In case you didn’t know, the passion and plight of the Palestinian people is an increasing interest of mine and, thus, probably of this blog as well. One of the many problems keeping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gridlocked is the lack of fair, balanced perspectives in the American media: how often do you hear about the conflict from a Palestinian perspective? So I was pleased to stumble across this clip of Jon Stewart’s interview with Mustafa Barghouti, a leading Palestinian politician, and Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American writer who has spent considerable time in the Palestinian territories.
Both of these folks strike a number of good points in an 8-minute interview (and despite a fair amount of heckling). He’s right, for example, that many Palestinians (though, sadly, a decreasing number as many emigrate elsewhere) are, in fact, Christians: something that Christian Zionists like, say, John Hagee could use to keep in mind when they blindly endorse every act of Israeli aggression. But he’s also right, I hope, on the broader point that nonviolence in the tradition of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Desmond Tutu is the only viable way forward to lasting peace.
And she’s right—and I’m so thrilled she mentioned this!—that so many of Israel’s policies are completely contrary to the principles of Judaism. If Jewish fundamentalists were really, you know, fundamentalists—that is, if they adhered strictly to the letter of Torah—then the policies of Israel would look completely different than they do now. Which is why the most conservative of Jews don’t even recognize the modern state of Israel as a Jewish state. Other than the fact that the majority of its citizens are Jews, there’s nothing really Jewish about it.
These two are fresh, and the world needs to hear what they have to say. I really wish Stewart would just shut up and let these brilliant people talk. Part 2 is here. Money quote, from Barghouti:
Israel has tried for sixty years the language of power to achieve security. The only road that was not tried fully was to have peace with Palestinians. And I am sure that this is the best guarantee for security.