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October 10, 2011 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Being a Terrori… PALESTINIAN and the importance of denouncing racial stereotypes

Two weeks ago, the article ‘Blame the Jews’ written by the self-proclaimed ‘Hawk of Liberty’ ruined my Tuesday.

Were Students for Palestine being simultaneously derided as self-righteous-social-justice-pricks and Hamas-terrorist-sympathisers? Yes, and in the kind of paradoxical label combination that would have the likes of Glenn Beck and his ilk frothing in neo-con[sensus].

Ultimately, the most troubling aspect was that the article’s substance itself articulated little about the dangers of racial stereotyping. In fact, it undermined its own basic premise about the rise of anti-Semitism due to the overwhelming presence of an Anti-Arab/ Islamophobic discourse, which is equally as vile as anti-Semitism. They both dehumanise and justify annihilation. I’m specifically referring to the underlying implicit suggestions that the majority Palestinians are ubiquitous terrorists and are racially predisposed to corruption. How can we honestly take a condemnation of racism as sincere if it is propped up with a barrage of racist notions?

Acclaimed Jewish and Israeli scholars/ writers such as Norman Finkelstein, Avi Shlaim and Antony Loewenstein (who SFP hosted at a speaker event in 2010) have argued that increasingly, the term anti-Semitism is sometimes being misappropriated to silence criticism of Israeli policy and its treatment of Palestinians. Although Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, it is by no means a reflection of a monolithic Jewish people globally all in agreement about its policies and conduct, and it should not claim to be so. People who wish to criticise Israel on the basis of its brutal treatment of Palestinians should be free to do just that.

In reality, it is evident sometimes that deep-seated anti-Semitism and Islamophobia masquerade as ‘political’ opinion in relation to Israel-Palestine, when in effect, they are nothing more than bigotry. I have seen examples of both of these on campus. Anti-Semitic scribbling in sharpie over the top of anonymously posted Islamophobic posters is symptomatic of this. It was probably the work of one or two independent individuals, but about as helpful for each respective cause as smashing oneself in the face with a brick.
Now then round up, 2011 has been a busy year, especially as we held a solidarity fortnight in August which kicked off with an extremely successful SRC where around 100 students filled a room and passed a motion to affiliate Vic with ‘The Right to Education’ Campaign at BirZeit University in the West Bank, stressing that education is a universal right. We also hosted Dr Nigel Parsons, lecturer of Middle East Politics at Massey University, who presented his own fascinating research on the current situation in the region. We then co-hosted the UNRECOGNISED art exhibition with the creative Concerned Citizens collective to raise awareness of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.

I’m unashamedly Palestinian, and for me this action is about wanting my cousins to have the kind of futures where siege and occupation do not define their existences. However, other members of SFP are not Palestinians: they are simply people who see it as a worthwhile human cause regardless of their religious or racial proximity. Herein lies the reason why all over the world there are thousands of parallel university groups just like ours working to change the terms of the debate regarding Israel-Palestine. We maintain that there is only one line of division on this subject, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not a line of division between Muslims and Jews. Nor is it a line of division between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a line of division between those who stand for the equality of all, and those who stand for the supremacy of some.

No, the people of Palestine certainly don’t deserve basic rights and freedoms any more than any other group, but they certainly don’t deserve them any less either.


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  1. Adam says:

    The advertising for SFP takes up a bit too much space that should’ve been given over to refuting more of The Hawk of Liberty’s inflammatory and incredibly Islamophobic article but thank god someone wrote a reply article. God knows what the Hawk was thinking but he came across as such a butthurt conservative asshole slinging logical fallacies like they were on sale at Bunnings Warehouse.

  2. Avi says:

    this piece of writing is not even in the same league as the drooling, racist polemic it is responding to. this represents a clear and reasonable framing of the debate, and a beautifully articulated, intelligent exposition of what the plight of the Palestinians can mean to concerned people all over the world

  3. Big Bird says:

    Hi, My name is Big Bird and I am a muppet sent by my winged brethren the Hawk of Liberty to discuss with you this issue on your own intellectual level. And it’s certainly clear that I must since his insightful, objective and thought-provoking article has garnered the tired, sad and pathetic response, as always, from you clowns, that because somebody dares to defend Israel’s right to exist, he is a racist and an Islamophobe. The Bird also goggles at the irony of left-wing anti-semites claiming that anti-semite is a term for silencing critics of Israel whilst using the terms ‘racist’ and ‘islamophobe’ to do the exact same thing to my feathered friend. This article made absolutely no attempt to address any of the issues that the Hawk raised and merely sought to slander his personal qualities. It was hysterical, defensive piece that added nothing to discourse whatsoever.

    If this is the best that Mana has to offer, then us ‘right-wing, neo-con, racist, islamorealist bastards of pure evil may rest assured that our evil plan is still on track to work.

    Now let’s all sing ‘I love you, you love me, we’re one happy family’.

  4. Electrum Greenstone says:

    Nadia >> Bustards of Buffoonery=Timorous Tinamous of Timaru

  5. Adam says:

    1. Cut the fucking ornithology aliases, the joke ran out of steam two weeks ago.

    2. He is not being called an Islamophobe because he bravely defends Israel’s right to exist, he’s being called an Islamophobe because the article is strewn with insinuations that Islamic states are inherently violent and corrupt (the glib reference to Pakistan’s Islamic leanings as if that’s an indication of how dangerous they are, the insinuations that if you support Palestinian statehood you must therefore support Hamas’ human rights abuses because they are somehow one and the same). I mean, hell, you just smugly called yourself an “Islamorealist”, as if thinking that Islam is an inherently evil religion is correct and something to be proud of.

    3. It’s perfectly fine to defend the existence of an Israeli state and it is by no means inconsistent with the existence of an Israeli state to suggest that a Palestinian state should also exist and not be subjected to gross human rights abuses from Israeli forces. This doesn’t automatically mean that the person saying it is an Anti-Semitic left-wing nutjob who thinks Hamas’ attacks on Israeli soil or Hamas’ own human rights abuses within its own territory are fine and dandy (they aren’t and they’re not, respectively). Hawk’s article was built on the flawed premise that Israel would be “destroyed” if they conceded any land that they occupied in and after 1967 (with mutually-agreed land exchanges), but the only grounds for this was “grrr, violent Islamic people.” There was literally no reasonable justification for this stance and paying lip service to Palestinian concerns with “maybe both sides have valid claims” was superficial as hell given the rest of the article is Hawk saying “but they’re evil and violent and corrupt aaaaaaaagh”.

    If anyone isn’t adding anything to the discourse, it’s you and all your friends making up bird names and spitting out ad hominems like Chamillionaire spits rhymes (badly). Calling people whose entire premise against a Palestinian state is that “Palestinians are evil and corrupt” a) falsely equates the ruling party with the people it rules and b) is actually pretty racist. Saying that perhaps it would put a stop to violence and human rights abuses on both sides by creating a Palestinian state and moving back to the 1967 borders with mutually-agreed land exchanges is not anti-Semitic, not crazy and in fact a pretty rational and favoured approach by Israeli academics and international figures alike.

    But of course you’ll find it a lot easier to just interpret this as me saying that Israel should be destroyed in a major bombing campaign by all Islamic powers so why don’t you go ahead and write that vitriolic little reply you’ve waited five paragraphs to justify.

  6. Adam says:

    That was for BIG BIRD, btw. God I hate these aliases, get a clue and use your first name.

  7. Nadia Abu-Shanab says:

    Your right Adam in that there was a lot more to be deconstructed about the original article. You kinda just nailed a whole lot of them above, sweet.

    I just had to pick one aspect, which’s inevitably a mare when you’re dealing with an article that can be falsified on every level , I didn’t even get started on the pseudo-facts littered within, because I think everyone is growing a little disillusioned with people spatting over numbers. It’s just straight up distracting. It’s a bit like all the homage paid to the word ‘neutrality’ in this kind of debate, it suggests this is some kind of dispute between equal parties when it so patently just isn’t.

    The power asymmetry is incomparable, on the one hand you have one of the most militarily capable states in the world, the only power in the region with nuclear capability and placated by unwavering relentless political support and military aid from the world’s dominant power. On the other you have a stateless and unrecognised indigenous population whose rights always come secondary, if at all, to that of the Jewish population. We need to be talking about equality for all.
    I didn’t want my 600 words to be the tearing down of the presence of these winged anonymous pro-Israelis, cause to be honest it would have been giving them just the kind of interaction they languish in; negative, perpetual, petty, divisive and ultimately a big fat alienator to anyone who might be remotely interested in learning more.

    Hells yeah I wanted to rep what we’ve been up to, we’ve done some cool shit this year and it warrants a mention amongst all the counter-claims. Plus I’m really proud of the team and really just wanted to say big respect to my colleagues. We’re called ‘Students for Palestine’ not ‘Students against pro-Israeli propaganda’.

    We’re out there trying to do constructive & creative things to get people engaged. There are people out there trying to reduce us to a little negative entity that exists only in binary opposition to them (whoever the hell they are, it’s not like we know because they can seem to graduate beyond online pseudonyms). But god knows I don’t get out of bed in the morning to spat with birds who are hating. To me, the article had to say something else beyond a rebuttal to really be worthwhile. And the thing I really wanted to get across was why we do what we do, it’s most definitely not because we are terrorists/ fanatical Israel haters. I do it cause I love my people, my family and the cause and I really think Palestinians and our realities and struggles deserve to get heard, not silenced in a shitstorm.

    and ‘BIG BIRD’ let’s be real on this, it wouldn’t matter WHAT I said, we are never ever going to agree OR have ‘discourse’ because my very existence as a Palestinian (especially one who doesn’t fit into your tiny little existing paradigms as a bearded Hamas celebrant- cause a) I’m not an AK-47 wielding Muslim, not even a Muslim at all and b) I detest Hamas and Abbas) who talks on these issues is always gunna piss you off. Get used to it. We’re in 2011 and most kiwis aren’t swallowing War on Terror koolaid no more. Unfortunately while Palestinians are still fighting for the same rights Israelis enjoy, right here in NZ me and you have the same rights to speak out as equals. Not a concept you’re used to, or a fan of, but no less one you’re going to have to accept…

  8. Alpha says:

    To be honest I didn’t see any Islamophobia in the article this is a response to. All the Hawk really said is that the SFP and other such groups have a strange attitude of supporting Palestine unquestionably. He acknowledged Israel’s failings, and implored you to do the same for Palestine.

    This ‘response’ didn’t address any of that, and I nearly stopped at the first (of several) ad hominems.

    Where is the ‘Students for Constructive Dialogue on the Israel-Palestine Conflict’? All the Hawk asked for was a step back.

  9. Adam O.S says:

    “The problem with this “nationalist” Palestinian movement is the complete lack of people interested in actually running a nation, let alone capable of doing so.” – Hawk of Liberty, “Blame the Jews”

    So that’s not islamophobia? How about racist, conceited, reeking of partisanship, ill-informed and a raging generalisation to boot. How you can have a “nationalist” movement with a “lack of people interested in running a nation” is also by definition impossible.

    This response by Nadia is woven with integrity and honesty – she won this the second it was published. There has been clear dialogue in Nadia’s article and the subsequant posts – despite the fact there was little of real substance to engage with.

    The Hawk had his chance to really make a case and stand up for his cause, but he’s blown it with the way he’s come across as a vile, bigoted baffoon (precisely what he was out to condemn). Really I feel sorry for the people who share his views, if I were them I’d be embarassed to be associated with his article.

  10. Alpha says:

    That quote you used is not at all Islamophobic, or racist etc, because it is not made on the basis of the Palestinians’ race or religion. Hawk didn’t say that they are uncapable of running a nation ‘because they’re Muslims and Muslins can’t run a country’. You nay have read that into that statement, but it’s not there. Frankly your comments only further illustrate your bias. And you final comment again resorted to ad hominem.

    I don’t defend Israel, but I’m not willing to grant Pakestine an easy ride just because it is ‘up against’ a state I do not support. Once you understand that, you may appreciate something of Hawk’s statements.

    Calling him racist is silly, and only proves to me how clearly both sides of this debate neglect to critically evaluate the other’s arguments.

  11. Alpha says:


  12. Adam says:

    What do you think he’s saying then, Alpha? Why else would he say no-one in Palestine who supports the “‘nationalist’ Palestinian movement” could be “capable” of running a country? Why else would he mention the largely Islamic culture of Pakistan as if it were a negative indicating instability? Why else would Israel be “destroyed” if they so much as made some concessions on the borders they currently illegitimately enjoy? Because his article’s noticeably free of actual analysis of why Israel would not survive peace negotiations and full of ad hominem attacks and insinuations that everyone in Palestine is incompetent and corrupt.

  13. Adam O.S says:

    So saying that the entirety of the Palestininan nation is not “capable” or “willing” to run there own nation is not racist. How much more do we need to spell this out? A hand bag full of blind kittens would have been able to descern the connotations and tacit premises present in this article.

    As far as the ad hominems go, hawk lost any ability to pull the “let’s sit down and have a rational discussion” the second he penned the article. I wish he actually had presented his views in a way that could’ve been engaged with – it would’ve been interesting . I don’t condemn this article for defending Israel, I condemn it for being written by a twat.

    Sure he has the freedom to say what he wants, but I also have the freedom to call him a wanker for saying it.

  14. EA says:

    Great article Nadia. A composed, honest piece just stating the facts and nothing more. Wish I was around for some of the events!

  15. The Hawk of Liberty says:

    Oh, guts. I’ve been waiting for two weeks to read this response from Nadia and while I applaud the attempt to take moral high ground, it only did not fulfil one of my predictions for its content (the Israel = rogue colonialist state rubbish that you post on FB). Props to Adam as well for managing to circle jerk over an article that he, himself helped to write. Well anyways, you have somewhat ‘humoured’ me by your inability to challenge my objective and truthful content. To be honest I believe Nadia has written a good article here, but it is not representative of what I have witnessed at various students for Palestine events. If you guys were so interested in human rights, then why did you not attend the Iranian ambassadors talk on how great it was for woman and homosexuals living under Sharia in Iran? Just seems a little inconsistent, that’s all.

    Adam, terms like “Racist” and “Islamophobic” are not thrown round to further a debate, but are the final draw card of defeat used by saw losers who have nothing left but to slander the other person. To close them down (poorly). This sort of talk also says a lot more about the person throwing the terms about, than the person they are aimed at. You have only been able to draw straw man arguments to attempt to ‘defend’ your position and you have attempted to put words in my mouth in order to draw conclusions that do not exist – such is the way you people think. For someone who seems to consider himself a non twat, cultured and critically thinking individual who thinks there should be monopoly of opinion on this issue, your definitely as scummy as it comes. You proclaim to be such a ‘non anti-Semite’ and if this was truly the case, I would have never heard you refer to Israel as some type of ‘apartheid’ and ‘illegitimate’ state. You talk about ad-hominems all the time, yet the only counter claims I have heard from your potty boy mouth are of such quality, and still there has been no challenge from anyone to the objective facts in my article.

    Nowhere in my piece of found anywhere in my vast bank of neo[con]sensus opinion (btw, I am not conservative), have I insinuated that all Palestinians are terrorists- but of course people like Adam with one tracked thinking naturally jump to such conclusions. I want the Palestinians to lead happy and free lives too you know, I want peace also. I happily condemn the Israeli’s procurement of water, demolitions of Palestinian homes, expanding settlements, excessive force on the Maruyama or whatever it was called, holding people without trial and all other things that people under threat may do that are morally questionable. I think Palestine should have its own state, but not under Hamas, and not under rule of the PA. Abbas openly says that “no Jew will be allowed in a Palestinian state” [now that’s apartheid, your condemnation here please ->… no?]. These terrorist factions (not the public, but the shockingly elected leaders) have done more harm for the country than good [none]. Now that you want to raise this issue I do think that enough are hot for Jihad to create an amazing support network of Jew hatred [is this the kind of comment you were looking for?]. Nadia has never shown any respect for the issues faced by Israeli’s. The views of Nadia and Adam have been made clear many times [hating Israel] as they openly call Israel an “illegitimate” state, a “rogue colonialist”, an “apartheid state” or just open outburst or rage along the lines of “fuck Netanyahu”. We can all see here a confirmation of how these people behave and throw their toys out of the cradle in response to those who disagree – you student political activist loosers. The latest revolution in anti-Semitism has been the movement to take all things that the Israeli’s have suffered from – that society as a whole does not like such as Fascism, apartheid, Nazism etc, then turn around and claim that these things are representative of Israel. If this is not anti-Semitism, what is?

    Here is a history lesson. To call Israel a ‘rogue, colonial state’ (which you do say and believe), is a weak anti-western slur commonly used by those who wish to impose their world view on you. Not only is this view unsupported by objective, historical fact; this view attempts to impose hereditary guilt on young members of the free world who have yet to have their say. In 1948, the ‘colonial’ British confiscated as many weapons from the Israelis as possible as they departed. This was despite the open and explicit threats from Israel’s neighbours. The Israelis were unable to purchase weapons for protection from Western (or Eastern) states, who did not wish to upset the oil rich Arab nations. Britain, in its ‘colonial’ tendencies, not only trained and supplied the Arab Legion with modern tanks and warplanes, but officers of the British trained and led the legion into battle against Israel, ethnically cleansing the resident Jewish populations in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. That’s right, Israel defended itself from genocidal slaughter from its aggressive, Jew hating neighbours who had the help of… wait for it, the ‘colonialists’.

    Is Israel occupying Palestine?

    Generic, thinly veiled anti-Semitism. Ask yourself why this ‘occupation’ began. It began because of another disastrous war brought against Israel as its neighbours sought its destruction, a war which Israel won. After three consecutive military defeats and multiple public relations disasters, the Palestinians finally realised that it was better to engage in the battle of western public opinion – the results of which are all too obvious. When you have two negotiating parties, and one party wishes to destroy the other; the onus falls on the more passive state to make concessions for peace. The Palestinian leadership’s logic follows that with enough concession of land, they will recognise Israel’s right to exist. Reasonable…? I have 6500 Katusha missiles that would disagree. As you quite rightly said, you are not students for human rights in the middle east, or students against Zionist propaganda, but Students for Palestine… but that’s bipartisan right?

    You keep saying that Palestine is ‘unrecognised’ 60 years on, this would not be the case if they had simply ‘recognised Israel’. Palestine has had the opportunity for statehood on four or so occasions, and on each one they were too greedy to allow a Jewish state to exist [I think that’s what you might call anti-Semitism?, if I were to throw terms around as loosely as adam does: racist, islamophobic, colonialist, imperialist etc…. this is a despicable form of argument, but I got thick skin so just keep throwing derogatory lingo! :D]

    We know a 1 state solution won’t work so well because there are real issues to do with historical dislike for Jewish people. This leaves us with a 2 state solution. The 1967 border plan is someone shady. It would leave Israel unable to defend itself, being only 4 miles wide at its thinnest point. This would mean that if an aggressive aeroplane were to fly over the Jordan river, Israel would have 2 minutes to respond in kind… It is beyond me how both Obama and Abbas think they could explain how anyone could recognise a plan that both Palestinian leaders and the Arab states had rejected. After World War 1, there was plenty of room for both a Jewish a Palestinian state. The mandate for Palestine was as large as Syria or approximately half the size of Iraq today, as it included the land that is today known as Jordan. The balfore declaration made clear that a Jewish state be supported while nothing be done that would prejudice the civil religious rights of the current non-jewish communities. Open immigration, freedom of speech, religion and assembly were encouraged for the Arabs of Palestine; rights they had sorely missed under Turkish (Ottoman) rule, who never distinguished the Palestinians of having any national identity. The Palestinians then used their new found freedom of speech to being demanding a stop to Jewish immigration.

    In the words of Aref Dajani (a Palestinian leader) “It is impossible to live with the Jews. In all the countries where they are at present they are NOT wanted because they always arrive to suck the blood out of everybody, If the Arab nations do not listen to the Arabs, this country will become a river of blood”. Jews became regularly terrorised, as a horrific Jihad was held against the Jews. The Nebi Musa riot was the first in a long line of conflicts that spread 90 years, to reverse the Balfore declaration. The British then limited the area of Jewish immigration to the lane west of the Jordan river the area we know today as Israel + Palestine. The land to the East was to be for the residing Arab populations (or what Palestine should be). The peel commission divided up the land so that the Jews / Zionists would have 20% of the land we know as Israel + Palestine today and the Arabs would have 80%. This was fine by the Jews yet unacceptable to the Arabs who pressed on with armed revolt against the mandate. After World War 2 the British ceded control to the UN, who drafted up a new plan for the region, which would have seen the land divided almost equally. The Jews / Israeli’s made public their support for the partition but the Arab leaders made clear that any division would be met with rivers of blood. After the UN vote the newly formed 20 member Arab Liberation Army sent elements of the military forces from Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon invaded the nascent Jewish state on May 15th 1948. Arab League secretary general Abdul Raman Azab said “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the crusades”. Despite overwhelming numbers and heated rhetoric, the incipient Jewish state held their own and their territory expanded by almost 40%. It was the Palestinian Arabs, not the Arab Legion states who were the big losers. Their leaders REJECTED a partition plan that would have given them independence and instead they ended up with nothing and 650,000 Palestinians became refuges. The Jordanian leader then sent his forces to occupy the west bank and added it to his kingdom, Egypt took Gaza and both denied Palestinian citizens ANY civil rights for the next 18 years. Throughout this time there were never any calls of ‘occupation’, ‘oppression’ or armed revolts. It never even occurred to the leaders of Jordan or Egypt to create a home for the ‘homeless’ Palestinians, nor did NEW Palestinian leaders like the evil Yassir Arafat protest this ‘occupation’ by the oppressive Arab nations. 3 times in the past decade the Israelis have offered the Palestinians an independent state far more generous than anything Jordan and Egypt allowed when they controlled the West Bank and Gaza. In 2000, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak agreed to the borders suggested by Clinton that would have mandated a West Bank + Gaza Palestinian state that would have given the Palestinians an East Jerusalem capital. The Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat walked out of negotiations, turned his back, went home, and sent rockets from Palestine into Israel or as the anti-semites love to refer to as a ‘second intifada’. The Palestinians initiated a brutal 3 year campaign against the Jews which included suicide bombings in weddings halls, pizza parlours and other various public spaces (when was the last time some Jews did this to a Palestinian family?). In 2005, Ariel Sharon made it clear that it was “against Israels security interests” to govern the roughly 1 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip. He dismantled all Israeli settlements and moved all Israeli forces back across the 1967 borders without ANY land swaps. As an added bonus the Palestinians were left behind a thriving flower export industry to get their new economy a jump start. The Palestinians responded to this generosity by burning down all the green houses and sent thousands of rockets and missles into civilian parts of Israel. Then in 2008 Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with a proposed Palestinian state that included close to 100% of the land in the West Bank and Gaza prior to the 1967 war. Olmert also offered to divide Jerusalem to allow the Palestinians to locate their capitol in the eastern half of the city. Abbas left with blueprints and never returned to the negotiating table. This was the last time the two parties negotiated. But I suppose Palestine is still just… “Unrecognised”… and all the fault is definitely on the side of the Israeli’s right?

    There is so much more to this narrative that you guys are not telling that it’s not even funny. What’s worse is you guys try to paint a picture of Israeli oppression (and yes I don’t want the Israelis there either and I don’t have a personal interest of bias in the region other than a humanitarian one) but perhaps if it became feasible for the Israeli’s to leave, they would do so.

    Don’t like my content? disagree? then come at me. Slander me u all you want, get all the friends you want to come comment here, but at the end of the day, slandering me will get you nowhere, and why do you think I’m not using my real name? To be honest, a beer with you Adam could yield interesting and more understanding results. And yes Adam, you have somewhat ‘humoured me’, I’m glad it was too hard to resist. I think its uncool that you guys refuse to accept criticism as though you don’t deserve any.

    I do actually like the comment Nadia posted above, it was well grounded, focused on the good things that you guys have been pushing for and I do not take exception to that sort of approach to your guys objectives. I have attended more than one of your guys events and was not very impressed by some of the things I heard. I think, in a democracy… that should be ok to voice my criticism, however as you put it quite correctly “I’m not used to being on equal terms” – re: the response I have received from you.

    “Great hatred, little room maimed us from the start” – William Butler Yates.

  16. The Eagle of Liberty says:

    Once again, the Hawk of Liberty has exposed the anti-semitism that infests the very core of Students for Palestine. Far from wanting a compromise, these radical activists want to see the destruction of Israel, all under the guise of non-violent action. Thank goodness for the Hawk injecting some truth into this debate.

  17. The Hawk of Liberty says:

    OMG grammar nazi’s forgive me. Too tired to spell properly or even use correct words, after reading my shit above. “Sore” not saw lol, and yes i missed a few quotation marks and spelled some of the Arabic names incorrectly re – Abdel Rahman Hassan Azzam (after checking because I figured I would have made this mistake). I think if you want to talk about Palestinian grievances, begin with Syria and Jordan who as I have stated, still hold Palestinians as 2nd class citizens and don’t even let them own land. I don’t mind you criticising Israel, but i refuse to accept rubbish like the apartheid rubbish you put forth at your events. If it was really apartheid there wold not be such an exodus of African Muslims seeking asylum in Israel from their oppressive, war torn nations and people would not be able to practice any religion and you would not have Arabs as Judges, politicians etc as you see. Arabs living in Israel prosper far more than in any other Middle Eastern state. This is in high contrast to Jews who are fleeing Europe and Middle eastern countries at record levels due to rising levels of – yes anti-Semitism. So please do not allow me to hear repeated calls of “apartheid” again.


  18. Adam says:

    Dear Hawk –

    1. I am not Adam O-S and, unlike him, I am not affiliated with SFP.

    2. It is such a shame that your original article had little substance, was filled with disdain for anyone who disagreed with you and littered with problematic insinuations about Islamic states was the one you ran with, because you actually acquitted yourself reasonably well just then. Sure, the insults thrown at those who hold a different opinion to you are still petty and childish and you’re also not telling the whole story – and that’s not even mentioning that your original article made no concessions as to Israel’s human rights abuses and problematic attitudes towards Palestine, instead painting Israel as angelic saviours sending 750,000 tonnes of aid to Palestine in 2009 – but hey, baby steps.

    3. I don’t believe Israel is a ‘rogue colonial state’ – that would be to deny the process by which its existence came about. It’s not controversial to say that the borders acquired post-1967 through settlement programs and such aren’t legitimate, though – that’s why there’s so much contention about them.

    4. I don’t condone any attitude not conducive to a peaceful two-state resolution. I don’t condone those quotes from Abbas, Dajani, Razab etc. and for good reason – but likewise, I don’t condone Golda Meir’s comment in 1969 that “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people” or Ehud Barak’s 2000 comment “If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force.” There’s an attitude problem on both sides and it’s disingenuous to suggest that Palestinians are the only ones holding up the peace process.

    5. Given that Israel is the only power with nuclear weapons in the Middle East and has far more advanced military capabilities than any of the powers that could conceivably invade it, I don’t think self-defence is a problem. As to whether the Arab states would accept it, you just said yourself that Abbas condones the 1967 borders solution – he is the Palestinian leader, it’s quite possible that the Palestinian position on it has changed to favour that solution.

    6. Yes, I think everyone here realises that there have been regrettable conflicts waged against the Israelis in the past and I highly doubt anyone supported them, but an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and it doesn’t justify Israel, who I assume want to look better than the states that once attacked them, driving Palestinians out of their homes and subjecting them to human rights abuses. Supporting an independent Palestinian state drawn on the 1967 borders does not automatically equate to legitimising the wars waged against the Israelis in the past and it’s a bit offensive to suggest that.

    7. As to the avenues towards peace you mention –

    Arafat rejected the 2000 plan because Israel annexed 25% (to be 10% within 25 years) of the West Bank under the plan (an annexation they did not plan to compensate) and only gave Palestinians administrative control over their holy sites and culturally-significant neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. Was it short-sighted to walk out? Yes – sovereignty over East Jerusalem could probably have been negotiated more effectively in the future if the peace plan had been signed, and Arafat shouldered most of the blame for the failure of the summit, with justification.

    In 2005, Sharon dismantled all the settlements in the Gaza Strip and only four of the settlements in the Northern West Bank – that’s hardly the “pre-1967 borders” but whatever – and Palestinians were generally in favour of the pullout ( The disorder shortly afterwards probably should’ve been expected, but hostilities didn’t break out again until the election of Hamas in January 2006, and I’ve spoken before about the issues with Hamas.

    We only have speculation about why Olmert’s peace plan wasn’t accepted, but given that there was still fighting in the Gaza Strip during that period and that Olmert was forced to stand down in July 2008 under a flurry of corruption charges, I wouldn’t have blamed Abbas for thinking that the likelihood of the plan being followed through with was low.

    8. In short, it’s great that you’re actually trying to engage with the issue even though you come across a smug asshole in the way you respond to people addressing your problematic approach to racial discourse. And yes, “in a democracy… [it] should be ok to voice my criticism,” but your criticism was less that and more a wholesale attack on anyone who didn’t think that Israel wasn’t a picture-perfect Middle Eastern state being bullied by those dastardly Palestinians. So maybe, next time, you should think about what you’re writing before you write it.

    9. Eagle – shut the hell up, the Hawk can fight his own battles without bloviating yes-men following him around.

  19. Josh says:

    It seems to me that the problem with groups like SFP is that the objective is somewhat predetermined. We’d all be better off with an open forum for debate about political and social issues of the Middle East, rather than a glut of relatively homogenous viewpoints (which stink a little of antisemitism). Objectivity is a myth (if you subscribe to phenomenology to any extent), so why not embrace the passion and personal bias (rather than dressing it up) and let the fireworks fly :)

  20. Nadia says:

    Look Hawk I wrote my article to make some important distinctions.

    Distinctions like the fact that contrary to your article SFP are not synonymous with Hamas or Islamism or the rise of Anti-Semitism.

    What is strange to me is that you yourself (through your intimate knowledge of me via facebook stalking and being a general creep) knew better than that.
    You knew that I/ we at SFP were about close to supporting Hamas as Charlie Sheen is to heading a feminist organisation.
    You knew full well that I’m neither a Muslim, nor a vehement Palestinian nationalist applauding Abbas.

    I also believe you KNEW your bogus claims of anti-Semitism held zero weight, otherwise I have no doubt in my mind you would have taken the effort to report them at a higher level.

    But yet you chose to use your limited 600 words in the salient to say just the opposite. Making no distinctions and presenting us and the Palestinian movement as a reductive monolith, incapable of anything but terrorism and corruption. Why would anyone do such a thing? The answer is obvious.

    Dealing with the true issues you have with SFP, like you have finally admitted in your latest post, is not as simplistic or as easy to dismiss. In fact, it required a whopping comment of 2, 417 words!

    Thing is before you’ve even got started you’ve kind of detracted from your own legitimacy with your own preparedness to distort things in full knowledge for your convenience.

    I think like you outlined above your real problem is that you find our criticism of Israel hypocritical and you dispute the use of the world like “occupation” and the drawing of parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

    Your real issue is that people like myself and my colleagues approach the Palestinian issue as a social justice cause, and call for equality. I truly believe it makes you uncomfortable that we do not speak in terror speak, its a language your much more comfortable refuting.

    All i know is that there is a marked difference in the way we approach things.

    I’m out there putting my name down and my stories and expressing the realities of my life and my family (because at the end of the day i can’t speak for everyone’s reality, but i can be honest about my own and why i do this. I won’t assume to even begin to understand yours like you did with mine). We’re organising events where people can critically engage and start their own processes of inquiry. We’re out there working as a team and a recognised VUWSA club. You’re hiding behind a pseudonym and spending your nights reading my previous status updates. You don’t even want to be accountable and put your name to your views. You deliberately write an article to salient knowingly misrepresenting us. You’re out there turning up to these events armed with nothing but reductive narratives and a sense of entitlement and superiority. If you want to make an accountable group and hold speaker events and fundraise for all the causes you illicit that i should be caring about, then please go ahead and be my guest.

    Me and you could spend the next week of our lives writing massive comments that recount our great knowledge of history, racism and the politics of the conflict. Because for everything you stated above there is a Palestinian reality. But this, right here, between us is going nowhere. And you know just as well as i do that it never will.

    I am never ever going to stop standing up for the rights of my people to live as equal citizens where they are the indigenous population. I don’t care if Israel is a democracy and Zionists cuddle black people for photo opportunities. The violence, oppression, mass displacement and illegal settlement of Palestinian land (by insane colonisers who believe god gave them the land) is a disgusting unjust reality. One you will try and cloud and distract from. But no less, a reality. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. I”m not propelled forward by jingoism or a hatred of jews or Israelis OR ANYONE for that matter.

    I think the norms are changing around Israel, and i think you and people who want things to stay as they are (in terms of Israeli priviliedge and exemption from international criticism) know it too. Its probably why so much of you’re energy goes into following what we do. I know this is contentious topic, and i know it is that way because people legitimately feel like their very identities (on both sides) are at stake on under threat. But believe me when i say it, just as the ending of apartheid was good for blacks, it was good for whites too. Just as the ending of Israeli oppression will be good for Palestinians it will be good for Israelis too.
    That’s all. Except a poem, seen as you ended with a lovely quote.
    Please refer to it for words i could not express better myself..

  21. Nadia says:

    Oh and Josh, i agree with you on the issue of objectivity being a pile of crap. But suggesting an open forum where we discuss the Middle East and let the ‘fireworks fly’ ? sounds totally counterproductive for everyone but a few onlookers with popcorn and a penchant for watching people engage in heated (but nonconstructive) debate. You say its impossible to be objective but then you talk about us hiding our bias.
    We’re not hiding behind any semantics or dressing anything up, it literally could not be any clearer, we are called ‘Students for Palestine’.
    When it comes to even mentioning equal rights for Palestinians, you consistently get hit with a barrage of criticism about “bias” “balance” and “neutrality”..
    Should we have emphasised the need for anti-apartheid activists and the civil rights movement to stop being biased towards blacks? No. Its ludicrous to even suggest it.
    I know how much the hawk & co hate me drawing such parallels (and i am aware they are not EXACT parallels) but i do believe the underlying oppressive methodology and justifications are the same. Its about saying that some people should have more rights than others and notions of exclusivity.

  22. bunyip of fever swamp says:

    shame hawk of liberty. more like dork of liberty

  23. Josh says:

    Nadia, I hope you didn’t assume I meant anything by the notion of fireworks – was merely a metaphor for spirited, grounded debate.

    It looks to me like you’ve given the Hawk EXACLTY what he wanted here, I believe it’s called feeding a troll, in the parlance of the internet. Normally not a big deal, but trolls don’t often come this well read.

    You can apply criticism to anything – that’s it’s power, and that’s what Universities encourage (at least those influenced by the French Enlightenment), but they rarely teach you when to put that tool away and bring the rest of your humanity to a problem. My point is simply that oppositional positions create more opposition. If we’re to believe the likes of photographer-turned-activist JR (link below), public sentiment on both sides amounts to simply wanting to move on, together:

  24. Electrum Greenstone says:

    Many of the above comments belong to the “tl;dr” category, but on the point of not “feeding the trolls”, let me remind everyone that there are those shady forces out there in the world who don’t want to see the Palestinian issue resolved, and these may not even be Israelis or Palestinians at all!

    Josh is probably right to note that “public sentiment on both sides amounts to simply wanting to move on”. Take heart.

  25. Hala says:

    Solidarity from SJP Auckland. Went to comment on the discussion, but Nadia has done a brilliant job. I’d like to refer Josh and Adam to some books. On Sucide Bombing by Talal Asad and Violence by Slavoj Zizek.

  26. EA says:

    Perhaps Norman Finkelstein says it best.

  27. Orion says:

    I would merely make the point that if the settlements mark Israel as an illegitimate state, then every nation from Morocco to Pakistan is also illegitimate, as they all had large Christian and Jewish populations that have been subjected to genocide. There is a reason Iraq and Libya are approaching 100% Islamic, and it is not because people have been convinced by the rightness of Allah and his Prophet, Mohammed. It is because Islam is a political doctrine more than it is a religion; there is no interaction with God in Islam, there is only the set of rules laid out by a man who raped, murdered and stole his way around the Arabian desert. These are facts. Islam doesn’t like facts – you cannot question anything inside an Islamic country, because to have any trace of doubt is to face the death penalty. Doubt it? Pakistan has the death penalty for denying that Allah is supreme. Christians have been put to death for insulting Mohammed.

    It is most certainly not Islamaphobic to contend that such horrors are inherent to Islam. Muslims are explicitly instructed to conquer the world, using any tactics that work. Is my beef with the Arabic people, or the Persians, or the Indonesians, or the Chechyans? No. If Arabs want peace, then the world will welcome them. But quite bluntly, they won’t for as long as they are under the control of Islamic dictatorships. Why should Israel pay for the Europe’s inability to face facts?

  28. The Hawk Of Liberty says:

    Bang on Orion. I am surprised these people resorted to identity politics so heavily in the form of dropping names of self hating Jews like Finkelstein and Louwenstein [acclaimed by who btw?] as though only somebody from such a demographic may find truth about it. Kind of goes against the title of the article right? “and the importance of denouncing racial stereotypes”, then having a bunch of weak argument based on identity. I was somewhat sucked in to arguing point by point here, but clearly even arguing fact is a complete waste of time here. I brought their bigotry and played them at their own game – and they got upset. Diddums. Basically we have a bunch of people of average intelligence that think they have been given license to go around condemning everyone that is of Jewish descent while ignoring all things convenient.

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