May 3, 2017
Shelly Altman from Jewish Voices for Peace Talks Human Rights Abuses in Palestine
Having just this month bicycled the length of the West Bank in Palestine from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south, I feel no need to play “they say, I say” with the arguments put forth by the writers from the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council. Rather, I choose to honor the hundreds of enterprising, decent, welcoming folks I met and spoke with as we pedaled over sharp hills from town to town. They spoke of entire lives spent under military occupation and terror by Israel. Of homes and lives destroyed. Of people burned to death in their own home. I met the owner of a brewery struggling to conduct a viable business, but sabotaged by Israeli diversion of water from her town to illegal settlements; of product going bad while waiting to go to port through a commercial checkpoint closed for long periods and unjustifiable reasons. How can you brew beer without water? In spite of it all, they dance debka, they play the oud, they write poetry, they welcome strangers, Jewish strangers, into their homes.
The “conflict” is not a conflict, and it is not complex.
It is a massive violent presence by a military significantly funded by our own American tax dollars, and a ceaseless and courageous resistance to that presence by a civilian population. The nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement arose 12 years ago from this resistance and will continue until the abuses end. When the human rights abuses end, BDS will end. Omar Barghouti made this very clear in his talk at Yale recently. He can’t wait for it to end. He looks forward to fulfilling the other passions in his life: philosophy and choreography. We honor Omar for his dedication to the struggle for human rights, and look forward to dancing with him when, not if, that struggle succeeds.
Chairman of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven
copied from the New Haven Register--
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