Don't Cross The Picket Line

This is my response to the recent revelation of the devious acts done in the name of inter faith solidarity by the Shalom Hartman Institute. This initiative is called the Muslim Leadership Initiative. They invite up and coming Muslims to join them on an all expenses paid junket to Israel. They choose Muslims that are of South Asian or other races, never Arabs and certainly not Palestinians. The endeavor is done in secret, the participants go and come back in a shroud of mystery. There is a group there now and when they were approached by a popular Palestinian blogger they physically assaulted him and berated him. This is solidarity? That the one Palestinian you encounter you assault and disrespect? That incident alone speaks volumes and reveals all we need to know about such a project. This is not how you treat other people. This is not how you treat other Muslims. This is not how you treat the oppressed. This is not how you respond to those you claim solidarity with.

Honestly the fact that they are Muslims does not matter, it just stabs the knife in a bit more is all. The reaction would be just as much if they were not Muslims. The fact is that this organization is a direct supporter of the Israeli military, and a propaganda machine for Zionism. Zionism is a vile system based on a master race theology that invokes racism, apartheid, genocide and murder as justifiable ways of dealing with other human beings. This system is truly evil. To see an organization pluck out, seek out, stalk, and strategically choose up and coming Muslims to join them on a trip to Israel is not only heartbreaking but a slap in the face to everyone working for justice in this issue. 

They are not going to Palestine, to refugee camps, to mosques that have been bombed, and not schools coated with the remnants of nerve gas and are not visiting or assisting dying refugees in Gaza…but they are going to the pristine, landscaped, protected illegal settlements of Israel. 

They take them there to indoctrinate them with the aims of Zionism, to turn them against their own communities. They have never, and will never, invite any Arab on this trip. It is all South Asians and other races. Why? Because this is a race issue. Inviting an Arab would never work. The message is: we are wonderful Zionists, we like Muslims, we just don’t like THESE Muslims, the Arab Muslims, the Palestinian Muslims, but you guys? You guys are cool. (forgetting, as always that a serious component of Palestinian society is Baha’i, Christian and others) The organization operates in secret and to this day we have no complete list of those who participated. Why keep it secret? Why create suspicion, which is haram in Islam? Why ignore the cries of your fellow Muslims simply asking for answers? When simple, respectful pleas for an explanation are pointed at the participants they respond with vulgar insults, threats, mocking, condescension and out right blocking. How is this a community building tool?

They have done exactly what the goal of this organization was to do: cause a rift in the Muslim community. 
You do not have to ‘support Palestine’ just because you are Muslim, it is not a Muslim issue or even a religious issue. The media presents it as a religious issue but it is far from it. It is a race issue. It has always been a race issue. It will always be a race issue. Zionism is a sickness. To see fellow Muslims fall victim to it angers me. I am a Palestinian. I was born to a refugee parent and I grew up here in America. Because of that I acknowledge that I have a degree of privilege that Palestinians living in Palestine do not have. When I would visit my grandparents there I recognized this privilege. I have an American Passport. I can do almost anything I want, go anywhere I want, skip certain check points, use the high way. They could not do any of that. They could not go beyond their neighborhood. Because of this acknowledged privilege I have I am careful to what extent I speak for my people. I am in the diaspora, they are in Palestine. We both struggle by my struggle is not their struggle and their struggle is not my struggle. I wake up in a comfortable bed, in a nice apartment. I can rely on the promise of endless amounts of clean water, electricity and internet. I do not fear bombs. I do not fear Apartheid walls 2.5 times higher than the Berlin wall. I have privilege. So to see those who have no part in this struggle at all cross the picket line, blatantly ignore calls from Palestinians to boycott, divest and sanction Zionism and its sympathizers and then speak on the behalf of the oppressed is downright repulsive. There is a certain level of respect you have for oppressed people, even if you do not support their cause.

You do not cross the picket line, you do not work against them, you do not assist the enemy. The enemy here is not Jews, it is the state of Israel that operates on a racist ideology called Zionism that insists on a master race dominant society. Just like apartheid in South Africa, we BOYCOTT DIVEST AND SANCTION those who would seek to normalize relations with such a system. Anyone can support the Zionist apartheid agenda but that makes them a legit target for BDS. There is no longer going to be an acceptance for such policies, of murder, apartheid and oppression. Israel outright slaughtered nearly 3k people last summer while the world watched and clapped as children fell from Zionist bullets. 

If anyone supports, in any way, that system then they deserve to be named, blamed, labeled, call out, sanctioned, boycotted, and divested from …from the biggest corporation to the loneliest individual.

An article that goes deeper into the discovery of this can be found here, written by Sana Saeed. 

Another great piece explaining the background of the parties and organizations involved can be found here, written by Ali Abunimah


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