Dr MAZIN QUMSIYEH is a tireless activist for Palestinian human rights who returned to his hometown of Beit Sahour in the Israeli-occupied West Bank last year and now teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. The author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle (2004), Qumsiyeh is both a human rights activist and a scientist who has a lengthy list of publications on genetics to his credit. The Electronic Intifada contributor Ida Audeh met with him in April and discussed advocating the Palestinian cause in the United States and his impressions about the current direction of the Palestinian struggle.

During the 29 years he lived in the United States, Qumsiyeh earned masters and doctoral degrees; taught at several prestigious universities, including Duke and Yale; co-founded activist organizations (Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the Wheels of Justice Tour — a traveling tour bus that stops at different communities to educate them about Palestine and Iraq); and was a board member for numerous organizations. Since the mid-1990s, he has maintained email lists that focus on human rights and international law. His weekly postings now reach approximately 50,000 individuals and include reports of events and comments that are informed by a deep understanding of common struggles in other parts of the world. An optimist who advocates “having joyful participation in the sorrows of this world,” he includes in every e-mail at least one action that the reader can take to make a difference. (From an interview with Ida Audeh,  The Electronic Intifada , 11 May 2009)


We have been extremely busy here.  The presence of soldiers in Beit Sahour gave us ample time to talk to them on Thursday and on Friday; we spent the morning planting trees in threatened private lands. We were proud of young and old, internationals and Palestinians, working together, some 150 people in all.  Even a bus of elderly from the elderly home in Beit Sahour showed up to help.  My 77 year old mother was among them.  It was such a meaningful thing.  The day before was meaningful in a different way.  The hours we spent talking to soldiers on Thursday was important too we believe. Foot soldiers in an army of occupation know so little other than what their government tells them.  They tell them lies about Arabs “terrorism”, Jewish eternal “victimization”,  the need to be strong to “defend” a country created so that they could simply live alone away from the anti-Semites (who are essentially all the Christians and the Muslims).  They tell them that it is an unexplainable phenomenon this hatred of the Jews and it has nothing to do with what Jews do or did.  It is almost a genetic thing.

A friend wrote to me that

” My visit to Yad Vashem in 2006, during the war with Lebanon, was a painful lesson.  The museum of the Shoah is being used to indoctrinate young Israelis, esp. the military, that the whole world is and always has been against the Jews, and that the only solution is for Israelis to be firm and resolute against the whole world, even if it means being inhuman to the Palestinians.  The “righteous among the nations” are cited as flukes, as anomalies, with no explanations offered for their sacrifices because for the Israelis though these people did something good, their motivations MUST remain in the shadows (e.g. Christian faith; social justice; their own experiences of oppression, etc.) so that the survival of the State of Israel can remain the one and only center stage concern.  Yad Vashem is an immoral propaganda museum, and as such is a disgrace to the State of Israel and to Jewish moral and prophetic tradition.  There is great risk in this symbol of moral obtuseness:  if the Jewish people are AGAINST the whole world, then Israel’s role as the priestly people, as the people through whom God has revealed himself through the Torah is fundamentally undermined.  The Jewish people thus LOSE their spiritual role in the history of the world, fail in their duty of faithfulness to the Mosaic covenant, and run the risk of a kind of spiritual suicide.  Anyone can see that this spiritual suicide might become a prelude to a material one, alas.  The individuals you mention who have the courage to oppose the apartheid policies of the State of Israel are in fact true heirs of the Biblical prophets, whose messages of apocalyptic warning were meant to show a “way out” when the ancient people of Israel had lost their way.  It is pretty clear that the Israelis of today have truly lost their way both spiritually and politically, and absolutely need the help of prophetic voices.”

Explaining reality to these young kids (and 18-22 year olds are younger than my son) who are guarding bulldozers engaged in colonization efforts inside a Palestinian is not easy but is doable.  We explain to them things they did not know and some indeed begin to shed the self-imposed chains.  That is why officers have instruction to prevent these kinds of dialogs.  Zionism resulted in dozens of massacres and left 2/3rds of the total population of natives (Christians and Muslims) as refugees or displaced people.  Even Moshe Dayan stated:

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

For more on this, see the book by Jewish-Israeli professor Ilan Pappe on “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” Rather than being a victim, Israel is in violation of dozens of UN resolutions and has violated just about every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights per International human rights organizations (and even Israeli ones like B’Tselem). Israelis who discover this dark history have two choices: either leave or stay and struggle with the natives to transform this country to a just place for its entire people.

DEMOCRACY NOW VIDEO Palestinian Families Appeal to UN Over Israeli Construction of “Museum of Tolerance” on Jerusalem’s Historic Mamilla Cemetery

For what you can do on this, see MAMILLA CAMPAIGN.

A respectable Think Tank describes the growing campaign around the world against Israeli apartheid and calls on the Israeli government to treat it as a “Strategic threat”. Of course it is growing and it is a strategic threat to an apartheid state structure.  The comments on the article in Haaretz are split between those who still buy the notion that wanting to stop Israel from its policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing is somehow “delelegitimizing” because of anti-Semitism and those (Including Israelis) who say enough is enough.

HAARETZ: Think tank: Israel faces global delegitimization campaign
“The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank called on
ministers to treat the matter as a strategic threat.”

Must see Video is going viral:
Gaza in Plain Language

(Youtube flagged this because of Zionist pressure) but you can see it here

Another video: Did You Know Gaza

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Popular Committee to Defend Ush Ghrab (PCDUG)
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home

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