All the "in" people, the cream of the literati
, are conjoining to boycott Israel. The "cultural boycott" instituted against "Israel" by these pillars of political rectitude in Europe has drawn what Jimmy Carter and his supporters call calls "the inevitable knee jerk reaction of the all powerful Israel Lobby. The Elders have met and passed their sentence.
Who is the nefarious representative of the Zionist conspiracy who is called upon to read the sentence? Is it an AIPAC member, or perhaps the head of ADL, or a spokesperson of the Israeli foreign office? Is it a representative of the Wiesenthal center, or any of the other beloved targets of the anti-"Zionists?" Not quite.
The representative of the Elders of Zion is none other than Asma Agbarieh. Perceptive people will notice that "Agbarieh" is not a Zionist name, like Goldstein or Himmelfarb or Sharon. Nonetheless, Ms. Agbarieh is an Israel citizen, and so are her fellow "Israeli Palestinians" and Jewish supporters of Palestinian right. Therefore, Ms Agbarieh, and all the Arab Israeli MKs, and all the Arabs and the Jews who have the blue identity card, all find ourselves inevitably in the company of the nefarious "Israel Lobby," so loathed by all the boycotters. Regardless of our ethnic allegiance or political opinions: Inescapably, if we want to live, we must be part of this lobby.
Ms Agbarieh is part of the Israel lobby, forced into it by the inevitable nemesis of history and geography and culture. She has understood this basic fact. If she signs a petition against Israel, she is signing a petition against herself. If she opts to drive Israel into the sea, she is driving herself into the sea. In fact, if she opts to breath and to stay alive, she is supporting the occupation according to the logic of the boycotters. Following are highlights from her article
, including quotes from others:
"...Trabelsi points out that almost all films made here, even many that bash the Occupation, get financial support from the Ministry of Education. Almost all travel by filmmakers to the festivals screening their works is subsidized, moreover, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
"Even Arab artists living in Israel have not been spared. A Paris film festival banned Badal , a film on a marriage deal between Arab families, directed by Ibtisam Ma'arana, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship. The height of absurdity was attained when one of the petitioners found himself under his own boycott. This was Arna Mer Khamis's son Juliano, who wrote and directed Arna's Children. In Hungary, the Palestinian community boycotted the film because Juliano is Israeli."
"Today the PA is on the brink of civil war. And amid the descent into the abyss, what do we hear? The call of the intellectuals for a cultural boycott?!"
The height of absurdity was reached, because the petitioners did not understand who they are, and where the occupation is that they protest. Some of them have the absurd belief that they are "Palestinians." In 1948, the Palestine mandate ended. Until that date, everyone here was a Palestinian. After May 15, 1948, within the jurisdiction of the state of Israel, there remained only Israelis. It is not just a formality ratified by a passport, but fact of culture and political allegiance. Many of the people who signed the boycott may style themselves "Palestinians," as Ms Agbarieh calls Ibtisam Ma'arana "a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship." Ms Agbarieh please note: by her mother, Ibtisam might be a Palestinian. By her fond aunt, she might be a Palestinian. But by a real Palestinian, she is no Palestinian. She is an Israeli 1948 Arab. If Israel lasts a thousand years, your descendants will be called "1948 Arabs" by Arabs outside Israel, and never "Palestinians" except in propaganda meant for foreigners.
Before World War II, there were many arguments about "who is a Jew?" After World War II there was an operative definition, generated by a cruel world: a Jew, is anyone who can be killed for being a Jew. If you like, an Israeli is anyone who can be killed for being an Israeli. This hateful definition is a fact of life, that must be understood by Mr. Avigdor Lieberman as well as by Ms Agbarieh and MK Barakeh.
Ms Agbarieh is a member of the Organization for Democratic Action. She says of herself
"Through the party I realized what reality is made of, in contrast to the bubble I was living in. I realized that one cannot run away from her place in society, and I began to reclaim my identity as a Palestinian living in Israel."
. No, Ms Agrabieh. Through the party, you ran away from your real place in the world. You talked yourself into an illusion. Something that can't be, just as in the 1960s American university students sometimes mistook themselves for VietCong.
According to the ODA, you are a "Palestinian." An Israeli Jew might mistake you for a "Palestinian." But one of Mr. Nasrallah's Katyusha rockets will not make that mistake, and neither would Mr. Nasrallah or Mr. Haniyeh. You, like me, are an Israeli, Asma Agbarieh. When the other side talks about the Israeli enemy, they mean both of us. You, like Ibtisam, are a "1948 Arab" as the Arabs outside Israel call you, even though you were born in 1980 perhaps. The Jews, whose ancestors were here in 1948, should perhaps be called "Yahud tamaneh arbaeen" - 1948 Jews. When Mr. Olmert, whom you no doubt despise, talks about defending the Israeli people, he is talking about defending you as well as me.
You are a 1948 Arab, and an Israeli. You are part of the Israel lobby that must be boycotted. You are a card carrying member of the Zionist enemy that Al Manara TV and PA TV talk about. Like the Jews of Germany, your allegiance and identity are decided for you. They were decided when your ancestors decided to stay in Israel and throw in their lot with the Jewish state. The ODA propaganda can't change where you live. They can't change your education and what you know and what you believe about the place of women in society and how democracy should work. All of these make you an Israeli, Ms Agbarieh, not a Palestinian. No matter what the ODA says, or what Mr. Lieberman might say, or what you might say, or what some PC intellectual in England might think, you are not a Palestinian, but an Israeli.
Though you have not yet understood the full implications of this fact, Ms Agbarieh, you must be commended for being honest enough with yourself to recognize the obvious drawbacks of shooting yourself in the head. This basic level of intellectual integrity and common sense is not attainable by everyone it seems.
Ms Agbarieh asks:
What do the boycotters want to push forward? The pro-American plan of PA President Abu Mazen? The fundamentalist program of Hamas? The same despair, we should remember, led many liberal Arab intellectuals to support Hassan Nasrallah in the recent war, just because he pounded Israel with rockets, or to support Osama Ben Laden because he taught America a lesson.
At last, a person who speaks sense! But it was not intellectual despair, Ms Agbarieh. It was mistaken identity. Just as some German Jews thought that Hitler didn't mean them, he meant the inferior "Eastern Jews," so you might think that "Israeli" doesn't refer to you. It does.
Ms Agbarieh, you are right to protest. That was you they wanted to destroy - your villages, your towns, your churches, your mosques and your people that the rockets were killing. Your towns they were destroying. Tel Aviv is your town too, isn't it? Haifa is your town too. Israel is your country as it is my country. Make no mistake. If the Hezbollah have their way, it will be the end of the road for you, as well as the end of the road for Jewish Israelis.
The delusion that boycotting Israel "doesn't refer to us" is not limited to "Palestinian" Israelis. Ilan Pappe for example, was also not so perceptive. He agitated to boycott Haifa university. He too wanted to boycott himself! Of course, if someone else would want to boycott Pappe because he is a lousy historian, he would insist that it is unfair. Just because he has no respect for the facts is not a reason to boycott him. Facts are for pedants. Pappe will be the first to tell you that. But it is OK for Pappe to boycott Pappe, because he is Israeli after all.
Where is the occupation that all these "Israeli Palestinians" and that Mr Pappe and his friends are boycotting? Isn't Mr. Haniyeh the leader of the Palestinian National Authority? Ask Mr. Haniyeh and Mr Nasrallah where this "occupation" is. They will tell you that it is every place that the Israeli flag flies: It is in Daliat al Carmel and it is in Um al Fahm, as it is in Haifa and Safed and Tiberias. They are all part of the occupation. Every place where the Hezbollah rockets fell, and every place where they could fall, is all part of the occupation. Kulu Esraeel - all Israel. All the people who were killed and maimed by the rockets, whether they were named Ahmed or Amit, Asma or Osnat, Nabila or Nehama, are all Israelis. When Mr Nasrallah and Mr. Haniyeh talk about the Israeli enemy, they mean all of us. The rockets are killing us all.
So please, Ms Agbarieh, if you love your home and your family and your friends, your Jewish Israeli friends as well as your Arab Israeli friends, go to Mr Berger, and Ms Roy and all the boycotters, and to Mr. Carter and to Professors Mearsheimer and Walt and all those who fight the "Israel Lobby" and tell them: the Israel bashing is killing us all.
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