I read this very thoughtful blog post today written by a Palestinian (I think) about the do’s and don’ts for international activists who want to stand in solidarity with Palestine. It’s long but worth the time to read and digest it, available here. Based on the author’s concept of solidarity, I have decided that I do not qualify as a solidarity activist. Here’s why:
I agree with many of the points raised.
- don’t be patronizing and don’t treat Palestine or Palestinians as a charity case.
- don’t speak for the Palestinians; they have their own voice.
- don’t view Palestinians as exotic creatures or objects to be admired.
- do know the history; do your homework before you come to Palestine.
But I vehemently disagree with the notion that I must give up my ideas of right and wrong, my beliefs and values, and adopt whatever means or strategies the Palestinians have adopted to end the occupation. Therefore, I can’t stand in “solidarity” with them. What label should I give to my actions?
The Palestinian blogger says: If you are in solidarity with the Palestinian people and our right towards self-determination, then you are in solidarity with our rights to fight colonialism by all means, including armed resistance, there is no compromise.
I do not condone violence or armed resistance —- never have, never will. I may certainly understand it, but I do not support it.
Sitting in Gaza in November 2012 and listening to Israeli bombs exploding all around, gave me a new appreciation for the need to protect oneself from this aggression. But “armed resistance” is very broad and may encompass many different types of violence — from suicide bombers to rockets landing in the middle of civilians. I don’t support either.
I try to live my life by the Golden Rule. It’s not easy sometimes, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. And if I argue that Israel must put down its weapons and end this occupation, I can’t, in good conscience, argue that others should be allowed to raise their weapons.
I believe the occupation must end …… for the sake of both Israel and Palestine. I stand in solidarity with all peace-loving people on both sides of the “green line” ….. and with all of the children who deserve a future of peace and security in this region.
I came to Gaza to teach about climate change. I am leaving as a student who learned alot. It is not accurate to label me pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, but maybe pro-humanitarian fits me the best.