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How Brutalities of Occupation May Reinforce our Zionism

By Ralph Seliger

I first heard and saw Lisa Goldman, a Canadian-Israeli writer and left political activist, on a panel at a J Street conference.  She is both brilliant and acerbic, albeit generally too strident for my taste. Her XMas gift to us this year is another sharp and anguishing article about the occupation, “Nabi Saleh is Where I Lost My Zionism.”

It centers upon the recent case of a 16-year old girl, Ahed Tamimi, a member of a long-suffering family in their West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, who slapped an Israeli soldier. This incident has captured the attention of the Israeli media, but mainly with the self-congratulations of the soldier and of the army for his restraint in not responding violently against the girl. Lost from the media is the villagers loss of access to their main source of fresh water, because of its seizure by settlers protected by soldiers who have killed and injured villagers aggrieved by this act of theft.

Goldman concludes that this has finally made her stop being a Zionist. My comment at the site of her 972 Mag piece (with variations on Twitter and Facebook) challenges, not her facts, but her conclusion:

Thanks for showing us what the occupation looks like. Yet shouldn’t these inhumane and brutal facts on the ground reinforce your Zionism — on the urgent need for a two-state solution? Think of it this way: should the fact that some Palestinians have murdered over 1,000 children and other Israeli civilians indiscriminately since 2000 invalidate their aspirations for self-determination in a country of their own? Brutality on both sides makes it more difficult for them to reconcile with a reasonable agreement, but it should strengthen our resolve to see it through — to put an end to this bloodshed and inhumanity.


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