[NetBehaviour] Thoughts on Israel/Palestine

Ruth Catlow ruthcatlow at gmail.com
Fri Nov 10 16:42:31 CET 2023


Dear Alan,

This post really helped me with a number of things...

It helped me recognise how paralysed I have been by the combination of 2
aspects of events in Israel/Palestine 1. the catastrophic violence and 2.
political propaganda.

The violence perpetrated by states, armies, militias etc on civilians is
horrifying and grotesque.
Political propaganda is equally so.

In the UK we have a home secretary who describes the London marches calling
for a ceasefire as "hate marches". Her message is carried and amplified by
ALL the mainstream British Newspapers - serious and tabloids alike - apart
from the Guardian and the Independent. So for the last week, our newsagents
have displayed wall-to-wall headlines that are designed to spread
misinformation and stir up fear and contempt along racial lines by
recasting peace protesters as dangerous, hateful, anti-British, antisemitic
extremists...part of a lefty conspiracy.

The harm that these kinds of tactics do to both Muslim and Jewish
communities here is well understood.
<https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/antisemitic-islamophobic-offences-soar-london-after-israel-attacks-2023-10-20/>
It
seems she is finally being sanctioned by her own Tory party but the damage
to people's sense of safety is immeasurable.


Your post also reminded me of the importance of constant work for imagining
and enacting routes to peace and justice from all quarters. No matter what
happens, we can be sure that if we stop talking to each other, trying to
understand what is happening, making our voices heard through all channels;
if we give up trying, there is really no hope. Therefore I was
supergrateful for your research into all the different peace strategies and
tactics that you have come across on these lines.

You asked if art, music and discussion on lists help at a time like this.
For me, the answer is a resounding YES!

Love and respect
Ruth

On Mon, Nov 6, 2023 at 8:48 AM Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

>
> (apologies for so much posting recently, cutting back)
>
>
> Thoughts on Israel/Palestine
>
> 0. Like everyone else, I've been ruminating more or less in
>     despair at the situation in Israel/Palestine. Until my mother
>     died, she was active in the Hadassah women's organization,
>     and made many trips to the Mid-East and Europe, working on
>     peace processes; I have many of her documents and some of her
>     talks here. In any case, thinking about the situation,
>     however naive I might be -
>
> 1. A two-state solution is absolutely necessary; nations need
>     self-governance all the way around. There's no reason that
>     the West Bank and Gaza cannot be united through physical and
>     eletronic internetworking that would be able to respond
>     quickly to crisis.
>
> 2. Israel must pull out of Gaza; what started as defense and
>     retribution has turned into a massacre on the order of
>     Dresden or the Warsaw ghetto. Beyond the politics there's an
>     outdated issue of saving face which is increasingly deadly.
>
> 3. I believe that Israel still has nuclear weapons, and these
>     should be off the table completely. A war of any sort in
>     these small areas can escalate into annihilation: to the
>     limit as I once wrote.
>
> 4. The hospital systems of Gaza and Israel should connect and
>     the wounded of all parties should be able to receive
>     immediate treatment.
>
> 5. Talks should begin on all of this, sidelining Netanyahu and
>     Hamas; there should be no room for absolutism.
>
> 6. Jerusalem, in parts, should be an international city; there
>     are a number of religions which are somewhat central there,
>     and there should be no competition. It would be governed both
>     as the capital of Israel and an important religious and
>     political center for Arabs, Christians, and Jews.
>
> 7. I would keep in relation to 6, the ultra-orthodox out of all
>     of this; their reasoning tends towards catastrophe, and, like
>     Netanyahu, they have no interest in anything other, I think,
>     than total annihilation of the Arabs. The same would hold for
>     any other religion as well. I'd argue for the UN to control
>     the temple mount, wailing wall, etc.
>
> 8. A great deal of all of this should center on the Jordan River
>     which has been known for a long time to be in a contention
>     that's damaging to everyone - instead there should be an
>     international agency composed of all the countries involved,
>     to find the best way to employ the water for agriculture and
>     so forth. Likewise Israeli desalinization plants should be
>     open to all. Articles I've read have indicated that this
>     might well be sustainable.
>
> 9. Cross-cultural education should be offered to all and perhaps
>     made mandatory; there are too many misrecognitions among
>     peoples that are resulting in the growths of hatreds.
>     Face-to-face peaceful encounters should be instituted;
>     there's already much too much false information online on
>     both side to result in anything other than a sense of
>     absolute warfare and enemies.
>
> 10. In terms of #2, the pull-out should be an immediate priority
>      and Israeli hospitals and other institutions should be open
>      to receiving the wounded. In other words, there must be
>      immediate steps taken, above all, to at least hint of a
>      periphery of reconciliation and cooperation; the land-mass
>      is too rugged, too alienating itself for anyone to prosper
>      without cooperation.
>
> 11. Obviously there should be term limits on Israeli leaders;
>      Netanyahu, who of course is corrupt, is going the way of all
>      strong-men, caressing the state, consolidating power,
>      ensuring his continuous re-election, and working with a
>      vengeful and underlying militarism that affects everything.
>      The fact that he listens to no one but himself in this
>      catastrophe - which he is now both creating and continuing -
>      indicates he has no desire for a peace process. I'm reminded
>      of Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us" - and this is
>      absolutely true in this situation, with perhaps the worst
>      collateral damage the world has seen since World War II;
>      again Dresden comes to mind.
>
> 12. There should be any number of "temporary" withdrawals on the
>      Israeli side, to see if Hamas could be contained or even
>      become part of the peace process. In other words, in order
>      to give peace a chance, you need a space for peace, a space
>      that would, at least for the moment, refuse recrimination in
>      the interests of the families and cultural institutions
>      caught up in the middle of all of this. (Remember John and
>      Yoko's bed.)
>
> 13. I wonder if lessons might not be derived from Hiroshima in
>      particular, a cultural backing-away, finding other paths to
>      process what is happening and what has happened. I remember
>      the long tradition of the Jewish Left in America, saw it
>      work out, at least for a while, in New York city, and
>      whether one might draw on that as well. We're on the brink
>      of inconceivable horror, even worse than the current
>      carpet-bombing and violent moving of populations from one
>      place to another, what I called at one point "annihilation:
>      to the limit." We live in a universal shtetl.
>
> 14. Finally, I'd even think of Thomas Merton, Liberation
>      Theology, the world's calling for peace over and over again,
>      so many protests, so much pain distributed everywhere, and
>      see if it would be possible to at least begin the peace
>      process. I cannot imagine what it must be like living in
>      Gaza with continuous bombing, etc. - no sleep, no clean
>      clothes, no shelter, and always in a resulting state of
>      inconceivable anxiety and danger, sleeplessness and lack of
>      medication, nowhere to go, constant contradictory orders,
>      and people dying or wounded everywhere around you - in other
>      words a phenomenological environment of pain, fear,
>      exhaustion, hunger, illness. That should be absolutely
>      paramount.
>
> 15. I know of course what I'm writing is a fiction, has no
>      ultimate meaning in terms of performativity; it's something
>      I've been thinking about for a lot time, way before August.
>      A final note, the simplest thing - everyone involved should
>      be talking, however where and when, with everyone involved.
>      And more than anything, this should be within a safe space
>      for listening as well.
>
> - Alan
>
>
> __
>
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>


-- 
Ruth Catlow
she/her
Co-director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab
+44 (0) 77370 02879

Mastodon: @Ruth at assemblag.es

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in
advance

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