Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Selective Morality of ‘Anti-Zionist’ Zionists

by Martin Iqbal.
The selective morality of ‘anti-Zionist’ Zionists (self-professed anti-Zionists who harbour certain Zionist viewpoints) says that Palestinians must languish in refugee camps merely because it would be ‘immoral’ to re-settle Israelis who live on stolen land. This is all while Israel proves its capability to resettle its own citizens when it colonises vast swathes of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

No matter how long we may debate the question of Palestine, the history is unequivocal. Palestine was stolen by colonists who invaded from foreign lands and settled under the shadow of a gun.

Palestine was partitioned by the UN (which had only just been established) – a party which had zero legitimacy and zero right to meddle in these foreign lands. Only native Palestinians (Muslim, Christian, Arab, Jew, or otherwise) had the right to partition Palestine (those who settled in Palestine as part of the Zionist project don’t count as natives by the way), but they were not consulted.

This writer has recently spent time working with Israeli ‘anti-Zionists’ taking part in activism in solidarity with Palestinians in Occupied Palestine. Opposition to enacting the Right of Return is prevalent in these ‘anti-Zionist’ circles, making them decidedly Zionist, regardless of their protestations to the contrary. The most common argument is that it would be immoral to enact the Right of Return because this would mean re-settling Israelis. Why would this be immoral? Because a certain amount of time has elapsed since their forefathers stole the land? Because there are generations of people living on the land who did not cause this conflict?

Well you see, this is the precise argument that Israel relies on vis-a-vis the illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – for in this respect these are no different to the ethnically cleansed villages & towns in pre-48 Palestine (‘Israel’). Israel relies on this selective morality which will eventually say “we can’t resettle the (West Bank) illegal settlers because they’ve been there too long and it would be immoral”.

Well you know what? There are generations of people – millions of Palestinian refugees – who are forced to languish in refugee camps all over the Middle East and the world. They did not cause this conflict, and neither did their forefathers. They’ve been suffering for decades, since the advent of the Zionist project – long before ‘Israel’ was even established. Is it not immoral to keep them there while their homeland is stolen, ethnically cleansed and Judaised?

If Israel can relentlessly settle its people in the West Bank in their hundreds of thousands, then it has the resources and capability (if maybe not the willingness) to re-settle for the purposes of achieving right of return. I don’t claim that this is immediately practical or realistic, but justice isn’t easy, and if it were, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Those who support two states because it is ‘practical’ or ‘realistic’ are betraying justice for Palestine – they have no interest in real justice, only political expediency (and perhaps in the case of many Israelis, they don’t want to give up their land & position of privilege, regardless of whether they admit this).


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