Another Take on the Free Gaza Fiasco – updated. Also, ‘Fall out from the Fiasco’ below.
In light of current and past events leading up to the Gaza Freedom Fiasco, ‘we’ – whose ultimate goal is genuinely to achieve justice for Palestine – it is due time to ask ourselves some important questions. The question that all who are part of this ‘we’, should ask of all of our actions, words and activities is: are we strategically advancing our one common goal? If the answer is no, ‘we’ should drop everything and immediately attempt to rectify, or correct this contradiction.
It should be evident by now, that there is not one clear, monolithic movement with agreed upon values. It may follow then, to call into question – so how are we tied together, what exactly is it in all honesty we can expect others to be accountable to the rest? It’s not saying we should not be, and it’s not just a hypothetical question – what does it actually mean to be a solidarity activist? And most importantly, in the future, how can we avoid getting side-tracked by these public dramas, and still hold and be held accountable?
Also, what are the current mechanisms for resolving conflicts, that are sure to come up due to issues of representation, accountability – in a highly decentralized, independent, grassroots movement? Of course the need for any serious movement to condemn all forms of racism, sexism and every one of the countless phobias – are a huge challenge, that we must be better be prepared to deal with. Yet, since it’s impossible to control the words, actions and activities of anyone but ourselves, and needless to say capitalistic/totalitarian like solutions of dealing with those striving for justice – are highly problematic. So how can we best achieve this goal?
The main problem with the public trials, where evidence is presented and accusations are slung, is first that it inherently pits other activists against each other by forcing them to choose sides, many times between those they’ve worked for years. Perhaps more importantly, public pronouncements about each others character, are slanderous and will in no way sustain a growing global movement. That is, in short – it directly only feeds into typical divide and conquer, and the hands of the real enemy – zionism. For more on that, as well as the original Free Gaza Fisaco, see my post on the fallout from the fiasco. Perhaps there is no way to find redress in the current situation, maybe there is. However for the future, in order to change from the current old world order – to a new justice based model, it is imperative we start with ourselves – and be the change – beginning with all those, who are committed to achieving these ends.
To achieve justice, we must restore justice!
In the spirit of ending the cycle of divisiveness, future infighting and splits – let us make this movement not about people, but about principles. Principles can best be adhered to with agreed upon consensus – and ways of dealing with conflict, that do not repeat the injuries that have been done. This is called restorative justice*. If we in good faith, approach each experience as an opportunity to learn new ways of dealing with problems – we automatically revolutionize conflict and in doing so, put what we all want – Palestine first.
For example, in a Palestinian conflict resolution context, we might turn to an indigenous method for resolving conflict called: Sulha
. In this case, parties are brought together with a mediator respected by each side. They go through one of two types of procedures that involve those immediately effected by the conflict. Learning about this history may help us collectively create better ways to address conflict in the future.
Humanitarian aid ship Estelle was sieged by Israeli forces! Israel violates int’l law by arresting people in int’l waters & stealing humanitarian aid
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and I are working on a proposal to create a ‘Beit Convivencia’ – which is a communal living space with the purpose of bringing together a diverse network of justice based activists. This intentional community will be dedicated to human rights organizing in a multifaith, multicultural and intergenerational context and will be used to create art, share ideas and work together to build a common vision for the future based on principles of restorative justice.
Rabbi Lynn is currently in Toronto, participating in Annual General Meeting of Independent Jewish Voices. They are addressing the issues associated with solidarity with Palestinian resistance, where she will be presenting the work from her recent ‘Mural Arts in Palestine Delegation’, and on The Torah of Nonviolence as a source for solidarity. In her words “This will include those aspects of our tradition we need to put away and those we need to lift up for the sake of human rights. Spending so much time in the context of movement building gives me hope in the face of so much ongoing devastation.” In addition to her work with JVP, we will also discuss ways to move forward with these questions and more. Stay tuned for more updates!
In solidarity and respect for all those who tirelessly work for justice, and our beloved Palestine.
Thawra hata nasr & awda. Revolution until victory & return.
Noura & Rabbi Lynn
Restorative justice (also sometimes called reparative justice) is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, “to repair the harm they’ve done—by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service”. Restorative justice involves both victim and offender and focuses on their personal needs. In addition, it provides help for the offender in order to avoid future offences. It is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offence against an individual or community, rather than the state. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.
Fall out from the Flotilla Fiasco
In Activism & Culture on October 19, 2012 at 6:20 am
When individuals that are a part of any group take it upon themselves to make decisions, it is important to understand these actions will have far and wide reaching consequences for others, the fall out for which no one can predict. Clearly the damage has been done in this case. But for future incidents, that call for accountability, a more sane healthy process is not only necessary for good values, but also for our collective success. It seems fairly obvious that these attacks from the right wing, are only legitimatized through our own public (and private) denunciations of each other.
Here are just a few examples of the backlash that comes, when we throw each other to the wolves..
A few tweets I initially stumbled upon are case and point, why this whole thing is a complete disaster on every level:
#Israel‘s enemies laying into one another again. #antisemitism#freegaza
In article in this right wing blog, titled ‘Greta Berlin Fallout: A Must Read Post, by Bekah Wolf at Mondoweiss’, Harry concludes:
This movement is presently splitting: into the antisemites and those who oppose these specific instances of antisemitism. There’s also a large middle ground and hinterland. But the split itself is instructive. And they haven’t even begun to think about the incongruity of supporting, often overtly, the genocidal Hamas movement. http://bit.ly/QyjDIf
In the Jeruslaem Post: Will #FreeGaza implode due to #antiSemitism scandal? http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?ID=287371&R=R1 …
The growing assessments about the future of FGM suggest that the organization has experienced irreparable harm and is now viewed as a kind of left wing neo-Nazi group. The open questions are, will FGM’s supporters pull the plug on its fundraising streams and will additional FGM advisory board members–like the US linguist Noam Chomsky and Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem–resign from the FGM?
The focus of the right wing attack is not their usual smear of antisemetism, which no one besides their like, pays much mind too anyway since it’s so played out–as their main focus is in gloating about the internal divisions while stoking the flames of division..
I certainly do not feel comfortable being a part of a movement that publicly shames and brandishes people as outcasts, especially one’s that were long time committed allies (I’m speaking about a pattern). The way these cases are handled is downright immature and embarrassing. To slander someone’s name reflects extremely poorly, not only on the ones who issue it, but then on all of our collective image..AND most importantly it directly adversely impacts our work! The biggest victim in this latest fiasco was Anne Wright–of which the decision that was made by flotilla activists was ONLY legitimized by the initial/internal attack!
The following is a past example of the original Free Gaza Fiasco, and its split as it relates directly and indirectly, to the issue at hand. To those with intimate knowledge of the scandalous split between FGM and FPM, the irony should not be lost! My first recollection of this experience of activist fall out, was the slanderous desecration of the name of long-time, tireless, committed activist Paul Larudee. To those intimately knowledgeable of the whole affair, may remember the attacks that were made on him. I interviewed those from all sides’ for well over a month to try to get tot he bottom of the split, and see if there was any chance at reconciliation. It soon became clear that there was not -however it also became apparent that that the accusations that were made – happened to be, by the exact same parties in question now (need I say, what comes around goes around?). Although Paul’s was a much more of an internal PR campaign, at the time it was equally as damaging to his reputation..(of course he still thrives in his tireless work for Palestine) but as we have seen the fall-out also leads to others being indirectly hurt, as seen by Ann Wright. However, I would add that the damage that was sustained by the split of this once most powerful, unstoppable movement with limitless potential, was far more damaging, in its internal implications and unseen consequences.
By coincidence the split just so happen to take place following the savage attack on Gaza, and the vicious raid on the Mavi Marmara – at the exact moment when global sympathy was at its peak – which if proceeded with strategically, might have translated into what could have been key political momentum, and resulted in limitless support for this nonviolent movement.
These historical examples beg for us to learn from the lessons at hand. How ‘we’ chose to do so, will define who ‘we’ are as a movement – and very, very likely, our real chances of achieving our goals, or not.