Identity, Israel, Justice, Politics, Uncategorized

Only Cause: Some Words On Standing Up in Israel and Palestine

Try reading out loud.

Sometimes I feel like there are all these peace agreements for sale and no one’s buying. We’ve got two states, one state, unions, federations, long term, short term and more. Get ‘em while their hot! Bibi’s not buying and Hamas sure ain’t interested. Abbas is like a man at a mall minutes before closing with credit card in hand – no idea which product can fit in his station wagon; the proprietor eyeing him to leave. People keep asking what the alternative is to violence, “we have to kill and die, there’s no other choice!” Humanity knows when that is the case and when it sure isn’t. Those filled with love and pain – commitment to their people and in solidarity with all other peoples – tend to reluctantly make it clear that it may be a time when fighting may be necessary.
But the Tzadiks, the righteous, are all in the streets calling to end the violence, to end the killing, to end the silence. As thousands stand in the street calling for an end, calling for all the lovely words we love, people are fired and suspended for speaking out their minds in the only democracy. Fascism, hate, jingo-jango ism; call it what you will. This is what it feels like. It is quiet and it takes place when a teacher is no longer allowed to post opinions on a page or say them in a coffee shop. I get calls from depressed friends. We wonder where we go from here and how to fight or if we should. The dullness vibrates in the wake of every weekend protest and every pellet in my feed informing me of another one or ten dead. But the calls keep coming.
A feeling is rising up and it is a violent and unknown feeling. I certainly can’t demand sacrifice from any other, and yet I know that if our movement(s) is not wrapped together in the symbols of life and humanity then areas B and C will become no go zones by “security” decree, from those with an appetite for annexation. And movement, and our movement, will be restricted to the small islands left over. I wonder if those fighting the occupation from around the world can keep on this even as the news changes its tune. Now is a time.
Do we expect to go to our homes at the end of the day and cry hard and then go to work? Is that what we are doing? We talk about this over coffee and the answer is our choice, but it is our choice. Leftists in Israel, Palestine, and Blue Stockings all have to reckon with the question of how our identities shift in this shifting world. The environment and mood and shade of red changes and we find ourselves lost and found and lost and found. There are even potential allies on some hilltops. They must struggle against the occupation too. Share the water previously took. Share the power and the grass. Go beyond breaking bread to dismantle the material inequality and oppression and checkpoints and theft of the politics that support the spirit they find there, if they truly wish to live long and prosper.
There are certainly those that focus in on this place for terrible reasons – but do you really presume to know who and how many? Who is connected with ties and who is merely peaking in? Who holds Israel to the standards it says it demonstrates via democracy and who holds Israel to the impossible godly or demonic? Who is a lover and who is a hater? How much clout is in your hands? How dangerous have you lived? How much PTSD do we deal with on a regular basis? How injured are you? Who are you to judge? Does any of this excuse the deaths and fear and future deaths and future fears that we witness and breed live and online? 
It’s probably well known by now, to the powers that be, that there is not much more to say. Only action left. Only standing in the way, dreaming. Only cause.
 This piece also appears at
A. Daniel Roth is an educator and journalist living in South Tel Aviv. You can find more of his writing and photography at and follow him on twitter @adanielroth

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