A Voice For the Voiceless

MISSION

The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

Posts tagged Matzpen

Green Line? What Green Line?

Nikki Hodgson | Posted August 4th, 2011 | Middle East

Tags: , , , ,

I have been struggling to come up with a post discussing the other side of things. Speaking of which, I will defer a post about the social movement in Israel right now till after this weekend, but in the meantime, check out this AIC video I helped to create on the subject.

Right now I’d like to discuss why I have a hard time explaining the other side. It is not because I have anything against the Israelis. I don’t. It is because I don’t believe there is anything justifiable or defensible about the occupation.

At its root, this is not a social conflict, it’s not a conflict of religion, and it is not a conflict stemming from an intrinsic hatred existing between Israelis and Palestinians; that is a hatred that has been carefully cultivated. This is a conflict over land. When I lash out against Israel, I lash out against Israeli government policy, against a systematic violation of both international humanitarian law and the socialist principles embodied within the idea of a welfare state.

Area A
Area A

My frustration surrounding individual action (or inaction) does not translate into a general dislike of everything Israeli. Monday, the first day of Ramadan,  I sat on a bus watching a group of Israeli soldiers demanding that an 80-year-old Palestinian woman get off the bus because she had forgotten her ID. (Incidentally this was in Jerusalem and it was not a bus going through any checkpoints.) Staring out the window, my eyes flashing frustration, we sat quietly watching as the bus driver refused to let the soldiers remove her from the bus. They threatened his arrest before demanding an apology. He refused. We sat there for 30 minutes, just long enough to watch the sunset and the stars appear before they let us go.

These are daily occurrences and yet even they do not translate into a hatred of Israel. They translate into something bigger; a determination to end the occupation and the injustice, racism, and violence that goes along with it.

Bethlehem Separation Barrier
Bethlehem Separation Barrier

I would not go so far as to say the Israeli public is blameless (is anyone?), however the fact that 80% of settlers are economic settlers, meaning they moved onto Palestinian land not for religious or ideological reasons, but because the government offers a plethora of economic incentives to encourage Israelis to move into settlements, represents something more systematic happening at a much larger level. Many of these economic settlers are not even aware that they are on Palestinian land, believing themselves to be within a legal distance of the green line.

When I think of the other side, there are so many divisions and factions that it becomes difficult to portray. Do I hold anger against the Israeli public? No. Just frustration stemming from the knowledge that a successful campaign in ending the occupation has to come from within. Any anger I have is primarily directed against the Israeli government and extremist settlers. To portray their side is to portray the fanatic fundamentalism of religious ideology and the economic land-grabbing policy that empowers it.

The Israeli government is fond of accusing critics of being anti-Semitic and I am exasperated by the perpetual tip-toeing through this conflict by those wary of being labeled as such.  Despite the efforts of the Israeli government to have us believe that “anti-Semitic” and “anti-Zionist” are synonymous, they are not.

Matzpen, after all, was one of the strongest anti-Zionist organizations in the history of Israel and they most decidedly were not anti-Semitic. Matzpen, Hebrew for compass, was the name adopted by the Israeli extreme left that took a stand against Israeli colonialist policy and challenged the occupation and the Zionist philosophy propelling it. The very word, Matzpen, sends a shiver down my spine. In my eyes, these men and women were a group exuding everything Israel could and should be.

It is this movement that, in part, inspires me to take a stand against Israeli occupation policy and Zionism, and it comes from within Israel itself. If you see one film about this conflict, I encourage you to see Matzpen directed by Eran Torbiner. It tells the story of resistance and of some of the most committed individuals I have ever come across. I wish that I could sit everyone down and have them watch this film so they could understand how systematically resistance is suppressed, both from within and without. And also to understand that it’s not just Palestinians who are resisting the occupation. There are a small minority of Israelis who are taking a stand. The Alternative Information Center includes some of these Israelis. I cannot tell you how impressed I am by the AIC staff.  Co-founder, Mikado (Michael Warschawski), is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.

Mikado
Mikado

I used to walk a more careful line, striving to be in the middle. But the middle of what? You cannot walk a middle line between allowing (even indirectly) the occupation and wanting to end it. It was the Israeli activists who helped me to see this. The conflict itself is not complicated. It was the peace process that created this inexplicable mass of red tape and legal jargon, it was diplomacy that created a murky grey puddle of confusion, and it is Zionism that persists in building illegal settlements, making a two-state solution harder and harder to imagine.

The conflict between the Israeli and the Palestinian people is perpetuated by a much larger global conflict. It is the conflict between humanitarian law and economic interests, between justice and political ties. The peace process here is just one more example of the diplomatic efforts which persistently undermine humanitarian law. Add it to the list. Right in-between Armenia and Rwanda.

 

Fellow: Nikki Hodgson

AIC


Tags

activism adapting AIC Alternative Information Center American Israel Public Affairs Committee Bil'in blockade Congress Culture daily life Diplomacy Flotilla Flytilla Freedom Theatre Gaza Glenn Beck Green Line Hebron human rights hypocrisy IDF Israel Jenin Jerusalem Matzpen Palestine Protest Restoring Courage Settlers Theatre U.S. West Bank


Subscribe


 


Newswire

2013 Fellows

Africa

Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies

Asia

Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows

Africa

Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman

Asia

Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer

Europe

Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher


2011 Fellows

Africa

Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James

Asia

Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson

Europe

Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang


2010 Fellows

Africa

Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa

Asia

Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid

Europe

Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado


2009 Fellows

Africa

Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Asia

Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys

Europe

Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Paula
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch

Login

Login/Manage