Kashmir - Journey to Freedom

A Word on GAZA

By Udi Aloni
[trans.: Camilla Butchins]
Speech at the fundraising concert for the children of Gaza, Levontine 7, Tel Aviv, 23.1.09

I wish to thank the wonderful organizers of this fundraising event for the children of Gaza, for inviting me to say a few words about charity and justice.

Nearly always in fundraising events there is an impossible combination of kindness, patronage, erasure of sins, and mostly, keeping the deprived ones behind the walls, walls within which we build our own comfortable lives.

We are gathered here today at Levontine 7, a small number of Israelis, to collect a small amount of funds for the children who have been harmed by the crimes of occupation committed by the State of Israel and the nation residing within. This is why it is so important for us to clarify: We did not come here to clear your conscience, and we did not come here to clear ours either. We are here to draw a line between us and those who are supporting this terrible war. We are here to create a magnetic core of truth, out of which we can be active as a minority fighting for justice and equality.

Time does not allow us to give a comprehensive explanation of how the ideology of the occupation and the West employs us, the naive human rights fighters, as an aesthetic mask to fortify the endless oppression of the oppressed. A mask which is supposed to illuminate the West in the prestigious, phony halo of enlightenment.

Kashmir - Journey to Freedom, Udi Aloni

As we speak, our country is celebrating. It is celebrating the victory of the violent and long term oppression of the natives of this land. Our state, Israel, is acting as if it would like to wake up one morning without Palestinians present in our world. And what rage does this country and its residents feel when they wake up every morning to the gaze of the Palestinian who refuse to disappear from their life, as if , saying “I do not have to be your nightmare, Israel, I can also be the reality of a new dawn.”

Therefore, today, as we contribute to those wounded in Gaza, our uncompromising position is as such:

Since Israel has planted in Gaza seeds of destruction, violence and terrible death, incarcerating the Palestinians within a huge detention camp without the possibility of hiding or escaping.

Since there was an attempt by the right wing parties in the Israeli Parliament to deprive Palestinian citizens of Israel their basic, democratic rights of representation, and that attempt received Parliamentarian support of 90% of the Jewish representatives in the Knesset;

Since the expedition to rob Palestinian lands in order to pass them on to Jews, on an ethnic basis only, is at the height of its cruel blossom;

Since the segmentation of the West Bank by walls of separation is at its peak, between Jews and Palestinians and between the Palestinians themselves.

Since united Jerusalem is being meticulously conducted as a racist city.

And since the Palestinians have been forcefully divided between four separate cantons: Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - Cantons in which they are unable to practice their full rights, not to mention their basic rights, not as a nation, not as individuals;

We have no choice but to strike out:

1. The structure of ethnocratic, racist thought, engraved in the minds of most of the Jewish residents of our country, must be pulled out from the root. This structure is based on the conception of a “Jewish Democratic” State.

2. We must show unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian nation as it is our only way to keep our Jewish identity, our humanity and our people. We are not here today to atone for the injustices of our country. As of today, until further notice, there is no atonement.

3. Despite the fact, and because, we believe in non-violent objection, we will always be on the side of the weak, of those oppressed by occupation. And we will always, but always, blame the occupier, first and foremost, for violence, and only then, from this position, will we have the right to criticize the violence of the resistance movement. Let us not be confused by the aesthetics of violence: the occupier’s violence will always seem cleaner. That is the difference between those who eat clean meat without the blood of the cruel meat industry, and those who slaughter the cow with their own hands.

We therefore hold out our hands:

Join us, not only in giving charity but in the struggle for justice.
It’s not always easy, it’s sometimes painful. One can lose audience and friendships on the way,
But in the long term, rest assured, you may be granted the grace of God.
You may even be granted a pleasure you never dared to envision:
To live together, Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, and all the genders within,
a life of freedom and equality.

Inshallah. Amen.