Lessons from Gaza: Human Rights (2009/2014)

Gaza represents much more than a metaphor for other ongoing struggles.

A youth holds-up a big Palestinian flag during a protest against the controversial separation wall in Ramallah

According to UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, “there appears to be a deliberate defiance on the part of Israel in complying with its international obligations. We should not allow this kind of impunity. We should not allow this to go uninvestigated, or for these flagrant violations to continue.”1‘Alta comissária da ONU denuncia EUA por armar Israel,’ Exame, accessed 26 November 2014, http://exame.abril.com.br/mundo/noticias/alta-comissaria-da-onu-denuncia-eua-por-armar-israel. She also affirmed that “deploying rockets in the environs of hospitals and schools or even launching them from densely populated areas constitutes violations of humanitarian law”, but this does not “absolve” Israel from violating the same law”.2Ibid. Although these declarations were made towards the end of her mandate, it is important to highlight that there are indications that the world in general, and the South in particular, are starting to turn against Israel. What lessons on human rights can be learned from both the offensive of 2009—which Ramón Grosfoguel understood to be the end of these rights—and that of 2014?

First: it is becoming increasing evident that the situation cannot be called “war”, but resistance to an illegal occupation of the territory for almost seventy years, with absolute indifference, to any form of international pressure by competent bodies. The Gladstone Report, by a Jewish South African Judge, highlighted the war crimes in Gaza in 2009; the Falk Report of 2014, also by a Jewish Professor of International law, recommended an investigation in terms of verifying the existence of colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing during the prolonged occupation of these territories. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the application of international law.

Second: maintaining the “only democracy in the region” was built with the support to the dictatorships in the Southern Cone, the policy of apartheid, and the resistance to the processes arising from the “Arab Spring”. The preference for secular dictatorships, in the vicinity, over processes of more widespread popular participation, without control, seems to be the keynote of geopolitical action with respect to human rights in the country. The criticisms of the country’s policy are repeatedly associated with anti-Semitism, which ignore Palestinians as Semitic, and by the same process, breathe life into various forms of discrimination against Islamics. There needs to be a major review of the domestic democracy issue, with openness towards demodiversity.

Third: the monopoly of the “Jewish memory”, especially from the Zionist perspective, does not leave space for other non hegemonic narratives, be they secular or non-religious. This is evident with the Arab Israelis and with the treatment of Ethiopian Jews. Therefore, it is about thinking of an Israel that is post-Zionist and open to other memories, experiences and possibilities.

Fourth: the restrictions on the Palestinians, in the West Bank and Gaza, that were heightened in 1967, and more concerned with Israel’s “security” since 1993, derailed the resistance to illegal occupation, which is a right guaranteed by the Declaration of Human Rights and Citizen and reinforced with the Declaration of Decolonization of 1960. The decolonization process, however, is still inconclusive. And Palestine, two final colonial acts by Europe, is demonstrating the urgent need to get back on track.

Fifth: in view of the Falk report of 2014, which states that “it seems incontestable that the Israeli measures do divide the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories along racial lines, create separated reserves for the Palestinians and expropriate their land” (§ 71), the “peace as the path” and not only the alleged searches for the “path to Peace” must not be thought of exclusively as a “Jewish Democratic State”, but in looking for inspirations in the Global South, with bi- and multinational discussions, where appropriate. The post-apartheid period can be another inspiration for the traumatic process that appears insurmountable.

Sixth: the insistence on making Israel a paradise for “sexual tolerance” and persecution by Islamics, who are always held as “conservatives”, makes the resistances by queer Palestinians invisible, and increases the Israeli propaganda as the only possible LGBT rhetoric. This is basically “homonationalism”—in the words Jasbir Puar—a narrative that connects politics and LGBT issues to the imperialist agendas, that define certain bodies and subjects in the national narrative. Moreover, it ignores the oppression of women by Orthodox Jews.

The resistances taking place domestically, in general, have expertise in local knowledge, the potential for comprehensibility within the cultural parameters, and very often, shun external interference. They must, as far as possible, be explored, valued and utilized, without impeding transnational alliances and domestic coalitions of different social actors.

In this respect, since the repeated calls for the “path to peace” turned out to be a failure of genuine efforts to recognize that “peace is the path”, because of the unconditional support of the US to Israel and the total complicity by Europe, it seems that there remained no other option but the path chosen since 2005 by 171 Palestinian NGOs, dissatisfied with the Israeli policies of sustained occupation and expansion. This is the tactic of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), which was inspired by the struggle against apartheid. It is, fundamentally but not exclusively, economic boycott of products made in Israel or using plants in the occupied territories. But it may be associated with academic boycotts, involving Israeli universities, breaking commercial relations or treaties in this regard; or even cultural and sports boycott (like suspension from the International Union of Architects) or political (such as suspension from diplomatic relations). Currently, the group has the support of, among others, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, Slavoj Zizek, Roger Waters, Omar Barghout and Illan Pappé.

It should be noted that in his report, Richard Falk considers the complicity of businesses in international crimes, and recommends the investigation of “commercial activities of companies and financial institutions registered in their respective countries, which profit from the settlements of Israel and other unlawful Israeli activities”, and take the appropriate action to end such practices” and ensure appropriate reparations for affected Palestinians (recommendation “d”), and that states should consider imposing a ban on imports coming from these territories.

Moreover, it is a truism and, then, an “ideological inversion” to uphold Israel’s right to defend itself: with reference to the occupying power, resistance is guaranteed as per Article 2 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), in the struggle against oppression, and does not support continued illegal occupation. As Muna Odeh states, there is no such thing as a “benevolent colonizer” especially when, for example, in Gaza—a territory that is 41 km long by 6 to 12 km wide—more than 1.7 million persons reside.3http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faixa_de_Gaza. It should be noted, however, that the report from the South African Judge Richard Gladstone, who is also Jewish, held that war crimes occurred in Israel’s offensive against Gaza in 2009: http://www.unric.org/pt/actualidade/25424. The BDS is, de facto, not only a non-violent movement, but it is the most far-reaching Palestinian civil society resistance movement against the occupation.4Review the information on: http://www.bdsmovement.net/ e http://boicotisrael.net/. Also the books: LIM, Audrea, ed. The case for sanctions against Israel. London-New York: Verso, 2012; GOMÉZ, Luz, ed. BDS por Palestina. El boicot a la ocupación y apartheid israelíes. Madrid: Ediciones de Oriente y Mediterraneo, 2014.

Interestingly, the support given to Palestinians by Black communities and Muslims—from South Africa5Indeed, the coalition of Islamics against apartheid is fully documented: ESACK, Farid. Qu’ran Liberation Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression. OXFORD: Oneworld, 1997. As well, the Males Revolt, in which Black Islamics fought oppression and slavery in Brazil continues to be ignorned in textbooks: MORAES, Luciene Maciel Stumbo & MORAES, Wallace dos Santos. A revolta dos malês nos livros didáticos de História e a Lei 10.639/2003: uma análise a partir da “epistemologia social escolar”. IN: MONTEIRO, Ana Maria et alii. Pesquisa em ensino de História; entre desafios epistemológicos e apostas políticas. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, FAPERJ, 2014, p. 209-225. —and also by the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, Nasa of Colombia and Tzotzil of México (Islamics!) demonstrates that the type of knowledge for breaking colonialism is solidarity. In the same way that oppressions are intersections, so are the struggles against them; and the knowledge that emerge from them is inter-knowledge, re-cognition and self-knowledge. International solidarity comes, then, from the Global south or from south of the Global North.

It is important to highlight that conscientious objection to military service entails jail time, which is also condemned in the Falk report (§§ 74 and 75), and it is true that even Jews are accused of anti-Semitism for opposing the country’s policies. As Judith Butler points out, understanding it as such would be to consider Israel as “coextensive with the Jewish people”, which presents two problems: a) the State does not represent all the Jews and not all Jews are represented by the Israeli state; b) the State of Israel should represent the entire population equally, whether Jewish or not, irrespective of race, religion and ethnicity.6http://www.thenation.com/article/172752/judith-butlers-remarks-brooklyn-college-bds#

It is the height of ethnocentricity and supremacy to believe that any people, community or country has a “monopoly on pain and suffering”. Moreover, this ignores the fact that both Jews and Palestinians are Semitic. This also ignores the more than 500 years of indigenous resistance and 400 years of struggle for the abolition of slavery in America, and the successive exiles following national independence. The “historic debt” that Europe incurred both in 1492, because of the expulsion, and in the Second National War, because of the Holocaust, concerns, in the former case, the Muslims, and, in the latter, the gays and Gypsies. The paradox must always be remembered: the UN Declaration of Human Rights coexists and coincides with the Jim Crow system (US), with the establishment of apartheid and with Nakba (“Catastrophe”), when more than 700 thousand Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes due to the war.7MASALHA, Nur. The Palestina Nakba; decolonising history, narrating the subaltern, reclaiming memory. London: Zedbooks, 2012. Therefore, Zionism became a colonial version of Judaism, and the State of Israel the “most recent (certainly not the last) European colonial act”.8SANTOS, Boaventura de Sousa. Réquiem por Israel? IN: A cor do tempo quando foge. São Paulo: Cortez, 2014, p. 545.

In 1961, the philosopher Ernst Bloch stated that “human dignity is not possible without economic liberation, and this … is not at all possible without the key issue of human rights”, so that “no genuine human rights can be attained without an end to exploitation, and there is no real end to exploitation without the establishment of human rights.”9BLOCH, Ernst. Natural Law and Human Dignity. Madrid: Aguilar, 1980, p. XI.

Black and non-Western feminists, the LGBT and queer struggles, the struggles for independence in Africa, and so many other anti-systemic movements have highlighted—more than this—that human rights also involve struggles against colonialism, sexism and racism. At this moment, it seems that Gaza— and the end of the Palestinian occupation—constitutes much more than a metaphor for ongoing struggles.

César Augusto Baldi, PhD candidate at Pablo Olavide University (Spain), is Advisor to the Brazilian Regional Fed­eral Court 4thRegion and the editor of Direitos humanos na sociedade cos­mopl­ita [Human Rights in Cos­mo­pol­itan Soci­ety] (Ren­o­var, 2004).

Translated from Portuguese by D. Phillips (Agent for Change)

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Lições de Gaza: direitos humanos (2009-2014)

Segundo a Alta Comissária da ONU para Direitos Humanos, Navi Pillay, “parece que há um desafio deliberado de Israel a não cumprir com suas obrigações internacionais. Não deveríamos permitir este tipo de impunidade. Não deveríamos permitir que não se averiguem nem se persigam flagrantes violações”. Também afirmou que “instalar foguetes em meio a escolas e hospitais ou mesmo lançá-los de áreas densamente povoadas são violações à lei humanitária internacional”, mas tal fato não “absolve” Israel de violar a mesma lei.” Ainda que as declarações sejam dadas em final de mandato, é importante salientar que há indícios de que o mundo no geral, e o Sul em especial, estão começando a virar-se contra Israel. Que lições para os direitos humanos podem ser tiradas tanto da ofensiva de 2009- que Ramón Grosfoguel entender ser o fim destes direitos- quanto desta, de 2014?

Primeiro: é cada vez mais evidente que a situação não pode ser chamada de “guerra”, mas sim de resistência contra uma ocupação ilegal de território há quase setenta anos, com absoluta indiferença a qualquer forma de pressão internacional pelos órgãos competentes. O relatório Gladstone, juiz judeu sul-africano, apontou existência de crimes de guerra em Gaza em 2009; o relatório Falk, de 2014, professor judeu de direito internacional, recomendou a investigação no sentido de averiguar efetiva ocorrência de colonialismo, apartheid e limpeza étnica na prolongada ocupação de tais territórios. É necessário, pois, o reforço da atuação do direito internacional.

Segundo: a manutenção de “única democracia da região” tem sido construída com o apoio às ditaduras do Cone Sul, à política de apartheid e à resistência dos processos resultantes da “Primavera Árabe”. A preferência por ditaduras seculares, na vizinhança, a processos mais alargados de participação popular, sem controle, parece ter sido a tônica da atuação geopolítica de direitos humanos do país. As críticas à política do país são insistentemente associadas a antissemitismo, ignorando que palestinos também são semitas e insuflando, no mesmo processo, diversas formas de discriminação a islâmicos. Uma profunda revisão da vertente democrática interna se faz necessária, com abertura para a demodiversidade.

Terceiro: o monopólio da “memória judaica”, em especial a partir da vertente sionista, não deixa espaço para outras narrativas não hegemônicas, sejam seculares ou laicas. É o que se verifica com os árabes israelenses e com o tratamento dado às judias etíopes. Trata-se, portanto, de pensar uma Israel pós-sionista e aberta a outras memórias, experiências e possibilidades.

Quarto: as restrições aos palestinos, tanto na Cisjordância quanto em Gaza, acentuadas em 1967 e mais preocupadas com a “segurança” de Israel, a partir de 1993, acabam por invibilizar tratar-se da resistência a uma ocupação ilegal, direito assegurado desde a Declaração dos Direitos do Homem e do Cidadão e reforçado com a declaração da descolonização de 1960. O processo de descolonização, portanto, ainda está inconcluso. E a Palestina, dos últimos atos coloniais da Europa, está a mostrar a urgência de que esta encaminhada.

Quinto: considerando que o relatório Falk de 2014 afirma que “parece incontestável que as medidas israelenses de fato dividem a população dos Territórios Palestinos Ocupados com base em critérios raciais, criam reservas separadas para os palestinos e expropriam sua terra” (§ 71), a “paz como caminho” e não somente as alegadas buscas do “caminho para paz” têm que ser pensadas não na exclusividade de um “Estado judeu e democrático”, mas sim buscar inspirações no Sul Global, com a discussão da bi ou plurinacionalidade, se for o caso. O período pós-apartheid pode ser outra inspiração para processos traumáticos que parecem insolúveis.

Sexto: a insistência em fazer de Israel um paraíso da “tolerância sexual” ao lado de perseguições dos islâmicos, sempre tidos como “conservadores”, invisibiliza as resistências queer palestinas, aumenta a propaganda israelense como a única retórica LGBT possível, e, fundamentalmente, trata-se de “homonacionalismo”- nas palavras de Jasbir Puar- uma narrativa que liga política e questões LGBT a agendas imperialistas, estabelecendo que determinados corpos e sujeitxs formam parte do relato nacional. Ademais ignora a opressão exercida contra mulheres pelos judeus ortodoxos.

As resistências realizadas internamente, no geral, tem a expertise do conhecimento local, da possibilidade da inteligibilidade dentro dos parâmetros culturais e, muitas vezes, evitam a visão de interferência externa. Devem, na medida do possível, ser exploradas, valorizadas e utilizadas, o que não impede alianças transnacionais e coalizações internas de distintos atores sociais.

Neste sentido, desde que os sucessivos apelos do “caminho para a paz” se converteram em impossibilidade de esforços reais para reconhecer que a “paz é o caminho”, pelo apoio incondicional dos EUA à Israel e pela absoluta conivência da Europa, não parece restar outra opção que o caminho escolhido, desde 2005, por 171 ONGs palestinas, insatisfeitas com a política de Israel de manutenção de ocupação e expansão. É a tática do BDS- Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sanções, inspirado na luta contra o apartheid. Trata-se, fundamental mas não exclusivamente, no boicote econômico de produtos fabricados em Israel ou que utilizem plantas nos territórios ocupados. Mas pode ser associado a boicotes acadêmicos, envolvendo universidades israelenses; rompimento de relações comerciais ou de tratados neste sentido; ou mesmo boicote cultural e desportivo (como suspensão da Sociedade de Arquitetura da respectiva União Internacional) ou político (como suspensão de relações diplomáticas). Um grupo que conta com o apoio, hoje em dia, dentre outrxs, de Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, Slavoj Zizek, Roger Waters, Omar Barghout e Illan Pappé.[1]

Saliente-se que Richard Falk, em seu relatório, aprecia a cumplicidade das empresas nos crimes internacionais, recomendando que se investigue as “atividades comerciais de companhias e instituições financeiras registradas em seus respectivos países, cujos benefícios, advindos dos assentamentos de Israel e outras atividades ilegais”, tomando medidas apropriadas para encerrar tais práticas”, com a devida reparação para os palestinos afetados”(recomendação “d”), devendo os Estados considerar a possibilidade de banimento das importações vindas destes territórios.

Aliás, é um truísmo e, pois, uma “inversão ideológica”, sustentar o direito de Israel a defender-se: em se tratando de potência ocupante, a resistência é assegurada, desde a Declaração dos Direitos do Homem e do Cidadão (1789), em seu art. 2º, na luta contra a opressão e não a favor da manutenção da ilegal ocupação. Como recorda Muna Odeh, não há “colonizador benevolente”, ainda mais quando, por exemplo, em Gaza- um território de 41 km de comprimento por 6 a 12 km de largura- vivem mais de um milhão e 700 mil pessoas.[2] O BDS é, de fato, não somente um movimento não violento, mas o mais abrangente movimento da sociedade civil palestina de resistência à ocupação.[3]

De forma interessante, o apoio dado à Palestina pelas comunidades negras- e muçulmanas- da África do Sul[4]-e também pelos povos indígenas de Turtle Island, Nasa da Colômbia e tzotsiles do México (islâmicos!) está a demonstrar que a forma de conhecimento para romper o colonialismo é a solidariedade. Da mesma forma que as opressões são interseccionais, as lutas contra elas também o são; e os conhecimentos que delas emergem são inter-conhecimentos, re-conhecimentos e auto-conhecimentos. A solidariedade internacional tem partido, pois, do Sul Global ou do sul do Norte Global.

É importante salientar que a objeção de consciência em prestar serviço militar tem acarretado encarceramentos, também condenados no relatório Falk (§§ 74 e 75), sendo certo que mesmos judeus são acusados de antissemitismo por oposição às políticas do país. Como salientou Judith Butler, entender dessa forma seria considerar Israel como “co-extensiva com o povo judeu”, o que incorre em dois problemas: a) o Estado não representa todos os judeus e não todos os judeus se entendem como representados pelo estado israelense; b) o Estado de Israel deveria representar toda sua população igualmente, fosse ela ou não judia, sem consideração de raça, religião e etnicidade.[5]

É uma ideia por demais etnocêntrica e supremacista imaginar que algum povo, comunidade ou país tem o “monopólio da dor e do sofrimento”. Ademais, ignora que tanto judeus quanto palestinos são igualmente semitas. É ignorar, na América, os mais de 500 anos de resistência indígena e os 400 anos de luta para a abolição da escravatura, e os sucessivos desterros após as independências nacionais. A “dívida histórica” que a Europa tem, tanto em 1492, pela expulsão, quanto na Segunda Guerra Nacional, pelo Holocausto, diz respeito também, no primeiro caso, aos muçulmanos e, no segundo, aos gays e ciganos. E não é demais lembrar o paradoxo: a Declaração de Direitos Humanos da ONU convive e coincide com o sistema de Jim Crow (EUA), com o estabelecimento do apartheid e com a Nakba (“catástrofe”), quando mais de 700 mil palestinos fugiram ou foram expulsos de seus lares, em função da guerra.[6] O sionismo passa a ser, assim, a versão colonial do judaísmo, e o Estado de Israel o “mais recente (certamente não o último) ato colonial da Europa”.[7]

Em 1961, o filósofo judeu Ernst Bloch afirmou que “nem a dignidade humana é possível sem a liberação econômica, nem esta … sem a grande questão dos direitos do homem”, de tal forma que “não há instauração verdadeira dos direitos humanos sem por fim à exploração, nem verdadeiro término da exploração sem a instauração dos direitos do homem.”[8] Os feminismos negros e não ocidentais, as lutas LGBT e queer, as lutas pela independência na África e tantos outros movimentos antissistêmicos têm salientado que- mais que isto- os direitos humanos implicam também lutas contra os colonialismos, sexismos e racismos. Neste momento, parece que Gaza- e o fim da ocupação da Palestina- constituem muito mais que uma metáfora das lutas que estão pendentes.

[1] Mais informações podem ser obtidas nos sites: http://www.bdsmovement.net e

[2] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faixa_de_Gaza. Saliente-se, ainda, que o relatório do juiz sul-africano Richard Gladstone, igualmente judeu, entendeu pela ocorrência de crimes de guerra na ofensiva de Israel contra Gaza realizada em 2009: http://www.unric.org/pt/actualidade/25424.

[3] Verificar informações em: http://www.bdsmovement.net/ e http://boicotisrael.net/. Também os livros: LIM, Audrea, ed. The case for sanctions against Israel. London-New York: Verso, 2012; GOMÉZ, Luz, ed. BDS por Palestina. El boicot a la ocupación y apartheid israelíes. Madrid: Ediciones de Oriente y Mediterraneo, 2014.

[4] Aliás, a coalizão dos islâmicos contra o apartheid é fartamente documentada: ESACK, Farid. Qu’ran Liberation Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression. OXFORD: Oneworld, 1997. Da mesma forma, a Revolta dos Malês, em que se negros islâmicos combatem a opressão da escravidão no Brasil e que continua sendo ignorada nos livros didáticos: MORAES, Luciene Maciel Stumbo & MORAES, Wallace dos Santos. A revolta dos malês nos livros didáticos de História e a Lei 10.639/2003: uma análise a partir da “epistemologia social escolar”. IN: MONTEIRO, Ana Maria et alii. Pesquisa em ensino de História; entre desafios epistemológicos e apostas políticas. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, FAPERJ, 2014, p. 209-225.

[5] http://www.thenation.com/article/172752/judith-butlers-remarks-brooklyn-college-bds#

[6] MASALHA, Nur. The Palestina Nakba; decolonising history, narrating the subaltern, reclaiming memory. London: Zedbooks, 2012.

[7] SANTOS, Boaventura de Sousa. Réquiem por Israel? IN: A cor do tempo quando foge. São Paulo: Cortez, 2014, p. 545.

[8] BLOCH, Ernst. Derecho natural y dignidad humana. Madrid: Aguilar, 1980, p. XI.

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  4 comments for “Lessons from Gaza: Human Rights (2009/2014)

  1. This is a fantastic piece pseudo-intellectualism. It makes extensive use of ambiguous phrasing, brings in narratives that are unfamiliar to most without explanation, puts forth largely irrelevant peripheral issues as central (even within its own narrative), and lacks any cohesive structure. It even lacks a simple round of spell checking.

    Further, it takes an uncritical view of the facts it uses, and extrapolates secondary facts from those viewpoints — but those secondary facts are fantasies, the original facts do not lend any evidence or support any interpretation that the author uses.

    You call this critical thinking? It is critical nonsense.

    Let’s take some examples.

    1) Baldi uses report from Falk and Gladstone to support several “lessons learned,” and goes out of his way to point out the two are Jewish, intimating that their ethnicity provides stronger support for his conclusions. But that’s a racist assumption. Falk is known to be generally supportive of Arab positions over Jewish ones, despite his origins, refuting Baldi’s assumptions. Baldi also fails to notice that Gladstone retracted his work for the Gladstone Report (though the UN did not accept his change of position).

    2) This piece claims that maintaining Israel’s CURRENT position in the world is built with support from apartheid South Africa. But that’s impossible; apartheid ZA has been gone for decades, and can’t provide current support.

    3) The very first “lesson learned” discusses a 70-year occupation. That would require Israel to have occupied foreign land since 1944.

    Mr. Baldi is a very bad intellectual, if this piece represents his mind and work.

  2. There are some problems with the English translation of the Portuguese original that can mislead the reader about the intended meaning of Caesar Baldi’s text. This can be the case in those places in which it is possible to find an ‘ambiguos phrasing’, as Q. Waltee writes. But I think it is fair to say that Q. Waltee rushed to arrive to his or her conclusions, and that the arguments against Baldi are flawed.

    What is unfamiliar, irrelevant, peripheral for Q.Waltee is perhaps what is most important and traditional for an interpetation of the Palestinian plight elaborated from the perspective of the colonised world, the LGTB community or the Third World in the long term perspective of the last 500 years. I would suspect Q. Waltee’s standing point is that of a European or US-centric spectator.
    I also would dare to say that Q. Waltee can be an staunch defender (paid?) of Israel’s policy for Palestine, on the basis of his or her absolute refusal to concede there is at least one reasonable point in Cesar Baldi’s analysis, and on the basis of Q. Waltee’s arrogant and unwarranted dismissal of Baldi’s text as ‘phantastic seudo intellectualism’, and of Baldi as ‘a very bad intellectual’.
    I do not think there is a need for providing a ‘cohesive structure’ to Baldi’s blog entry beyond that of the very clear enumeration of his arguments or the lessons to be learnt. This is not a journal article or a treatise.
    As for the examples given to justify the more general acussations, they are all flawed. It is not racist to bring the attention to the fact that individuals who share some commonality -the ethnicity or the religion- with the aggressors, criticise the invading state. Some times the view of the insider (particularly the critical insights) are very valuable precisely because of the intimate knowledge they have, or beacuse of the fact that this is a kind of self-critique.
    In relation to Falk’s position, Q. Waltee’s interpretation is exactly the opposite of what Baldi is saying, namely that Falk criticises the actions of Israel in Palestine.
    Baldi does not say that SA apartheid regime is alive and is supporting ‘current’ Israel policy in Palestine. Baldi quotes the part played in the past by the SA regime to shape Israel’s policy.
    And finally, Q Waltee incurs in a crass distortion of what Baldi wrote when attacking Baldi about his supposed lack of historical accuracy. Baldi did not write that the occupation of Palestine by Israel has lasted already for ’70 years’. He wrote that the occupation has been going on ‘for almost seventy years’, which is something absolutley fine to say in this context if we take into consideration that the Nakba happened in 1948.

    To Q. Waltee I would advise more seriousness and strict thinking when reading a text, rather than impulsive partiality, arrogance and rushed comments.

  3. Franz, You make spurious, unfounded ad hominem attacks, (e.g., “paid?”, “arrogant”, “crass distortion”, deficit of “strict” thinking, rushed commenter). You dismiss my point of view for lacking the ability to understand the author’s POV. In reality, I find your narrowness of view in combination with inexcusable attacks to be the height of arrogance.

    If there are problems with the translation, the poster of the English version has failed, and rather that complain when someone (you claim) misreads it, you should agree the article is problematic and clarify the points being made. But you don’t help, you only criticize.

    Let’s talk about worldview and perspective and POV. You don’t like my perspective, so you dismiss it. But I don’t dismiss a different worldview, I only point out that regardless of perspective, there are flaws in the rationality and focus of the article. It isn’t that the focus is wrong, so much as it wanders too much, or perhaps doesn’t even exist. If you want to put a certain lens to the situation and explain the Human Rights lessons specifically as seen through that particular lens, then you must explain what that lens is. Lacking that context, many of the items raised are indeed peripheral to the Gaza war and its teachable moments. Had that context been provided, the “peripheral” or “irrelevant” items might indeed have been central to the unspoken context. Since that context is never stated, they remain peripheral-to-irrelevant in the broader context that a reader must assume.

    You want to excuse Baldi from criticism because it is a blog entry, not a published article. Nonsense. That’s essentially saying, Q.W. is right, it is sloppy, but F.G. doesn’t care. OK, go ahead, don’t care, but don’t expect any respect if you don’t care about quality of writing. The piece is an essay, it wants to make logical points, so it ought to be written clearly. This is the second time you outright excuse poor thought and presentation (1. translation, 2. medium).

    (I should note that you specifically call out three such contexts: colonized world, LGBT community, and third world. But you give them a “long term perspective of the last 500 years.” You might want to think a bit more about that. These perspectives really haven’t existed for 500 years at all. I’m sure you’ll argue, but really, it is just sloppy exposition.)

    Your answer to my racism charge is wanting, and only emphasizes the racism. You implicitly argue that Falk is an Israel-insider due to his Jewishness. But Israel does not represent all Jews, and not all Jews represent Israel. Flak is clearly a person of Jewish background who is willfully outside the Israeli perspective. He is not an insider in any way. He has never been a part of Israel. By stating that he is, you assume that because of his ethnicity/race alone, he is connected to the position of someone sharing the same ethnicity/race. What is the definition of racism? Making assumptions about others based on race. You just did that. And so did Baldi. If instead of Falk, an unrestrained critic of Israel speaking form the outside, Baldi had selected a former Knesset cabinet member who happens to be Jewish but says the same things as Falk, then you have a logical insider, with a coincidental racial connection. But with Falk, the connection is there only because of race.

    Your final rant has some merit, by interpreting the on-factual “70 years” as instead “almost 70 years.” However, it makes the assumption that the existence of Israel in any shape is an occupation. Whose point of view is that? Do you wish to claim that Israel should cease to exist? If so, then you have shown yourself (or Baldi, if that is his argument) to be a simple Israel hater, which matches up perfectly with what I stated earlier – the article is an opportunistic round of Israel bashing, not a reasoned attempt to find useful lessons that can be used in the future.

    By the way, the LGBT aspect is foolish, inexcusable illogic. What the article’s discussion amounts to is this: since Israel is much more pro-LGBT than anywhere else in the region, especially Gaza, therefore, Israel is effectively squashing LGBT rights advancement in Gaza, because Israel’s helpful attitude to LGBT drowns out the small LGBT voices in Gaza, and makes the Israeli approach seem like the only one worth following. So, by making Israel better for LGBT, Israel is hurting LGBT? What tripe! (Yes, yes, I understand the subtext that the author wants a more diverse discussion of paths toward LGBT acceptance, but it is patently mis-aimed.) And don’t get me started on conflating it with Orthodox Jewish women, which is irrelevant to the article, and perfectly shows what I said: it is really just a poor excuse to go on an Israel rant. He’s scoring points, not looking for a way to improve the world.

  4. The 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to Gaza or the West Bank since at the time of ratification netiher territory was under the jurisdiction of any state at the time. I am sure you are aware that Gaza was originally under control by Egypt while the West Bank was under Jordan’s control in which both at one point were invaded and occupied by IDF since the territories were used as platforms to launch attacks against Israel by Muslim states. Israel considers itself an authority in Gaza and West Bank as which is granted to an occupying power, is allowed and specified under the 4th Geneva Convention as well.In terms of the Six Day War that was not started by Israel but started by her neighbors. Prior to the conflict Israel was victim from attacks by terrorists it was discovered were being allowed to migrate through Syria. Egypt at first sent troops to the Sinai Peninsula due to an, admittedly, flase report that Israel was going to invade Jordan. Egypt later closed the Straits of Tiran considered an international water way at the time. Egypt then joined in the engagement due to a pact the country had with Jordan and Syria in which all 3 countries had military agreements with each other. Israel did start the fighting with an airstrike but the aggressions that lead up to the war were initiated by her Muslim neighbors. The reason for a lack of self determination by Gaza and West Bank Palestinians is simple, if they stop supporting terrorists and recognize Israel’s right to exist then the violence will stop. The Muslims not only refuse to but even reject any agreement geared to bringing peace to the region.To begin with I suggest you look up a man named Muhammad Amin al-Husseini. He was Yasser Arafat’s uncle and a Muslim cleric who ended up migrating to Germany and got a personal audience with Adlof Hitler. Husseini helped Hitler implement his Final Solution as well as raise Muslim regiments for the Nazis. When Nazi Germany fell he continued his activities helping to create groups like the PLO and Young Egypt Party which was a pro-Nazi organization. Among Young Egypt’s members were future Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.Nazism did not die with the defeat of Hitler but migrated to the Middle East thanks to Husseini in which you see Nazi influences in groups like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood (whose founder Hasan al-Banna was a Nazi sympathizer) and Hizbullah.

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