Palestine and Soft Power
The present generation of Palestinians and Israelis are hopeless. Both groups hate, fear and distrust one another. Their bellicose representatives reflect these deep seated hatreds. Worse once entrenched in power these representative, (even if democratically elected) have a vested interest in the perpetuation of hostilities as they were typically elected to win the conflicts that arise from them.
It is important to understand that in this long war, the Palestinians have been the losers. And as I write their military resistance seems like it is in its death throws. Any attacks on the part of the Palestinians, like rocket attacks, are no matter how justified, are simply suicidal. And it is highly likely that very soon they will be completely disarmed.
As I have written previously foreign governments will do NOTHING to help and just as bad, outside of some Muslims and people of the True Left no one else is going to really care either.
People would far rather watch World Cup games because the teamwork and solidarity of these players of all nations, races, religions and ethnic groups to merge their individual talents into a greater whole, points to what is best in all of us.
Who would rather see a child’s head split open and his brain pouring out? That is the worst of what humans can be. And although things like this have happened quite commonly, (in wars) throughout human history, this is something the vast majority of humanity would rather forget.
So if there is ever to be peace with justice in Palestine- Israel there has to be a completely new narrative that is “out of the box” of any used before, one that the people of the world will WANT to embrace. There are many ways to approach a problem. The following is only one. It will always have to start as a dream, but we cannot do anything unless we dream of it first.
I am gong to pick on poor Roger Waters. He was the front man for the British band Pink Floyd. They were very, very popular in the 1970s and many, many people still love their music. Roger feels great pain for the suffering of the Palestinian people. And he is furious at Israel for it. But Roger’s approach is a template for the wrong way to deal with the problems in Palestine- Israel. Instead of helping the Palestinians, all he will do, is like verbal rockets make their situation worse.
In Tel Aviv, as has always happened throughout history, people who hate LIVE ON HATE. They feed on it. So for Netanyahu, when he reads Roger’s words, or the similar words of others, it only makes him smile.
Netanyahu and the other Israeli haters will not take Roger’s words seriously. All they will see in these words is hatred, of them, of Israel and of Jews in general. Roger to Bibi and other haters in Tel Aviv is just another Anti- Semite. Yet another reason why Israel must be as strong as steel and ready to attack its enemies BEFORE their enemies can attack them.
As a real matter however, there are not all that many enemies Israel can attack. They cannot hit Roger and they cannot hit other foreigners who they view as Anti Israel. But whenever Israeli haters are angry, they can always hit the Palestinian people who are sitting ducks.
Does that mean that we cannot criticize Israel? Of course not. But it would be best to keep our criticisms as free from hyperbole as possible. And much better than criticisms, would be to help the Palestinians attain some form of Soft Power.
Roger Waters is a very popular and world famous musician. As such he has a gift of music that he can give, and he has a certain amount of clout, (that you and I do not have) with some powerful people. So instead of just foaming at the mouth and pissing off powerful and vengeful people in Tel Aviv, and telling other musicians to boycott Israel, what if Roger talked with other musicians like Bono, who claim to care about humanity and together with others tried to bring some outside political clout on Netanyahu for a deal.
And that deal would be that Roger and these musicians WOULD indeed play Israel, (at their standard fees) but afterwards they would do a free concert in the Gaza and/ or the West Bank.
Once allowed Roger might bring in musicians from all over the world. Arab musicians, American rappers who can empathize with racism and oppression, European musicians. And how about South African musicians, as Mandela said that Black South Africans could never be truly free until their Palestinian brothers were as well. Perhaps those who loved Mandela will honor this.
And perhaps such, “We Are The World” type concerts can be done EVERY YEAR in Palestine- Israel. Why not?
Even if successful, something like this will not convince Israeli Jews to say, “Wow, we are sorry we took your land. We are going to pack up our bags and go back to Romania, Poland, Russia and Brooklyn.”
Nor will they agree for everyone in the region, Jews and Muslims alike to live together in a Muslim majority state.
But such soft power would accomplish smaller things that may be big things to a long suffering people.
Think of the international publicity these events would bring to Palestine, a totally different type than the usual hate- killing- bombing- terrorist military, homes bulldozed, thuggery, that turns everyone off.
Western bands playing along side Arab and Palestinian, European and African bands, working together and respectful of each other, the very type of thing that made the World Cup great and people everywhere united in loving it.
Think of how Palestinian kids and young people would feel in their prison states knowing and expecting that soon all of this great music is going to come their way. Think of how it would cheer up their dreary lives, counter depression and give them a light of hope that their world may someday get better.
During the festivals foreigners would see Palestinians as human beings and not just Hamas fighters. Human beings just like them. And even after the musicians had gone home, people around the world would know that Palestine exists, and to a degree focus on it in a way they do not focus on it today.
It will make it MUCH harder for Netanyahu to randomly kill Palestinians and bull doze their homes the way he does today, without people everywhere noticing and many of them WILL care.
I am also sure that there are many, many discouraged Jews in Israel who hate what their government is doing and want peace. They feel very isolated and alone, distrusted and even hated in their own country, and hated everywhere simply because they are Israeli Jews.
They would never be allowed to travel to these concerts in the West Bank or Gaza, but perhaps their Peace Groups can do their own free concerts in Tel Aviv. And maybe just maybe some of the great world musicians playing say in the West Bank, could helicopter in one day to jam with these Jewish kids and give them much needed solidarity, let them know the world honors them and they are NOT alone.
Do you have any idea how frightened the haters in Tel Aviv would be for something like this to happen? It would threaten to take away their reason to live, which is to hate Palestinians in the name of Israeli security. If a wave of peace blows through Israel it might even threaten them politically.
The one thing that the Palestinian and Israeli haters will be able to agree on is, that they will BOTH HATE for anything like this to ever happen. These deeply entrenched people have a vested interest in war and the continuation of hate, which is what empowers them within their own society. So it will take some great political will to force it down their throats.
There are however of people, (not politicians) of good will out there who do care about what is happening to the imprisoned Palestinian people. And many of them have political clout. If these people focused their attention and energies on doing positive non- political things, that will help to create peaceful bridges for young Palestinians and Israelis to cross and come together, that will bring peace one Palestinian and one Israeli at a time. And that is the only way forward for a large scale accord to ever happen.