Insuring Violence Never ends

“Bill Hobbs”: chal­lenged Non​vi​o​lence​.org about the recent lack of con­dem­na­tions of Pales­tin­ian vio­lence. It’s a fair cri­tique and a good ques­tion. For the record, Non​vi​o​lence​.org agrees with you that bomb­ing bus­es is wrong. Hamas should be con­demned, thank you. Of course, Israelis build­ing in the occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries is also wrong and should also be con­demned. The zealots in the con­flict there demand that every­one take sides, but to be paci­fist means nev­er tak­ing the side of evil and always demand­ing that the third way of non­vi­o­lence be found.
The Israelis and Pales­tini­ans have so much in com­mon. Both are a historically-persecuted peo­ple with con­test­ed claim to the land. The war between them has been large­ly fund­ed and egged on by out­side par­ties who seem to have a vest­ed inter­est in the vio­lence con­tin­u­ing ad infini­tum. Both sides chron­i­cle every bus bombed and bul­let fired, using the out­rage to ral­ly the faith­ful to fresh atroc­i­ties. Blogs like Bill Hobbs’ and orga­ni­za­tions like the Inter­na­tion­al Sol­i­dar­i­ty Move­ment help insure that the bomb­ings will nev­er stop. Caught in the mid­dle are a lot of naïve kids: sui­cide bombers, sol­diers, and activists who think just one more act of over-the-top brav­ery will stop the violence.
The war in Israel and Pales­tine will only stop when enough Israelis and Pales­tini­ans declare them­selves trai­tors to the chants of nation­al­is­tic jin­go­ism. We are all Israelis, we are all Pales­tini­ans. There but for the grace of God go all of us: our hous­es bull­dozed, our loved ones killed on the way to work.
Once upon a time we in Amer­i­ca could think that we were immune to it all; the idea that we’re all Israelis and Pales­tini­ans seemed a rhetor­i­cal stretch. But I was one of the mil­lions who spent the night of 9/11/01 call­ing New York friends to see if they were safe (I was on my hon­ey­moon and was so shak­en that one of my calls was to an ex-girlfriend’s par­ents; my wife grace­ful­ly for­gave me). On that day, we Amer­i­cans were deliv­ered the mes­sage that we too are com­plic­it. We too must also declare our­selves trai­tors to our country’s war mytholo­gies and start being hon­est about our his­toric com­plic­i­ty with war. As a peo­ple, Amer­i­cans weren’t inno­cent vic­tims at either Pearl Har­bor or the World Trade Cen­ter tow­ers (though as indi­vid­u­als we were, which is the point of non­vi­o­lent out­rage of nation­al­is­tic vio­lence). every blog post com­mem­o­rat­ing a vic­tim­hood, whether in New York City or Tel Aviv, sup­ports the cause of war. I will not con­demn every act of vio­lence but I will con­demn the cause of vio­lence and I will expose the mytholo­gies of war.