Struggle for Palestine
Al-Arian, Laila, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
On the second day of the Palistianian Solidarity Movement (PSM) conference speakers at an early morning panel entitled "The Struggle for Palestine: History and Future" provided an historical background of the conflict and outlined the history of dissent in Israel, among other topics.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Yale University professor and author of the recently published Sharing the Land of Canaan (available from the AET book club), gave a history lesson of the Palestine-Israel conflict, beginning with an examination of language used at the time. The term "Zionist colonization," for example, was "regularly used by the British in the 19th century" in reference to Palestine, he explained.
Referring to Zionism as a "disease," Qumsiyeh said Palestine advocates should discuss the symptoms of disease, namely colonization. The media, he added, report only on "resistance to colonization," not on the violence of "repression and ethnic cleansing."
Calling for a change in terminology, Qumisyeh, co-founder of Al-Awda (the Palestine Right of Return Coalition), concluded, "We should stop talking about ending the occupation.. .and [instead] talk about ending apartheid and colonization."
Duke University professor of cultural anthropology Rebecca Stein outlined the history of protest within Jewish Israeli society over the last two decades.
Working on the premise that "there is no Jewish uniformity on the issue of Palestine," Stein expressed concern about the charge of anti-Semitism regarding the PSM conference by some pro-Israel American Jewish groups. …