This summer I spent two weeks in Israel and Palestine, mostly in the West Bank. The group I traveled with, Interfaith Peace Builders, met with people from all sides of the conflict there, and had first-hand experience of the way people are treating each other. It left me somewhat radicalized, but not necessarily in the ways you might imagine. I didn’t end up more “pro-Palestinian,” or more “pro-Israeli.” In fact, I came to the conclusion that those terms are outdated.
What I am, if we have to put a label on it, is anti-occupation. I think the occupation is damaging everyone involved, Israelis as well as Palestinians. It is the nature of oppression that it oppresses everyone, even the oppressors, and this oppression must end, for the good of all.
This is a short video of the Shministim, who are young Israelis refusing to serve in the Israeli military on grounds of conscience. They are going to jail because of it. Below the video is an online petition that you can sign if you feel so moved.
Gandhi said that he believed in the goodness of the British people and wanted to show them their own injustice, believing that when injustice is sufficiently exposed, people stand up against it. In retrospect, he was right. I believe in the goodness of the Israeli people as well, and in fact, many do stand against the occupation, as I do.
Shalom and Salaam,