To Bear Witness

“When you go home, tell them we’re not terrorists.” – Palestinian man to our friend Alma

I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about Israel and Palestine, but of all the places we’ve visited, this one has gotten under my skin the most. What does it mean when…

Michelle Bachman says that if she becomes president, the US Embassy will move to Jerusalem? 
Newt Gringich says the Palestinians are an invented people?                      
– An art museum in Oakland, California cancels a show featuring artwork by Palestinian children?
– At $3 billion/year, Israel is usually the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid? (

It means the US is clearly pro-Israel and in our support of Israel, we have been very anti-Palestinian.

– Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem signifies that the US supports the military occupation of Palestine. Why? Because East Jerusalem belongs to Palestine, even though Israel is annexing the area, and Palestinians who don’t live in Jerusalem need hard-to-get permits just to visit.

– By laying claims that an entire group of people are invented, teach terrorism in school, and have a strong desire to destroy Jews, Newt’s fear mongering dehumanizes Palestinians and paves a dangerous path for the US to follow suite. Throughout history, when we’ve painted black and white pictures of extraordinarily complex situations, unthinkable atrocities have occurred at the hand of dehumanization. It’s terrifying to think that a popular US presidential candidate could so easily follow in these footsteps.

– The art museum canceled the show after being confronted by US Pro-Israel groups that protested the display of Palestinian children’s artwork, saying it promoted an anti-Israel political agenda. What don’t they want us to see?! In this case, it was artwork depicting Palestinian children’s responses to Israel’s December 2008-2009 military assault in the Gaza Strip. This assault killed 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children. When we shut down opportunities to hear the other side of the story, and even go so far as to SILENCE that story, we diminish our ability to seek the truth.

– Throughout the economic crisis back home, the US people have again and again been forced to cut social services and tighten their own belts as the government slims down the budget. However, $3 billion in aid (mainly military) continues to flow (unchallenged and free from cuts) to Israel every year. The US is so intertwined with Israel, and if we’re going to continue to fund her political agenda with our tax dollars, we have to ask ourselves, who are we hurting? What’s really going on here?

But we don’t have to choose one people over another. We can be pro-humanity. Throughout history Jews have time and again faced persecution. But in the name of atoning for those injustices, only more have been created. Why must Palestine pay the price?

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