Monday, November 23, 2009

Quite a Photograph

I hesitated before (re) posting this, since the views expressed in these signs are not my own (although not entirely divorced from my own either). I wouldn't myself say what these two activists are saying. So I don't want to give the impression that I'm posting this to merely, or simply, agree with it.

But I found the photograph very striking, and couldn't get it out of my head. And I think that the message in these signs points to an aspect of the Israel/Palestine situation which is important and under-recognized, a moral dimension which -- along with others -- must be fully absorbed in any just approach to the situation. So I pass it along, not in complete disagreement, not in complete agreement, but as something worth seeing: an important perspective which (partially, over-simplistically) captures an important aspect of the situation.

So, reposted from Mondoweiss, we have:

(Web site of the woman on the left; web site of the man on the right. Photographer unknown)

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Of course there's a moral element to this. But neither of these signs does a very good job encapsulating it at all.

The first sign is only somewhat accurate but the details are really quite complicated. As a rough approximation it is correct.

The second sign is more or less wrong. He's welcome to move back to Gaza or the West Bank (the major disputed territories) if he came from there as is anyone. Curiously, no one wants to. Indeed, part of the serious problem with building an effective Palestinian state is that as soon as someone has a decent education and a bit of money they leave (that's not as true now as it was 10 or 20 years ago but the basic problem still remains).

Now, this individual can also move to Israel and become a citizen like anyone else. (And yes, it is easier for someone who is Jewish to move to Israel. Yes, that's not good. No, that's not the issue here).

Moreover, any eventual final deal may well involve reparations for Palestinians who were genuinely kicked out of their lands. This is a complicated issue since many Israelis argue that this should only happen if the Arab and Muslim states pay similarly for the Jews kicked out of their countries in 1948.

These are really complicated issues. They are hindered, not helped by simplistic signs.