Top Israeli historian Ilan Pappe explains why he supports the Palestinians

Top Israeli historian Ilan Pappe explains why he supports the Palestinians

It’s not always easy to stick to your moral compass, but if it points north – towards decolonization and liberation – it will most likely guide you through the fog of poisonous propaganda.

It is difficult to maintain your moral sense when the society to which you belong – leaders and media alike – takes over and expects you to share with it the same righteous fury with which it reacted to the events of last Saturday, the 7th. october.

There is only one way to resist the temptation to join them: if you have understood, at some point in your life – even as a Jewish citizen of Israel – the colonial nature of Zionism and if you were horrified by his policies against the indigenous people of Palestine.

If you are aware of this, you will not procrastinate, even if the poison messages describe Palestinians as animals or “human animals”. These same people insist on describing what happened last Saturday as a “Holocaust”, thereby abusing the memory of a great tragedy.

These sentiments are conveyed, day and night, by the Israeli media and politicians.

It is this moral sense that has led me and other members of our society to support the Palestinian people in every possible way; and which allows us, at the same time, to admire the courage of the Palestinian fighters who seized a dozen military bases, overcoming the most powerful army in the Middle East.

Furthermore, people like me cannot help but ask questions about the moral or strategic value of some of the actions that accompanied this operation. Because we have always supported the decolonization of Palestine, we knew that the longer Israeli oppression continued, the less likely the liberation struggle would be “sterilized” – as has been the case in all liberation struggles. righteous people of the past, all over the world.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep an eye on the bigger picture, even for a minute. This picture is that of a colonized people fighting for their survival, at a time when their oppressors have elected a government determined to accelerate the destruction, even elimination, of the Palestinian people – or even of their claim to be a people.

Hamas had to act, and quickly.

It is difficult to express these counter-arguments because Western media and politicians have aligned themselves with the Israeli discourse and its narrative, however problematic it may be.

I wonder how many of those who decided to dress the Parliament in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris in the colors of the Israeli flag really understand how this seemingly symbolic gesture is received in Israel.

Even liberal Zionists, with a modicum of decency, interpreted this act as a total absolution of all crimes committed by Israelis against the Palestinian people since 1948, and therefore as carte blanche to continue the genocide that Israel is perpetrating against the population of Gaza.

Fortunately, the events of recent days have provoked different reactions.

As in the past, large sections of Western civil societies are not easily fooled by this hypocrisy, which has already manifested itself in the case of Ukraine.

Many people know that since June 1967, a million Palestinians have been imprisoned at least once in their lives. And with imprisonment comes abuse, torture and permanent detention without trial.

These same people also know the horrible reality that Israel created in the Gaza Strip when it sealed off the region, imposing a hermetic siege, starting in 2007, accompanied by the incessant killing of children in the occupied West Bank.

This violence is not a new phenomenon, since it has been the permanent face of Zionism since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Thanks to this same civil society, my dear Israeli friends, your government and media will ultimately be wrong, because they will not be able to claim the role of victims, receive unconditional support and get away with their crimes.

The bigger picture will eventually emerge, despite the bias inherent in Western media.

The big question, however, is this: my Israeli friends, will you be able to see this same big picture clearly? Despite years of large-scale indoctrination and manipulation?

And, no less importantly, will you be able to learn the other important lesson – the one from recent events – that force alone cannot balance a just regime on the one hand and an immoral political project on the other?

But there is an alternative. In fact, there has always been one:

A de-Zionized, liberated and democratic Palestine, from the river to the sea; a Palestine that will welcome refugees and build a society that does not discriminate on the basis of culture, religion or ethnicity.

This new state would strive to correct, as far as possible, the ills of the past, in terms of economic inequality, theft of property and denial of rights. This could herald a new era for the entire Middle East.

It is not always easy to stick to your moral compass, but if it points north – towards decolonization and liberation – then it will most likely guide you through the fog of poisonous propaganda, hypocritical policies and inhumanity, often perpetrated in the name of “our shared Western values”.

The Palestine Chronicle – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine – Lotfallah

Author: Ilan Pappe

* Ilan Pappé is a professor at the University of Exeter. He was previously a lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, The Modern Middle East, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Ten Myths about Israel.
Pappé is described as one of Israel’s “new historians” who, since the publication of declassified documents by the British and Israeli governments in the early 1980s, have rewritten the history of Israel’s creation in 1948.
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