There is no doubt in my mind that Israel is utterly confused with the outcome of its invasion of Gaza three years ago. First, Gaza hasn’t yet collapsed into a state of abject humanitarian dispair. Yes, support for Hamas has waned since then but Hamas’ political stability does little to accurately represent the resilience of the territory’s population.
Second, the case against Israel is mounting. After denying all accountability for violating dozens of international law treatises and human rights accords and after managing to convince the once honorable Richard Goldstone to argue against himself, Israel is forced to reckon with the fact that criticism against its policies towards Palestinians in general continues to grow in terms of scope, material evidence, and support.
Third, the siege that remains over Gaza even though Gilad Shalit is out of Hamas’ custody has encouraged debate within Israel. The disillusionment that manifests itself in the minds of those who finally see the occupation for what it is inspires discontent. Israel’s social protests do a tremendous job of ignoring Israel’s treatment of Palestinians so I will not say that the internal debate it encourages has in mind the best possible solution for Palestinian sovereignty, but I will say that the emergence of a social consciousness within at least a few sectors of Israeli society was not on the government’s agenda. Twenty-two days of righteousness in 2008-2009 went down the drain, just like that.
Gaza’s population experienced a short term blow but it is Israel that faces the long term consequences of its actions. It is high time to capitalize on what will soon be the end of a disgraceful era in which injustice, occupation, and pillage was more or less accepted as the norm.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Chicago has adopted this strategy. As part of its campaign to commemorate the invasion of Gaza and all those affected by it worldwide, SJP will host a panel discussion on how and why the assault backfired featuring Ali Abunimah, Remi Kanazi, and Annan Shehadi.
To better illustrate this turning point, Remi Kanazi, poet and author of Poetic Injustice, will discuss the rise of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement as an effective strategy to defund and deconstruct local and international attempts to normalize or whitewash the occupation. Annan Shehadi, a student, artist, and community organizer, will discuss the progress of campus activism and the growing tendency to use art, especially among the youth, as a form of resistance. Ali Abunimah, commentator, journalist, and co-founder of Electronic Intifada, will shed light on the colonialism and apartheid promoted through Israeli policy and its imminent collapse in a matter of time.
If any readers happen to be in Chicago on the evening of January 17, I highly recommend attending this event. I’m not pushing for it because it’s at the University of Chicago. I’m pushing for it because these developments are at the forefront of the region’s shifting political sands.
Here’s the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/269996296396688/.
This event is part of the American Muslims for Palestine’s “Gaza Teaches Life, Sir” national tour. Click here for more information on the campaign’s upcoming events.