Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Nakba: Addressing Israeli arrogance

972 (Israeli-based magazine)
For Israelis wishing to participate in a common struggle, relieving ourselves of our ignorance and arrogance should be the top priority. Not for the sake of Palestinians – for our own sake, to restore our own humanity.

Palmach troops overseeing the displacement of Palestinians from the central city of Ramlah in July, 1948. (Photo: Palmach Archive)
Tom Pessah
About a decade ago, when I was studying for my first degree at Tel Aviv University, I went to a weekend retreat organized by Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam to meet Palestinian students from the West Bank. The retreat took place at a location near Bethlehem that was relatively accessible for the Palestinians, but they still had to pass through checkpoints, some getting beaten or humiliated in order to meet us.
Neve-Shalom/Wahat al-Salam’s workshops are structured very formally. During the inter-Jewish meetings I was the perfect leftist, constantly scolding other participants for views that weren’t progressive enough. And when we met the Palestinians, I tried hard to be accommodating and supportive, hanging out with them after the meetings and using my primitive spoken Arabic to listen to their experiences and questions about Israelis.
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