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Joseph Glatzer
Mondoweiss
Thu, 14 Oct 2010 20:51 CDT

Every time I would tell my girlfriend (she’s Palestinian) about a famous Israeli activist or writer or she would ask why they still call themselves Israeli. She tells me things like, “See. They still call themselves Israeli. When they use that word they are automatically erasing Palestine.”

I always used to argue with her over that and try to convince her that these Israelis are good people who genuinely care and want to do something. But, for the first time I think she’s right.

If you are an Israeli, even if you disagree with your government’s treatment of the Palestinians, you’re still enjoying the sweet life of privilege. You’ll still be enjoying the privileges Palestinians aren’t able to even though it’s actually their land.

There are so many Israelis who are prominent in the media, who work hard to fight for justice for Palestinians. I don’t need to name them, you all know who they are.

But I have to ask Israelis the question: “If you feel so strongly about what is being done to the Palestinians, how can you continue to live in their stolen country?”

How can you go from a West Bank protest back to your Tel Aviv home, which very well may have belonged to a family member of your friends in the West Bank? Can you really be supporting someone when you live on the land which was violently seized from them?

If these Israeli activists truly believe what they say they should move to the occupied territories and live as a Palestinian. Give up your life of comfort and privilege in the posh neighborhoods of Tel Aviv and live in the Bethlehem ghetto with the people of Aida camp.

Drop out of Ben Gurion University and enroll in Birzeit. Trade Starbucks in Haifa for Stars and Bucks in Ramallah. Now THAT’s solidarity.

Many would say that Israeli dissidents help by staying inside Israel to fight the system from within, and that without them there there would really be no hope for Israeli society. I’ve got news for those people: there is no hope for Israeli society to change from the inside. This is the whole premise of the very popular BDS movement.

The more Israelis of conscience jump ship the quicker the whole Zionist apartheid operation will self-destruct; and the sooner the dispersed Palestinian people of the world can finally be reunited with their land and families.

I’ve been to Gaza and met a teenage boy who watched his brother get blown up in front of his eyes in the first attack of Operation Cast Lead. A year later he was still wetting himself and was unable to sleep at night due to the trauma.

I’ve seen a pregnant woman in Qalandia checkpoint fall to the ground in pain. I’ve met the loving father of a family in Aida Camp who has to beg internationals for money for new glasses. He’s going blind because Israel won’t allow him to get laser eye surgery in Israel, which is just minutes away.

I’ve been inside a home in the old city of Hebron when it was overrun with IDF troops yelling at Palestinian mothers.

I’ve met a family in Sheikh Jarrah who had their house stolen by settlers; and I’ve seen the tent they have to live in.

So, I’m out of patience. I don’t care about the feelings of the morally righteous land thieves anymore.

If you claim to support the Palestinians start calling yourself Palestinian instead of Israeli and permanently live among Palestinians under occupation. This is the definition of solidarity.

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