It’s hard for me to demonstrate next to people who say “This is not the time to raise the Occupation”
The day that those who fight for democracy realise that there is no resurrection for any democracy without democracy for all, we will be there. ■ Democracy for everyone, or for no one.
By Hanin Majadli • (Translated by Sol Salbe)
Jews say to me: Who do you think this legal upheaval will hurt the most? Us? It’s Obvious that those who would hurt the most will be the minorities. And when they say “minorities” they don’t mean redheads, but Arabs. And I know that any deterioration in the situation — even the worst — will mainly affect Palestinians who are citizens of Israel and Palestinians who are subjects of the Israeli Occupation.
Nevertheless, I find myself perplexed by what is happening. For some reason I find it difficult to articulate my feelings and my opinion regarding the legal coup d’état, or rather the regime coup d’état. This is not indifference, nor is it some sort of radicalism. It seems to me that this is mainly desperation and distrust, which I feel are shared by most of the Arab citizens in the state.
That’s why even the patronising sermon we hear from all sides over and over again — “This is not the time to indulge, soon you won’t even be able to say ‘Occupation’, or work on Haaretz” — fails to change my physical state. It’s hard for me to bring myself to stand in a demonstration next to 130 thousand people who say “this is not the time to raise the Occupation”. People, any time is the proper time to raise the Occupation. Do I want to help such people save democracy? Can I stand in solidarity with people who sing For My Country has Changed its Face while they are waving a flag that symbolises a personal disaster for me?
I am told that there were people at the demonstration who waved the Palestinian flag and there were signs against the Occupation. True, there were several hundred such protesters, but they were reprimanded and their signs and flags were broken. “This is not the time for this flag,” they were told. Well, if in the largest demonstration of democracy that has been seen here for years, isn’t the right time to raise the flag of those who need it the most — do you really expect me to join the ranks of such a demonstration? How should I put it simply, I feel it’s too Jewish for me to fight for Jewish democracy and save the High Court. Do you want me to save the High Court? The one who approved the expropriation of our lands by the state since 1948 and gave the legal stamp of approval to the settlements? The court which approved almost every move by the Israeli governments against the Palestinians in the West Bank over the years? The High Court of the Nation State Law?
I believe that there is a place for an Arab-Jewish partnership in Israel, but a partnership that does not put the Occupation and Apartheid and civil equality first and foremost, is not a real partnership. As they say, democracy for everyone, or for no one.
On Facebook this week I saw an ad “We are campaigning to ensure that there’s room for Arabs at the next demonstration”. No, thank you, I don’t want them to make room for me, I want them to demand civil equality for everyone. The Right wing made a clear choice: it wants to be Jewish, it does not want to be democratic. But the left does not want to choose, it wants to be both, so it does not win and is in the minority.
The day that those who fight for democracy realise that there is no resurrection for any democracy without democracy for all, we will be there. For this to happen, it seems to me that the democrats need to develop a consciousness of being a minority and start getting used to the idea. Nevertheless, after all the bells and whistles, when all is said and done, 130,000, [the number of people who attended the last demonstration] would barely pass the electoral threshold.
Original Haaretz (Hebrew edition) translated by Sol Salbe, Middle East News Service: