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Palestinian Professor Calls For Deradicalization — Both Friends of Israel and Palestinians

By Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi

To Be Pro-Peace, Pro-Moderation, And Pro-Reconciliation Means To Be Pro-Israel And Pro-Palestine

I do not agree with BDS for its targeting all Jews, all Israelis and the idea of an independent Israel; we need to revive the peace camp among Israelis. Similarly, I do not agree with those who provide blind, unconditional support to either the Israeli government or the Palestinian government, right or wrong. I oppose those who deny self-determination, statehood, and human rights for Palestinians; and I oppose those who deny the historical connection of Jews to the land of Palestine and those who refuse to acknowledge the rights of Jews to nationhood. I believe to be pro-peace, pro-moderation, and pro-reconciliation means to be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. There is no contradiction between these goals. In fact, they are mutually reinforcing.

I read about some prominent, wealthy Jewish-Americans who raised millions of dollars for the worthy goal of fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments on US university campuses. However, I regretted that the specific activities they propose are, at their core, based on confrontation. They apparently include having students spy on other students and responding to those who criticize Israel viciously with equally vicious and critical messages. Sadly, in news reports of the plan to counter BDS on campus, there is no mention of interfaith dialogue, deradicalization, moderation, reconciliation or peacemaking; I hope this was just misreporting. To paraphrase the famous saying, fighting an eye for an eye eventually leaves us all blind. We must devote ourselves to being constructive, not destructive.

Just as it is important for Palestinians to seek peace to reject the incitement and hate of extremists in our midst, it is essential for friends of Israel to distance themselves from the extremists in their midst who call Palestinians sub-human, who say there is no place for them in their historic home in Palestine, or who give ideological or religious backing to attacks on them. Anti-Semitism is wrong and evil under all circumstances; still, I believe the battle against anti-Semitism on Western university campuses and even around the world will not be won until friends of Israel distance themselves from those racist remarks and the individuals who say them. The message is: “You do not speak for me when you say racist remarks.” This is exactly my position against radical Islamists in distancing myself from them and calling for moderation and balance. This is what Wasatia hopes to achieve – to project a human face with a heart of flesh.

Professor Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi
Weston Fellow, Washington Institute on Near East Policy
Founder, Wasatia Movement – Palestine
Director, Wasatia Graduate Academic Institute

Wasatia, a new moderate Islamic initiative was launched in Palestine in March 2007. The term literally means center or between two odds but is used in the Holy Quran to mean justice, moderation, mid-ground, and balance. Wasatia is the first Islamic movement to advocate achieving peace and prosperity through the promotion of a culture of moderation that would lead to walking away from the current climate of religious and political extremism that is escalating fear and violence. Wasatia argues liberal democratic values of equity, tolerance, pluralism, freedom of expression, the rule of law, and respect for civil and human rights have comparable Islamic values. Wasatia focuses on building itself as a people’s movement, undertaking voluntary work, providing positive educational opportunities for youth, creating new jobs and economic opportunities. Learn more about the Wasatia movement here.

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