Friday, November 16, 2012

Racism and the Occupation

Something I wrote yesterday in another place. This has nothing to do with Romania or Transylvania or anything else.  It's just at the top of my mind. 
I do not use the word racist lightly. I have thought long and hard about the situation in Israel and Palestine, I have invested an awful amount of time reading about it, studying it, discussing it with pe
ople who agree with me and who disagree with me. I've spent time in the West Bank. I've had blazing rows about it, and I've had revelations about it. I've listened to people and I've modified my position on a great many occasions

I say this, because having done all that, I feel there is no other way to describe the continued occupation of Palestine (as defined by the UN) as racist. It is vicious. It is brutal. And it is about the oppression and subjugation of an entire people based on their race. There is no other word that fits but this one. And support for racist oppression is - I think you'll agree - racist.

I support Israel's right to exist (there are loads of things that happened in 1948 that shouldn't have happened, but they can't be unhappened, and Israel is where it is and it will stay there and its people need to be and feel safe). In fact, I believe my position to be pro-Israel. It's just that I think a pro-Israeli position is to end the occupation, and this happens to be a pro-Palestinian position too.

In fact the best thing Israel could do in the defence of itself is to end the occupation. there is no other way of genuinely making peace. And make no mistake, Israel is the aggressor here. And the occupation is brutal and evil and vicious and disgusting. It involves torture, killing, maiming, the making of un-people, outright discrimination, the theft of land, and of livelihood, humiliation and oppression. And all on the basis of race. The surprising thing about this "conflict" (a term I hesitate to use as it implies there are two sides) is that there is not much more violent Palestinian resistance. If I lived there full time, with no possibility of an end, with no light at the end of the tunnel, I would certainly have pondered and considered violence. I would hope that I would have chosen the path of non-violence, but I couldn't say that for certain. The vast majority of the Palestinian people are, in my opinion, practically deserving of sainthood.

So, if people tell me they support the occupation, or that they unquestioningly support all Israel's actions, I will tell them all of this and tell them that as far as I am concerned they are - objectively, by definition - racist. I have no idea if that will make them think about their position, but it is the position I have reached, after a lot of thought and experience and study.

The media in the west give the impression that the ongoing - and current - fighting in Israel and Palestine is at best an equal one, or - in some cases - one in which Israel is the victim. Israel is not the victim, Israel is a racist aggressor. Support their war on Gaza and their ongoing oppression and theft of Palestinian land, and you are supporting racist aggression.


Anonymous said...

What does it mean "end the occupation"? I'm just asking because I don't know what's on your mind (and also, I would not say I'm very knowledgeable about the topic).

Andy Hockley said...

It's a fair question as different people might give you different answers.
I mean the occupation of the land that is considered to be occupied by the United Nations, and pretty much the entirety of the international community, following the 1967 war. Thus, broadly speaking, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Hockley, to me it looks like this conflict has a lot of similarities with South-African Apartheid. It will never end unless a complex of historical events and occasions will come up to an astral alignment to favour a settlement between the 2 sides. On top of that there is one single almost unsolvable issue between the 2 sides : both sides want Jerusalem entirely for them. Both of the sides consider it as their rightful capital. And this is the biggest barrier for a peaceful solution.