit picking article! If the Jewish peace group advocate a Two State solution, then their comments are obviously referring to the Israeli part of Ancient Palestine-Post a Peace settlement! Their additional comments about 'IN Israel' refer only to the Jewish population within agreed boarders .
Presumably a nascent Palestine would also want a Palestinian majority within its boarders?
Zionists are NOT allies of Palestinians
Permalink lidia replied on
"2 states" are a sham and a tool to rob even more Palestinian land. And Palestinians are natives, they do not need to keep "demographic balance" as colonial racist Zionism has to.
Permalink PG PHIPPEN replied on
Adam 'Smith'...this article is about racism disguised as a 'peace' group...there is NO future to a two state solution, only a one-state, equality-based, fully integrated country with a period for 'truth and reconcilation', as happened in South Africa after THAT apartheid state fell...only then could peace ever have a chance....but it is clear that very few within the illegal terrror-state of Yisrahell want this one state, except a 'pure jewish state' and much larger than the borders of what is commonly known as Palestine...from the Euphrates to the Nile...as it appears on the Israeli coins....so...peddle your protesting somewhere else....the zionist agenda is gruesome at best and horrific and unthinkable at worst....have a nice day.
Yes, beware the wolf in
Permalink ajamu chaminuka replied on
Yes, beware the wolf in sheepskin!
Two states are better than no state
Permalink Peter Gruetter replied on
Of course the Jews are afraid of becoming a minority in Israel, as well as Muslims and Christians are expecting to be a majority in Palestine. This doesn't mean that there can't be a minority of Jews in Palestine or a minority of Muslims and Christians in Israel. A two state solution seems to be the right model and should therefore be supported. This said, the real challenge will be the borders of the two states, and given the de facto powers on the ground a fast and fair solution isn't to be expected.
Permalink Jim Hyder replied on
If allowed the Palestinians that have been evicted from their homes came back the majority of Zionists would not be. When votes are counted properly in the coming election the people of Palestine would have a louder voice in the Knessett also.
The two state solution would have the "settlers" removed from the West Bank and then, only then, the peace process can begin.