In your writing you have often called for a solidarity with the Palestinian people. Is this possible, when suicide bombings continue?
Suicide bombings are the result of a devastation heaped upon the Palestinian people that seems to have no end. Jews of Conscience are in solidarity with the right of Palestinians to be free in their own homeland. This means to be against policies that drive people to acts of desperation.
Do Jews of Conscience have a role in the upcoming US election? Isn’t it the case that the State violence in Israel is largely enabled by the US, and that neither Democrats or Republicans will change that support?
Both parties have essentially the same policies toward Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry is no different than Bush in what he will actually do in relation to Israel’s abuse of power. Nor are they different than Clinton. US presidential elections seem always to bring up the possibility of rescue. I call it a ‘myth of rescue’. There are many of these myths of rescue.
“And how could I articulate to the audience of Jews and Palestinians that the problem, in my mind, was less Begin, Sharon and Shamir, though they were indeed problematic, but Jewish progressives … For these progressives are the ones who, before and after Sabra and Shatilla, who before and during the Palestinian uprising, define the parameters of dissent – the realm of thinkable thought – the borderline for which excommunication is invoked”2. Surely Sharon poses more of a problem than Jewish progressives?
Yes and no. At any rate, the difference is miniscule. Look at Tikkun, the major Jewish progressive magazine; over the years it has argued for a small Palestinian state without an army or control of its borders. The settlements around Jerusalem, the major intrusion into the West Bank, are almost never mentioned. For the most part, Tikkun is patronising toward Palestinians as a people and as a political entity.
What do you see ultimately as the way forward, on a practical level, and on an idealistic level?
The practical level is two States as internationally recognised. Not justice, to be sure, but a possibility for Palestinians to survive and begin to rebuild. However, this is not going to happen. It is now another myth of rescue.
And what about on an idealistic level – what solution can you see, that would bring justice?
At this point the ideal solution is too far away and to speak of it simply adds fuel to the fire of disappointment. It encourages unrealistic dreams. It can become a place to avoid the difficult reality.
1>(Out of the Ashes, pg 178)
2 The Link – Americans for Middle East Understanding Volume 24, Issue 2