From Palestine with Love: In support of Arab popular revolutions
Palestinians everywhere were jubilant when two of the most tyrannical regimes in the Arab world were overthrown by youth-initiated people’s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Palestinian civil society has enthusiastically stood with both revolutions' demands for full freedom, rights, dignity, social justice, sustainable development, and emancipation from Western economic and political hegemony. The BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society networks and unions, has saluted the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples, calling on them to also work towards severing all links with and intensifying the already widespread popular boycott of Israel, as a state practicing occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
Confronting the US- and EU-backed Israeli agenda is not only a Palestinian responsibility; it is also one of the critical obligations facing the young revolutionary movements sweeping the Arab world today, toppling or seriously challenging despotic, unelected regimes from Morocco to Bahrain. Aside from its decades-old settler-colonial usurpation of the Palestinian people's land and repression of its rights, Israel’s oppression has always been one of the leading domestic issues facing every people in the region. Israel, after all, has constantly been the key component in the imperial designs to subjugate the peoples of the Arab region, exploiting their riches and resources, and inhibiting their quest for freedom, true political sovereignty, home-grown democracy, and economic independence.
When PACBI raised the slogan, "Your struggle is ours, as ours is yours; your freedom is ours, as ours is yours," it was not simply engaging in rhetorical posturing or venting some unwarranted zeal. PACBI was in fact acknowledging and reflecting a deeply entrenched sentiment among Palestinians and the absolute majority in the Arab world about the unity of struggle, the unity of history, and, crucially, the "unity of destiny," a slogan keenly raised across the region for many years.
Israel could hardly contain its near hysterical reaction to the demise of its closest allies in the region. Across the Israeli political spectrum, reactions ranged from orientalist flippancy, to contempt for the Arabs as historical subjects perceived as lacking agency, to willful distortion, and a remarkable Israel-centeredness. Even "leftists" in Israel joined the herd mentality, comforting the Israeli public that "hate for Israel" was not a top agenda item for the young Arab revolutions, as if Arab-Israeli relations were defined by base, irrational hatred, as opposed to principled resistance to colonialism, or as if the question of Palestine was peripheral to the Arab peoples' aspiration for unity, dignity and progress. Leading Israeli political and military figures continued to praise and remind the public of the "unparalleled" services rendered to Israel and the US by Mubarak, even as millions in Tahrir Square, and elsewhere around Egypt, were on the verge of dethroning his authoritarian regime. The fact that Israel continued to provide Ben-Ali's and Mubarak's crumbling and criminally repressive regimes with military and intelligence aid up to the last minute will undoubtedly confirm to all Arabs everywhere what we already know about Israel's dreadful role and mission in the region.
Amplifying a racist tendency expressed by Israel and its Zionist pressure groups around the world, long-held orientalist views of the Arabs as having been "outside of history" until now were being propagated resiliently by writers in the West. Indeed, they were at a loss to explain the splendid heroism, civility and determination of youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and across the embroiled region.
The modern Arab revolution promises to render Arab governments’ positions on Palestine more closely reflective of the true convictions and principles of the Arab peoples: no normalization with Israel as long as it persists in violating international law, and no immunity to Israel in international forums.
In this regard, we believe that the popular revolution in Egypt and Tunisia has delivered a decisive blow to pro-normalization institutions and personalities who shamefully abet in whitewashing Israel's violations of Palestinian rights and international law. Such institutions and individuals—in the academy, the arts, and in civil society milieus—will not be able to flourish in a polity that is more democratic and representative of the authentic will of the people.
PACBI looks forward to the resounding and comprehensive triumph of popular revolutions in the entire Arab region, for the sake of the peoples of the region, including the Palestinians, aspiring for justice, peace and genuine freedom.