Dean Obeidallah (Daily Beast): Do Palestinians Really Exist?
We’re not all terrorists, we’re not “cockroaches,” and we’re certainly not an “invented” people. What you don’t know about Palestinians.
Palestine. My late father, Abdul Musa Obeidallah, was born there in the 1930s. When I say Palestine, that’s not a political statement. It’s just a statement of fact. When he was born, there was no state of Israel. There was no Hamas. No PLO. There were just people of different faiths living together on the same small piece of land called Palestine.
….. Most of my Palestinian ancestors lived and died within a few miles of where they were born. That would likely have been my father’s path as well. But as we are all keenly aware, fate had far different plans.
I share this story because I think that lost in the current Gaza conflict is the story of the Palestinians as a people. Instead, they’ve been continually defined as being the “bad” part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They’ve been broadly labeled as terrorists or seen as acceptable losses. Some Israeli leaders have alleged Palestinians don’t exist, or called them “cockroaches,” “crocodiles,” or a “cancer.”….
….. when I was about 9 years old in the late 1970s, my teacher [in New Jersey] asked about the ethnicity of each student so she could pin it on a map of the world. When she came to me, she was stumped—she didn’t know much about Palestinians, and of course she couldn’t find it on the map since it wasn’t there….
Later that night, I relayed that story to my father and asked him: “Where is Palestine?” He paused for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. He then touched his heart and head and responded: “In here.”….
Full post here
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A couple of articles I thought were worth posting, the one above is as poignant and beautiful as I’ve ever read about Palestine, its history and its people – Obeidallah’s memory of his teacher not being able to find Palestine on the map, and his father’s reaction, beyond heartbreaking.
Please click on the link to read it all.
The one below was written by British author Howard Jacobson in 2009, which shows how nothing ever changes in this conflict.
There’s lots in Jacobson’s piece I, for what it’s worth, disagree with – for one, the people of Gaza have most certainly been ‘ghettoized’ and brutalized by the government of Israel. Does it compare to Warsaw? Who cares? Terror is terror, not a number count – a child in Warsaw watching the Nazis take his parents away, a child in Gaza watching his parents blown apart by an Israeli missile …. terror is terror.
For two, ‘massacre’ and ‘slaughter’ sound like accurate terms to me for what is (and was in 2009) happening in Gaza – but I found his points about the Jewish people being ‘disinherited of pity’ powerful. Which is why I really, really hate Holocaust references in all of this.
I’ll never, ever understand why some argue that the brutality being served on Gaza’s people by a right wing Israeli government should disinherit the entire Jewish people of pity for what they have endured through history.
My Twitter mentions have been a sight to behold of late, the anti-Semitism – from friends and ‘progressives’ – bewildering. I tweet a link to a report on the slaughter in Gaza, and back comes a torrent of ‘Jews are evil’ stuff. At which point you can only despair, really.
And say, “**** you, bigot”.
Apart from anything, why is it always implied that the ‘Jewish people’ are homogeneous in their stance on this or any other issue?
I’m a (well, former) Catholic – I know Catholics who make Ann Coulter seem like Karl Marx, I know Catholics who make Karl Marx seem like Ann Coulter.
So why the assumption Jews the world over all think the same?
And that Jews = Netanyahu’s government?
Remember this, as just a single example?
And those who reckon that what’s happening in Gaza should disinherit the Jewish people of pity look pretty daft to me when they also try to argue that their criticism of Israel is not ‘anti-Semitic’.
It is. It really is.
Today’s Israeli government does not = Judaism and its history of persecution.
The Holocaust was horrific. What’s happening in Gaza is horrific. We don’t need to negate, compare or contrast, just mourn both sets of atrocities and keep on weeping for man’s unrelenting inhumanity to man.
Ramble over. Chat on.
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Howard Jacobson (The UK Independent, 2009): Let’s see the ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it really is
…. What do we, in the cosy safety of tolerant old England, think we are doing when we call the Israelis Nazis and liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto? Do those who blithely make these comparisons know anything whereof they speak?
In the early 1940s some 100,000 Jews and Romanis died of engineered starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto, another quarter of a million were transported to the death camps, and when the Ghetto rose up it was liquidated, the last 50,000 residents being either shot on the spot or sent to be murdered more hygienically in Treblinka.
Don’t mistake me: every Palestinian killed in Gaza is a Palestinian too many, but there is not the remotest similarity, either in intention or in deed between Gaza and Warsaw.
Given the number of besieged and battered cities there have been in however many thousands of years of pitiless warfare there is only one explanation for this invocation of Warsaw before any of those – it is to wound Jews in their recent and most anguished history and to punish them with their own grief. Its aim is a sort of retrospective retribution, cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow. It is as though, by a reversal of the usual laws of cause and effect, Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday.
Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial …. according to this thinking, the Jews have betrayed the Holocaust and become unworthy of it, the true heirs to their suffering being the Palestinians.
Full post here