Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Saturday Night Live from Sheikh Jarrah


Readers of this blog have been informed of the weekly protests in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem/Al-Quds against the eviction of Arab residents from their homes. These evictions – with the imprimatur of the "leftist, activist" Israeli High Court -- demonstrate the immorality and hypocrisy of the Israeli Jewish occupation of Jerusalem – where Jews are allowed to reclaim pre-1948 houses but Palestinians are not. The purpose of these settlements is to Judaize all of Jerusalem and to herd Palestinians into ghettoes – and, of course, to ensure that Jerusalem is cut off from the Palestinian West Bank.

These are dark times. There is no peace process, thank God: the peace process is a scam, a stalling tactic that Israel and the Palestinian Authority used to maintain the status quo. Hillary stands up and make jokes about gefilte fish while people suffer in Palestine. Why George Mitchell hasn't quit yet is a mystery to me.

"Peace, peace, and there is no peace." No, now is not the time for peace. It is the time for protest, for demonstrations, for boycott, divestment and sanctions, for delegitimizing the very regime that fosters such injustice in my name.

And let's not forget about prayer.

There are so many things to do, even for ineffectual academics like yours truly. But why go to demonstrations? Years ago, after my umpteenth Peace Now demonstration, I swore off demonstrations. I still hate those things. I hate the crowds; I feel sorry for the police; and where does it get you? But then the next demonstration rolls around, and I say to myself, I won't be there?

So come to the demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah. Forget Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv. And when you come, say hello to the old white guy with the scruffy beard (no, not Uri Avnery), wearing a cap.


Anonymous said...

The Sheikh Jarrah blog:

Didi Remez said...


Great post.

BTW -- The gender separated buses demo is on the 13th.

See you Saturday.



Devir said...

Great post, Jerry ! I sent it to our web site ( mppm-palestina, Portuguese Movement on Palestine and for Peace in the Middle-East), so the other members can be more aware of what's going on in Sheik Jarrah.
By the way, in Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, it ended yesterday the first public international session of the Russel Tribunal on Palestine
( named after the Bertrand Russel Tribunal for Crimes in Viet Nam, in the seventies ). The Tribunal is based in Brussels, Belgium. ( see ). The session gathered renowned personalities ( politics, culture, etc ). It was brodcasted in real time in the Internet and I followed it for as much as I could.
One detail: to become a member of the RT on Palestine ( according to their statutes ) you cannot " suport any form of racism, including anti-semitism"...

Anonymous said...

To the Old White Guy...

just wanted to say THIS old (non Jewish) white guy thinks you are one fine human being.

Y. Ben-David said...

Fellow "liberal Zionist progressive" Bernard Avishai was posting on these demonstrations when they first began. He supports them (I think he was even one of the organizers) because he admitted he, like you IIRC, lives on stolen Arab property, and so he, in the name of justice, wants the Jews thrown out of Shimon HaTzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) so that he can keep his stolen Arab house in west Jerusalem. He did admit that he would have liked to see Israeli flags at the demonstration so that it would look like a "Zionist cause", but he admitted that almost all the flags were red anarchist-Communist flags. Phil Weiss also reported the same thing during his demonstration-tourism visit to Israel a few weeks ago.
I see some press photos on the Israeli newspapers sites tonight and all the flags I see are red, as well.

What is your observation of the political make-up of the crowd?
What would the crowd think of Bernie's reasons for coming to the demonstration? If it is indeed true that the crowd is largely anarchists/Communists, (just like in the Bilin anti-wall demonstrations) how do you expect to get any political response to the protests, since it represents only a tiny fringe of Israeli public opinion?

Anonymous said...

I saw Uri Avnery, but I didn't see you amongst the crowd. But then again, there were quite a few old white blokes with caps ;)

Jerry Haber said...

Y. Ben David,

My first impression when I got there was, "Omigod, I have entered a time warp and gone back to the old Peace Now demonstrations." Lots of people in their late fifties and sixties hugging each other. Some religious folks from Oz ve-Shalom, Netivot Shalom, like Moshe Halbertal, Tzvi Mazeh, Yehiel Grenimann were there. But then closer to the stage were young leftwing activists farther to the left than their parents, and Palestinians. Unlike a Peace Now demonstration, nobody was telling the lefties like Gush Shalom (I saw one older guy with the t-shirt) to hide their signs.

The organizers clearly wanted a left of Kadima coalition, from Meretz and to the left. But the generational divide between the Old Left and the New Left was palpable. The tone was officially two-state, but peace wasn't a term heard too much, and one-staters also spoke. The speeches were very different from the normal Peace Now speeches. But Naomi Hazan was there.

As for influence -- I think this will have little influence on the mainstream Israeli political sphere. This was not a political protest, this was an activist protest. And I think they are playing to the activist audience. We are witnessing a transformation of the struggle from Peace to Justice.

You will have to tell me if a similar generational divide exists on the right.

As I wrote in this post, I hate demonstrations. I went because I felt I had to go, but I can't say that I felt uplifted by it. Let's say that I liked the tone, which was peaceful, and remarkably restrained -- at least when I was there.