When Anti-Israel is not Pro-Palestinian

Khaled Aub Toameh has written an excellent article entitled What does “pro-Palestinian” really mean 

He writes that “In recent years there has been a significant rise in the number of non-Palestinians who describe themselves as “pro-Palestinian” activists…. What is striking is that many of these “pro-Palestinian” activists have never been to the Middle East, let alone the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. In most cases, they are not even Arabs or Muslims.”

What makes them pro-Palestinian?

In their view, inciting against Israel on a university campus or publishing “anti-Zionist” material on the Internet is sufficient to earn them the title of “pro-Palestinian.” But what these folks have not realized is that their actions and words often do little to advance the interests of the Palestinians. In some instances, these actions and words are even counterproductive.

It is hard to see how organizing events such as “Israel Apartheid Week” on a university campus could help the cause of the Palestinians. Isn’t there already enough anti-Israel incitement that is being spewed out of Arab and Islamic media outlets?

If anyone is entitled to be called “pro-Palestinian,” it is those who are publicly campaigning against financial corruption and abuse of human rights by Fatah and Hamas. Those who are trying to change the system from within belong to the real “pro-Palestinian” camp.

The “pro-Palestinian” activists in the West clearly do not care about reforms and good government in the Palestinian territories. As far as these activists are concerned, delegitimizing Israel and inciting against “Zionists” are much more important that pushing for an end to financial corruption and violence in Palestinian society.”

Toameh concludes with the observation that “The Palestinians do not need students and professors on university campuses to tell them that Israel is bad. They have already had enough of this incitement from Hamas, Fatah and other Arab media outlets and leaders.   It is time for the “pro-Palestinian” camp in the West to reconsider its policies and tactics. It is time for this camp to listen to the authentic voices of the Palestinians – those that are shouting day and night that the Palestinians want good leaders and an end to lawlessness, anarchy and financial corruption.”

Toameh is an impressive individual – an Israeli Arab who writes for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report. He previously served as a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report, and a correspondent for Al-Fajr. He has produced several documentaries on the Palestinians.

The distinction between being anti-Israel and being pro-Palestinian is an important one – Shmuel Katz, in his excellent book Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine emphasised this.

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