Another new message - should we be ashamed of this then?

By Stanley Walinets
December 30, 2011

I was criticised for my previous posting - it was suggested that since it consisted of a statement by a Palestinian, it was suspect - indeed, that I'd 'concocted' it myself. So here's a similar experience we should make ourselves aware of, but this one comes from a young Israeli Jew. Please read on, with an open mind:

Dear Stanley,

My name is Tom Pessah. I'm an Israeli sociology student. I study in the U.S., but right now I’m back home in Israel for my research.

I’m also an activist, which is how I came to know and love Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

Here’s the truth. It’s hard for me, and for so many of my Israeli and Palestinian friends and allies, to stay hopeful. The obstacles to peace in our homeland seem huge. But I’ll tell you where we get our inspiration when we really need it: Jewish Voice for Peace.

You see, like many, I’ve come to believe the only way we can ever end all of this suffering is through a massive, united, Arab-Jewish movement for a just peace. The alternative is to let the pro-occupation, pro-war forces divide us.
.................. ........... ...........

Some of the reasons that I support JVP:
They powerfully stood (and continue to stand) against the persecution of Muslim UC Irvine students who protested against the Israeli ambassador for being complicit in the attack on Gaza.

They were able to provide massive support for the Palestinian-led effort to desegregate buses in the West Bank. I know how important this campaign has been to my Palestinian friends.

And they gave immense backing to the beautiful multi-ethnic coalition that formed in my school, UC Berkeley, to demand divestment from American arms manufacturers accused of war crimes in Palestine.
....... ................ ......... ..........
And if what I’ve said so far hasn’t moved you .... .... I hope the excerpt below will. It’s from a letter I just sent to a Jewish-American academic, about an aspect of life in Israel not even many Israeli Jews know about. And it illustrates exactly why the JVP way of joining together with Palestinian and Arab allies is the only way.

Dear Professor,

I'm Jewish and I didn't grow up with Palestinian Arabs, even though they are 20% of the population here, because the country is so highly segregated. In Tel Aviv, I lived for twenty years without even knowing one person who had Arab friends—not schoolmates, not romantic partners, not comrades in youth movements.

Apart from the servers in cheap cafes, or strangers in Jaffa, most of the Arabs I saw were on TV. I only made some good Arab friends when I was in university, when we are finally 'allowed' to mix. I want to share what they told me about what the Jewish state is like for them. The names are fictitious, but the people are real.

I went to visit my friend Maha in Haifa a few weeks ago. We were driving and she opened the window to ask another driver some directions, in Arabic. I asked how she knew he was a Palestinian citizen of Israel, because despite growing up in Israel I can't physically distinguish most Arabs from Mizrachim (Jews of Middle Eastern descent), unless they are wearing some distinctive clothing.

She said it isn't in the physical features but in the body language: Palestinian citizens of Israel can often recognize each other through their behavior, which essentially boils down to fearfulness and discomfort.

She can see it in the face of a driver in a car on the other side of the road. Fear of politicians that constantly threaten to transfer them out of their homes, just like the government is currently displacing thousands of Bedouins in the Negev.

Or fear of protesting, or saying too much on the phone and being invited to a "friendly conversation", because the Shabak (security service) may be listening.

Maha tried to find an apartment in Tel Aviv for several months, sleeping on friends' couches. It took many weeks until they found a landlord willing to rent to an Arab—then she was fired from her job as a waitress because she talked in Arabic to the cook in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks later I visited another friend, Amal, who lives in Nazareth. She took me past the local courthouse, which for her is the place from which sharpshooters aimed at unarmed Arab protesters in 2000, when the state killed 13 of its own citizens.

She refers to Nazareth as "the ghetto", where Arabs are forced to buy flats at prohibitive prices because so much of the land around the city has been expropriated to create neighborhoods primarily meant for Jews.

Though there are open letters circulating against renting apartments to Arabs, she managed to find a house in one of those neighborhoods, with only one other Arab family in the area. Her husband is worried that they won't be able to pay the mortgage if someone burns down their house.

Professor, I'm Jewish, and I don't want to live in a state where so many people are fearful and discriminated against. I don’t want to live in a state that oppresses its Palestinian citizens in exactly the ways we were oppressed in other countries.

I don't want them to feel out of place in their own country. We Jews have legitimate concerns, Israel should stay as a haven for Jews who are persecuted, but keeping it as a Jewish state in the form it is now is just incredibly cruel.

If you don't speak up loudly and clearly and consistently about this oppression, and if you don't say a word about the refugees, who are the relatives of Maha, and Amal and would like to be able to live close to them—just as my British relatives could come to Tel Aviv and live with me—you don't enable a joint Jewish-Arab movement to develop. You don’t ally yourself with kind, generous and conscientious people like them, the best friends and fellow citizens anyone could wish for.

End of Tom Pessah's message. Comment, anyone?



Fri, 01/06/2012 - 16:41

Rate this:

0 points

rushkin, Gaza's economy performed best when Israel was in Gaza. Fact.

You may wish to ponder the following facts, as detailed in an article by Douglas Davis in The Spectator (14 January 2006):

“When Arafat returned to Gaza in 1993, per capita income for Palestinians was running at about $3000, dwarfing that of their neighbours in Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The figure now stands at $934, with foreign aid making up well over half of that amount.
The collapse of the economy coincided with Israel’s decision to shut the door to Palestinians entering Israel in an attempt to stop the suicide-bombers killing its citizens. The immediate cost for the Palestinians was 100,000 jobs….”

In light of this, is it not more accurate to say that it is the terror intifada that has been the greatest cause of poverty amongst the Palestinians, and not the Israeli presence? To claim the Israeli presence has caused the Palestinians to be poor is demonstrably untrue. Surely it is understandable that Israel closes its border to potential suicide bombers when suffering an onslaught of attacks.


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 17:10

Rate this:

0 points

Cause and effect
No rockets , mortars and the like . No retaliation .
Old Russian proverb
If you cannot kill the bear , don't pull its tail .


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 17:24

Rate this:

0 points

rushkin, I now await a full retraction on your part - or are you unable to process facts?


Real Real Zionist

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 17:34

Rate this:

0 points

I have to say I love it when Amberthan treats us to his pyrotechnic hysterics.

One point worth mentioning. Lobbing ancient rockets into Israel may well be called attempted murder but genocide? I will put it down to over excitement.


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 18:34

Rate this:

0 points

RRZ, Hamas' charter calls for the genocide of every last Jew on earth. were Hamas to have the means, they would, as Islamist radicals, have no compunction carrying out their plans. Killing Jews piecemeal, as they do, does not detract from this. And your casual acceptance of such racism and murder against Jews says eveything we need to know about you.

Of course you don't address the absurd antics of rushkin, who not only has been shown to get the economics wrong, but his casualty statistics as well. Facts musn't get in the way of your blind hatred.


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 18:35

Rate this:

0 points

rushkin, why should Gaza get "sustainable growth"? It is in a self-declared war aginst the Jews.

Stanley Walinets

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 14:43

Rate this:

0 points

Amber, 6 January, 2012 - 15:17, wrote:-

"0 points rushkin, I don't trust any of your "stories" because, by your own admission, you quote Btselem, which is an anti-Israel lobby group, which has been shown time and again to use false statistics to further its own ends......
Again, reducing the conflict to casualty figures in the absence of all context is the refuge of the disingenuous, or those unable to launch any more sophisticated argument."

Amber says this, notwithstanding rushkin's three precisely detailed and dated examples (which have been followed later by another two). Yet he/she/it (I don't know what these pseudonims conceal...) goes on to write this:--

..."againm you ignore the Hamas figures, which trash your own, whilst you also ignore little details like the fact that around 10,000 Gazans receive free medical treatment in Israel every year....." etc.

Tell us, amber, how are we to trust your "stories" and their sources, but not any which you don't want to hear, such as those provided by rushkin? Surely you're not being selective - refusing to consider any thing you don't like, while swallowing whole that which you prefer to hear?

Or are you?

Stanley Walinets

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 16:56

Rate this:

0 points

It's nearly two weeks since I posted this main blog - Tom Pessah's experiences. I've returned to find the debate has ranged widely - and as usual, has ranged over quite different areas....

What does stand out though is that condemnations of previous postings by me have often ended with the charge that 'Walinets - you just criticise Israel, none of your info is true, you should go there and see for yourself'.

What stands out from many of these present responses is that the message CAME FROM A MAN ACTUALLY IN ISRAEL, right now...

And for the most part, the members of the ICDNW ('Israel-can-do-no-wrong'Party) simply pass over the experiences he described. In other words, his experiences don't fit the 'popular' message, so they'd best be ignored.

That's very sad. And it's no way to discuss anything, if what we all want is some solution to the sad problems currently facing Israel - and all of us.


Wed, 01/11/2012 - 17:07

Rate this:

0 points

Walinets, as a member of the "Israel can do no right" brigade, your words are the worst hypocrisy.


Thu, 01/12/2012 - 12:55

Rate this:

0 points

Stanley - you're facing what I call the Israeli Experience Mystique -


Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:46

Rate this:

0 points

"is that the message CAME FROM A MAN ACTUALLY IN ISRAEL, right now..."
Walinets interesting I am also in Israel and have been for over 20 years - different perception obviously.


You must be logged in to post a comment.