Why Palestinians won’t lend their voices to OneVoice and liberal Zionism

Guest contribution by Sami J.

The organization OneVoice claims to be a grassroots movement aimed at empowering Israelis and Palestinians to push their leaders toward a two-state solution. In practice, this has translated into a strategy overwhelmingly focused on what’s good for Israel — and specifically Israel’s Jews — while Palestinian suffering and rights are sacrificed on the altar of compromise. This problem was pointed out by PACBI back in 2010. And last week, it was thrown into stark relief when it was discovered that OneVoice had put out a shockingly racist Hebrew-only graphic, warning of the increase in the Palestinian population and what counteractions must be taken to preserve a Jewish majority in historic Palestine (a full translation can be found here).

In what can only be described as naked cynicism, while OneVoice was warning Israeli Jews of the “high” number of Palestinians, it was also seeking to collaborate with Palestinians in exile, specifically the Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR), a youth-led Palestine solidarity organization. CMPR understandably refused, issuing an open letter outlining their valid reasons. This did not sit well with liberal Zionist professor Mira Sucharov, who wrote a very patronizing piece on the need to refrain from (what she thinks are) frivolous accusations of racism and to work together to achieve peace (on Zionist terms, of course) instead.

When I challenged her on this, she responded that while she understands OneVoice’s message “stings”, Jewish yearning for national sovereignty is also important; and that the disagreement with OneVoice is “about feelings and narrative” where “collective emotions and historical memory are key”. [Read more...]

How to sculpt an apartheid state with a calculator

Arnon Sofer is a geographer, a demographer, and an expert sculptor of Israeli apartheid. His name might not ring a bell for most people, but only because his direct involvement in politics is overshadowed by the magnitude of his contribution to a decades-old legacy of forced separation. His influence, however, leaves its mark on Palestinians daily.

Confined to calculators, notebooks, and maps, Sofer has been characterized in the past as someone who has a fetish for counting, adding, and dividing Jews and Arabs. He identifies himself as an ardent supporter of the “overwhelming Jewish majority” and uses population data to tweak political objectives in Israel — objectives that, by any standard outside of Israel, would constitute the basis of systematic racism. [Read more...]

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