Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ilan Pappe: Supporting The Refugees’ Right Of Return Is Saying NO To Israeli Racism

By Ilan Pappe, ZNet, January 11, 2011

I begin by thanking all the organizers; I know it took quite a lot of efforts to bring us all together. It is a great achievement, and as Mazin Qumsiyeh and Haidar Eid, mentioned, and Lubna Masarwa, yesterday, you also provided a great opportunity for us to meet and we are very grateful to you for this opportunity to meet you and to meet each other. It is easier because of the Israeli oppression to meet here than to meet in Palestine where we should meet and hopefully one day we will all be there without the need to go to the frozen hills of Stuttgart to create a joint life!

And I think that’s the gist of the Zionist story that it does not allow people to meet normal life and to be normal friends that they need to go through all that hardship in order to fulfill a very elementary human impulse to live together.

We live in very bizarre times. On the one hand, we could not have wished as activists for a better Israeli government. I think that this particular government makes any sophisticated analysis about what Zionism in Israel is all about quite redundant. It is very easy to expose not only the Israeli policies, but also the racist ideology behind them. On the other hand, Israel is the most successful economy in the West in the last three years; it has done much better than the Germany, much better than most of the economic powers of the West; its banking system is very stable, its currency is one of the strongest in the world and it doesn’t suffer at all from all the hardships that had affected the Western capitalist economies in the last three years.

The result is a very bewildering gap between what average and decent people in the West think about Israel and the way the Israelis, specially the Israeli Jews, think about themselves. They think that they live in a very successful society, they believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is over, that the Palestinian question has ended, yes, you have a problem in Gaza, yes you have a problem with Hezbollah in Lebanon, but this is a global problem, this is not a particular Israeli problem; this is part of the so-called war against terror.

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