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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/14/19

Rashida Tlaib's Palestinian Theology of Good Samaritanism and Redemption

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So what keeps her from being angry and bitter? What keeps her in a "place of nonviolence and love?"

She is made calm when she considers that her people's land, Palestine, became a refuge for the Jewish refugees from the murderous Nazis. Although it is true that Jews and Palestinians have had a rocky relationship, it should also be recognized that there are Israeli-Palestinian partnerships and that the PLO recognized Israel in the Oslo Accords. (Yes, despite propaganda to the contrary that you still meet with in New York).

Rep. Tlaib is putting forward a nonviolent theology of Palestinian suffering. They have lost so much so that another people, victims of a world-historical genocide horrible to contemplate, could recover their humanity and thrive. But the Palestinians have paid an enormous price, and there is no reason for them to pay it forever.

She is gracious enough not to say so, but this entire Palestine-Israel conflict could have been avoided if cultured Europeans who read Goethe and Thomas Mann had not murdered 6 million Jews and expelled most of the rest. It could also have been avoided if Britain, the United States, Brazil and many other countries hadn't refused to take in the Jews fleeing the Nazis. Because of American racism and the racism of other industrial countries that could have absorbed all those Jews, they were forced to go to Palestine.

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That so many Israelis are descendants of Holocaust survivors helps her work through the meaning of Palestinian suffering.

She continued:

    "And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right? In many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them. And so, when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that why can't we do it in a better way? And I don't want people to do it in the name of Judaism, just like I don't want people to use Islam in that way. It has to be done in a way of values around equality, and around the fact that you shouldn't oppress others so that you can feel free and safe. Why can't we all be free and safe together?"

Host: But a one-state solution with the right of return, I mean just the math would suggest that Jews would become a minority in that state.

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But Dan it's not up to us to decide what it looks like, right? Just like when my African-American teachers taught me about neighborhoods they couldn't live in, places they couldn't work. It's important to understand that separate but equal didn't work here and we have to let the self-determination happen there.

... But isn't it giving up, the idea of a two state solution ...?

    "I didn't give it up, Netanyahu gave it up ... But uprooting people all over again? To say that that's going to happen... because you understand when you look at the landscape, and just map it out, how he has proceeded to divide, proceeded to dissect communities, it is almost absolutely impossible to see a two-state solution without more people being hurt."

...How do you distinguish your position from Hamas?

    "I don't come from a place of violence. I come from a place of love, equality and justice."

Somehow that sentence from the interview, which should have been the Lede, did not get quoted in the newspapers. Tlaib is leading on social justice, and if only we could replace the Trumps and Cheneys and Lee Zeldins with people like her, we might actually get through our current travails.

Tlaib is a hero and should be acclaimed as such.

Bonus video:

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The Young Turks: "Rashida Tlaib TRIGGERS Right-Wing Nutjobs"

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

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