Monday, July 26, 2004
Human Chain in Israel
Ahh... If I were Richard Cohen I'd be writing my article for the Washington Post today about the beauty of Israeli democracy, the shining beacon of hope for the Middle East. And I don't write here to take anything away from non-violent protest and I think that a human chain from Gaza to Jerusalem is much preferable to an assassination attempt on Ariel Sharon (even though I disagree completely with the cause of the non-violent protest and hate Sharon's guts). But the coverage of it is an absolute failure of journalism. The glowing article on CNN.com pretty much writes Palestinians out of the story. The word Palestinian only comes up once: "Other Israelis believe relinquishing the settlements is a precondition for reaching peace with the Palestinians." As if this protest and the withdrawal plan are actions whose impact will be solely on Israelis and that Palestinians are not at all involved. In essence, it writes out the settlements' role in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The other issue that this article raises is that democratic rights are not evenly distributed among all Israelis and especially not to Palestinians under Israeli control. The ability to have a peaceful protest, such as a human chain, is something that must be allowed by the state. Non-violent protests against the wall in the West Bank have time and time again been broken up by the IDF using tear gas and bullets. There is no fawning CNN.com story with accompanying photo gallery. The story then is just one of the millions of "violence in the Middle East" stories. This is not because of the inherent violence of Palestinians (as many of the anti-wall protestors were Israeli Jews or international activists) but because of the conditions imposed by the State of Israel. So watch for that Richard Cohen column in the Post, and remember that rights are only truly rights (and not priveleges) when they apply to every citizen.