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Fighting for Peace and Equality in Israel – Rula Daood and Alon-Lee Green

Standing Together is an organizing body for Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel. They say the struggle is for a society in which all Arabs and Jews enjoy security, freedom from violence, and, most of all, equality. Rula Daood and Alon-Lee Green join theAnalysis.news with Paul Jay, who asks, can there be equality for Palestinians within a Jewish state?

Paul Jay

Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to theAnalysis.news. Please don’t forget the donate button and subscribe button and such. And thank you to everyone who has already donated and we’ll be back in a few seconds with two organizers inside Israel fighting for what they say is peace and equality.

The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza and ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem has raised even higher the Israeli chauvinist and militarist sentiment inside the country. One poll found that seventy three percent of Israelis wanted the attacks on Gaza to continue. A new government has been formed, but it appears as right wing as the now ousted Netanyahu. It’s even more difficult to organize inside Israel for peace and equality between Israelis and Palestinians. Standing Together has been a leading voice and an organizing body for Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel. They say that they will continue their work because “We are not willing to return to normal.” They say that the struggle is for a society in which all Arabs and Jews enjoy security, freedom from violence, safety in homes and on streets and in the cities, and, most of all, equality.

Now joining us to discuss the current situation in Israel are two leaders of Standing Together. Rula Daood is the co-national director of Standing Together, the joint Arab Jewish Progressive Grassroots Movement. Rula is a speech pathologist in her training and former profession. She started her activism in her current city of Lod, from where she’s coming to us today, around issues of women’s rights and gun violence and promoting partnerships in mixed cities. Rula worked as a community organizer at Standing Together for two years where she produced numerous events and organized protests with hundreds of activists before being appointed co-national director.

Alon-Lee Green is the founding national director of Standing Together. As a teenager, Alon-Lee was active in organizing Israel’s first trade union of waiters in a chain of coffee shops. As leader of the union, he led a six week strike, was fired by management, and then returned to his job by a court order. He eventually won the strike and signed the first ever collective agreement in Israel’s restaurant industry. He went on to found Israel’s first National Waiters Union and has appeared numerous times in the media speaking about young workers rights. In the summer of 2011, he played a prominent role in Israel’s social protest movement and convened some of its largest rallies. Thank you both for joining me.

Rula Daood

Thank you.

Alon-Lee Green

Thank you, Paul.

Paul Jay

So, Rula, start with a little bit more about your own background and how you got involved in Standing Together.

Rula Daood

Actually, I’m originally from up north. I’m from a village called Kufr Yaseef, and, as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, we basically grew up being nonpolitical. I was from the generation who was born to parents who actually lived through the martial law that was inside of Israel. And you grew up in an environment where it’s hard for your parents to accept that you want to be political, that you want to have political issues to fight for, because they come from a place where they were very oppressed.

Rula Daood

So the journey of becoming an activist began in my 20s. Just living in Israel as a second class citizens, it puts you in many circumstances where you understand that you are second class citizens, where you basically have injustice in many points, in many periods of your own life. And at a certain point, it came to a place where I had to basically choose. Do I choose to be silenced and to live my life in a regime where I am reminded every day that I’m not equal to other citizens, or do I stand up and fight my own fights with people who believe in equal rights for everybody, in justice, in social justice, in ending the occupation, and letting everybody in this piece of land in the Middle East have a peaceful, quiet life. And the turning point for me was when I finished my first degree and I wanted to travel because I had so many years where I couldn’t really travel and I didn’t really have money anyway. So I wanted to travel and at the airport I was basically given the whole phase of security checking where you have to go inside the room and I have to undress myself and go through a very humiliating procedure. And that was the point where I actually broke and I chose to stand up and I chose to take a different path in my own life. And I tried to actually enroll in many other parties inside of Israel, but I couldn’t really find my own place, each one for a certain reason. And when I met Standing Together for the first time in my life, it was flag Friday, that you have in Jerusalem. It was last week and other extremists want to have it also this Thursday. And there I saw Standing Together. I saw people with purple t shirts, shouting out in Arabic and in Hebrew against the occupation and against what’s happening in East Jerusalem. And that was basically the first time I met Standing Together. And I chose to actually see what that grassroots movement can can do and what they can give me. And I started becoming more active Standing Together. And bit by bit, I understood that that was a place that can really understand, accept, and actually empower my own identity as a Palestinian citizen of Israel. So that was the moment I found out that this is a political home for me. And since then, I’ve been with Standing Together.

Paul Jay

Just another question before we get to Alon-Lee. This incident at the airport obviously is like a straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s an accumulation of indignities. As a child, when you say you started to become aware of what it means to be a second class citizen, what age was that and was there a particular incident that really did it for you?

Rula Daood

Well, my dad actually really empowered us to be more fluent, to learn more, to try to actually discover things all around us. So he kind of wanted his own kids also to be hard working. And the first time I left home, which was a small village, it was at the age of 14 and I went to work in Tel Aviv. And I think it was that year when I went on a bus in public transportation, because in the villages you don’t really have public transportation. I went down to a market close to the place where I was living, and that was the first time somebody actually called me an Arab. He said, “What are you doing here? Where are your parents?” And he gave some racist comments about me being an Arab. That was a very difficult situation. And I think that was the first time I really understood that there was like Arabs and Jews and that there is a difference between the Arabs and the Jews in the place where you live. But it also was the first time I went out into a mixed city. And it was also the first time I really had communication with somebody who was not an Arab inside of the country that I was living. So it was a kind of different experience at the age of 13, 14.

Paul Jay

We’ll have to do another interview some time and really do more of your history. Alon-Lee, it is not an easy thing to be organizing, first of all, as a Palestinian, but it’s also not an easy thing to be organizing as a Jewish Israeli. To go against what seems to be the popular tide, which seems very right wing, very anti-Palestinian at a level which I think is very hard for most people to imagine. So what’s your story? You organized waiters, a story I told in the introduction, but there’s people that do fight for workers’ rights and for their social rights as Israeli Jews, but they don’t fight for Palestinian rights. So how did you get to there?

Alon-Lee Green

So my personal story as a son to a single mother that struggled economically just to survive in the very expensive city of Tel Aviv. I was a worker in a coffee chain and was exploited together with my friends at the workplace. I think I learned that equality is either for everyone or no one. And I think we do understand in the workplace very well that if someone is worth more than you, if they get more rights and you’re more exploited than them, eventually it will come to everyone. And what is very, very important to understand about Israel is that we have a lot of fights for equality. Different kinds of equality. The LGBT community in Israel is very strongly fighting and struggling for equality. Women in Israel are fighting against violence towards women and fighting for more budgets and support from the government for their personal security. The Arab Palestinian minorities are in a constant fight against discrimination, against a nation state law that was just recently passed by the Israeli Knesset. And when you connect all these struggles, you see a major fight in the Israeli society for equality. And a person that has a window from one fight, for example, the feminist fighter or the LGBT fighter, does understand eventually that these fights and struggles are connected. And this is why it is much more popular these days to be part of the fight for equality for Palestinians Israel. And it’s much more popular, even though it might seem different from the outside, it’s much more popular to be demanding an end to the occupation. Yes, in times of war, people tend to go to the extreme positions and they say things that just reflect the fact that the blood is boiling. But during this cycle of violence, the cycle of war, we saw more and more people supporting our positions and actually taking a stand and taking action. We saw commercial companies putting up billboards saying Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies and that violence is not the answer and that the Arab Palestinian society in Israel must be a part of the general society. This is something we didn’t see in the previous cycles of war or in the last cycles of violence. So you do see that in reality it’s complicated in Israel. On one hand we have the most right wing government ever elected and even the so-called change government that is now being appointed is not going to be a very liberal or left wing or social government, but the people of Israel are more committed to fight for equality than they ever have.

Paul Jay

Rula, one of the things that happened in the recent upsurge of the conflict was that there was a real rise of organizing resistance fighting from Palestinians inside Israel. We’ve seen other times in the past where there’s been conflict between Israel and the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, where Palestinians inside the country didn’t really rise up in the moment. At least that’s my understanding of it. But this time they did.

Rula Daood

To your first question, I think there is a new generation. A different generation. What we have witnessed for so many years was a basically a fear, fear of being political, fear of taking a stand, fear of asking and demanding what is yours. And this last month with everything that was happening with Sheikh Jarrah and the eviction of the families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and going on to two years before that, the violence that you had inside the Palestinian territory, inside of Israel, all of that actually accumulated. And now there is a generation that was asking for solutions. A generation that understood that only by demanding what’s yours, can you really achieve or make any change. And this time you’re talking about people that are not afraid of being political, that are not afraid of going out and demonstrating, that are not afraid of marching from one city to another city for their own just causes. And these voices are basically being empowered from other parts inside of the Palestinian society of Israel. And not only just by people, but you see organizations rising up and also empowering that same generation. So we have evolved from one place where we had fear every day to a generation that is willing to actually make a change. And by making a change they understand that they can go out, demonstrate, shout out, and do the things that are actually right for people to do when you want to demonstrate. So this is basically the big change that happened in the last few years.

And you can also see that most of the people who came out, the Palestinian youth, the citizens here, are also young people who have been driven by other calls and struggles that have been led in other cities. So you had this kind of feeling that we have a power as one people here inside of Israel. And we just wanted to show that we really have a just cause and just went out to the streets. And it’s been happening for several weeks now. And once it happens, you see more people joining you. So it’s kind of empowering everything that started. And I do hope that this kind of awakening really goes on beyond these weeks and beyond the period where we came to more violence and war against Gaza and that it moves on to make a real difference inside of Israeli society. So I do hope that this is just the beginning for something that is much bigger.

Paul Jay

Alon-Lee, how are Israelis responding to this awakening among the Palestinians in Israel? Does that make them rethink where things are heading or does it actually consolidate a more right wing position?

Alon-Lee Green

You mean Jewish Israelis, right?

Paul Jay

Yeah, Jewish Israelis.

Alon-Lee Green

So it’s a diverse situation, of course. And you see a lot of kinds of responses. The Israeli Right-Wing is trying to use this uprising, this wave of protest in the Israeli mixed cities, in the Arab municipalities around Israel, to claim that all Arabs are violent and that the Arab society of Israel prefers to be recognized as Palestinians and not Israelis, as if they cannot deal with the complexity that they are both Palestinian and citizens of Israel. They are trying to use this situation to say Hamas is actually leading the Arab society in Israel and that you can see Hamas flags in demonstrations or funerals of people that are shot by the Israeli police inside the cities of Israel. And by the way, they just cannot differentiate between one green flag with another, because there are also Arab movements, Muslim Arab movements inside Israel, with a green flag with Arabic on it and it’s not the Hamas flag. But they try to use this situation to push the general population further to the right and further into positions that are destructive to the Palestinian struggle for independence and for equality inside Israel. But we did see also a big wave of support among Jewish Israelis saying that it is a struggle for freedom, it’s a struggle for equality, and there were many young Palestinian citizens of Israel that were awakened in the last weeks. You look on the social networks and you see something you’ve never seen before. People, one after the other, are changing their profile picture into the red color of this struggle. They’re adding the purple of our movement as badges to their profile. It’s catching like fire. And you see a lot of empathy and a lot of support from Jews. You saw a lot of demonstrations all across Israel in these days of war and escalation of Jews and Arabs coming together. Not only saying coexistence, but saying the war must end, the occupation must end. And I’m talking about thousands of citizens in the time of war. And usually, in the time of war, people, the politicians, even the left wing politicians in Israel, are saying, “now the guns are shooting. Wait, let’s see what’s happened and then we’ll talk about the consequences and what is actually going on.” But this time, you saw a lot of Israelis, Jews and Palestinians, going out to the streets. And it’s also an interesting phenomenon to understand that whenever the government is trying to attack the Palestinian minority inside Israel and to delegitimize the representatives of Palestinians in the Knesset, it actually creates the opposite reaction. More voters, Palestinian voters, are going out to vote. We saw the largest fraction ever of the Joint List with 15 seats in parliament despite there being attacks and attempts to create a suppression of Arab voters in Israel. So that worked against the government. They tried to delegitimize the Palestinian community in Israel. It didn’t work for them.

Paul Jay

Rula, let’s deal with the big underlying question and then we can get into some other issues. As long as Israel is defined as a Jewish state, can Palestinian Israelis be anything but some form of second class? And let me add to that. If Israel is defined as a Jewish state, how do you ever get to a legitimate two state, although it seems to me that most people have given up on a real two state solution. Which leaves you with a one person, one vote situation, at least that would be the demand. That certainly would be what democracy looks like. Of course, then you’d have Palestinians having fifty two percent of the vote. What’s your thinking on how this gets resolved, both in kind of a more short term way and longer term way?

Rula Daood

Well, something that many are told from third grade until ninth grade every time that you open a book of history is that Israel is a Jewish and democratic country. I think this has been proven wrong repeatedly. We say every time when anybody says that Israel is democratic and also the land of the Jews, that Israel is a country that acts to its Arabs as if its Jewish and gives the democracy to its Jewish citizens. So I think we all understand and realize that as long as we have a country that is based on ethnicity and based on making citizens first class and second class, we can’t really achieve democracy. We can’t really achieve equality. We can’t really achieve a community or a society that is equal for everybody. So I think that answers your first question. For the second question, when we talk about the solution, this is a really big question for which you can’t really have an answer in 30 minutes or even in one minute. But I think the very basic thing that we must all agree on is that the solution has to be rightful for both nations, for both people. And I think coming from a place of minority inside of Israel, from a place where I can’t really feel belonging to the country I am in or to any of its symbols, it’s really hard for me to feel as a real citizen of this country. I would really want us to achieve a place where we really have equality for both nations and we have both people, Jews and also Palestinians, deciding their own fate. People sitting in one room and talking about that solution and not having others deciding for both of us what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing. And I think that solution must talk about justice for both parts, for their own independence. So the bottom line is the solution must actually be agreed on both sides. And that solution must really talk about freedom, equality, independence for both sides, and that every one of us has a right, a basic right of living an equal and free life.

Paul Jay

Well if you link that to your first answer, that doesn’t really happen as long as the only state is called a Jewish state. And you said there needs to be negotiation. But, if you’re one of the negotiators, what your vision of what you’re negotiating for?

Rula Daood

Well, I think I’ve said it two days ago. We had an argument, a bunch of us activists. Is it one country for all of us? Is it two countries and what side are you in? And I gave this answer: “I want a country where I can go to football/soccer and shout out the name of the country that I belong to and the name of the players that are playing for me. And that kind of a vision that I have, makes it maybe harder and more complicated because in reality you have one nation occupying another nation. And inside of that country you have the minority of Palestinian citizens of Israel. And every time we wanted to have that kind of a dance of you as a Palestinian and an Israeli citizen, it’s very hard to see a future where all of that happens in just one simple solution that says one country or two countries. So for my solution I choose a reality where I can be equal, where I can have the same rights. When I call up for an apartment to buy or to rent, they’re not going to ask me for my name and what the meaning of the name is and whether I am an Arab and where do I come from? So I would just cheer for a place where I am really equal to everybody else and my own identity doesn’t scare anybody. I think we’re in a place where you have so many complicated issues and complicated struggles that it is not that easy to really have that question of is it one country or two countries? There are too many factors inside that are changing rapidly because of the way we are living. And of course, we can talk about many elements that combined all together and have brought us to a very difficult and complicated reality, but it is a reality that we are living in.

Alon-Lee Green

Just a few thoughts. First of all, it is important to understand that we don’t separate between the struggles. Our struggle against occupation and our struggle for freedom and independence for Palestinians is not separated from the struggle against Jewish supremacy inside Israel or against racism or discrimination against the Palestinians living as citizens of Israel. And it is important for us to connect the struggles. We are fighting for justice, not just because we are in solidarity with Palestinians, but also we are fighting for ourselves, for our own self-interest of living in an equal country, in a country where our needs are being fulfilled, in a country where our government is not working against one fifth of the population, but also against Ethiopians, against ex-Soviet Jews, against the LGBT people. So what we do is try and connect the struggles, but we will not also sit on the fence and say, “we have this amazing vision about how Israel and Palestine should look like one day and we’ll wait until this day will come.” We need to fight to really end the occupation in our lifetime. I wish it will not take a lifetime, but rather happen in the next few years. And we need to understand that what we’re fighting is also people dying, people losing their families, people losing their houses, people losing their children in the recent war in Gaza. Sixty nine Palestinian children died in that. And this is a reaction we need to change. So, yes, we have a long term vision. Yes we have dreams for this place. But we also are building a struggle right now on the ground with as many partners as we can get. Yes, some of these partners will not be our partners in the fight for complete equality inside Israel. And they will not be our partners in our fight against supremacy in Israel. But if they are willing to go with us some part of the way to end the occupation right now. And to end the blood circle and where people are losing their lives, we will need to cooperate with them so we can build a majority inside Israel. We will continue to fight. You know, I’m a socialist. I want to see this place become one socialist state where people can fulfill themselves and have all the equality they can get. I’m cooperating with people that are not thinking like me. Its a necessity if we want to stop the occupation.

Paul Jay

So by talking about equality, by talking about linking the workers’ struggles and the other struggles of Jewish Israelis with the Palestinian struggle, you’re, according to many Israelis, including most of the government, a traitor. The rhetoric against people who take a position like you do is as inflammatory as anyone could imagine because, I guess, it’s in the interests of the people that run Israel and benefit from the situation to keep people united on the basis of being anti Palestinian so they don’t unite on the basis of what you say is their own interest.

Paul Jay

That being said, you say you want to end the occupation now. What does that look like?

Alon-Lee Green

It looks like no more Israeli military in Palestinian villages, no more arrests of children in the middle of the night just to be detained by Israelis 18 years old coming with a gun, waking you up in the middle of the night, creating a huge mess in your house and taking children to be detained. It means no more casualties in Gaza. It means no more blockades on Gaza, no more bombings of Gaza. It means no more enslaving ourselves as a society to the occupation. It means the dismantlement of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and returning to the borders of Israel and not trying to occupy them, not trying to build more settlements and to take what is not yours. I know it is not the end of our vision, but it is a necessity right now because blood is being spilled. Because, just in recent days, dozens of people lost their lives in this region. This is something we took upon ourselves to stop.

Paul Jay

You’ve got, obviously, this immediate situation that you just described. Somewhat longer term, and who knows how long, but in terms of demands at least, if there’s any kind of democracy, if that words going to mean anything, it has to be one person, one vote. And one person, one vote right now would include the West Bank and Gaza, given that it’s been under Israeli rule for decades.

Alon-Lee Green

So right now, even though it’s not something I am happy with, it’s not my choice, but there is a very strong and big Jewish majority, a national majority inside Israel that seeks and supports the right for self-determination of Jews living in Israel. Some of them would even claim it’s the right for self determination of all Jews in the world, something I really disagree with. Inside the Palestinian territories, there is a strong, big national majority of Palestinians supporting their right to end occupation, to live in freedom, and to self-determine as Palestinians in the Palestinian state. This is a demand that you cannot ignore. If you put this majority with this majority and you put them under one roof, the support and their will to self-determine will not end and just disappear. I think it’s a recipe for more clashes, a recipe for more blood and it is something we need years to work on. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to work on it. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to seek complete equality in Israel. But the first step must be ending the occupation and ending the endless wars. If you ignore the fact that there are some people living under a military regime and you jump just to the end part of your vision, some steps on the way might be ignored and you will just have a different result than what you seek. These different results can a lot of blood. So what we say right now is that we try to build a coalition, a historic majority inside Israel to first end the occupation. We are also having the fight to achieve a complete equality inside Israel and to end Jewish supremacy in Israel. It is something that we are working daily to broaden the camp that supports our stance and supports our claims and demands. But, you cannot ignore that the majority of Palestinians want to live in an independent state. And you cannot ignore the fact that the majority of Jews in this land want to live in an independent state.

Paul Jay

Rula, do you want to pick that up?

Rula Daood

Maybe it gets lost because we have bigger issues or bigger things to think about regarding the solution or what’s supposed to happen in the Middle East. And one of the hardest things for Palestinian citizens of Israel is that so many times the story of Palestinians inside of Israel is kind of lost. Every time you talk about the solution, we are automatically addressed as full citizens of Israel. And then we don’t really have a say in what’s happening or it comes last or we are again second class, sitting on the bench and just waiting for others to choose for us. And that is why every time we talk about the occupation and the solution, every time they ask me, I have the same answer. Every solution that does not see me as a Palestinian, as part of the Palestinian people, whether they are refugees living in Israel, living in Gaza, living in Ramallah, as one nation that is living inside of Israel and should have their own rights, equality, social justice. And the fact that we are citizens of Israel should not make us less worthy of being one part of that equation. And so many times when we have that discussion, it feels like we forget that more than 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian and automatically the discussion becomes, “is it one nation? Two nations?” And how do we talk about the solution or react to it? And that is why I emphasize always that every solution must say that you fully understand the identity of the other side and you will give equal rights for everybody. And I think that is the beginning of the solution. It’s not the end of the solution. If you talk about the occupation, you must also talk about equal rights for everybody who is living here. And that is one point that I think is always missing whenever we talk about occupation.

Paul Jay

OK, this is a long conversation, which we should do again. I want to talk a little bit about the current politics of the new government in Israel, but definitely we’ll do this again soon and dig into this whole question. Right now, most Israelis don’t even want to call you Palestinian. You’re an Arab. They don’t want to recognize there are such things as Palestinians, especially inside Israel. But I guess that’s partly connected to my next question. Let me go to Alon-Lee to start on this. Alon, the government that’s now replaced Netanyahu is every bit as right wing or more right wing. And not only in terms of the Palestinian question, but even in terms of Israeli domestic issues. Where the hell is some kind of even centrist opposition, never mind Social Democrat? 

Alon-Lee Green

Let me start by saying that I’m happy that Netanyahu might possibly go away after 13 years of destruction and hatred and incitement and discrimination and creating more and more social and economic gaps in Israel. I would be very happy if that will happen in the next few days. I would be very happy to see him leave. Am I happy with the new government? We’re handing an extreme right winger the prime ministry. We’re handing a person with five or six seats, some of them started to leave him in parliament, the option to lead Israel, even though he has such minor support. Who is giving him this amazing opportunity and gift? It’s also the left wing parties of Israel. They’re doing that because the way that the political camps are organized right now, the basic question of your political identity is not socialism against capitalism, it’s not occupation against peace, it’s mainly Netanyahu, for and against. And if you’re against Netanyahu, the right wing and left wing are meeting each other and forming a coalition just to oust Netanyahu. They claim it will be a coalition that will do nothing but remove Netanyahu and run the country and move it outside of the situation it’s been in the last 10 years. Is it true? It’s not true because they will execute policies that will be right wing. They will try and erase the Palestinian question, even though we see it again and again and again. You raised this question because it explodes in your face when try to bury it under the rug. They will try to preserve the status quo. They will try to not change racist laws like the nation state law that has been passed three years ago. And I think they will learn that its the left party that’s been voted in. You know, the question in Israel is will you call them left?

Paul Jay

Yeah, I was going to ask you that. What is left about what you’re calling the left wing? Certainly in relationship to the Palestinian issue there’s nothing left about them, is there?

Alon-Lee Green

You will be surprised to know that many of the liberal left of Israel have kind of moved to the left and have been more active in the question of fighting against the occupation from their own perspective of things, but they talk about the occupation, about human rights in the West Bank and Gaza. But then they are being quiet when there’s a war and they say it’s not the time to go to the streets and they didn’t join are rallies until the day after the war, until after the cease fire. Then they came for the first rally we organized with thousands of people, and they had a speech on the stage and stuff, but they waited until the cease fire to do it. But they do talk about the occupation. They have some good parliament members that are active. Mossi Raz for example, is an amazing example of a parliament member that you will find every Friday in Sheikh Jarrah in the West Bank in demonstration rallying against occupation. So again, it’s complicated when you look at it. But then there will be the partners of Naftali Bennet in the government. Whether it will allow him to work against occupation and to protest even against occupation, but to speak about executing policies against the occupation. I don’t think it will allow him. It will be kind of safe to say that we will be creating the opposition space in Israel in the next few years. And you cannot put your hopes in the Israeli government or the Israeli parliament even because no hope will rise from there. The hope will rise from the people that are choosing to act in reality and have proven again and again and again that they’re willing to even get beaten by the police. If you’re a Palestinian citizen of Israel, you could be arrested even just for posting something on Facebook or just being in a demonstration. You can come back to your home, go to sleep, and in the next morning, the police will knock on your door and arrest you for attending a demonstration. So these people are bringing hope to Israel. These people are creating the opposition in Israel. And it’s not only about opposition, but we want to gain power. And I think we kept the momentum in the last few weeks. 

Paul Jay

Rula, before the election or in the lead up to the election, there was a lot of talk about how the Palestinian parties, of course, the Israeli press calls them Arab parties, but how the Palestinian parties would have more leverage. They might be able to decide who forms the government. It hasn’t turned out this way. As far as I can understand it. The Palestinian parties have wound up with not really much leverage at all. You have as reactionary a government as there was before. What does that do in terms of Palestinians’ feelings about the whole electoral process in Israel? Does it make them want to do more or give up on it?

Rula Daood

Well, I think the fact that we had four elections in two years and the fact that in the first and second elections you could see the kind of power that the Palestinians felt they had because finally we could see a leadership and we could see somebody fighting our fight and saying our name. But it unfortunately didn’t really last because the political game delegitimized in a very harsh way these parties. And today, by understanding that also in the Palestinian parties, you have left and right and you have the more conservative and more liberal parties, you can understand that the whole political map has really changed rapidly. What we see right now by Ra’am, which has Mansour Abbas sitting in the coalition as a part of the more Islamic movement. So Israel actually shows us that you have conservative people and more right wing people sitting together in one government after so many elections. After three elections that is what we have right now. So I think the effect that this will have on the Palestinian society is going to be unfortunately negative on the political electoral weight, because even if Mansour Abbas really holds it and brings some achievements, they are always going to say that you sat in a government of real, extreme right wing people. The prime minister has talked about killing Palestinians in a very proud way in one of his rallies. And on the other side, if he doesn’t bring back any achievements, also it’s going to be back with “here you go you sat down with the right wing right extremist and you brought back nothing. No achievements for the Palestinian people, Palestinian citizens of Israel.” I see that in the parliament we aren’t really achieving anything for the citizens. But what we really achieved when we talk about grassroots and when we talk about having power and understanding the power that you have in the streets with the people is that you can see that people basically rose up and went out and called out and shouted out and had rallies and demonstrations for weeks after weeks after weeks without even tiring or being afraid of all the political arrests that we have been seeing for the last few days. So it gave us something. It made them acknowledge the power that we have when we organize as people and go out fighting for the things that we see as very important for us as rights in this country. So maybe in the political and electoral plays, maybe that part is lost, but I think the people that live here have eventually come to a place where they understand the power that we really have when we stand together.

Paul Jay

All right. Well, thank you both for joining us.

Rula Daood

Thank you for having us.

Alon-Lee Green

Thank you very much Paul.

Paul Jay

And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news. We’ll be asking both our guests to come back again soon. Please don’t forget the donate button and the share button and the subscribe button and all the buttons.

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2 Comments

  1. excellent interview Mr. Jay! this is truly inspirational, shows its not all doom and gloom, and organizations/voices like these really need to be sought out and reported more. Thanks for this, keep up the great work.

  2. > Standing Together is an organizing body for Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel.

    That’s great. It’s awesome. It shows the openness and true intent of Israeli society, and their true intentions.

    Could I ask if you can report something similar from the Palestinian side please? In either the West Bank of Gaza?

    Why is that asymmetry not acknowledged or addressed; in fact, why isthat asymmetry denied and hushed up by the Left Wing reporters? Does that not seem like something that is a significant thing to report on?

    From what I have read and understand, if someone did this in the WB/G they would likely be grabbed and dragged through the city behind a truck. What does that communicate to the Palestinian people? A free, democratic, Liberal society ready for statehood?

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