Call it injustice, not hatred
Manuel Taboada’s May 21 guest essay about Israel/Palestine misdiagnoses the problem. He blames the “hatred and animosity” between Palestinians and Israelis (many of whom, it should be noted, are Palestinian) and the clash of Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms.
Absent from his essay are any mentions of the dispossession of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland by the Zionists in 1947-49 in the Nakba, or “Catastrophe,” of Israeli settler-colonialism and American support for it, of violations of international law including the illegality of settlements, of detentions of Palestinian children or of the longest military occupation in modern history.
Viewing the problem as one of hatred is convenient because it allows Americans to effectively wash our hands of our own complicity and our need to understand the history. There is a reason Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for naming Israel an “apartheid state” and that others, such as Palestinian Christians, Human Rights Watch, and both American and Israeli Jewish groups, have also done so. There is a reason, too, that Black Lives Matter leaders have seen their struggle as linked to that of the Palestinians.
Just as the problems of racism in this country are not properly laid at the feet of “hatred and animosity” but on a history of slavery, Jim Crow laws and continued structural discrimination, so too is the problem in Israel/Palestine the massive imbalance of power between Israelis and Palestinians and the history of that power’s ongoing use.
The main problem is injustice, not hatred. The “both-sides-ism” of the essay overlooks this crucial fact.