Solidarity Activist to Palestinians: If only I could Point to a Clear Vision

“While ‘everybody’ these days is at the funeral of the two-state solution, isn’t it the right time for voices for a single Palestine to quit being so scattered, soft, and indirect?”

As a solidarity activist, not a Palestinian, I must keep asking myself, Solidarity with what? With a two-state solution? With the PA? Really? I can’t really feel any solidarity with that although I respect all Palestinians who are for it, who think it is the best possible deal. But I personally don’t feel capable of writing off three-fourths of the Palestinians and their rights, of omitting them as does the Oslo process Dr Yara Hawari writes about, as does that Zionist two-state solution.

Or: Solidarity with WHICH Palestinians, seeing as they disagree on such a fundamental thing as whether to give up on the 1948-occupied territories, or not? I must choose, for there is no consensus.

There mustn’t be a consensus, but I could make a much more convincing case to my fellow ‘Westerners’ if I could point to a vision — like ODS — advocated loud and clear by a large, organised group of Palestinians. With #BDS we can do this, we can point to the ongoing Palestinian Call for BDS. But the overall vision or goal? What is it? What is ‘the Palestinian cause’ one hears so much about from both Palestinians and in solidarity circles? Is it all rights for all Palestinians or just some of the rights for some of them?

I long for the day when a discernible majority of Palestinians can offer something clear and simple, as did the ANC in the fight for democracy and human rights in South Africa. And the only clear and simple thing I can think of that can really inspire because it does include all Palestinians, as Dr Hawari demands, is a re-unified, democratic Palestine. (This solution is even actually implied by BDS’s demands.) Yes, as Dr Hawari says Palestinian positions are ‘vulnerable’ now. But while ‘everybody’ these days is at the funeral of the two-state solution, isn’t it the right time for voices for a single Palestine to quit being so scattered, soft, and indirect?
What is the vision? Thank you. Free Palestine.

Omar Barghouti (letter, 25 April 2019) in The New York Times (Re “Anti-Zionists Deserve Free Speech” (column, April 16):

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Image: Omar Barghouti, center, is a top B.D.S. spokesman. [Rob Stothard/Getty Images]

B.D.S. does not endorse any political solution, but I have, personally, advocated consistently for a single democratic state with equality for all, after ending “Zionist colonization,” as the Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky described it in 1923.

An apartheid state legally and institutionally privileging the colonizers in historic Palestine defies international law, ethical principles and common sense.

As the philosopher Joseph Levine has written, “The very idea of a Jewish state [in Palestine] is undemocratic, a violation of the self-determination rights of its non-Jewish citizens, and therefore morally problematic.”

A true inclusive democracy, free from all colonial subjugation, discrimination and oppression, would enable Palestinian refugees to return and include Jewish Israelis as equal citizens and full partners in building a new shared society.

Diversity would be celebrated, and collective cultural and religious rights respected and protected. Coexistence would thus be ethical and sustainable.

Omar Barghouti
The writer is a co-founder of the B.D.S. movement for Palestinian rights.

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Activists protest ‘Shalom Gala Festival’ in Edinburgh

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Palestinian and righteously angry

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