Encounters of The Non-Violent Kind

Jonathan Freedland:

Nevertheless, non-violent encounters with Israeli authority – whether at checkpoints or even at the gates of Jewish settlements – might be the best hope Palestinians have of winning the sympathy of outsiders. Palestinians could compare their struggle to the Martin Luther King movement for civil rights, walking and marching for their freedom.

Like the tango, it takes two to non-violent encounter. If I doorstep you with a gun and ask you to make a charitable donation, it is not a non-violent encounter just because I decide not to shoot. Likewise, when an unarmed protester on the West Bank confronts an armed member of the IDF, this is not a non-violent encounter either. But that’s besides the point I want to make, which is that non-violent protests in Palestine are often met with a violent reaction. Like Mairead Corrigan Maguire found out:

Personally speaking, I don’t think one should ask other people to allow themselves to get shot in order to make a basic point about justice. If people decide they want to risk getting shot, fine, but it isn’t for others to encourage it unless they’re prepared to do it themselves.


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