‘Occupy Oakland, Not Palestine’

‘Occupy Oakland, Not Palestine’

There’s a video with the above title featured on the “Tikkun Daily” blog site, where I also blog.  From the succession of “Occupy Oakland” activists voicing their views– earnest and well-intentioned as they are– you’d have no idea of this conflict’s complexities, as I indicate in a comment there:

The solution remains as it has been for a long time: two states living side by side in peace. I don’t think that this one-sided argumentation advances this goal. For example, there is no acknowledgment here of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, of the fact that a racist anti-Jewish movement won the Palestinian election in 2006 and then seized total power in Gaza in a violent coup in 2007.
And there is no recognition that the people of southern Israel have been under frequent attack from Gaza since that withdrawal. Violence begets violence. This conflict is a two-way street and this one-sided presentation (albeit well intentioned) does not advance a humane and fair resolution.

You can follow up by reading all the comments posted there (12 at last count), if you have the stomach for it.  I understand the frustrations and factual misunderstandings expressed there, even as I try to politely refute them.  The situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories remains heart-rending, as Israel’s current government reacts to outside pressures by blindly expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  But we need more voices for a factual appreciation of the evolution of this complex problem, not one-sided rhetoric.

In my view, this video contradicts the noble purpose of Tikkun, as exemplified in how Michael Lerner’s new book is described in an email publicizing a guest appearance by the author in New York on Dec. 4:

In his new book Embracing Israel/Palestine, Rabbi Michael Lerner argues that we must stop the “blame game” and move to a higher consciousness in which we affirm the legitimate needs of both sides and recognize both sides as victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He argues for a Global Marshall Plan that will move the world and the Middle East to the understanding that “homeland security” can come more effectively from generosity and caring than from domination and “power over.” Healing cannot come without justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel–and both are achievable….

By | 2011-11-09T14:52:00-05:00 November 9th, 2011|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Jesse Bacon November 20, 2011 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Um, so you accuse your opponents of oversimplification, and then you dismiss the Gaza withdrawal, Hamas victory, and coup in a sentence or two? How about we stick to just pointing out disagreements rather than trying to pretend you are just more enlightened then everyone else. To wit, unilateral withdrawals don’t work, that has been proven several times over, and so doesnt’ need to point out every time someone ventures an opinion on Israel-Palestine which differs from your own. And how is this two state solution going to come about if not as a response to social protest?

  2. Ralph Seliger November 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Of course unilateral withdrawals, such as from Gaza, are no substitute for a negotiated agreement. Anyone who reads this blog for any length of time would know that this is our point of view.

    And of course, social protest has a role in mobilizing support for a two-state solution, but we also need to acknowledge the wrongs committed on the Palestinian side for Jews to trust us. In the end, protest alone won’t do the trick; the pro-peace message must regain creditiblity in the electoral arena within Israel.

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