AIPAC, despite continuing to spend lavishly, has lost much of its charm and, in an unprecedented move, none of the candidates running to become the Democratic Party nominee for president attended this year’s AIPAC conference in Washington.
From Hebron to Bethlehem and from Jerusalem to London and Washington, the fight for justice in Palestine is being fought on many fronts. Israel and its agents everywhere are operating in full force to win supporters and delegitimize anyone who opposes Israel.
Palestinians in Hebron are harassed by Israeli soldiers, their homes are violently taken from them by Israeli settlers, and Palestinian activists in the city, particularly from Youth Against Settlements, are being persecuted and prosecuted by the Palestinian Authority security services.
In Salfit, 19-year-old Omar Abu Laila was killed after commiting what was described by Israeli journalist Amira Hass in Haaretz as a “daring” and “courageous” act of resistance against the “masters,” who “rape” the land. It was an act, “which filled Palestinians with a sense of pride,” Hass wrote after his Abu Lalia’s attack on soldiers and armed settler-gangsters in the West Bank. Israeli forces, like Roman legions, spent two days combing the West Bank before finding him — no doubt with use of informants — and killing him in a shootout. In Bethlehem, a 17-year-old medic, Sajid Abdel Hakim Helmi Mizhir, was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. And the casualty count along the Gaza Strip continues to grow.
In the Naqab south, the Israeli Police southern command utilizes a special unit called “Yoav” — the same name used for the 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign of the Naqab — to forcibly displace the local Palestinian Bedouin and take their lands. With no lands, their camels killed or confiscated by the state, the community has lost its self-reliant nature and must seek relief from the State or from neighboring Israeli settlements that sit on their lands and use their water.
In the U.S.
In Washington, Israel’s Prime Minister made his usual campaign stop and received an enormous, priceless contribution: U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights. This recognition has no legitimacy or legal standing, and the Golan Heights remain a legitimate part of Syria, albeit stolen by Israel, while the indigenous population of the Golan remain proud citizens of Syria. And while the Golan Heights are not a part of Palestine, this recognition is a boost to the anti-Palestinian, anti-peace forces that Benjamin Netanyahu represents.
Also in Washington, the Israeli lobby AIPAC just held its annual conference and the District was filled with delegates proudly displaying their AIPAC badges. However, AIPAC, despite continuing to spend lavishly, has lost much of its charm and, in an unprecedented move, none of the candidates running to become the Democratic Party nominee for president attended the conference.
To demonstrate that the vicious campaign against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continues in full force, a full page ad was bought in the Washington Post smearing her and distorting her words to make her seem the anti-Semitic villain Zionists claim her to be. The ad was placed by a racist organization, called The World Values Network, which promotes Islamophobia and terrorism.
In the U.K.
Earlier this month it was reported that in the U.K., three members of the Labour Party were arrested by police in London for allegedly posting anti-Semitic messages on social media. Neither the names nor the messages they are alleged to have posted have been published. It is well known that a smear campaign against U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been in place for several years and it would not be surprising to learn that these arrests are part of that campaign and not an actual case of anti-Semitism.
The picture that Corbyn’s Zionist opponents are trying to paint is that, since he became leader, the party has been plagued by anti-Semitism. The fact is that Corbyn, and many of his allies in the party who have been targeted, are not anti-Semitic at all, but are instead uncompromising in their opposition to all forms of racism, including Israeli racism and oppression of Palestinians.
A realistic view of the Israeli political map shows that there is little reason to expect great changes. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who aligned himself with violent racist politicians like Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, has now aligned himself with yet more violent racist politicians. These are the followers of the man who was the symbol for what can be described as Judeo-Nazis, Meir Kahane. Ideologically they are no different from Netanyahu and politically this move secures his place on the farthest most right wing of the Zionist political map. Because this brand of politicians is known for thuggery rather than statesmanship, this alliance was frowned upon by some, but that opposition has now abated and, just as Lieberman and Bennett became members of the Israeli cabinet, one may expect that these thugs will do so as well.
On how many fronts can we fight?
The Zionist project has enormous advantages over the struggle for justice and freedom in Palestine. It has the experience of over a century of advocacy and fundraising, and it has the entire apparatus of the State of Israel behind it. With its military and intelligence services and finances, it is an operation that is able to operate on many fronts, many more in fact than are mentioned here. The struggle for justice in Palestine has no state apparatus behind it, no military, finance or intelligence service to support it; and nevertheless, if Palestine is to be free, it must maintain a vigilant presence on all fronts and, if possible, initiate new ones.
Top Photo | A Tunisian protester hold a key, a symbol of support for Palestinians right to return, at a demonstration against the Arab Summit, in downtown Tunis, Tunisia, March 31, 2019. Hussein Malla | AP
Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”