Is It Possible To Be Pro-Palestinian Without Being Anti-Israel?

There is a great deal anti-Semitism around, even today. A great deal. A quick peruse through social media and you’ll find scores of people posting theories and postulates that iterates previous systemic racism against the Jewish community (i.e. taking over the world), some doing it so well that you have to read between the lines to realise the embedded racism that methodically attempts to generate fear and hatred (‘we give to them and we care for them, but what do they do for us?’). It is no wonder Benjamin Netanyahu’ diplomatic antagonism against the world is so believable and indeed endorsed by the Likud Party that it has penetrated deep into the executive and legislative divisions within Israel.

Yet despite clear breaches to International Law by building Israeli settlements in the occupied territories of Palestine and continuous and clear attacks on Palestinians by settlers that are often ignored by security personnel, Netanyahu claims Resolution 2334 by the United Nations Security Council that purports no legal validity of the settlements was a planned attack that only sought to humiliate Israel as a State. US student Lara Alqasem who arrived into Israel to study her Masters degree at Hebrew University was arrested for her involvement in Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which boycotts Israeli goods as a form of protest for the occupation. And her arrest is legally binding: in March 2017, the Knesset passed a law that would refuse entry to any person who supports the boycott of Israeli goods and services. According to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan,  it is “another step in our struggle against those who seek to delegitimize Israel while hiding behind the language of human rights.”

Where does the right for non-violent activism and of freedom of speech suddenly become an invitation to be labelled an enemy of Israel? Indeed musicians and artists such as Lordes and Lana Del Ray have refused to enter Israel to send a message about the Palestinian situation and these policies have been implemented – aligned similarly with the controversial travel ban against select immigrants by Trump – to serve and protect national interests. This furthered by the recent Nation-State Law that is not only dangerously discriminatory, but it intentionally alienates the Arab community of Israel that borders a contravention of basic human rights.

While it is clear that the occupation is universally rejected – hence the boycott itself – along with Israeli settlements, other questions do arise that should render some support for Israel, particularly Jerusalem. Resolution 2334 writes, “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.” Do the resolutions fail to actually supply the possibility of peace negotiations by simply outright declaring condemnation and the immediate cessation following the 1967 war where Israel was actually defending itself?

The continued threat of violence by Islamic fundamentalists is an ongoing problem that even the majority of Palestinians cannot deny. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have arrested a number of activists who criticized their leaders, security forces or policies and tortured those in detention and Palestinian armed groups regularly launch rocket attacks. The recent withdrawal of funding for UNWRA though it indirectly undermines the peace process, is an effort to pressure Fatah and suppress Hamas that unfortunately will find whole refugee populations into further extreme socioeconomic conditions.

There appears to be no winning. Those who speak out against policies and behaviours of the Palestinians are rejected, just as much as those who speak out against policies and behaviours of the Israelis. Does democracy even really exist? From personal experience, my neutral opinion that merely discusses and explains actual facts is often viewed to be either one or the other. I was not allowed to say that I am pro-Israel while I was in the Occupied Territories of Palestine neither was I allowed to say that I am pro-Palestine in Israel. What happens to the two-state solution if you are forced to take a side?

Since the 1967 war, diplomatic relations between Israel with Egypt and Jordan have significantly improved with peace treaties now establishing improved economic and social relations. Perhaps its time to re-evaluate exactly where the peace process with the Palestinians is heading?