Sunday, 15 April 2012 07:07 Doc Jazz.Com
By Tariq Shadid – The struggle for Palestinian rights has always been operating under tremendous pressure. The Zionist war machine has never ceased its expansionist drift ever since it forced its illegal roots into Palestinian soil in the beginning of the 20th century, and has never changed its modus operandi. It has always paired ruthless military aggression, ethnic cleansing and land theft with a narrative built on misleading euphemisms such as ‘progress’, ‘civilization’, ‘democracy’, ‘security’ and ‘peace’. Never was there a time in the history of the Zionist state when murder and expansion committed in military uniforms was not explained as ‘self defense’ against ‘terrorism’, by those smartly clad in expensive suits with matching shirts and ties.
It may be true that dedicated pro-Palestine activists are on to this, and infallibly see through this well-rehearsed charade. Nevertheless, a more insidious front in the war of minds has always been running in the background, that many of them are not always immune to. For the sake of explanation, I shall call it the ‘strategy of futile dialogue’, and the effects of this Zionist tactic should not too easily be dismissed as irrelevant. After all, public speakers, politicians and activists are prone to succumbing to the confusing effect of that front. They are the ones who help shape public perception of the conflict, which in turn has an effect upon policy-makers all the way up to the echelons of national governments and the United Nations.
Intellectualization of the issue
Discussions about the ‘tragedy of two peoples fighting over the same land’ sometimes make for good business, and some of the celebrated ‘peace-pundits’ are so well aware of this that they are actually able to make a living off it as writers, speakers and debaters. The Zionist state pours a large amount of energy and effort into keeping this up, and it should not be surprising to anyone that it is the Zionists who benefit the most from this ‘intellectualization’ of the issue.
Not surprising at all, if you try to analyze who would benefit the most from leading the issue away from an existential injustice perpetrated by a powerful military and political apparatus against a defenseless population, towards a fake representation of the issue as a tragic ‘conflict’ between two peace-loving peoples. Once this essential distortion of reality has been established as the starting point of the discussion, the strategy of futile dialogue is in full swing, and the scenario for endless discussions, lectures and dialogues has been set.
An insightful analogy
If illustrating this is too abstract in the way described above, then let’s make a clear and easily comprehensible analogy that will help clear things up. Suppose a family home is invaded by another family, and that they have thrown the majority of the family members out in the street, and kept a few family members locked in one of the smaller bedrooms. They have taken all necessary steps to prevent the return of the ousted family members to their home, while keeping full control over how much food and water the remaining ones will get.
In the above situation, it is absolutely clear that the authorities must intervene, or that at the very least, the original owners of the home must be supported in their struggle to reclaim what is theirs. Is there any benefit in a discussion? Indeed there is – for the invaders. For them, anything that distracts from the illegitimacy of the invasion of this home and the ouster of the resident family, is by definition an advantage. If these discussions manage to focus the issue on anything different from these core issues, something has been gained, and it actually becomes less relevant to them whether this discussion is ‘won’ or not – as long as it is waged, the advantage still holds. A Zionist favorite in this context, is the slogan: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”
Futile dialogue as a form of warfare
In fact, Zionists have developed this method of verbal warfare and taken it to such a high level, that it culminated into one of their most important colonization strategies towards the end of the 20th century. In fact, it formed the essence of their motivation of entering into the Oslo accords. They used the illusion of endless discussions (which they presented as ‘negotiations’) about possible ‘solutions’ to confiscate thousands of acres of Palestinian land, build a network of Jewish-settler-only roads, and triple the settler population by expanding the existing illegal colonies into entire cities. Could I ask for a stronger illustration of the point I am trying to get across?
How many debates and seminars with both sides represented did you attend before the Oslo era? Did you notice how widespread they became during it? Have we seen any result from these countless and endless debates? Yes, unfortunately we have: more Palestinian land stolen, more Palestinian olive orchards uprooted, more Palestinians ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem, and all the other devastating effects that you can see today if you make a trip to the area known as the ‘West Bank’.
Countering the strategy
In many activist venues, I have always been trying to propagate a way of defusing this Zionist tactic, which actually works if it is implemented. I simplified it in a useful axiom that I have said and written in many places, but never before in an article: never talk to a Zionist, but always talk about Zionism to others.
I am well aware that in many cases this advice will fall on deaf ears – people, after all, love to talk – but I believe that those who do not see the value of it have misunderstood the analogy of the invading family described above. Do you really believe that the cause of the ousted and dispossessed family will benefit from a verbal discourse with people who maintain – against all common sense and fair play – that ousting the legal residents of a home is a perfectly legitimate thing to do? Read the analogy again, and think. Once you realize that the one who benefits most from endless discussions about non-core issues can only be the invading party, you may reconsider how you spend your energy.
We must free ourselves from the shackles of forced dialogue. We must focus our energy and efforts upon engaging the world community about the decades-long unabated injustices that our people have been subjected to – undefended, unprotected, and in the majority of cases even unheard. Thousands of Zionists worldwide are literally being funded by the Israeli government to engage in social media propaganda, and your energy is best spent on making sure that the lies they are spreading across the globe are countered by a narrative that is historically correct, and presents the issue in a just and proper way. Naturally, you don’t achieve this by engaging in confusing discussions with them, but by explaining the Palestinian narrative to audiences who are interested in hearing the Palestinian side of things.
There are exceptions to the rule. When you have a large audience watching, it may definitely be useful to expose the Zionist in front of them, by pulling the discussion towards the core issues of the injustice of invasion and ethnic cleansing, the two very mechanisms that brought the state into being. The one thing you must avoid at all costs, is to allow the discussion to be pulled away from these issues. If you manage to achieve this, you will have successfully defused the strategy of futile dialogue – but don’t waste your time on it unless you have a sizable audience (like national TV or radio) that may benefit from the eye-opening effect. It is unwise to assume that Twitter, Facebook or other social media can be considered to fall into this category, because of the fact that the debate will by definition only be followed by a select group of people.
‘Progressive’ and ‘leftist’ Zionists
Also, there is absolutely no need to allow ‘progressive Zionists’ (people who defend the state of ‘Israel’ and wish to give it a more moral face by propagating that they wish to grant the Palestinians some of their rights) to lead this discourse. The Palestinian narrative can be told perfectly well by Palestinians themselves, as well as by those from the international community who have thoroughly studied its tenets and are able to convey it correctly. Allowing ‘progressive Zionists’ or ‘leftist Zionists’ to portray themselves as spokespersons for Palestinian rights only plays into the hands of the Zionist goal of intellectualization of the issue.
It must have been painful for those who used to be admiring fans of Normal Finkelstein to suddenly have seen their hero – in his own words – ‘switch’ hats from a critic of Israel to a diplomat who wants to resolve the conflict’, and in a recent interview which can be seen on Youtube, position himself firmly against the BDS-movement. Such is the nature of those ‘champions for Palestinian rights’ who are motivated to a large extent by their desire to protect the Zionist state: when push comes to shove, at some point, they are bound to step in to defend the illegal colonialist state from those who are seeking to dismantle its racist essence.
Never talk to a Zionist: always talk about Zionism to others
The counter-strategy to defuse futile dialogue can be summed up as follows:
- avoid dialogue, debate or discussion with representatives of Zionism;
- make an exception for situations where you have a chance to expose Zionism in front of a sizable audience;
- if you enter in a debate on national TV or radio, keep the focus on core issues;
- minimize the creation of venues for so-called ‘progressive Zionists’;
- focus your activist group’s strategy on empowering Palestinian voices such as writers and speakers.
The Palestinian struggle has always operated under tremendous pressure, and one of the simplest ways to relieve some of this pressure is by stepping away from granting Zionism the undeserved discussion it wants. We have no need for these discussions: we are the people who must pour our energy into the liberation of Palestine from the chains of Zionist racism, when everyone else seems to be busy focusing on different issues. We are the people who have a world community to engage, and to make them aware of the monstrous injustice of decades of ongoing Nakba. History, international law and sense of justice support our cause. We have nothing to fear when we tell our story, and we must continue to tell it everywhere we can.
Truth does not matter for “Israel”. Buttons Do. To mute.