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republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
“What is legal about Tel Aviv?” asked the Israeli anti-Zionist radical Miko Peled on November 16 at the annual conference of Washington, DC’s Israel-hating Palestine Center before a room filled with over 40 equally implacable listeners. Such extreme presentations demonstrated the hollowness of any peace process with a Palestinian movement that unrelentingly rejects a Jewish state of Israel.
Peled pleased a radical audience that included the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) activist Shelley Cohen-Fudge, and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) editor Delinda Henley.
Israel’s native son Peled stated that he actually “was born and raised in Palestine” and abandoned his Israeli allegiance in a “journey from the sphere of the oppressor to the sphere of the oppressed.” Meanwhile, he declared that “most Israelis have no connection with the Holocaust,” an amazingly cavalier treatment of a genocide that haunts all Jewish memories globally, regardless of their personal proximity to this horror.
Peled’s slander of the Jewish national homeland as an imperial implant led to his scathing conclusion that “Zionism is incompatible with peace” and the “rights of the indigenous people of Palestine.” His fellow conference speaker Zena Agha similarly damned Zionism as an “ethno-religious ideology which holds a supremacist structural organization of society, which all people are incumbent to oppose,” like “fighting white supremacy.” With breathtaking intellectual cultural appropriation, the Electric Intifada’s Palestinian-American editor Ali Abunimah also completely rejected the idea that “Zionism has to do with Judaism.”
Abunimah derided Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Miami native Ron Dermer, as “Ambassador for Miami,” while a slide presentation via Skype by Salman Abu Sitta likewise maligned Israeli Jews as foreign “immigrants/settlers.” “Like the whites of South Africa, we don’t belong there; we are not native to the place,” but rather are a “result of settler-colonialism and racism and the ethnic cleansing and genocide,” Peled said of Israeli Jews like himself. “We cannot in good conscience call that place Israel,” he astonishingly declared, for this term is “legitimizing this brutal, racist apartheid ideology and regime, because there is no part of Palestine that is not occupied.”
Accordingly, the conference speakers expressed almost unanimous disdain for the most commonly accepted Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement proposal. Peled rejected the “ridiculous notion of a two-state solution” that would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and instead fantasized about Jews living harmoniously amidst Muslim-majority populations. Islamic supremacism, including antisemitism, under which non-Muslim minorities have historically suffered, make ludicrous his envisioned “single democracy over all of Palestine . . . where people just live in peace and there is tolerance.”
Agha concurred that the “two-state solution is all but null,” while Abunimah was even more strident. “Stop this sterile discourse of a Palestinian state and two-state solution, and peace process and all of this kind of nonsense,” he stated. “Our peace plan” means the “end of Zionist colonialism.”
The address by Josh Ruebner from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) showed how extreme Palestinian visions of an independent state could be, with his rejection of Israeli security concerns restricting Palestinian sovereignty. He denounced a past “charade of negotiations” and “fig leaf of a dialogue” between Israelis and Palestinians, in which a Palestinian “state-minus” defined all American peace plans under numerous presidents. “The plan was always for the Palestinian entity not to be a sovereign state, not to have an army, not to have an independent foreign policy; not to have any control over its borders, its airspace, its sea-lanes.”
Rather than appreciate the necessity of such concessions, Lamis Deek from the Islamist Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) celebrated Palestinian terrorism in her address via Skype. Befitting CAIR’s Hamas origins, she began her remarks by “honoring our fallen heroes” among Gaza’s Hamas jihadists. These terrorists, in the “purest form of love, a not-self-interested love, gave their lives to protect the two million people in Gaza” against the “Israeli colonizing project for ethnic cleansing.” Noting that “our struggle is discursive as much as it is military or solidarity,” she wanted to “normalize and elevate the Palestinian resistance.”
By contrast, Abunimah condemned Israeli self-defense against Palestinians terrorists in the Gaza Strip who attempted to breach Israel’s security barrier during the recent March of Return. Israel is “using snipers to murder children in cold blood,” according to his propaganda. The Israel-hating former CNN journalist Jim Clancy concurred that Israel is committing “in broad daylight right in front of our eyes in Gaza . . . blatant war crimes.” He additionally ranted that American recognition of Israel’s capital Jerusalem showed that “U.S. foreign policy is up for sale.”
Abunimah praised March of Return participants for “giving their lives for our rights,” namely a Palestinian “right of return” for millions of descendants of at most 750,000 Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948 independence war. The entry of these Arabs into Israel would demographically destroy the Jewish state and accomplish what past Arab armies and terrorists have failed to achieve. Nonetheless, the uncompromising Abunimah denounced the leftist American Jewish organization J Street as a “racist, Zionist organization that exists to oppose the Palestinian right of return.”
Agha called the Palestinian “inalienable right to return to their historic homeland” the “central pillar of Palestinian liberation,” while Palestine Center Executive Committee Chair Subhi Ali described this as “sacred” and “not negotiable.” Referring to some 850,000 Jews who fled the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the decades following Israel’s 1948 creation, Agha also bizarrely endorsed the “ability for Arab Jews to return to the land from which they came.” Jews “historically have lived very peacefully and under very prosperous conditions in their home countries” such as Iraq, she said in an exaggerated statement that ludicrously suggested Jews would endure the MENA region’s antisemitism again.
The Palestinian United Nations Permanent Observer, Riyad H. Mansour, also showed in his keynote address no inclination to abandon the Palestinian refugee “farce.” He praised the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Near East Refugees (UNRWA) as a “fantastic agency” and “model of success,” opposing American efforts to close this organization irredeemably dedicated to the “right of return.” In contrast, he smeared Israel’s recent nation-state law officially dedicated to preserving a Jewish national home as an “awful law, apartheid law.”
Mansour noted to applause that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council had recently endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Along with his other statements, this BDS support rendered null his pro forma embrace of a “two-state solution.” Meanwhile Syracuse University Professor Osamah Khalil’s conspiracy-mongering suggestion that the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat had been “assassinated” did little to inspire confidence in negotiations with Palestinians.
Mansour and the other prominent Palestinian spokespersons at the Palestine Center conference clearly demonstrate the enduring Palestinian rejection of Israel’s Jewish state. Beyond the foreign policy realm, American domestic political leaders who praise CAIR or, like a possible presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, claim ignorance when associating with the USCPR, must answer for abetting Israel-haters. Americans must clearly recognize their ally Israel’s enemies and seek their defeat.