A Palestinian-American Responds
December 1, 2010 4 Comments
My recent post, How Palestinians Alienate Americans and Undermine Prospects for a Two-State Solution, garnered a comment on Facebook, and it’s sufficiently important and eloquent to reproduce here. Its author is Nader Hasan, a Palestinian-American, an accomplished Virginia lawyer and family man, a very dear friend for nearly two decades, and one of the most honorable human beings I’ve been privileged to know.
Kendrick, nice piece but I disagree. After my visits to the occupied territories, including 3 weeks this summer and 3 times last year, I do not believe that the majority of the Palestinian population calls for the destruction of Israel any longer, or even the eventual destruction… Yes, there are still a few old die-hards who will chant “down with Israel” because that’s all they know, the same who believe Arafat was poisoned… But my conversations with Palestinians provide that the Palestinian view towards Americans, in general, is changing for the better. (I think they really do believe now, with shock, that most Americans are ignorant to the conflict and have no idea, so they are not as mad – electing Obama, with the middle name Hussein, didn’t hurt either and clearly blew their minds) but, yes, they are losing hope for the two-state solution when one state is disappearing with continued settlements and the US can’t do anything about it… The 20-40 yr olds are tired and worn out, do not care about a nation any longer, and now say, “sure, take all the land, call it all Israel, and we shall be Israelis… we just want to travel and have options for education and have real life experiences.. rather than be confined.” And Kendrick, until you travel through the Calandia checkpoint, you do not realize that the West Bank and Gaza are literally two huge prisons. So giving up the hope for a Palestinian state in exchange for freedom is an easy sell.
But then they ask the question, “since Israel is a democracy, we will have equal rights, correct?” Unfortunately, the reply is, “No. You must be Jewish or you must leave.”
What? Not even Palestinian reservations like we provided the Native American Indians? I guess the lure of alcohol and gambling probably won’t attract them to that idea, although it worked in Jericho for a while.
I like Rabin’s son’s idea, the Israeli Peace Initiative. Makes sense. True path to peace. As an American, it is in our interests to see a Palestinian state created.. Don’t care about the borders… MOST IMPORTANT – this will undermine terrorist recruitment against USA. How? Terrorists will no longer be able to manipulate this conflict by telling Muslim kids that that the US support of Israel and its continued settlements proves that the US is at war with Islam and is on a biblical path to have all of Israel (river to river) returned to the Jewish people. It’s bs, I know we Americans laugh at that pitch, but imagine if you were ignorant and living in the Middle East. It’s an easy sell, especially after the war in Iraq.
K, love you, bro, always. Daniel is always in my thoughts and prayers. Peace be with you.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda
Readers of my blog know well my steadfast support for and love of Israel, naturally not least because my beloved son Daniel is Israeli. Now readers of my blog will know of my abiding respect and affection for Nader Hasan. I cannot write about what I perceive as Palestinian missteps, distortions, and abominations without the image of my friend Nader Hasan squarely before me, chastening me with his humanity, forcing me to qualify my notions, and softening my rhetoric.
In a different context, I wrote the following:
How deeply I would wish for every liberal to love a conservative, for every conservative to love a liberal. Without this very human dialectic, we’re deeply ignorant. We never gain any insight into how the other person thinks, what buttons send them spiraling into pre-rational realms, how precisely they are able to hear us but not listen to us, and vice versa.
How deeply I would wish for every Jew to love just one Muslim, and for every Muslim to love just one Jew. Then there would truly be peace.
I do not agree with everything Nader said in his reply, but I respect enormously his honorable forthrightness, his sincerity in engaging, and his intelligent devotion to a path that yields peace. The details of my disagreement, then, become inconsequential. Love you bro.