I grew up in a hopeful state. World leaders were welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport by the IDF marching band playing Naomi Shemer’s 1967 optimistic song Machar, (Tomorrow), a military march describing a state living in peace with its neighbors, and rather naively promising, “all this will happen tomorrow, if not today – and if not tomorrow then the day after.”
I’ve seen Shemer’s today gone, and her tomorrow, too -- drowned in too much violence, rejectionism and hatred. It’s easy to lose hope, to despair. But APN and its supporters are not giving up on the day after.
True, Israeli-Palestinian peace is (at least) 47 years overdue. And yes, it has fierce enemies among both societies, Israeli and Palestinian. These enemies are making a difficult task even harder. But that is not the end of the road. Giving up on peace means giving in to its enemies. It means handing a victory to the extremist settlers, to Hamas and their ilk. Israel can’t afford it, nor can APN and Israel's Peace Now movement allow it.
I would like to share with you an opinion piece that I had published in Haaretz earlier this week. As you can imagine, having pointed at the ills of both Israelis and Palestinians, I drew fire from both camps. Most of the criticism was along the lines of “yes, but they, the other side, are sicker.” Now, how sick is that…?
I would like to thank you for continuing to support us, despite the setbacks, for focusing on hope rather than on fear and despair, and for doing it with open eyes, fully aware of the challenges. Please turn this day, “Black Friday,” into a day of hope, into Shemer’s “day after,” by generously supporting APN. Thank you.
Director of Communications and Public Engagement
Americans for Peace Now
P.S. Thomas Friedman mentioned my article in his column on Wednesday in the New York Times.
The sickness in both Israeli and Palestinian societies
Violence, incitement and racist hatred don’t just increasingly plague Israel. Palestinian society is just as sick – and unlike Israel, lacks a leader voicing genuine self-criticism.
The despicable violence, incitement, racism and hatred that are plaguing Israelis and Palestinians these days demonstrate just how sick both societies are - yes, both – and how desperately they need to separate from each other into two independent states.
The occupation is not the only cause for the sickness on both sides, and ending it will not be a panacea for all the ills of Israeli and Palestinian societies. But it undoubtedly is a necessary component of the long-term therapy that each society needs if they are to function normally.