Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm back

Hello readers. I've finally found time to blog again. Anyway, I found this video at Jewschool. It shows a Jewish Jerusalemite, an Arab Jaffan (Yafo/Yaffa, not Jiffa), and a Jewish Tel-Avivan speak about their perception of history, their narrative. In less than 5 minutes it shows you the conflict of two narratives, and the humanity behind it. This video was created by Amy Rubin.

From the Jewschool post:

In her introduction to the video she writes, ” Trying to achieve peace in Israel without addressing the past is akin to trying to find a cure for cancer by treating the symptoms without ever considering why the cancer developed in the first place.”

I can only add that I believe that we (Jews, Arabs and everyone else in this world) have very slim chances of moving ahead if we can’t take a clear, honest look at history.

A commenter that goes by the name 'Firouz' left a long comment so I'm going to put only some of it here:

I must say, in all these years, I have never experienced a Palestinian empathize with the Jewish experience in the levant. The classic case of “acceptable empathy” is often with regards to the Holocaust, where Palestinians feel they can empathize with the Jews without undermining their essentially political agenda. In fact, this Holocaust empathy is often turned around on the Jews - we empathize with you about the Holocaust in Europe, now you should empathize with us about the Holocaust in Gaza.

But to exhibit a real understanding, much less empathy, for the situation in which the Yishuv found itself in the early part of the 20th century and leading to 1948… I have never seen a Palestinian do so. Indeed, thinking about it now, I’ve never experienced a Palestinian question the actions of their community leading up to Israel’s birth, besides bemoaning that Arab disunity meant it could not be aborted.

I am left to understand that such considerations would be anathema for “the other”, and this makes me question what purpose such an exercise in history serves, when the empathy of one, becomes a weapon for another.

I think Rubin's and Firouz's persepctive both have merit. But Firouz is right that these exchanges of narratives don't go far enough. How constructive are these? They soften us and prepares us for the "divorce" but how much impact do they have on Palestinian society? I know of a few programs that brings together Israeli and Palestinian youth but they are always in small numbers.

This video was also posted on Huffington Post and someone left this comment:
Beyond debate:There was about equal exchange of Jews and Arabs between Muslims world and Israel.

Beyond debate: Israel absorbed the entire stream of the Jewish refugees.

Beyond debate: Muslim world keeps Palestinian Arab refugees in deplorable conditions and deny them basic human rights.
Primary Reason: Even great-grandchildren of Palestinian immigrants must be kept indigent and without hope so as not to reward Israel.
It is important to remember that forces that led to this conflict are regional, not just between two people fighting over one piece of land.

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