Monday, May 17, 2010

Dueling Images of the Palestinians

If you read the Huffington Post long enough, you will find that among those who advocate for the Palestinians, they usually work to build an image. Building an image is something that all advocates do, and pro-Israel ones aren’t any different. The trouble of course is that images never live up to reality, especially in a complex situation like that in the Middle East.

What I find amusing is that when most extreme Palestinian advocates push their images of the conflict, they often end up contradicting themselves. If you look at pretty much any thread where the discussion get heated, you will find them. Here we go:

Image #1: The Palestinians are a victim of a genocide! Israel wants them either dead or kicked out of their homes. Therefore, they need guns, suicide bombers and rockets to protect themselves against the murderous Israelis. You can’t expect the Palestinians to end the terrorism until Israel withdraws, as the terror groups are all that stands between Israel and millions of dead Palestinians. Here is an example:


Israel uses such tactics to get away with murder, exploitation and land grabbing of Palestinian land. Always under extreme pressure the Palestinian people lose and lose again as long as the US supports the slow but effective genocidal policies of Israel.

Image #2: The Palestinians aren’t fighting to keep themselves alive. Instead, they are fighting for their “rights,” which usually include ending the occupation and letting the refugees “return” to Israel. The Palestinians are no longer defending themselves but are instead employing “resistance groups” or “freedom fighters.” The anti-Zionists claim that their opponents, when they have been mistreated as the Palestinians have, would use violence too. They also end this by claiming, “No justice, no peace.” Here is an example:


Pals lost this battle but their children will remember and grow up to fight for their own freedom. No matter what! Pals want their freedom a any cost!

Now I’m not sure I need to explain the contradiction here but I will anyway: If the Palestinians really are victims of a genocide than they would be more than willing to give up all kinds of things just to keep themselves alive. The right of return? Gone! East Jerusalem? Take it! Half the West Bank? Sure, you can have three quarters! Just stop killing us!

But of course that isn’t what is happening. The Palestinians have their red lines that they are not willing to give up, and have shown their willingness to return to violence if they don’t get it. This indicates that they are not defending themselves nor “resisting occupation” either, as the occupation can be ended through peaceful means. The smart anti-Zionists avoid using image #1 altogether, or when they do they only use it sparingly.

Oh, and the Palestinian advocates aren’t the only ones to claim that the Palestinians are victims of a genocide. Mustafa Barghouti not-so-subtly hinted that the Israelis were acting like Nazis in that story about him the other day. Which of course is ironic, because no one does more to undermine image #1 than the Palestinians themselves. Every time they work away from the negotiating table or whip their people up into violence they make the claim that they are “defending themselves” a little harder to believe. It’s a tough situation for a Palestinian advocate to be in. I’m glad I’m not in it.

1 comment:

  1. Totally!

    And it's also frustrating when they pick and choose their own distorted history (which also contradicts itself) to support their "image of the week"