Israel/Palestine: Moving Beyond the Oppressed/Oppressor Paradigm

Israel/Palestine: Moving Beyond the Oppressed/Oppressor Paradigm

Every fence has two sides, a Palestinian friend once said. Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky 2015 (All Rights Reserved). By Joshua Tartakovsky, 21 January 2016 A Palestinian murdered another Israeli. Only that, as usual, the human rights advocates will find an excuse for this murder too. The Palestinian man in question must have been “oppressed.” After all, all humans are equally the same and all humans have the same motives, particularly those motives that scholars at Princeton and Berkeley, or perhaps Columbia, with very little real life experience, subscribe to them. Dafna Meir, Photo Credit: Channel 2 News This past Sunday night, a Palestinian man entered the home of Dafna Meir, a mother of six children, who lives in a settlement in South Hebron Hills in the West Bank (yes, one that is illegal according to international law, as if anyone actually keeps it). Meir was a neurosurgical nurse in Beersheba and a mother of six. She struggled physically with the attacker. He stabbed her very badly until he killed her. The teenage daughter watched. Let’s not deny that it takes an incredible amount of cruelty to kill a mother by stabbing her over and over again. Of course, the apologists for the argument that whatever Palestinians or Arabs do is legitimate, will argue that the Israeli army also kills civilians all the time and that the Palestinian was ‘defending himself.’ There is no denying that the Israeli army bombs Gaza heavily every few years killing hundreds of children, and that in its war in South Lebanon tens of thousands, both civilians and soldiers, were killed. There are also testimonies that Israeli soldiers fired at...
The Intifada of Fear

The Intifada of Fear

Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky (C) All Rights Reserved 2012. By Joshua Tartakovsky, November 6, 2015 The Third Palestinian Intifada unfolding before our eyes, is taking on a chaotic and unpredictable dimension. But here also lies its advantage as far as the Palestinians are concerned.  Out of the blue and unexpectedly, a given Palestinian attacker may stab as many people as possible, resulting in chaotic scenes of Israelis chasing the attacker and shooting him to death. In Beersheba, an uninvolved Eritrean was lynched by an angry mob in the confusion that ensued after a Palestinian stabbed a soldier, took his gun and engaged in a shooting spree.  In Jerusalem, a Jewish man who was mentally ill was shot and killed after he physically confronted security guards.  Israelis have been stricken with panic and anger by a phenomenon of stabbing carried out by a relatively small number of people. In the aftermath of the first several incidents of stabbings of civilians by Palestinians inside Israel, the Israeli security state responded by placing hundreds of armed soldiers in multiple locations of Jerusalem. Placing soldiers armed with guns who could shoot a stabber within seconds did help to create a temporary sense of security among many Israelis who otherwise feared to leave their homes.  In addition, Israel placed checkpoints at the entrances to Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem and subjected its residents to severe security checks, seeking to uncover knives.  The familiar scenes from the occupied West Bank, of lone soldiers checking tens of men and women who wait patiently in their cars, was now seen in East Jerusalem that falls under Israeli...
Can Israel Find A Way Out of Its Corner? The Potential Lies in the Axis of Resistance

Can Israel Find A Way Out of Its Corner? The Potential Lies in the Axis of Resistance

The reemergence of violence in Israel has been a nightmare for many Israelis By Joshua Tartakovsky, October 21, 2015   Palestinians in the West Bank are accustomed to being occupied on a regular basis. For them the difference between one day or another is the difference between the degrees of heat to be found in burning flames but not in their very existence. Israelis, on the other hand, have been exposed to unexpected violent outbursts of stabbings that can come from anywhere as lone Palestinians attacked Israelis with knives.  The degree of cruelty needed to stab a civilian bystander from a close range has left many Israelis in shock and panic. So far, the youngest stabber was 13 years old.  Needless to say, Jerusalemites have been looking over their shoulder more than once and several central streets of the city have been empty for several days. The fact that many of the stabbers were Israeli Arabs who attack Israelis within Israel’s formal borders, rather than Palestinians from the West Bank, places Israel in a very difficult position. In previous uprisings, it has been all too convenient for Israel to blame Palestinian Authority President Abbas for an outbreak of violence and to demand an end to official incitement. In fact, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has been often justified in terms of security. What is one to do, however, when Arab citizens of Israel who reside throughout the country, engage in stabbings of civilians and unleash a wave of terror? These attackers are citizens or residents of Israel proper, not Palestinians in the West Bank. How may such attacks...
Matisyahu in Spain and the BDS Inquisition

Matisyahu in Spain and the BDS Inquisition

  Picture: Sean Gallup-Getty Images Off-Guardian August 20, 2015 By Joshua Tartakovsky The decision to pressure a music festival in Spain to disinvite American-Jewish singer Matisyahu does smack of more than an iota of anti-Semitism. Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel traditionally make several arguments. The first is that Judaism is separate from Zionism. The second is that the state can successfully be pressured via a sanctions campaign against Israeli artists as well as artists who perform in Israel. The choice of Matisyahu as an artist to boycott reveals that BDS activists do not in earnest separate Judaism from Zionism. Matisyahu is an American-Jewish singer, not a citizen of Israel. Faced with accusations of anti-Semitism in the boycott of Matisyahu, Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada claims that any suggestion Matisyahu was picked out as a Jew is simply untrue. He argues, rather, that Matisyahu was chosen as a target because he performed at a Friends of the IDF and at an AIPAC event and because he also expressed support for Israel. The validity of these claims does not pass closer scrutiny. Simon Cowell also performed at a Friends of the IDF event, yet, to the best of my knowledge, there has not been a post-event campaign against him in the UK or an appeal to remove him from X-Factor. The Bright Star Church of God Ensemble performed at an AIPAC event and later in theChicago Gospel Music Festival. Yet, there has not been a request made to organizers of the festival by local BDS activists in Chicago or by Students for Justice in Palestine to boycott the group. As far...
Netanyahu Siempre: A Few Questions for the Israeli Left

Netanyahu Siempre: A Few Questions for the Israeli Left

Following Netanyahu’s expected reelection by a large margin, here are a few questions to the Labour and Mertez parties and to the racist Ashkenazi Left in general:   Did you ever consider not mocking the Mizrahi Jews for their religious beliefs? No.   Did you ever consider forming a wide social party with Arabs and Mizrahi Jews at its core (along with all other discriminated minorities) that will challenge the neoliberal Zionist establishment? No.   Did you ever consider living with Palestinians as your neighbors in the same community? No.   Did you ever consider that the West which you try to emulate is entire hypocritical? No.   Would you have ever agreed to be in a party led by Ayman Odeh or Arye Deri? No.   Do you realize that you are not in Europe and that in some traditions it is common or people to have more than one wife?  No. So, enjoy Netanyahu.   As a side note, I must give a compliment to fellow Israeli citizens: They gave the finger to external forces, from the US to Scandinavian countries, who intervened in domestic elections and tried to topple Netanyahu. As I said in the past, what made me understand the Palestinians was not forcible arguments made by northern Europeans but real contacts with Palestinians and Muslims. Any additional headache for the Empire is a good thing. Secondly, I’m quite pleased that Netanyahu will continue, and will not be replaced by the Aryan boy-scout poster boy Herzog who probably is a closet-racist far more than Bibi but will never admit it. Thirdly, the Joint List as a third largest...