Guest Column

All lives matter in Israel-Palestine conflict

2017-05-21 06:06


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Rolene Marks

Blaming Israel for everything is a convenient and lazy way out of accepting responsibility.

It is admirable for Marthie Momberg (“The plight of Palestine”, City Press, May 14 2017) to conduct studies about how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is represented in Israel and South Africa. I am curious to know who these “grassroots” activists that she interviewed are, since her findings do not represent the clear majority of us who support Israel.

I agree that, when it comes to discourse on the conflict, all lives should matter, but I am perturbed by the tone of her article as it places the blame squarely on Israel or Zionists and our supporters by using words such as “apartheid” and accusing Israel of “double standards” and “Zionist lies”.

The inference that Zionism is dirty and that supporters are racist smacks of racism itself. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and singling out Israel and denying Jews their right to self-determination is discriminatory. Don’t Zionist lives matter?

If we say all lives matter, Momberg only has to look at the university she studies at, or others such as Wits and the University of Cape Town, to realise that when she uses words such as asymmetry, it accurately describes campus life for pro-Israel supporters. Universities are hotbeds of activism for students, but the “safe spaces” reserved for debate for many exclude pro-Israel students.

They are also subjected to intimidation and sometimes violence, especially during the annual hate fest known as Israel Apartheid Week. This was evident this year when these students were subjected to hate speech, Nazi salutes and violence by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement supporters and their ilk. Is this equality?

Violence and intimidation have not been restricted to campuses. Concertgoers in Cape Town were harassed when trying to enjoy performances in celebration of Israeli Independence Day a few weeks ago. I, too, have been subjected to such hate speech as, “Hitler should have finished you” and “you should be gassed, you evil Zionist witch”.

Organisations that claim to be about human rights and concern for the Palestinians should be heavily scrutinised and exposed. Their endgame is not two states living in peace side by side, but rather, they want an end to the state of Israel.

I agree with Momberg that, when it comes to concerns about Palestinian rights, mass action and global consciousness must be raised. We should be concerned about the education for hate that is rife in Gaza and the West Bank, which has resulted in a nearly two-year wave of terror against Israelis, claiming many lives. Is education of hate not child abuse? I think it is.

We should be concerned that, under Hamas rule, Palestinians are denied freedom of speech, political opposition, women’s rights, gay rights and freedom of religion.

Christians in Gaza and the West Bank are being decimated, yet nobody says a word.

Blaming Israel is a convenient, lazy way out of accepting responsibility. Flagrant bias does not prove all lives matter and are equal, Ms Momberg. Instead, it makes you complicit in singling out one side for opprobrium and goes against constructive discourse.

Marks is an Israel-based journalist and political analyst

Read more on:    palestine  |  isreal


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