Soapbox (described on Facebook as Russia state-controlled media) is circulating a video of veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy lecturing against the Zionist occupation of the West Bank.
In the first few frames Levy says:
“Palestine must be demilitarized.” Sorry, why should Palestine be demilitarized? Don’t they [Palestinians] have their right to self-defense?
Levy is here defending Palestinians’ right to armed resistance against the occupation (immediately following these words, we are shown action images, first of a stone-throwing Palestinian and then of Israeli soldiers in riot gear); he is saying, though he doesn’t use these words, that Palestinians have a right to security, a right to self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza.
There is one crucial fact that puts a wrench in Levy’s rhetorical argument: Israel has yet to acknowledge it is occupying the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Israel has long argued that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population in the territory it occupies”) doesn’t apply to Jewish colonies in the West Bank, because … there is no occupation. (Check out: Myth: Israel’s Supreme Court Thinks the West Bank is Occupied)
In truth, all of Palestine, and not just the remnant of “Palestine” Levy refers to, must be demilitarized from the river to the sea and decolonized as well. See: Infographic — Vanishing Palestine: The making of Israel’s occupation (Historic Palestine continues to be wiped off the map as Israel maintains policies implemented in 1948 and 1967).
Complicity with the Israeli state through discourse such as Gideon Levy’s is sometimes difficult to unpack. But one must ask, not only who Levy is speaking to, but also who he is benefiting when he shares such knowledge about the Israeli oppression of Palestinians within a framework of utterly false equivalencies between the oppressor and the oppressed?
It is incomprehensible and pathetic that veteran journalists like Gideon Levy, when defending Palestinian human rights, must still address their fellow Israeli Jews and Zionist Jews abroad in neoliberal and neocolonial terms around the misleading concept of “conflict.” It goes to show how persistently Israeli citizens are willing accomplices in Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
Levy is, in the words of a friend, gradually opening the eyes of Jews who have been indoctrinated in Zionism to the fact that they’ve been lied to all along:
Ordinary Jews have been sold a bill of goods by Zionist ideologues. It’s our task to open their eyes. Israeli reality is horrible. But Zionists’ continued success in blinding ordinary Jews’ eyes to that reality is the key to the Zionists’ political strength in the US and Canada. It’s up to us to educate them.
Gideon Levy’s defense is impassioned and admirable, but it does not go far enough, focusing as he does only on part of Israel’s Big Lie. Much of what Levy is doing is reiterating the Palestinian version of events but diluting it to make it palatable, and that’s what I am objecting to here. I am bemoaning the astounding reality that, decades after the Nakba, the facts around Palestine still do not speak for themselves and need to be doctored with a spoonful of sugar.“Palestine Must be Demilitarized”. According to Israel, there is no “Occupation” of The West Bank and Gaza