In a letter Chaim Weizmann sent to the Palestine-British high Commissioner, while the Peel Commission was convening in 1937, he stated:“We shall spread in the whole country in the course of time ….. this is only an arrangement for the next 25 to 30 years.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 66)
Muammar Gaddafi makes a good case in point.
Undoubtedly there will be those who will not use these talking points because they offend the sensibilities of the US political class and fall outside the strictly defined parameters of acceptable public discourse on Palestine. To those people unwilling to challenge the dominant and rigid narrative that prevails in the US and are more concerned with garnering mainstream acceptance than speaking truthfully and forcefully, you have already rendered yourself useless before uttering a single word. You cannot be an effective advocate on behalf of the Palestine cause unless you’re willing to challenge the false assumptions and lies about the Zionist settler-colonial entity and the supposedly virtuous US imperial project that undergirds it. If you’re unwilling to do so it’s preferable to just ikhras [shut-up] rather than join the mealy-mouthed blathering which serves only to reinforce false narratives and assumptions. Remember, you don’t have to talk about Palestine, but should you choose to do so, these talking points will help you do it properly.
1. With the ongoing massacre in Gaza it’s natural that the focus be placed on this small strip of Palestine at this time. However, it is critically important to remind your audience that Gaza is not a separate political entity or geographic unit, but an inseparable part of occupied Palestine. Remember to point out that 75-80 percent of the population trapped in the Gaza open-air prison is made up of refugees ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages in 1948.
2. When you speak about occupation you must make clear you are referring to the occupation of all of Palestine. This can be done by simply referring to the 66 year occupation. The phrase “from the river to the sea” is also effective in providing proper context and clarity. Remember to point out there is no moral or legal distinction between the colonization and occupation of the regions of Palestine conquered in 1948 and 1967.
3. You should not hesitate to defend the right of the Palestinian people to self-defense and resistance, including armed resistance. Your role is to defend this basic right without expressing a preference for any one form or method of resistance. That is entirely up the occupied Palestinian people. Make sure to point out there is no moral or legal equivalence between the violence of the occupier/colonizer and the resistance of the occupied/colonized.
4. Many people will want to focus on HAMAS. You should point out that while HAMAS is not the issue, it is not the terrorist organization that is portrayed by US regime media and the Zionist propaganda machine. Point out that HAMAS is the largest of several Palestinian resistance groups in occupied Palestine that are currently operating under a unified command with the full support of the Palestinian people. Understandably, in a climate of fear and intimidation and with the increase in civil rights violations of recent years, many Arab-Americans will hesitate to defend a Palestinian resistance movement the US Government has designated as a “foreign terrorist organization.” You can and should defend HAMAS and all Palestinian resistance groups within the bounds of the law. US law prohibits providing “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” While the phrase “material support” is arguably ambiguous and has been subject to varied legal interpretations, it certainly does not encompass your right to express your opinion and challenge the terrorist designation. You should forcefully emphasize HAMAS and the other Palestinian factions are not terrorist groups, but resistance organizations fighting against foreign invasion and occupation.
5. Do not invoke the argument of disproportionate use of force by Israel. The principle of proportionality is a norm of customary international law applicable to armed conflict, but any reference to this principle includes an inherent presumption that Israel is entitled to the use of proportionate force. You should remain focused on the fact Israel is a foreign invader and occupier with no right to use any level of force in defense of its military occupation and colonial regime.
6. Point out US complicity in all of Israel’s past and present war crimes. Demand a complete halt to US political, economic, and military support for Israel. Make sure to have done your homework and provide accurate and detailed information about the extent and scope of US economic and military assistance. Remember that during the ongoing massacre US regime officials endorsed Israel’s actions, repeatedly defended “Israel’s right to defend itself” and replenished Israel’s ammunition supplies.
7. Remind your audience this is not solely a “Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, but an Arab-Zionist conflict. Just as different regions of Palestine (48 & 67) and Palestinians under occupation and in the diaspora should not be divided, nor should Palestine be separated from the rest of the region. Point out Israel has been in a state of war with all its Arab neighbors since its inception, and in addition to occupying Palestine, continues to occupy parts of Lebanon and the Syrian Golan Heights. Emphasize that while the liberation of Palestine remains the central cause of the Arab world and the Arab-American community, it is ultimately a morally compelling cause that rests on universal human values.
8. You will inevitably run into those who, either out of ignorance, emotion, ideology, or propagandizing motives, will want to frame the conflict in religious terms. Point out this is not a religious conflict, and quickly move on reminding your audience the conflict is about colonialism, ethnic cleansing, military occupation, and apartheid. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into an irrelevant discussion about religion. This only serves to reinforce the Zionist claim system.
9. Reject all discussion about any “peace process” or “solutions.” Tell your audience a mystery, riddle, or puzzle requires a “solution”, but colonization and occupation requires decolonization and liberation. This is another opportunity for you to stress that Israel has no right to exist, and the conflict will end only with the dismantlement of the settler-colonial entity, the return of all Palestinian refugees to their land, towns, and villages, and the reintegration of Palestine into its natural, historic, geographic, and cultural environment. Avoid elaborating on the post-liberation political architecture of Palestine. Such discussions are premature and should be left to the Palestinians to determine after the liberation of Palestine and the return of all refugees. Also, do not waste time responding to any legal arguments. You should just mention that although International Law is on the side of the Palestinians, the struggle for the liberation of Palestine does not need to be couched in any legal framework.
10. It is not enough to condemn Israeli war crimes and US regime complicity in those war crimes. You should demand accountability which means nothing less than the arrest and trial of all war criminals. Even if the global political landscape and current distribution of power will preclude these demands from being realized in the near future, you should nevertheless insist upon them as a moral imperative.