of Hamas victory aren't yet clear, however the election
results have revealed beyond doubt some fundamental information
about Palestine and the Arab world:
again the West and especially the Anglo-Americans must acknowledge
the obvious fact: democracy in the Arab world means Islam. Unless
one is severely Islamophobic this shouldn't raise a problem. But
apparently, we have too many Islam haters both in the left and
in the right who happen to be horrified by the success of Islam
among the masses. Anyhow, the January 25 election in Palestine
should serve as the last warning for those who now insist upon
Democratic and Secular Palestine' - may be a dated concept and
had better be dropped right away.
repeated leftist call for 'one democratic and secular Palestine',
has apparently very little to do with the Palestinian reality.
Apparently, the majority of the Palestinian people in Palestine
prefer to live in an Islamic state rather than in a secular and
democratic one, with democracy not meaning 'voice of the people',
but rather a limited and restricted Western definition of it.
It is now
evident that the call for a secular Palestinian state was there
to serve the interests of some left-wing Zionist schools a la
Yossi Beilin who outrageously denounced the Hamas just days before
the election. Surprisingly enough, this very call against the
Hamas and in favour of a democratic secular state is rather popular
amongst different factions of Jewish Anti-Zionist and Palestinian
again the West and especially
the Anglo-Americans must
acknowledge the obvious fact:
democracy in the Arab world
all face it; the Palestinian people have chosen to live in a Muslim
state rather than in a secular one. If we are as democratic as
we claim to be, it is down to us to respect and welcome the Palestinian
people's choice. I would suggest that to support Palestine is
to support the Palestinian people and their right of return regardless
of their political, theological or cultural choices.
we have to remember that almost half of the Palestinian people
voted for the Fatah movement, in other words, very many Palestinians
may prefer to live in a secular state.
It is necessary
to add as well that the vote represents the choice of the Palestinian
people who live in Palestine. It is rather possible that an election
that would include Diaspora Palestinians in the region and overseas
might well lead to different results altogether. Dealing with
the Palestinian cause, we must take such a possibility into consideration.
At the end of the day, the majority of Palestinians live outside
of Palestine, they were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and ever since
Left discourse has lost its relevancy; it desperately craves an
than a while it is rather clear that left ideology struggles to
find its way within the emerging battle between the West and the
Near East. The parameters of the so-called 'cultural clash' are
so cleverly set that the 'rational' and 'atheist' leftist is always
doomed to find oneself closer to Donald Rumsfeld than to a Muslim
cleric. As long as left ideology is entangled with rational and
anti-religious thinking parameters, it will be a struggle for
it to ally itself with today's oppressed, i.e. Arabs.
the European left insists upon maintaining its relevance, it must
reassess its worldviews regarding rationality, religion and especially
Islam. If the left insists upon maintaining its relevancy it must
re-evaluate the entire idea of working class politics. Apparently,
the oppressed Iraqis have very little in common with the 19th
century European working class. The left must engage in a new
terminology of ethnicity and cultural differentiation. Rather
than imposing our beliefs upon others, we better learn to understand
what others believe in. A scrutiny of the notions of Jihad and
Shahid are no doubt a good place to start.
all face it; the Palestinian people
have chosen to live in a Muslim state
rather than in a secular one.
If we are as democratic as we claim
to be, it is down to us to respect
and welcome the
Palestinian people's choice.
the Israeli street is showing some real signs of mental fatigue,
the Palestinians happen to be as resilient as ever.
As it happens,
the Israelis are now drifting en mass towards Kadima, the new
political agenda founded two months ago by the gravely ill Sharon.
In fact, there is nothing new or innovative about Kadima, it was
created to re-launch the old left Zionist fantasy of a Jewish,
racist, national state with an overwhelmingly Jewish majority
and dominance. Apparently, the Israelis love this option. They
love the idea of the resurrection of the East European ghetto,
right in the heart of the Middle East.
Seemingly, the Fatah was willing to negotiate with this Israeli
agenda. Rationally speaking, it is impossible to blame them. The
Fatah did realise a while ago that it is quite impossible to militarily
defeat American-backed Israeli might. Moreover, it is crucial
to mention that almost half of the Palestinian people in Palestine
agree with the Fatah. They just couldn't bear the Israeli occupation
anymore. The Hamas, on the other hand, said NO to Israel and as
we happen to learn, the majority of the Palestinian people followed
the Hamas. They said NO to Zionist segregation, they said NO to
Israeli occupation, they said NO to shredding Palestine into Bantustans.
Moreover, they say NO to the idea of a Jewish state in the midst
of Palestine. They say NO to the idea of a political settlement
imposed by America. They say YES to an Islamic Palestine. In short,
while the Israelis are showing some clear signs of defeatism,
the majority of the Palestinians insist upon claiming their legitimate
rights. I have no doubt that justice for the Palestinian people
Hamas has the power to move things forward for the Palestinians
in the short term is hard to say. Moreover, the Hamas is a large
movement with more than just a single voice. For instance, for
more than a while I am aware of some leaders within the Hamas
who believe that the two state solution may guarantee separation
from the Israelis and their Western liberal lifestyle. In other
words, even within the Hamas there are those who believe in two
state solution, though for very different reasons. However, it
will be interesting to watch what a pragmatic Hamas' agenda is
going to be.
than any other day, it is rather clear that supporting Palestine
and the Palestinian people must be grounded on listening to the
many voices of Palestine. Rather than imposing our worldviews
on the Palestinian people, we better let the Palestinians be.
We should listen to them and try to find our way within their
Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli
military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is
also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe.
His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by
the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: [email protected].
here to order Gilad Atzmon's CDs and books.
by Gilad Atzmon:
The Tyranny Of Pronouns
The Myth Of
The Open Society: The Politics Of Auschwitz
And Other Marginal Thoughts
Liberating The American People, by Philip Cheah