Palestine and Israel, and U.S. Allies

I am an Israeli Mizrahi Jew currently living in the United States. Time and time again [repeatedly], I have seen USer patterns get in the way of thinking about the war and occupation in my home country. I decided to write a list of directions for U.S. allies who are trying to think about Israelis and Palestinians:

1) A great place to start is by working on the direction “I don’t know anything about Israel and Palestine.” The United States is an owning-class nation, and USers carry owning-class patterns. These arrogant patterns make you think that you know a lot about the situation in other countries. The reality is that almost all USers are extremely ignorant about the situation in Israel and Palestine—about the history of the region, the current situation, and the people involved in the conflict. You are limited in part because Israel and Palestine are an ocean away and the information you get in the media, in books, and so on, is biased. Discharging about your ignorance will make you better allies and leave more space for the thinking of Palestinians and Israelis.

2) Discharge any feelings of hopelessness and despair about the situation, and have the discipline to notice hopeful things that are happening. The hopelessness and despair are restimulations of early material [distress]; they are not part of reality. History shows that a political climate can change rapidly, so there is always hope for this region. Palestinians and Israelis need allies to hold a hopeful perspective and to be able to counsel us on our despair. This is only possible if the allies discharge on their own hopelessness and despair.

3) Discharge on any way you blame Israelis and Palestinians for the war, and any feelings that the conflict is due to a defect in the people living there. Palestinians and Israelis are smart, rational, loving, gentle people. Strong forces are keeping the occupation in place, and Palestinians and Israelis are working hard against these forces. Not seeing this reality comes from oppressor material about Arabs and Israelis and/or from internalized anti-Semitism.

4) Work on all your oppressor material about Palestinians and Israelis, on anything that gets in the way of your truly committing to us and loving us, truly seeing our intelligence and humanity.

5) Work on how much you want the war and occupation to end. Show in sessions how much you care about this and how desperate you are for it to happen. This will help you reclaim your humanity.

6) Face that you cannot end the occupation. Part of your USer material is to think that you know better than other people and that you have the solution for everything. In reality, USers cannot end the occupation; only Israelis and Palestinians can do that. We need you to stop seeing yourselves as the primary players who must lead us and to support our thinking instead.

7) Work on where you think your thinking is better than that of Israelis and Palestinians. It is not—this is your USer oppressor material.

8) Notice the responsibility of the United States for the situation. As USers you are told that your country is a force for peace in the region and that your government is working hard to support Palestinians and Israelis in achieving peace (and that the reason your attempts fail is because of us; see point 3). This is not true. The occupation makes a lot of money for the United States and helps it maintain control over the region. In this respect the United States is not a force for peace but a force for war. You need to acknowledge that. You need to own your destructive policies in the region and acknowledge that you benefit from them.

9) Notice the existence of Mizrahi Jews. Ashkenazi USers often have a hard time thinking about Mizrahi Jews. This is part of the racism they must discharge in order to be effective allies to Jews and Palestinians. Where do you think of “Jew” and “Arab” as mutually exclusive words? We Mizrahi Jews are from north Africa and from west, central, and south Asia. Most of us have Arab heritage. We are a significant part of the Israeli population and more than a quarter of the Jewish population. Recently several attempts have been made to create alliances between Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians. Palestinian leaders have spoken about the importance of Mizrahi Jewish leadership.

Lior Vered

Carrboro, North Carolina, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

Last modified: 2017-10-17 02:26:25+00