Visit ArabTopics.com

Reclaiming the Narrative: How to Combat Israel’s Misuse of “Antisemitism”

At a talk I delivered in Northern England in March 2018, I proposed that the best response to falsified accusations of antisemitism, which are often lobbed against pro-Palestinian communities and intellectuals everywhere, is to draw even closer to the Palestinian narrative.

In fact, my proposal was not meant to be a sentimental response in any way.

“Reclaiming the Palestinian narrative” has been the main theme in most of my public speeches and writings in recent years. All of my books and much of my academic studies and research have largely focused on positioning the Palestinian people – their rights, history, culture, and political aspirations – at the very core of any genuine understanding of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonialism and apartheid. 

True, there was nothing particularly special about my talk in Northern England. I had already delivered a version of that speech in other parts of the UK, Europe and elsewhere. But what made that event memorable is a conversation I had with a passionate activist, who introduced himself as an advisor to the office of the head of the British Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Although the activist agreed with me regarding the need to embrace the Palestinian narrative, he insisted that the best way for Corbyn to deflect anti-Semitic accusations, which have dogged his leadership since day one, is for Labor to issue a sweeping and decisive condemnation of antisemitism, so that Corbyn may silence his critics and he is finally able to focus on the pressing subject of Palestinian rights. 

I was doubtful. I explained to the animated and self-assured activist that Zionist manipulation and misuse of antisemitism is a phenomenon that has preceded Corbyn by many decades, and will always be there as long as the Israeli government finds the need to distract from its war crimes against Palestinians and to crush pro-Palestinian solidarity worldwide. 

I explained to him that while anti-Jewish racism is a real phenomenon that must be confronted, “antisemitism”, as defined by Israel and its Zionist allies, is not a moral question that is meant to be solved by a press release, no matter how strongly-worded. Rather, it is a smokescreen, with the ultimate aim of distracting from the real conversation, that being the crimes of military occupation, racism, and apartheid in Palestine.

In other words, no amount of talking, debating or defending oneself can possibly convince the Zionists that demanding an end to the Israeli military occupation in Palestine or the dismantling of the Israeli apartheid regime, or any genuine criticism of the policies of Israel’s right-wing government are not, in fact, acts of antisemitism. 

Alas, the activist insisted that a strong statement that would clarify Labor’s position on antisemitism would finally absolve Corbyn and protect his legacy against the undeserved smearing.

The rest is history. Labor went into a witch-hunt, to catch the “true” anti-Semites among its members. The unprecedented purge has reached many good people who have dedicated years to serving their communities and defending human rights in Palestine and elsewhere. 

The statement to end all statements was followed by many others. Numerous articles and arguments were written and made in defense of Corbyn – to no avail. Only a few days before Labor lost the general election in December, the Simon Wiesenthal Center named Corbyn, one of Britain’s most sincere and well-intentioned leaders in the modern era, the “top anti-Semite of 2019.” So much for engaging the Zionists.

It doesn’t matter whether Corbyn’s party lost the elections in part because of Zionist smearing and unfounded anti-Semitic accusations. What truly matter for me as a Palestinian intellectual who has hoped that Corbyn’s leadership will constitute a paradigm shift regarding the country’s attitude towards Israel and Palestine, is the fact that the Zionists have indeed succeeded in keeping the conversation focused on Israeli priorities and Zionist sensibilities. It saddens me that while Palestine should have occupied the center stage, at least during Corbyn’s leadership years, it was still marginalized signifying once again that solidarity with Palestine has become a political liability to anyone hoping to win an election – in the UK and anywhere in the West as well. 

Britain Labour Party Conference

Corbyn sits on stage while audience members wave Palestinian flags during the Labour’s 2018 Party conference. Stefan Rousseau | PA via AP

I find it puzzling, indeed disturbing, that Israel, directly or otherwise, is able to determine the nature of any discussion on Palestine in the West, not only within typical mainstream platforms but within pro-Palestinian circles as well. For example, I have heard activists repeatedly questioning whether the one-state solution is at all possible because “Israel simply would never accept it”. 

I often challenge my audiences to base their solidarity with Palestine on real love, support, and admiration for the Palestinian people, for their history, their anti-colonial struggle, and the thousands of heroes and heroines who have sacrificed their own lives so that their people may live in freedom. 

How many of us can name Palestine’s top poets, artists, feminists, football players, singers, and historians? How familiar are we really, with Palestinian geography, the intricacies of its politics, and the richness of its culture?

Even in platforms that are sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle, there is an inherent fear that such sympathy could be misconstrued as antisemitism to the extent that Palestinian voices are often neglected, if not completely supplanted with anti-Zionist Jewish voices. I see this happening quite often even in Middle Eastern media that supposedly champion the Palestinian cause. 

This phenomenon is largely linked to Palestine and Palestine only. While the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the civil rights struggle in the United States – as was the case of many genuine anti-colonial liberation movements around the world – have strategically used intersectionality to link with other groups, locally, nationally or internationally, the movements themselves relied on black voices as true representatives of their peoples’ struggles.

Historically, Palestinians have not always been marginalized within their own discourse. Once upon a time, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), despite its many shortcomings, provided unified Palestinian political discourse which served as a litmus test for any individual, group or government regarding their position on Palestinian rights and freedom.

The Oslo accords ended all of that – it fragmented the Palestinian discourse just as it has divided the Palestinian people. Since then, the message emanating from Palestine has become muddled, factionalized and often self-defeating. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) has done a tremendous job in bringing about some clarity by attempting to articulate a universal Palestinian discourse. 

However, BDS is yet to yield a centralized political strategy that is communicated through a democratically-elected Palestinian body. As long as the PLO persists in its inertia and without a truly democratic alternative, the crisis of the Palestinian political discourse is likely to continue. 

Concurrently, the Zionists must not be allowed to determine the nature of our solidarity with the Palestinian people. While true Palestinian solidarity requires the complete rejection of all forms of racism, including antisemitism, the pro-Israel camp must be sidelined entirely from any conversation pertaining to the values and morality of what it means to be “pro-Palestine”. 

To be anti-Zionist is not always the same as being pro-Palestine, the former emanating from the rejection of racist, Zionist ideas and the latter indicating a real connection and bond with Palestine and her people.

To be pro-Palestine is also to respect the centrality of the Palestinian voice, because without the Palestinian narrative there can be no real or meaningful solidarity, and also because, ultimately it will be the Palestinian people who will liberate themselves. 

“I am not a liberator,” said the iconic South American revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. “Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves”.

For the Palestinians to “liberate themselves”, they have to claim their centrality in the struggle for Palestinian rights everywhere, to articulate their own discourse and to be the champions of their own freedom. Nothing else will suffice.

Feature photo | Members of the Jewish anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group demonstrate against the Israeli General Elections outside a polling station in Jerusalem. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net 

The post Reclaiming the Narrative: How to Combat Israel’s Misuse of “Antisemitism” appeared first on MintPress News.

Source: 
MintPress

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 328
Pass Blue 300
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 16
John Pilger 422
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3050
FEE 5128
Marine Le Pen 395
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1115
Mohamed Omar 403
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 18
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 132
Vetenskapsradion Historia 180
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 244
Les Crises 3322
Richard Falk 199
Ian Sinclair 124
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 11162
Kafila 565
Gail Malone 42
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 10607
Vanessa Beeley 187
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5865
Paul Craig Roberts 2236
News Junkie Post 60
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 5642
Sir Ken Robinson 25
Stephan Kinsella 108
Liberty Blitzkrieg 873
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 3897
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 97
David D. Friedman 159
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1531
Tom Dispatch 586
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4814
The Barnes Review 567
John Friend 513
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 162
New Eastern Outlook 4599
School Sucks Project 1798
Giza Death Star 2072
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 649
GMWatch 2497
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1099
Le 4ème singe 90
Jacob Cohen 216
Agora Vox 17990
Cercle Des Volontaires 447
Panamza 2440
Fairewinds 118
Project Censored 1084
Spy Culture 596
Conspiracy Archive 81
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 614
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 945
Independent Science News 86
The Anti Media 6876
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 305
The Mind renewed 454
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1064
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 159
Porkins Policy Review 450
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 634
Libyan War Truth 357
DeadLine Live 1916
Kevin Ryan 66
BSNEWS 2105
Aaron Franz 259
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 155
Peter B Collins 1703
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 11484
Climate Audit 226
Donna Laframboise 487
Judith Curry 1166
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2586
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 93
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 12979
Laura Wells Solutions 46
Video Rebel's Blog 458
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 22062
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3222
Northerntruthseeker 2621
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4832
AntiWar.com Blog 3326
AntiWar.com Original Content 7415
Corbett Report 2540
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1258
Webster Tarpley Website 1142

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public