Activist, Heal Thyself
Check your tribalism at the door, please. Roll your sleeve up, check your own pulse. Now clean your ears, clear your throat, do some eyeball exercises – shake your wrists, wiggle your fingers, roll your neck, now crack your neck and let’s get cracking! Welcome to the collective Palestine movement! You may now enter.
Aaaah it was good to have the long overdue JVP/Weir discussion. Finally MW opened a window and let in some fresh air. But why did the MW editors leave the room soon as lanes of oxygen flooded in? It would be a good thing for MW editors to let us know where they stand on ‘GatekeeperGate’. Are they for gatekeeping the Palestine debate or are they against it? It’s a very simple question, really. A succinct yes or no from the editors would suffice. The longer they take to answer, the more the reader will wonder about the genuineness of their agenda. One assumes and hopes that MW editors are 100% against any scurrilous Machiavellian activities in the Palestine movement, including dishonorable activities by their personal friends, associates or patrons. But we need to hear that from the horse’s mouth. Make it official, MW. Stand up, Phil and Adam, and let your voices be counted and recorded for posterity and for history.
It’s no exaggeration to say that an earthquake erupted with the publishing of MW’s “Roundtable” article. Upon close examination, we discover that the badly injured are actually the very people that caused the earthquake in the first place. To a large degree, JVP and EtO are damaged goods now in the eyes of the majority of the Palestine activist community. Unapologetic, entrenched, outnumbered, they stand there shoeless and covered in dust, hunched over the ruins of their clubhouse and still waving fists at Alison Weir and her giant league of supporters. A suicidal standoff? Masada much, JVP?
It is right and worth noting here that not all members of JVP support their leader’s attack on Alison Weir – we have seen comments by them clearly, categorically and earnestly asserting so. These members are not suicidal or prejudiced, but today they find themselves in a very difficult moral dilemma. What should they do if the JVP leadership is unrepentant and unwilling to issue a public apology to Alison Weir; unwilling to meet with Alison at a special roundtable to discuss mutual fence-mending measures? Discuss effective re-unification of the Palestine movement? How much time should these good members give the JVP leadership to reconsider their destructive methods and path? They can’t just stand by waiting for Godot. The tormented JVP lambs must soon make a move to distinguish themselves from the wolves inside their organization, lest they themselves become virtual collateral damage. I do not envy their position. They will have to decide for themselves whether they want to be, strictly speaking and within the context of the Palestine solidarity community, a Palestine-firster like the rest of us, or an Israel-firster like JVP and EtO. May the force be with them on this difficult path to decision.
What we have learned through commentary evidence from the “Roundtable” debate is that the majority is unwilling to tolerate double-standards, unwilling to accept self-appointed leaders with sub-agendas, and emphatically unwilling to allow ANY form of racism, including antisemitism as well as anti-gentility (for lack of a better phrase). This is a huge relief to those of us who months ago learned the facts of JVP’s gangsterism from other sites and have been anxiously waiting ever since for the MW clamp to be lifted on the story – waiting to hear everyone’s voice so we may all learn where the majority stands and move forward accordingly to overcome this troubling but temporary diversion from the cause. It is high time to clean house. Spring-cleaning (I hear) can be a divine and instructive act.
The other understated but important lesson from the “Roundtable” is that it behooves all of us who place great value on personal integrity to regularly check ourselves for cognitive waste matter. Detox ourselves with streaming truths and facts and the universal principles of tolerance and equality. We are many and therefore of many visions and opinions, all brought together by a single goal: the liberation of Palestine. Keeping ourselves individually clean of other agendas while working the Palestine file will save us months of diversions and distractions from the good cause in the future.
We already know that unity is the very fuel of a successful movement. Our unity is paramount, especially in the face of the powers that our foe possesses. This is not an invitation to conformity. I think it’s obvious and expected that conflicts between well-meaning members and groups inside the solidarity movement will arise again in the future and we must indeed debate them with civility and rigorous adherence to truths and facts, and not address them through personal smears and shadowy sabotage of other. But this level of progressive discourse is only possible if the activists themselves as individuals are continually practicing self-reflection, self-honestly, and respect of the other.
If we all want this movement to be enduring and successful, then we must first, and always first and foremost check ourselves for ideological toxins. We must lean to overcome the destructive forces of prejudice and hypocrisy within ourselves if we expect our efforts to produce genuine and enduring results..
There is no plainer way of saying it: activist, heal thyself.