By: Ahmed Elsayed
In an article by Miranda Lapides advocating Israeli Peace Week recently submitted to the GMU Psych Blog, positive psychology is quoted as being “the study of what makes the life worth living”. However, what I read throughout the article had by no means made any argument towards how the life of any minority in Israel is made bearable in the overlooming shadow of occupation, subjugation, mistreatment, and ethnic cleansing. What I read instead was regarding efforts to make an attempt at “shedding a positive light” on a situation in which there are clear cut oppressors and oppressed. What is most interesting is that the article is written by member identifying with and advocating the former who is actively trying to delegitimize the grief of a suffering population and those who identify with it.
As an undergraduate in psychology, myself, I am quick to being able to spot a classic cognitive dissonance reaction such as this, one in which; the subject is confronted with a conflict in moral standards set against a long term socialization and normalization of occupation. When one is embedded in such an environment of activism and social justice such as the grounds of a college campus, yet is raised bearing ideals supporting an inherently unjust system such as Zionism, what else can one do other than try to “put a positive spin on things”?
Israeli Peace Week does the exact opposite of this, instead; the event is organized around convincing people that a two sided conflict exists in which the problem is attributed to mutual disagreements. The article states that Israel “has tried numerous times for peace”, failing to realize that these attempts have been a facade covering up further expansion of colonization (ex: Oslo Accords, Camp David Accords, and the Geneva Initiative, all of which have resulted in the loss of Palestinian land to Israeli settlers).¹ Constant denial of rights, seizure of land, and dehumanization experienced by indigenous populations in Palestine can in no way have a positive impact on the psychological disposition in the minds of members of these populations. Furthermore, Israeli Peace Week paints an image of advocates for the rights of indigenous populations in Palestine as being radical deviants failing to have any “understanding”. This condemnation, however positively connoted in the article, of members identifying in and advocating for an oppressed population only isolates and rejects the very people with whom you supposedly want to make peace.
It is my desire that people take notice to how events such as this are a blatant attempt at covering up a grim truth. Israeli Peace Week, like so many other whitewashing campaigns held by the Zionist agenda, exist only to portray an unreal image of equality and democracy like turpentine on an ugly painting. Israel claims to be advocating for peace, yet they continually bomb Gaza, force evict indigenous residents out of their homes, and further drive settlements into what little land the Arabs have left.² Israel claims to be advocating for marriage equality, yet the Israeli Citizenship and Entry Law prevents the reunification of spouses which carry identification cards of “enemy states”, fragmenting families due to their ethnicity. ³ Israel claims to be advocating for a land where people can “travel without fear”, yet if a Palestinian wishes to travel to two separate regions in Gaza (a distance roughly equivalent to the distance to campus from my apartment, which takes 30 minutes in the worst traffic situations), he or she would have to suffer the harassment of multiple checkpoints turning a normally 24 minute trip into a 5 hour one. 4 Israel claims to be advocating for racial equality, yet palestinians are condemned behind separation walls, Arab citizens are prohibited from using “Jew only” roads, and African migrants are subjected to harassment from Israelis who protest their very presence.5 Is it starting to seem hard to “put a positive spin on things” now, or is it just me?
1.This is explained in depth in “Abuminah, A. (2006). One country: A bold proposal to end the israeli-palestinian impasse. New York: Metropolitan Books.” Throughout chapter two p55-p88
2. Evidence of these violent attacks usually goes uncovered in media. There had been a recent attack on Gaza in mid March this year. This most media covered one of these attacks is Operation Cast Lead occurring in late 2008. More Info: http://imeu.net/news/article0021968.shtml
4. Evidence of this is shown in the documentary: Machssomim by Israeli flimmaker Yoav Shamir
shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSTbnzyGyyc
5. Evidence of the African migrant situation can be seen in depth in Max Blumenthal’s documentary: Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land. Shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPxv4Aff3IA
Quotes by Israeli demographic guru Arnon Soffer on the separation of Israelis and Palestinians, taken from One Country (cited in footnote #1) showing the true intention of the wall (rather than the “security” excuse that is usually given):
“Unilateral separation doesn’t guaranteed peace, it guarantees a Jewish Zionist state with an overwhelming majority of jews. [The] day after separation, the Palestinians will bombard us with artillery fire–and we will have to retaliate. But at least war will be at the fence (behind the separation wall), not in the kindergartens in Tel Aviv and Haifa. We will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed and houses will be destroyed. When 2.5 million people live in a closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane and fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”