May 29, 2011

A Palestinian in Deutchland

At speeds that at one time reached 208 km/hour we drove the length of historic Palestine in about three hours on the Autobahn between Fulda and Munich.  Idyllic villages appeared occasionally between the endless green and fertile fields. I was with three men who had idealism and youth and energy. Six of us had slept last night on floors and couches in the student service center of The University of Applied Sciences in Fulda after a talk to some 50 students and faculty.  Then onto Munich, where I gave a talk to some 100 people.  Tomorrow I go to Berlin, then Stockholm, then Rome. It is strange to be in this land hearing the language that reminded me of my graduate career (I studied German reading as part of my needed skills for the research on mammals).  But it also reminded me that this is the language of all early Zionist leaders The vision of a Jewish state freed from its original non-Jewish inhabitants was articulated so clearly in those early writings and protocols of the World Zionist Congress.  “Die Judenstaadt” by Theodore Hertzl remains a classic. Ironically, the fastest growing Jewish population in the world today is right here in Germany.  I wondered why among those prospering in Germany of all places cling to the lies of Zionism. But Germany is a land of contradictions.

It is not only a contradiction between the modern reality of today and the horrors of WWII.  Here is a modern democratic country where free speech and historical examination is open but it is forbidden and punishable to examine the historical record of the Jewish holocaust. Here where the economy is booming and the country beautiful but the government seems content to obey whatever is dictated by the US state Department (itself obeying orders from Tel Aviv).Here where the lessons of violations of human rights are learnt well but exceptions are made for the massive violations of human rights of millions of Palestinians.   In my answer to a Zionist at Fulda, I stated that he is engaged in Nakba denial and that this is just as bad as denial of the Jewish holocaust (a crime in Germany).

In the last few years, I gave talks to tens of thousands of people in hundreds of cities around the world.  I had interactions with hundreds of Zionists, many who have worked hard to prevent my appearance but who then had to come and try to make their points.  Not one of those Zionists was honest; their talking points being the same tired ones intended to deflect attention from and not have to deal with facts of ethnic cleansing, colonization and land theft.  How do you justify the largest post WWII refugee population and sleep at night?  The desperate attempts involve regurgitating easily dispelled myths.  In all cases, they try to use and abuse Jewish history in Europe to garner sympathy.  But even this lost its effectiveness as a fig-leaf to cover for war crimes and crimes against humanity directed at a people who had nothing to do with what happened in Europe. Even her in Germany and despite a guilt complex, facts seem to trump the Zionist perfidy.  It is not even possible anymore to hide the Nazi-Zionist collaboration of the 1930s and early 1940s let alone to hide what they did to 12 million Palestinian natives.  It is not possible to hide the fact that Zionists and Jew-haters share the same goal of attributing to Jews what Zionists and their racist apartheid state is doing.  Hence Zionists insist on using Jewish symbols on their racist state. 

People around the world are now aware of how damaging Zionism is and was (including to Jews around the world). How do you justify the fact that a beautiful ancient land was raped and pillaged and cleansed of its natives to be transformed to that last apartheid system on earth? Most know that Zionism is to Judaism what Crusaderism was to Christianity and BinLadism to Islam. What Zionists promised fellow Jews was safety and security but not morality or justice.  But even in this simple promise they lied.  Because, as an ex-Zionist once remarked: a Jew in Tel Aviv today is certainly less safe than a Jew in Berlin or anywhere else in eth world.  So while Zionists try to justify themselves to non-Jews based on myths about the history of Palestine, they try to convince fellow-Jews by using the primal human emotion of fear (in this case of the goyim/gentiles).  But even that emotional tribalism is long outdated.  More and more Jews are seeing that safety and prosperity do not arise from oppressing others or from replacing the small ghettos in Europe with the large ghetto called the “Jewish state”.  Germans had learned the lesson that repression and oppression of others  does not work long term. Other people have learned this lesson.  Zionists will invariably have to internalize this lesson just like many anti-Zionist Jews have internalized it.  Only then will these Jews rise “out of the ashes” (the title of a great book by Jewish Theologian Marc Ellis.

In the meantime, our tasks as Palestinians and all people of conscience is to assess our own roles and expand them to tell truth to power and to engage in resistance to tyranny for example by using boycotts, divestments, and sanctions. That is what the many people I talked to in Fulda, in Munich, and those I will talk to in the next few days in Berlin, Stockholm, and Rome are doing.  As the global intifada unfolds, we collectively shed apathy and reclaim our humanity.

I got interviewed over 8 times in the past week about supposed political developments (speeches and plans to go to the UN).  Questions about what Obama, Netanyahu, and Palestinian "leaders" had to say.  My answers are that what these folks say is very predictable and why would we want to waste time dealing with it.  Netanyahu is a colonialist racist and can only say what all colonialist racists have to say.  Obama is a politician beholden to the lobby and can only try to cajole the lobby as he tries desperately to hide the reality of US hypocrisy and war mongering.  And many prominent Palestinians have given up on the liberation struggle a long time ago and replaced it with the struggle to hold on to their seats.  None of them really take into account people power.    See the article by Ali Abunimah “What happened to Palestinian "reconciliation"?” and especially the three links within them that show how some key leaders of the Palestinian authority (Fatah) had engaged in what would be considered treasonous behavior in other circumstances

Reviews of my book on Popular Resistance in Palestine:

Open letter to the people of Palestine from South African theologian Dr. Farid Esack

Join us in Palestine July 8-16

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD


  1. Where exactly you will have the lecture tomorrow in Berlin? Some friends want to go. Thanks a lot!