Words Without Borders Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue: Writers Respond

Authors Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi and Chana Morgenstern responded yesterday to a piece that ran in Electronic Intifada, arguing that their series of literary dispatches violates the Palestinian boycott call.

Dr. Haidar Eid, who wrote the Electronic Intifada piece, stated:

Though [their] statement of purpose may be intentionally vague, it is important for anyone who wishes to engage in serious “dialogue” in this area to be aware that a condition of utmost serious conflict exists between a colonial, apartheid occupying power — Israel — and the indigenous people. As part of a strategy for nonviolent resistance, the Palestinians have issued an international call for BDS against Israel until it complies with international law and respects the universality of human rights.

A few Arablit readers also weighed in on Oloomi and Morgenstern’s statement of purpose and first two dispatches. Lula wrote:

Their [Oloomi and Morgenstern’s] statement is NOT value neutral. They say they specifically want to highlight “collaborations between Israeli and Palestinian” writers etc. They could have said “we want to highlight the difficulties faced by Palestinian writers as a result of systematic Israeli human rights violations.” Surely they know there is a BDS call and they decided to highlight the very kind of activities that violate it. No one is discouraging work between Israelis and Palestinians, the point is such work must be cognizant of the actual conditions under which it is taking place and not obscure it. Otherwise isn’t it just like seeking “dialogue” between blacks and whites in 1985 South Africa without bothering to mention a little detail like apartheid?

Yesterday, Oloomi and Morgenstern responded:

We are both against normalization of any kind, and would like to take this opportunity to clarify that the aim of the blog is to understand how writers and filmmakers are responding to the violence and resisting the occupation on both sides.

The two believe:
Both the Israeli and the Western media portray very few examples of Israelis and Palestinians working toward future equality by resisting the occupation, be it through literature, film, or activism. The lack of media coverage in this regard only exacerbates the public cynicism and hopelessness that accompany the terrible violence in the region.
I’m not sure about that; I feel that I’ve seen quite a few “an Arab and an Israeli working together, isn’t that sweet” stories—although I suppose not in the realms of literature, film, or activism (depending on how broadly you define activism).
I’m still interested to see what they will come up with for the next dispatch.

1 Comment

  1. We are all so ready to demolish before the foundations have cured!

    As John Lennon sang:
    “All we are saying,…….”

    Time for more tolerance and less doubting Thomas minds.

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