I was asked to sign a petition by one of my oldest friends, Daniel Gavron, a wonderful writer. Munther Fahmy is a Jerusalem Palestinian who had a “blue” teudat zehut (identity card); because he traveled a lot, he came in sometimes on tourist visas. Now the Interior Ministry invalidated his teudate zehut, told him he is a tourist, and that he can only stay for three months a year. Yet he has a family in Jerusalem and was born there.
He has a wonderful bookstore in the American Colony Hotel and often hosts author evenings with Israelis and Palestinians; he has twice hosted my friend Daniel Gavron at the bookstore. He defied many Palestinians who were arguing against meetings with Israelis while the occupation lasts.
He appealed to the courts, which turned him down, including the supreme court, which suggested he appeal personally to the Interior Minister. I don’t know whether the petition will do any good, but it won’t do any harm.
Says Danny Gavron: “He is a personal friend and a “positive” Palestinian–just the type we need
PLEASE SIGN, I DID. I really think this is an important cause, and I’d like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It’s free and takes just a few seconds of your time. Thanks!
“Help Munther Fahmy” http://www.ipetitions.com/
Mr. Fahmy defied calls against normalizing relationships with Israelis while occupation continued, he’s “a positive type.” Look what he’s gotten in response, he’s losing his citizenship. Lot of good normalization has brought him.
Perhaps he’ll reconsider his approach, recognizing that being buddies with Meretz folks and garnering accolades from them about being “positive” has actually brought about no political change at all.
That’s why the BDS movement opposes normalization activities while occupation continues, because the vast majority of Israelis felt the pressure was off when they wre able to chat with Palestinians, and were happy to just allow the status quo to continue on endlessly, making no fundamental changes.
Even if pressure from his Israeli friends manages to help Mr. Fahmy, he’ll just be the exception that proves the rule. No ill-will to him, another Palestinian victim of Israeli apartheid, but his situation provives a good case study that perhaps will even teach Meretz types something.
Earth to Ted:
Danny Gavron is actually not a Meretz person, nor is Fahmy an Israeli citizen. But his cause is worth fighting for, even by us sinister “Meretz types.”
For more detailed background on Munther Fahmy’s situation, please read today’s blog post by Bernard Avishai at his blog: http://bernardavishai.blogspot.com/2011/03/people-of-book.html.
Apologies for my factual error regarding Mr. Fahmy’s legal status. I forgot, Israel is one of the few countries in the world where someone like Mr. Fahmy would not be a citizen. My other criticisms remain very valid, notwithstanding my factual error.
Lilly implies that people should take action for Fahmy because, “He defied many Palestinians who were arguing against meetings with Israelis while the occupation lasts,” and because Danny Gavron says, that he’s “a ‘positive’ Palestinian–just the type we need
around here.'” He’s a good egg, he talks with Israelis, so we should help him.
The implication is that Lilly would not ask Meretz folks to take action to prevent the banning of Palestinians from their homeland if those Palestinian are not “positive,” do not meet with Israelis while the occupation lasts, ie, do not support normalization. Those Palestinians are “not the type we need around here.” Palestinians’ right to live in their homeland is conditional, if they’re judged by Israelis as “good Palestinians.” Yes, enough of those Palestinians who are “negative,” always complaining about occupation and Israeli repression, refusing to make nice with their occupier. Just not Lilly’s cup of tea. No need to mobilize if those Palestinians are being banned from living in their homeland by the Israeli government.
Furthermore, we see the ineffectives of Mr. Fahmy’s lauded positiveness and his meetings with Israelis. He and other Palestinians with views like his have not managed to bring about change, and instead he’s likely to be banned from his homeland by Israel. If he is granted some last minute stay he will simply be the individual exception that proves the rule.
Normalization and dialogue failed. Israelis as a whole were able to chat, feel less guilty, present a normal face to the world, while making no fundamental changes to realize basic Palestinian rights. Even the normalizers like Mr. Fahmy are being expelled. BDS denies Israelis their much desired opportunity to present a normal face to the world while occupying another people. It exerts important pressure on Israelis by denying them something they vitally desire, to be accepted as a people like any other, for as long as they deny another people’s basic rights.
I don’t understand the reasoning “because he traveled a lot, he’d sometimes come in on tourist visas”.
If he’s got a blue teudat zehut why use a tourist visa?
The story seems sad, but I feel I’m not being given all the details – something’s fishy here.
When I was a permanent resident of Switzerland, I would *never* enter the country as a tourist (yes I traveled a lot). A Perm. res. entering on a tourist visa is asking for bureaucratic problems and doesn’t make sense unless it was to cover up something.