Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Irish Artist and Founder & Director of Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group Have Change of Heart re:Israel & Palestinians

Israel is a Refuge Under Siege- Nicky Larkin
I used to hate Israel. Not any more. Now I loathe Palestinian terrorists. After Israel's incursion into Gaza in December 2008 I applied for funding from the Irish Arts Council to make a film in Israel and Palestine and spent seven weeks in the area.
    Posters of martyrs followed us throughout the West Bank. They watched from lamp-posts and walls wherever we went. But the more I felt the martyrs watching me, the more confused I became. After all, the Palestinian mantra was one of "non-violent resistance." Yet when I interviewed Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian government member, she refused to condemn the actions of the suicide bombers. She was all aggression.
    Back in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2011, I began to listen more closely to the Israeli side. I remember one conversation in Shenkin Street - Tel Aviv's most fashionable quarter, where everybody looks as if they went to art college. I was outside a cafe interviewing a former soldier. He talked slowly about his time in Gaza. He spoke about Arab teenagers sent running towards the base he'd patrolled. Each strapped with a bomb and carrying a hand-held detonator.
    Conversations like this are normal in Tel Aviv. I began to experience the sense of isolation Israelis feel. An isolation that began in the ghettos of Europe and ended in Auschwitz. Israel is a refuge - but a refuge under siege, a refuge where rockets rain death from the skies. My film is called "Forty Shades of Grey." But only one side was wanted back in Dublin. My peers expected me to come back with an attack on Israel. No grey areas were acceptable.
    Why have Irish artists surrendered to group-think on Israel? I would urge every one of those 216 Irish artists who pledged to boycott the Israeli state to spend some time in Israel and Palestine. Maybe when you come home you will bin your PLO scarf. I did. (Independent-Ireland)

"Corrupt" Palestinian Leadership Slammed by Palestinian Activist- Alison Goldberg (South African Jewish Report)
    "There are no Palestinian leaders capable of conducting peace talks," says Bassam Eid, founder and director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
    He says the Palestinian leadership is corrupt and Palestinians are worse off under their administration after Oslo.
    Eid also castigated the Palestinian Solidarity Committees around the world for fomenting hatred between Palestinians and Jews that does not exist in Israel or in the territories.
    Eid is a former anti-Israel activist turned critic of the violation of Palestinian human rights by his own leaders. 


George Jochnowitz said...

It is both wonderful and amazing that there are people who are open minded and capable of understanding the problems Israel is facing. Unfortunately, most people simply jump on the bandwagon. Ionesco called this phenomenon "rhinoceritis" and wrote a play in which people turn into rhinoceroses because everybody is doing it.
As a result of rhinoceritis, Israel is the most hated country on earth. But the Irish artist and the Palestinian director of the human-rights group show that there is a spark of hope.

David Brumer said...

It's indeed refreshing to see reasonable people have changes of both heart and mind, responding to realities instead of defending ideologies. Would that more people would keep an open mind, and go to Israel and talk to ordinary Israelis. Sadly, this week in Seattle, a group of gays pressured the Seattle LGBT Commission to cancel a Friday reception for a delegation of gay Israeli leaders, citing Israel's human-rights record with the Palestinians.
How profoundly sad. They wouldn't even listen to this distinguished and courageous group of individuals, headed by Adir Steiner. He attended my synagogue, Beth Shalom yesterday, and spoke eloquently.
As Wider Bridge, a California-based gay Jewish organization that helped to arrange the delegation's visit put it,
"The truth is that Israel is a good place to be LGBT, and it is so because there are countless people within Israel doing amazing, courageous work every day ... saving lives, including the lives of young LGBTQ Palestinians who often have nowhere else to turn."
David Brumer