Creating people's geographies
The Colbert Report yesterday had on Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, as an interviewed guest. To the disgust of many (see the forums), Oren was given a platform to spew lie after lie about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. But there is one bright spot that had Oren momentarily stunned — perhaps disconcerted would be a better description — in a redeeming Colbert comment (h/t Ali Gharib).
I want to say that I repudiate what Helen said. She’s a friend, but I repudiate everything she said. “Go back to Poland, go back to Germany.” That’s ridiculous. Israel is for Israelis. If anything, the Palestinians should go back to where they came from. (Audience laughs, as Oren hesitates.) Do you agree? Do you agree, sir? It’s time to get them back to wherever that was?
Alas I don’t agree. I think there’s room for both of us to share this homeland: Palestinians living in their homeland, Israelis living in their homeland, in a position of permanent and legitimate peace.
Its a pity that homeland is still being stolen and eaten up by illegal outposts, Mr Oren. Not to mention the full litany of the crimes of the hafrada regime that makes a mockery of your vaunted ‘permanent and legitimate peace’. A far better statement, as Helena Cobban astutely suggests, would be something like “there is room in Israel/Palestine for all the Israelis and Palestinians who have a legitimate claim on its land and resources.” It is worth remembering that many Palestinian claims for the right to return to their land and their homes have never been annulled, and are enshrined in international law. And the dispossession is not only historical: it’s still happening. Take the thousands of home demolitions or take-overs, like the Al-Kurd family home take-over in Sheikh Jarrah.